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10 Years of OpenStep

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

GNU is Not Unix 338

tarzeau writes "Today, the OpenStep API celebrates its 10th anniversary. What started out as a joint adventure of NeXT and SUN to define an application development standard that would run on all machines, making 'write once, compile everywhere' a reality, is still unfolding within the vivid and active community of GNUstep, old NeXT and Apple lovers. The magic 10 appears in GNUstep's current 1.10.x release and in Apple's Mac OS X 'Cocoa' release. Programmers worldwide can develop their programs on Mac OS, Linux, the BSDs, Solaris, and with a couple of hurdles -- even on Windows. This solid and well-defined standard is reaching out to the world of software development, slowly but surely. Program your applications in days or weeks, rather than years or never. Use the advanced API of a development framework that hasn't needed significant modification for 10 years, because it rocks, is stable and just works."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564357)

All your base are belong to us!

Sorry. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564372)

Openstep sucks and is ugly. Leave it in the 20th century where it belongs.

Re:Sorry. (2, Interesting)

uid100 (540265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564394)

Why is it ugly?
What's wrong with programming with a standard?
Doesn't it make sense to write once - compile anywhere?

Speaking of UGLY (-1, Offtopic)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564494)

here's a neat way to avoid the eyesore that is the slashdot it color scheme:

simply add: it.slashdot.org
to your etc/hosts file!

Re:Sorry. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564538)

http://www.gnustep.org/images/full-screenshot1.png Welcome to 1993. 1st: OpenStep was a hack to run NeXT programs on Solaris. Never let that out of your thoughts, because it explains why OpenStep software is NOT 100% code-compatible with OSE -- which was OpenStep for Windows NT. FURTHERMORE, OpenStep sure as hell isn't being actively developed any more -- GNUStep is forking farther and farther away from OpenStep, mostly because Apple has a hammerlock on it and they aren't letting up. And as for the early-nineties looks: don't let the GNUstep guys fool you. Yeah, it's themeable, but it's not flexible. Besides, if you have to skin an application, you're already a step behind real API kits.

Next (4, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564385)

I was a really big Next user, and for me OS X seems to be the natural extension of it. But it was amazing to be using Next machines in the early 90's. They were remarkably ahead of their time.

Re:Next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564553)

Yes, and it's even more amazing that in many ways they are still unsurpassed ... only Apple Mac OS X comes near.

But most of the world is working on environments
(such as the blue screen of monopoly death o/s) which are light years behind what NeXT was offering you almost 15 years ago ...

Ever being wondering why the scrollbar is always on the right of the text area while you're typing (and you've got the mouse) most of the times on the left ? That's the kind of stuff which really irritates me! Power to people! Scrollbars on the left!

Luckily GNUstep on Linux gets it right.

Re:Next (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564969)

I have never wondered this.

Get a mouse wheel.

Re:Next (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565023)

I have an old PIII 500 mhz machine I use as my file server, running linux.

On a lark I loaded GNUstep as the default windowing environment. I like it - but haven't explored all of its capabilities and limitations yet.

Re:Next (2, Informative)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565085)

GNUstep isn't a windowing environment...it's a development environment. Windowmaker is the windowing environment that looks like NeXTStep.

Right on www.gnustep.org it states:

GNUstep itself is not an operating system, window manager or desktop environment, though there are several desktop environments in development that are based on it.

just some info.

Re:Next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564580)

I never got to use NeXT--the machines were expensive and, when they finally did an x86 port, the software was as expensive as the memory I would have needed to purchase to make it worthwhile.

I do recall buying several issues of the magazine that was devoted to NeXT(can't recall the name of it) and the one thing that always seemed unusual to me was the back-page where they listed software popularity: the number one spot was always held by a PC emulator.

Re:Next (4, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565186)

OK, suppose I want an OpenStep desktop on a GNU/Linux system... What desktop should I use? GnuStep gives me no good answer!
GNUstep is development environment, not a window manager Many people have confused GNUstep with WindowMaker. GNUstep, however, is not a window manager. WindowMaker is the most often-used NeXT-looking application on a non-NeXT system. WindowMaker also uses a derivation of the GNUstep logo. WindowMaker is the preferred GNUstep window manager, but GNUstep applications also work with any window manager, although you're most likely, currently, to have a more cohesive desktop experience if you use the two in conjunction.

Relation to WindowMaker WindowMaker is a window manager, not a workspace manager nor a file browser. It is nothing more. WindowMaker and GNUstep share almost no libraries or functionality. WindowMaker is written in C, and GNUstep is written in Objective-C. WindowMaker does make certain things easier for GNUstep, but it is not GNUstep itself, although it is a part of the project.
Well, then... GnuStep seems to recommend WM as the choice for Gnustep applications, but isn't itself Gnustep in any way.

Is there anything that is? I would like to install and play for at least five minutes...

