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View Full Version : 9 Years Ago Today Apple Completes Purchase of NeXT


MacBytes
Feb 5, 2006, 11:20 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: 9 Years Ago Today Apple Completes Purchase of NeXT (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060205122003)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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bigandy
Feb 5, 2006, 01:31 PM
aah, it was a simpler time. :rolleyes:

MacEffects
Feb 5, 2006, 02:34 PM
Wow, now I miss my old NeXTStation Turbo :D

mduser63
Feb 5, 2006, 02:56 PM
That page wouldn't open in Safari for me, though it did open in Camino.

I've never used a NeXT computer, but they seem like they were good. I hate to think where Apple would be today had they not purchased NeXT and gotten Steve Jobs back.

steve_hill4
Feb 5, 2006, 02:57 PM
Ahh, NeXT. I never followed this at the time, but looking back now it seems so long ago. I could never understand how NeXT were valued so highly, (monetry), when they didn't sell huge numbers. Does anyone have figures on sales in their lifetime?

Anyway, back to the topic, yes the basis for OS X. So you could say effectively that OS X is also celebrating it's 9th birthday. We didn't see it until it started to develop into a Mac OS, but the moment NeXT was purchased, it became Mac OS X in essence. You might even want to argue it was conceived on this day 9 years ago.

Okay then, I'll stop rambling.;)

freiheit
Feb 5, 2006, 04:10 PM
The first email I ever sent was in a computer lab at college in 1993 on a NeXT Station. They were really nice machines. Slim, all black, 2 button mice, 17 inch grayscale high-resolution monitors, video and audio support. Pretty amazing stuff in 1993 and very stylish (I think even today their styling would stand out). One of the niftiest features in NeXTStep is still very much alive today in the iTune Music Store -- you know when you click on for instance Podcasts and then click a category, at the top you have kind of a "back list" of all the places you've been to get where you are now? That was an integral part of the file browser in NeXTStep, though it did look a little different the functionality was the same. And then there was the "Wharf" (or maybe they called it the Dock back then, I don't recall), which again didn't look as snazzy as OSX's Dock but had a lot of the same functionality.

SilvorX
Feb 5, 2006, 06:11 PM
I've been noticing a pretty big amount of "this day in history" Apple-related stories lately.. pretty crazy

nagromme
Feb 5, 2006, 06:14 PM
Yes, it was called the Dock back then :)

And I think you could tear off any menu, which I like.

NeXT computers didn't take off in the end, but OpenStep lived on even before it became OS X.

RacerX
Feb 5, 2006, 07:18 PM
Ahh, NeXT. I never followed this at the time, but looking back now it seems so long ago. I could never understand how NeXT were valued so highly, (monetry), when they didn't sell huge numbers. Does anyone have figures on sales in their lifetime?NeXT sold about 50,000 units as I recall.

As to their value, they represented the cutting edge of technology at the time. And a user environment that was way better than the Macs. One of the biggest misnomers is that they were expensive systems. A quick comparison between them and Apple systems (from around 1991) gives you a more realistic view of the actual cost of owning one of those systems...NeXTstation (68040 at 25MHz, 8 MB of RAM, 105 MB hard drive, 2 bit (black & white) 17" display, Ethernet) $4,995.00
Macintosh IIsi (68030 at 20MHz, 5 MB of RAM, 80 MB hard drive, 8 bit 12" display, LocalTalk) $5,097.00

NeXTstation Color (68040 at 25MHz, 12 MB of RAM, 105 MB hard drive, 16 bit (color) 17" display, Ethernet) $7,995.00
Macintosh IIci (68030 at 20MHz, 4 MB of RAM, 80 MB hard drive, 8 bit 13" display, LocalTalk) $7,897.00On the other hand, when NeXT hardware went away, the price of the operating system on any platform was still pretty high...NEXTSTEP 3.3 (single user license) about $820.00
System 7.5 (single user license) about $100.00
A/UX 3.0.1 (single user license) about $795.00Part of this was the price of any Unix based operating system back then (NEXTSTEP used 4.3BSD while A/UX was using a modified version of System V Release 2), and part of it was to remain outside of the desktop market as per the settlement agreement with Apple (the agreement was not to compete directly with Apple in it's core market, the desktop, not to stay in the workstation market as the article suggest).

And then there was the "Wharf" (or maybe they called it the Dock back then, I don't recall), which again didn't look as snazzy as OSX's Dock but had a lot of the same functionality.As has been pointed out... it was called the Dock back then.

I, personally, find the NeXT Dock very limiting and rarely use it myself. I find that a Dock replacement (or extender) called Fiend adds a lot more functionality to the same type of system. With Fiend I can have multiple Dock levels for different types of applications. Here is an example of what my Dock looks like on my OPENSTEP system when displaying my primary apps.

http://www.shawcomputing.net/racerx/screenshots/os-02012006a-sm.jpg
click to enlarge (http://www.shawcomputing.net/racerx/screenshots/os-02012006a.jpg)


Further,every Workspace Manager (the name for the NeXT Finder) window had an area called the shelf that worked very much like the Finder's side bar today.

What was interesting was that NeXT had started on a major reworking of the NEXTSTEP user environment during the NEXTSTEP 4.0 Beta period, but ended up not using any of it when OPENSTEP 4.0 was finally release so that it wouldn't look that different from Sun's Solaris OpenStep (which looked almost exactly like NEXTSTEP 3.x).

I have a series of screenshots of NEXTSTEP 4.0 Beta on my site from a friend of mine. You can find those here (http://www.shawcomputing.net/resources/next/software/ns40_screenshots/index.html). Some of the ideas from this Beta later made it into both Rhapsody and Mac OS X.

Maxwell Smart
Feb 5, 2006, 09:08 PM
a truely advanced operating system for its time :) And its legacy now lives on in OS X