« Computer Graphics? I've Heard of Them | Main | Monopoly See, Monopoly Do »

Jun 14, 2005


Dave Borzillo

I can't answer #1 and #2, but I'll take a stab at #3 and #4.

The OS for NeXTSTEP is based on FreeBSD, which is also the OS for Mac OS X (not surprising since OS X is a reincarnation of NeXTSTEP).

As for the bad design in the cube, are you thinking of the optical drives that would fail because of dust? I also think they used a lot of magnesium which made it costly (and not really required from what I understand).

Why do I know so much? I spent my summers in college developing on NeXT machines for our mechnical engineering department. It was a great platform.

Miles Archer

Next and Renderman are related by Steve Jobs. Jobs was CEO of NEXT and Renderman was used/produced by Pixar where the Steve is CEO.

Dave Borzillo

This is interesting...the old NeXTSTEP programming environment for the web (selling for as much as $50,000) is now free:




1. Where is Ditek now?

In 2000, it tried to become a dot-com. I think that it went the way of most dot-com'ers.

2. How are NeXt and RenderMan connected?

As someone said above, Steve Jobs. Steve started Pixar to take advantage of the RenderMan engine.

Steve Jobs started NeXt and Pixar. He then did a reverse take over of Apple. Brought in the NeXt hardware designer, who was instrumental in the iMac development. Then Steve had the NeXt OS ported to the Mac.

3. What OS was NeXTstep based on?

As stated above, it was a version of BSD UNIX - with a very elegant UI on top of it.

Note that at one time OpenStep (the last version of the NeXt OS) ran on both the Intel and NeXt machines (which were Motorola based). Very interesting considering that Apple is now moving to Intel chip sets.

4. Which hardware design decision caused the NeXTcube to fail in the market?

No floppy drive.

There really wasn't any cost effective, viable, writable, removable media for the NeXt.


One correction.

The actual operating system was Mach, which was a microkernel developed at Carnegie Mellon. Sitting on top of Mach was a layer that was merely compatable with Unix 4.3BSD.

The display system was something called Display Postscript. Because the OS contained the license and did the work for the postscript interpreter, you could get a postscript laser printer for around $400. Which was very, very cheap at that time.

Marc Driftmeyer

NeXTSTEP is the mach microkernel 2.95 with BSD 4.3 Filesystem and custom NeXT specific additions.

We at NeXT carried this through to Openstep 4.2.

When we merged with Apple and demoed in-house versions of Openstep never released that helped seal the deal we quickly moved to what was by then a BSD 4.4 based system for Rhapsody and that in turn evolved into a soup mix of FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD pieces here and there, plus all the additions added by Apple which are given back under Darwin.


PIXAR's Renderman was built-in as part of NeXTSTEP. Once hardware was scrapped the work on PRMan was haulted.

WebObjects 5.3 which is being referred to as the Old NeXTSTEP Programming environment for the Web is current and leverages Tiger OS X 10.4.x.

It is at present written for Java. Whether it is transformed back into Cocoa/ObjC is up-in-the-air, for future revisiting.

If you want to know more become a Select or Premiere member of ADC at apple.com.

Buy your Dev Disks which includes the DVDs on the 2005 WWDC conferences and learn more.

A very solid CAD Modeling tool that was originally written for NeXTSTEP, by Gestel is solidThinkingModeler.


Since it's creators left to work at PIXAR it has grown on the Windows platform and recently returned to OS X.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Search This Blog



Thank you for visiting!