Call me stupid, but.... (2, Interesting)

rwven (663186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564386)

I've been around computers a long time and i've never heard of it. What major application can anyone mention that has been developed on it? A 10th anniversary of something that barely anyone has ever used (in the big scheme of things) is really not any great thing to celebrate... I like the idea of it, but i'm not sure it's as wonderful of a hit as this news article is trying to make it seem.... Or am i off the mark here?

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (4, Informative)

CoolMoDee (683437) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564403)

The first web browser was developed with NeXT and Openstep...

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (5, Informative)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564439)

The game Doom was also developed on NeXT.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564602)

While this may be true, DOOM doesn't use OpenStep or Objective-C.

DOOM was mainly known for its high-performance SVGA graphics, which has nothing at all to do with NeXT hardware.

So there's nothing much to the Doom-Next connection. Maybe Carmack liked the Next IDE.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564404)

No, you're not off the mark at all. For all their self-congratulations, you'd be hard-pressed to find any truly remarkable, widely used application based on that framework.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (5, Informative)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564420)

What about the first web browser for a start?

The first wholescale industrial use of OOP practices?

etc. Do some googling.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564433)

The NeXTStep (a.k.a. OpenStep) API was developed as part of the NeXTOS that ran on NeXT workstations during the 90's. Several deals were made with other Unix vendors (including Sun) for them to support the "OpenStep" standard.

NeXT was bought off by Apple, and was developed into Mac OS X. The OS X Cocoa API is really nothing more than the NeXTStep API set, and is almost 100% source compatible with programs from the old NeXT machines.

More Information [wikipedia.org]

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (0)

afidel (530433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564542)

and the cases burned [simson.net] really well due to the fact that they were cast magnesium =) Back in the mid 90's I lusted after a beutiful black cube of my own, even when Jobs was making high end workstations he had good asthetics.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564574)

and the cases burned really well due to the fact that they were cast magnesium

Poppycock. The cases were a magnesium alloy. The only way the guy got it to burn was to heat it to several thousand degrees so that the alloy broke down. Not to mention that he had to try it with two different cases, AND use tons of lighter fluid to get one to ignite. :-)

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564434)

Is the first web browser major enough? FWIW, Tim Berners-Lee used a NeXT.

(OK, the API was slightly older NEXTSTEP and not OpenStep, but hey, it's kinda close...)

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564437)


Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564451)

> What major application can anyone mention that has been developed on it?



The first web browser.

And a shitload of others.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1)

jvj24601 (178471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564658)

Mathematica was not developed on a NeXT. I used version 1.2 in 1989 on a Macintosh SE. Wolfram Research (the company that develops and sells Mathematica) was founded in 1988.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (5, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564498)

WorldWideWeb.app and Doom have already been mentioned --- lengthy discussion of the former in the book _Weaving the Web_ by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, check the source for Doom.app and John Carmack's blog to learn how he feels about NeXTstep.

Other things:

- Altsys Virtuoso (this became Macromedia FreeHand)
- Lotus Improv (which lives on as Quantrix or Flexisheet)
- MusicKit
- MiscKit
- Pages by Pages
- TouchType.app

Other more recent developments:

- Cenon - http://www.cenon.info
- GNUmail
- ProjectCenter


Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564503)

Most OS X apps use Cocoa & Objective-C for their front-end. Whether this is through choice, or because XCode compells you to do this is a matter for debate.

Personally I think the tools that ship in XCode / Project Builder for constructing UIs are (ironically) the most user-unfriendly and unintuitive I've ever encountered. Part of the blame falls squarely on the interactive help which is awful compared to the MSDN for example.

That's not to say I don't think Objective-C is elegant but I'd still prefer C++ and a conventional GUI editor for all the alleged 'pain' that would entail.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564541)

You should hire yourself out for Cocoa developer parties.

Throw your empty beer cans at the idiot!

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564595)

User un-friendly? Interface builder? So placing a button on a window and drawing a line from the button to the class is un-friendly to you? Do you have no arms?

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564950)

Don't be facetious. Any programmer unfamiliar with the interface builder would sit there boggling at the screen for minutes in total incomprehension. I've used all kinds of UI development tools over the years running the gamut from horrible to sublime. XCode definitely falls near the bottom. Certainly not as bad as trying to visually design a Swing app but close.

Interface builder is not intuitive, it's not even discoverable. Joining objects residing in two separate windows with lines doesn't even make sense from a usability perspective. Even when you eventually figure out how to create classes and join them up to buttons, it is non-obvious how that maps onto actual code. On top of these problems you have to learn a new language just to be able to get your UI to do anything. If the documentation & help system were up to snuff it might shorten the learning curve but they're not - it takes seconds to do a search on MSDN, so why does it takes minutes on OS X?

Thus, the new programmer is faced with an unfamiliar language, an unfamiliar metaphor for UI building, and an unfamiliar framework with bad documentation. I haven't seen such an uncompromising and steep learning curve for a long time. And all that to programme a supposedly user friendly OS.

