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A co-worker forwarded me this URL that has some mirrored videos of a demonstration Steve Jobs gave on the capabilities of the NeXTSTEP system back in the day. Considering that this is quite a while ago, the display of the technology is all the more amazing. It appears that even with as much that the Mac took from Xerox PARC's Alto computer, the NeXTSTEP is perhaps the true technological predecessor to the Alto. Very interesting stuff indeed. Apparently, the NeXTSTEP was largely an object-oriented operating system. Some of the stuff you see in the video was truly ahead of its time (as was the Alto computer in the first place).

You can imagine where the computing world would be if the Alto or NeXTSTEP caught on like the PC did. Enjoy!


Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 6:47 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Steve Jobs and NeXTSTEP

# re: Steve Jobs and NeXTSTEP
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"Apparently, the NeXTSTEP was largely an object-oriented operating system."

Yup - and if you want to give it a try yourself, just get something running OS X.

Cocoa is basically NeXTSTEP. It's even in the naming conventions for types:

- NSString
- NSThis
- NSThat

If you look at some of the OpenSTEP stuff out there (, for example), you'll see that the dev tools are *very* similar to what originally shipped with OS X (NSBuilder).

Apple has since switched to an IDE called XCode, but NSBuilder is where it began.

And it's all NeXT stuff...

The irritating thing is that, though it all may have been cool back in the day, it's kind of a pain in the ass to work with now. Objective-C is a weird-ass language and makes me ever so much more thankful that C# came along (and Java, for that matter).
Left by Rory on Jan 31, 2005 6:56 PM

# re: Steve Jobs and NeXTSTEP
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Wow that brings back memories! On my BSc placement I worked for year within the NeXTSTEP environment. In fact Objective C is much more OO than C++ and if you look at it closely it resembles Java (since both Java & Objective C borrow a lot from Smalltalk). I left that company (British Telecom Labs) when Web Objects was the new hype. My coworkers summed up the technology nicely: "Technically great but with no marketing push"
Left by Daniel Moth on Jan 31, 2005 7:00 PM

# re: Steve Jobs and NeXTSTEP
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Yeah, watching the video, you can see just how much Mac OS X is built on the NeXTSTEP technologies. I've been semi-desiring (in a sick kind of way), getting a Mac to at least try out the programming and development tools. More out of curiosity, if anything. I haven't been able to justify the money yet, though (even though that decision might get easier because of the Mac Mini).

This desire also comes from the fact that it's hard to be such a pro-.NET guy when I don't have a lot of experience with other technologies. I figure that stretching myself to try out these other technologies should make me an even better pro-.NETer since I will have experience from other systems to draw upon. Although the first technology (actually, language) to try out is Python.
Left by Jason Olson on Jan 31, 2005 7:03 PM

# re: Steve Jobs and NeXTSTEP
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Thanks for bringing this up, been quite a number of years since I read anything about NextStep. I really thought they would become a serious competitor in the market with all they were offerering so early.

I too have thought of buying a Mac to play with OS-X, but that is about it. I design mostly web applications nowadays using .NET, but it still looks like it would be fun for a while. One of my main excuses is to see how all my sites (and ones yet to be opened) will look on the Mac. Not strong enough yet, but with the Mini's, it might justify it :)

Left by Rocky Moore on Feb 01, 2005 10:06 PM

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