So yes I do think it is non obvious. In my case it was the first time I actually had to buy a book ("Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X") before I could even figure out what was happening. I haven't seen XCode 2.0 it has to be said, but I sure hope they intend to make it easier to use. Even a few wizards with common design patterns might help somewhat.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1)

rainwadj (58293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565161)

Objective C is mostly C, with some OOP extensions added in. Sure, the syntax for accessing methods within objects is different, but it's not that much of a leap. OOP concepts can be difficult to get your head around, so just poking around Interface Builder without a formal introduction probably isn't the best approach. But, after wading in with a tutorial or two, it may 'click' with some people. Others may require a book on Cocoa, but even that doesn't seem too unreasonable.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10565180)

Hey, whatever, I guess there's always a need for another ditch digger in the world.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565219)

Maybe I just had a different experience learning it... it made more sense to me than .NET's GUI (I still don't like the idea of GUI and code living together, they should be separate.)

I admit that Objective-C can be slightly painful especially when you get stuff that looks like

[[[[object message] message] message] message]

it rubbed me the wrong way at first but now I can honestly say I'd rather code in XCode than Visual Studio.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564731)

I know lots of people designing their own .nib files on OS X and using them as replacing the original .nib files.

I don't know how it becomes "hard" while end users (not developers) does use nib editors.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (3, Interesting)

bnenning (58349) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565061)

Most OS X apps use Cocoa & Objective-C for their front-end.

Or Carbon and C/C++.

That's not to say I don't think Objective-C is elegant but I'd still prefer C++

No, you really wouldn't. C++ just doesn't have the dynamic capabilities that Cocoa apps exploit to substantially reduce code. Simple example: given an arbitrary object, determine if it implements a named method. One line of code in ObjC, and this allows Cocoa apps to automatically enable and disable menu items depending on what actions are valid for the current selection.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1)

jbrasch (224642) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564722)

Jonathan Schwartz was (owned/president ?) of Lighthouse Design an isv that provided an office suite for NextStep. They were very sweet apps.

Re:Call me stupid, but.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564776)

NeXTStep was really popular in the financial industries. Also, ISTR that one of the first clustering -things- for desktops (Godzilla?) was done on NeXT.

Informative background (4, Informative)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564784)

I've been around computers a long time and i've never heard of it. What major application can anyone mention that has been developed on it? A 10th anniversary of something that barely anyone has ever used (in the big scheme of things) is really not any great thing to celebrate... I like the idea of it, but i'm not sure it's as wonderful of a hit as this news article is trying to make it seem.... Or am i off the mark here?


In the future, when you so desperately want to learn about something, you can use Wikipædia [wikipedia.org], a free on-line encyclopædia:

OpenStep [wikipedia.org] is an open object-oriented API specification for an object-oriented operating system that uses any modern operating system as its core, principly developed by NeXT. It is important to recognize that while OpenStep is an API specification, OPENSTEP (all capitalized) is a specific implementation of this OpenStep developed by NeXT. While originally built on a Mach-based Unix (such as the core of NeXTSTEP), versions of OPENSTEP were available for Solaris and Windows NT as well. Furthermore the OPENSTEP libraries (the libraries that shipped with the OPENSTEP operating system) are in fact a superset of the original OpenStep specification. The OpenStep API was created as the result of a 1993 collaboration between NeXT Computer and Sun Microsystems, allowing this cut-down version of NeXT's NeXTSTEP operating system object layers to be run on Sun's Solaris operating system (more specifically, Solaris on SPARC-based hardware). Most of the OpenStep effort was to strip away those portions of NeXTSTEP that depended on Mach or NeXT-specific hardware being present. This resulted in a smaller system that consisted primarily of Display PostScript, the Objective-C runtime and compilers, and the majority of the NeXTSTEP Objective-C libraries. Not included was the basic operating system, or the display system. The first draft of the API was published by NeXT in summer 1994. Later that year they released an OpenStep compliant version of their flagship operating system NeXTSTEP running on several of their supported platforms and rebranded it OPENSTEP. OPENSTEP remained NeXT's primary operating system product until they were purchased by Apple Computer in 1997. OPENSTEP was then combined with technologies from the existing Mac OS to produce Mac OS X. Sun never seemed terribly interested in the product, likely a result of the NIH syndrome. In fact it's somewhat unclear why they were ever interested, although it appears it was an attempt to "get in" on the object-oriented operating system market before Microsoft released its plans for the object-oriented Cairo OS (which never happened). Nevertheless they started their port to Solaris some time in 1994, and released it in 1996. When Sun started work on Java just after this point, Solaris OpenStep was never seen again.

NeXTSTEP [wikipedia.org] is the original object-oriented, multitasking operating system that NeXT Computer, Inc. developed to run on its proprietary NeXT computers (informally known as "black boxes"). NeXTSTEP 1.0 was released on 18 September 1989 after several previews starting in 1986, and the last release 3.3 in early 1995, by which time it ran not only on Motorola 68000 series processors (specifically the original black boxes), but also generic IBM compatible x86/Intel, Sun SPARC, and HP PA-RISC). About the time of the 3.2 release NeXT teamed up with Sun Microsystems to develop OpenStep, a cross-platform standard and implementation (for Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows, and NeXT's version of the Mach kernel) based on NEXTSTEP 3.2. The format of the name had many camel case variants, initially being NextStep, then NeXTstep, then NeXTSTEP, and became NEXTSTEP (all capitals) only at the end of its life. The format most commonly used by "insiders" is NeXTstep. The confusion continued after the release of the OpenStep standard, when NeXT released what was effectively an OpenStep-compliant version 4 of NeXTstep as OPENSTEP. The system had originally started in the mid-1980s as two projects, an effort that would create Display PostScript, and an effort to build a "toolkit" of programming objects for the education market. When it became clear that the computers and operating systems of the day were not up to the task of running either, the projects were combined, along with a hardware effort, and eventually created the NeXT computers. NeXTSTEP's user interface was refined and consistent, and introduced the idea of the Dock, carried through OPENSTEP and into Mac OS X, and the Shelf. The user interface features did not stop here, but were touches on a smaller level, such as window modification notices (such as the saved status of a file) were inbuilt into all windows, modified scrollbars, and so on. NeXTSTEP also introduced the idea of a control that changed the rest of a panel to different sets of controls which led to the development of the "tabbed panel" that is used extensively in modern GUIs (?). Additional kits were added to the product line to make the system more attractive. This included Portable Distributed Objects (PDO), which allowed easy remote invocation, and Enterprise Objects Framework, a powerful object-relational database system. These kits made the system particularly interesting to custom application programmers, and NeXTSTEP had a long history in the financial programming community. After the completion of Apple Computer's acquisition of NeXT in early 1997, Apple decided to make its own implementation of the OpenStep standard, which resulted in Mac OS X. Mac OS X's OpenStep heritage can be seen in the Cocoa development environment, where the Objective-C library objects have "NS" prefixes. A free software implementation of the OpenStep standard, GNUstep, also exists. The first web browser, WorldWideWeb, was developed on the NeXTSTEP platform. Some features and keyboard shortcuts now commonly found in web browsers can be traced to originally being native features of NeXTSTEP, which other web browsers for other operating systems later reimplemented as features of the browser itself. This includes the ability for one program (one process) to be able to have many independent windows (with separate documents) open at the same time. The shortcuts to use this feature, commonly Ctrl-N (to open a new window), Ctrl-W (close window), Ctrl-Q (Quit application) were standard for all NeXTSTEP applications where they were Command-N, etc. (The NeXT computer keyboard had a Command key, separate from the Alt and Control keys.)

GNUStep [wikipedia.org] is a free software implementation of NeXT's OpenStep Objective-C libraries (called frameworks), widget toolkit, and application development tools not only for Unix-like operating systems, but also for Microsoft Windows. It is part of the GNU project. GNUstep features a cross-platform, object-oriented development environment based on and completely compatible with the OpenStep specification developed by NeXT (which has since been bought by Apple Computer). Like Apple, GNUstep also has a Java interface to OpenStep, as well as Ruby and Scheme bindings. The GNUstep developers track some additions to Apple's Cocoa to remain compatible. The roots of the GNUstep application interface are same as the roots of Cocoa: NeXT and OpenStep. GNUstep predates Cocoa. GNUstep began when Paul Kunz and others at SLAC wanted to port HippoDraw from NeXTSTEP to another platform. Instead of rewriting HippoDraw from scratch and reusing only the application design, they decided to rewrite the NeXTSTEP object layer which the application depended on. This was the first version of libobjcX. It enabled them to port HippoDraw to Unix systems running the X Window System without changing a single line of their application source. After the OpenStep specification was released to the public in 1994, they decided to write a new objcX which would adhere to the new APIs. The software would become known as "GNUstep".

Window Maker [wikipedia.org] (previously WindowMaker) is a window manager for X designed to emulate NeXT's OpenStep GUI. Window Maker was written primarily by Alfredo Kojima (lead developer since 1997) and released under the GNU GPL, with the intent to integrate into the GNUstep desktop environment. Several other applications were also written to use the same WINGs widget set, including an X display manager and many dock applets. Another screenshot of Window Maker, featuring a different theme Enlarge Another screenshot of Window Maker, featuring a different theme The applets that integrate into Window Maker's Dock and Clip are compatible with those that integrate into Afterstep's Wharf. Window Maker comes with the WPrefs preferences application which enables tuning of most parameters otherwise tunable in its text configuration files, but additional programs such as wmakerconf were developed that provide additional configuration options. Window Maker has a reputation of being relatively less resource-consumptive compared to other window managers in its class, while including enough features to be configurable and user-friendly. The original name of the program was WindowMaker (without the space) until a web site name conflict arose between windowmaker.org owned by this project and windowmaker.com of Windowmaker Software Ltd., producers of software for windows and doors.

Et cetera. See? I didn't even have [google.com] to [google.com] use [google.com] Google [google.com].

(I am proudly posting this post using Window Maker.)

80% of all software is custom built (3, Insightful)

KamuSan (680564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565078)

OpenStep was really popular with several large banks for their internal applications.

Good question, but the fact that you don't see a lot of programs made with a particular framework doesn't mean it's not widely used. 80% of all software (just a guess, maybe it's even more) that is written is custom built software for a specific customer or purpose.

The magic 10? (1, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564402)

The magic 10 appears in GNUstep's current 1.10.x release

I'm skeptical, but I guess that's possible.

and in Apple's Mac OS X 'Cocoa' release.

Um, sure. Last year I opened an app that ran in MacOS 9, named in homage to OpenStep's ninth birthday and the fact that OS X would finish making it completely obsolete. Apple must've been smoking crack when they released System 7 to honor OpenStep's minus-third birthday.

Write once run anywhere will *NEVER* happen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564421)

Never ever.

Re:Write once run anywhere will *NEVER* happen (2, Insightful)

animaal (183055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564540)

With leading-edge games like Doom3? You're right.
With device drivers? You're right again.

However, some class of applications can be written once and run anywhere. I've written enterprise apps on Linux that just ran fine the first time they were tried on Windows, Solaris, etc.

Technologies like Java, Python and Ruby make it real. And I'd bet that in the not-too-distant future, games for mobile devices will be "write once run anywhere". J2ME is a good stab at it, but I don't think it's quite there yet.

Re:Write once run anywhere will *NEVER* happen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10565092)

Uh...Doom 3 pretty much was written with that in mind. Once you get their resource/WAD/bytecode/whatever files onto your system, all that matters is the executable and a few library files. I downloaded those from id's site, and had it running on Linux in minutes. Sure, it was primarily designed to work on Windows boxes (or more likely consoles), but with a smart design you can leave your doors open to many markets.

What is the point? (1)

CodeYoddler (674760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564426)

What is the point of coding in a standard to compile everywhere when you can just code on the platform that has 95% of the market. It is the same thing for games.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564445)

Which is exactly what most developers (who want to make money) do.

Re:What is the point? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564507)

Getting 5% of the market is still a big piece of the pie for a small developer.

Re:What is the point? (1)

ViolentGreen (704134) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564661)

Getting 5% of the market is still a big piece of the pie for a small developer.

They aren't getting 5% of the market. No matter what they do, not all of their target audience will use the product.

Assume that you expect 20% (being generous) of the users in your target audience to use your product. Do it in Windows and have 19% of the total market or have 1% of the total market. It's not a hard choice.

Re:What is the point? (1)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565007)

what some fail to consider is that many don't do it for the money, but rather the simple enjoyment of the environment. hard to imagine that there's something more pleasant to develop for than windows is it?

Re:What is the point? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565035)

You missed out the part about having more competition if you program for Windows. Being a big fish in a small pool can often bring in more money than being a small fish in a big pool.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564632)

Towards the end, 99% of OpenStep deployments were on Win32. People used it because they liked it as Windows development environment.

What's NeXT? (4, Interesting)

mrchapp (823433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564428)

Looking back at my old NeXT (we never lose a chance to brag about having one) makes me wonder what's coming in the next 10 years, and how much of that will arrive from Steve Jobs' hand.

Re:What's NeXT? (2, Funny)

CodeWanker (534624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564549)

And there's another advantage: job security. If you can port an existing mission critical system to this or develop a new on with this, you've got a real hostage :)

History can repeat itself ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564732)

Maybe it's time for Jobs to make second visit to Alan Kay to see his recent musing [opencroquet.org] ;-) The first one gave enough ideas for Macintosh and NeXT...

to understand this in context (5, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564436)

consider that tin burns lee when developing the www and the original browser gave up on his old projects and got a next box becasue the development of the UI and software was so easy on it. I wonder what would have have happened hsd he not gotten it :).
On a side note, it is really quite sad the linux developers are not using/updating openstep. The fact that it is nearly completely compatible with OSX's Cocoa is a huge plus. I discovered this while developing software in Cocoa and have often thought about how cool it would be to have a GL based desktop with a slick Openstep ui ( the current one looks like it is stuck in 1993) on linux.. Then I got a Mac

Re:to understand this in context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564488)

Once again, please cite a source for the information in your .sig.

Re:to understand this in context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564862)

I agree, a co-worker of mine is Nepalese (and just came back from a trip to Kathmandu) and he is as baffled as me.

I guess he could be blaming Amnesty International for the Maoist Insurgency, but that makes no sense.

Re:to understand this in context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564918)

...and that would be closer to 2500-3000 people. I really don't know what he is talking about. He's just asking for a libel suit if he doesn't provide some justification.

Re:to understand this in context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10565076)

He's posted about it before. He's royalty or somehow related to the powers that be.

Re:to understand this in context (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564793)

From pure end user view who used Linux for 1 year on his x86...

I guess gnome and kde to blame.

I used windowmaker as default for 1 year but desktop inconsistency made me mad. Run a gnome app (gtk, whatever) you get gnome widgets, run a qt app (read:kde), you get KDE app..

Now I use OS X on my G5, back to NexT environment which is real unique just like poor old OS/2 workspace...

Aka no Start menu for Gods sake... :)

There was never anything so consistent, stable.... (4, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564459)

and productive out of the box as NeXTstep (says the guy who still uses a NeXT Cube as his main production machine at home).

- Command= in any app to get a definition in Webster.app rocks
- having all of your man pages, the sysadmin refs, and the works of Will Shakespeare and anything else you wish to add in Digital Librarian ensures one can look up what one needs at will.
- Being able to improve the functionality of _any_ app by installing a Service or an app which provides a Service provides a synergy one doesn't get in Mac OS X where it's hit-or-miss whether or no an app supports Services (Cocoa apps do, Carbon and Java apps have to be specially coded)
- having total control over the screen (you can drag off-screen and hide all but one pixel of the vertical menu, one tile of the Dock)
- The vertical menu makes tear-off sub-menus make sense, which allows effortless customization of one's working environment for a given task w/o inscrutable toolbars
- the pop-up menu means that the menu for the current app is always instantly available --- some commands can even become gestural in one's access to them, e.g., ``Punch'' in Altsys Virtuso, right-button-menu click, down a bit and straight over and release

I could go on, and I have, check my rants on groups.google.com in comp.sys.next/mac.advocacy

I've got a little bit more on my site, http://members.aol.com/willadams look for my nascent gnustep pages, or the NeXT brochure in my portfolio

Or of course, visit http://www.gnustep.org or http://www.stepwise.com for some good programming info


Sounds great!! (1, Funny)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564472)

Except for that big about the hurdles getting it to work on Windows. You will forgive me for suggesting that how well it works on Windows, where 95% of users are, is really important.

Also, since you are talking about GNUstep as one of the creators of this, I assume this is open source?

And finally, is is language agnostic? I personally would want to use C++.

Yes, I did not RTFA. Sorry.

Re:Sounds great!! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564703)

GNUStep's version of the Foundation Kit (basic non-GUI classes) works great on Windows. I've used it to port MacOS X code with much success.

GNUStep's version of the Application Kit (GUI classes) is still pretty much unusable on Windows. Even if it were usuable, it's insistence on being a holistic "environment" with various services running, rather than just an API, is annoying.

No, it's not language agnostic. You'll need to use objective-c, or some other langauge like python that can bridge to objective-c easily.

-Helpful AC

Re:Sounds great!! (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565121)

Also, since you are talking about GNUstep as one of the creators of this, I assume this is open source?

GNUstep is LGPL.

And finally, is is language agnostic?

Sort of. There are bindings available for many languages such as Perl, Python, and Ruby. C++ won't work because it doesn't have the necessary dynamic and introspective capabilities.

portability (2, Interesting)

_|()|\| (159991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564479)

It's not their fault, but GNUstep isn't exactly ubiquitous, so it's not a shoo-in for Unix development. After spending some time with the Xcode tutorials, I was eager to try Objective C on Linux. I then realized that a lot of what was cool about ObjC was in the foundation framework, which was part of GNUstep. Since this wasn't packaged for either of my readily available distributions (SuSE and Red Hat), I built it from source, which was routine, but non trivial.

After GNUstep was finally installed, it took a few trips to Google to figure out how to actually compile a program. It turns out that GCC for OS X has some options that are not present on Linux, such as (IIRC) -framework. The other problem had something to do with having to add code to enable garbage collection.

The final annoyance I encountered, before moving on to other projects, was the lack of autoconf support for Objective C. Again, it's not their fault, but ObjC/*Step feels like a second-class development environment on Linux.

Colour me ignorant... (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564519)

...but isn't that what Java was supposed to do?

(Disclaimer: The most programming I have ever done was 10 line batch file. That gave you a few options.)

Re:Colour me ignorant... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564585)

Java is Objective-C for the masses ... the good things of Java are taken from Objective-C / OpenStep. The bad things ... well they were added separately, or taken from C++.

It's a fact that the Java designers had Objective-C in mind. Many of them came straight from Objective-C.

Re:Colour me ignorant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564619)

Wow, so what you're saying is:

1) You have no idea what ObjC is
2) You have no idea what Java is
3) You have no idea what C++ is

Yes (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564598)

But, this is a completely different set of people behind this. Plus, it isn't nearly as easy to make it work on Linux or windows. And the product is not used by any major fortune 500 company in any missions critical sense that I know of.

Re:Colour me ignorant... (1)

animaal (183055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564618)

Nope. NextStep is an API. This means that the calls you put into your source code should work regardless of what target platform you're compiling that code for. It helps keep the source code similar for your program to work on different operating systems. And reduces the need to learn a different API for each operating system. But you still need to recompile it for each targetted platform. And you may use other platform-specific APIs you'd need to change to make it work on other platforms.

Java aims to keep source code and compiled executable the same across platforms. I can write a java program on Windows, compile it, put it on a disk, bring the disk to a Solaris box, and run it there without any extra compiling.

I'll be the 1st one to say *iirrk*, take it away (0, Flamebait)

danalien (545655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564548)

Well, at least on linux/unix gnuStep/OpenStep looks awful.

as a KDE-biased user, I'd rather switch to GNOME, then one of *Em's* ... just head over to their Application Database [gnustep.org] and compare linux/unix screenshots of <which ever> versus Mac OS X ...

No one can (or should) deny that 'looks actually' matter(s) ... and I'll bet somehere actually does like the feel of gnuStep/OpenStep has on linux/unix ... but, I'm pretty certian not many KDE's or GNOMES do. *FSCK* my CLI looks/has a better feel then gnuStep/OpenStep :)

So what I'm saying, Ya' better redo those gnuStep/OpenStep widgets for linux/unix, if you'd want 'it must look *fancy* nice/good - before I will use it'--folks :)

Re:I'll be the 1st one to say *iirrk*, take it awa (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564638)

On my UNIX box (Mac OS X), OpenStep looks absolutely fantastic. It's generally acknowledged to be the best-looking GUI out there.

GNUStep may have a crappy look, but that's hardly inherent to the APIs. I'm sure fixing this problem wouldn't hurt adoption, though.

Re:I'll be the 1st one to say *iirrk*, take it awa (1)

danalien (545655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564830)

em' you know I ment 'unix' as in the bsd's (etc...) ... and NOT Mac Os X (which btw, resides on-top of a Unix Kernel! - so 'OS X' doesn't have anything to do with Unix - more then that 'Mac OS X' utilizes a Unix kernel...and I thoght we where talking GUI...)

and BTW.. (1)

danalien (545655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564904)

stick to what I really said! *jjjii*

I NEVER commented on the APIs them self, all I said it (gnuStep/OpenStep) looked awful on linux/unix vs Mac Os X ... a comment more on 'how the/a widge(s) look(s/ed)' ... rather then 'programming interface...'

Re:I'll be the 1st one to say *iirrk*, take it awa (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564708)

Your aesthetics are certainly not universal. I think the GNUStep stuff on linux looks far better than Aqua, which looks like something a radioactive clown threw up. And I'm writing this on my mac, which I love - I'm not slamming it, it's a great machine, but it's always pissed me off how they fucked up the single best looking system on earth with all this pulsating gumdrop bullshit.

And you can theme GNUStep stuff pretty easily to make it look more like what you want, anyway.

Screenshots are dated (2, Interesting)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564759)

I will admit that very recently, some of the GNUStep stuff was stuff that only a mother could love.

However, in the past few months, the interface has come a long way, and things look much better now. No, it doesn't have the eye-candy of Gnome, KDE, or OSX, but it's not really ugly anymore.

FWIW, the real thing, NeXTStep looks very nice on my low-res monochrome NeXT monitor, in much the same way old MacOS looks okay on an old Mac.

WindowMaker, the WM most people use for GNUStep is kind of in need of help, too. There have been a couple of GNUStep/Cocoa WM projects, but nothing's ever really gotten off the ground.

Come on, 'Flamebait'? ... (1)

danalien (545655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564851)

... I guess there are after all some who do favor / are gnuStep/OpenStep biased :) *hihi*

PARCPlace's Environment Beat It (2, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564583)

Just shy of 8 years ago I was involved in a startup that was taking an insurance company paperless. Some developers who had been using NeXT since the first beta release of the black cube were there and decided to run a test of development environments. One was NeXTSTEP and the other was PARCPlace's Smalltalk environment. The test involved the same set of forms presented as paper to the developers, whose job it was to make those forms into computer applications updating a database. One developer useed PARCPlace's Smalltalk environment. The other used NeXTSTEP. PARCPlace's environment beat NeXTSTEP by better than a factor of 2.

Re:PARCPlace's Environment Beat It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10565206)

PARCPlace's environment beat NeXTSTEP by better than a factor of 2.

Yes. In slowness.

Objective C (3, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564600)

The *step development environment is greatly loved by those that use it, and largely ignored by the rest of the world, because they refuse to learn Objective C. Instead, they use Java, which is very much the same idea in a different shape. This is a great pity, because with OpenStep the world could have had it all so much earlier.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that GNUStep is pretty universally percieved to be ugly, but support for theming is being worked on (it already works, but appears very limited).

birthdays again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564603)

What is it with all of the stupid birthday stories? We hear about perseids and every company that has a birthday every single year. They don't even get that many posts. How about we start accepting some of the stories about tech companies making major decisions that have an effect on everyone in technology and rejecting some of these birthday stories...hmmm?

OpenStep vs. KDE and Gnome (5, Insightful)

Florian (2471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564605)

It's a pity that, at the peak of the Linux desktop hype in the late 1990s, when evangelists predicted the near death of Microsoft, KDE and Gnome were rushed out of the door, and GNUstep development remained obscure. It was the first time that distributed free software development defected from its proven practice of implementing standardized, proven APIs and technology (like POSIX) and created major APIs of its own. The result is that KDE and Gnome have created APIs that nobody uses for serious large-scale software development projects [except those companies who have large investments into KDE/Gnome themselves, like Ximian with Evolution]. Now KDE and Gnome have a long way to go to clean up and standardize their APIs (via freedesktop.org), usability (via UI guidelines) and code, solving issues that adherence to an existing open GUI specification like OpenStep would have prevented in the first place.

Imagine the massive development efforts on KDE and Gnome, including the massive rewrites of their codebases, would instead had gone into GNUstep, so that the GNU/Linux and *BSD desktop would be OS X/Cocao source compatibile today [and companies developing for OS X port their software to Linux basically with one more compiler run]...

Re:OpenStep vs. KDE and Gnome (5, Insightful)

muecksteiner (102093) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564927)

The main trouble - then and now - is that the majority of folks simply "don't get it" why OpenStep is superior to crippleware APIs like Qt/KDE.

KDE is "trying to do an improved Windows on Linux" (and taking a lot of its bad design choices with them in the process), while OpenStep is something entirely different. And for an average, M$-infected programmer using something like that would require some re-thinking of some of one's own assumptions how apps should be coded, so most simply don't bother. Sheep, that's what I call them... ;-)

I guess the apathy towards OpenStep also stems from the fact that most people have never seen NeXTStep development in action - it left most witnesses drooling for more - and/or because they're too conventionally-minded to try anything outside their mainstream C++/Java box. To paraphrase a famous quote, "nobody was ever fired for choosing C++", right? And who's ever heard of Objective C - apart from geeks, that is?.

If you're particularly uncharitable you could argue that the selection process which gave us Linux itself followed a similar pattern. There were technologically more advanced and initially cleaner OS projects out there at the time, but somehow the crowd choose a less-than-cutting-edge project they could at least *understand*.

I used NeXTStep for years, and I'm still doing my software development in ObjC - luckily I work in a niche where this is possible. If all others want to make their life difficult - well, that's their choice... ;-)

Just my two euro cents


Qt acheived this already (1, Informative)

xynopsis (224788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564671)

an application development standard that would run on all machines, making 'write once, compile everywhere' a reality, is still unfolding...

Qt does this already and is much more powerful, robust, mature and well tested. Not to mention a feature-rich native C++ API that not only includes GUI functionality but useful tools (sockets, threads, containers, xml, and more) that nearly rivals those found in the standard Java libraries. I don't work for Trolltech and this is not an endorsement of their product, but writing multi-platform apps in Qt is really fun! I wonder how OpenStep stacks up to Qt. Moreoever, most developers are arguably more familiar with C++ than with Objective C.

Re:Qt acheived this already (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564897)

Qt does this already and is much more powerful, robust, mature and well tested.

... and expensive.

Re:Qt acheived this already (5, Insightful)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564972)

any program worth his shit should have no trouble picking up objective-c (a far simpler and more powerful language than c++). the language barrier really isn't an issue. it's more an issue of mindshare. there are a lot of things that are better in the computing world by design but get largely ignored due to lack of marketing.

Re:Qt acheived this already (2, Informative)

akeep (62690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565288)

Pay attention junior. When OpenStep was released in it's first PRODUCTION version, having evolved from several years of NeXTStep development, Qt was just a gleam in the eye of Trolltech, who was just incorporating with a vision of building something like this.

NeXT is a good reference too... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10564860)

I got tired of Safari on Apple, I checked my alternatives.

Opera: Excellent code but kinda "non native" on os x

Mozilla: Not native by any means

So I tried Omnigroups Omniweb (www.omnigroup.com), what made me amazed is its perfect integration with system, real modern approach to UI.

No wonder they turned out to be a NeXT development company themselves.

annoyed (3, Insightful)

phoxix (161744) | more than 9 years ago | (#10564966)

why does GNUstep need to have a top devel dir in my home directory ? Why couldn't it be a freaking dot-dir like every other program ?

it seems a bit arrogant to me that something needs its own directory in the root of my home directory.

I don't even use GNUstep, but its always there. It keeps coming back too, after I remove it.

Sunny Dubey

write once, compile everywhere... (0, Troll)

naryco (751046) | more than 9 years ago | (#10565171)

Hmm, this sounds familiar.. as if I had heard the same sentence many times, but never when speaking about openstep. Could it be that they never heard about Java and C#? Let the the thing die as everybody knows it is already dying...
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