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OSdata.com: NeXT 




See also: Rhapsody, Mac OS X Server, and Mac OS X


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    NeXT is a BSD 4.x UNIX-based operating system made by NeXT that runs on Intel/Cyrix/AMD Pentium, Intel 80486, and Motorola 68040. OPENSTEP runs on Intel/Cyrix/AMD Pentium, Intel 80486, Motorola 68040, Sun SPARC, and HP PA-RISC.

    “The distinguishing features of NeXTstep are the use of Display Postscript and the application frameworks.” — William Coxe44


Intended purpose

server/mainframe: small and medium scale server systems; some enterprise systems

desktop/workstation: primarily for scientific, mathematic, or engineering workstations

handheld: not appropriate

real time: not appropriate

Kind of OS: proprietary UNIX

Release Date: replaced by Rhapsody

Current Version:

    Tim Berners-Lee of the European CERN laboratory created the World Wide Web on a NeXT computer in 1990.


Hardware Supported:

    “Just a couple of comments on the page from someone who admins in a computer lab filled with a few too many NeXTs ;-). NeXTSTEP worked on 68030 as well as 68040. The early NeXT Computers (they were the cubes, but weren’t called NeXT Cube) had 68030 processors. Almost all of them have been upgraded (by replacing the motherboard), so 68030 NeXTs these days are very rare. Also, NeXTSTEP 3 was available for SPARC, but your site suggests that only OPENSTEP was. I’ve got a SPARCStation 5 with NS3.2.“—Graham J Leee132

    680x0 assembly language is discussed in the assembly language section.

Maximum Number of Processors: 1

    “Max. Processors was 1 on all architectures. Rhapsody and OPENSTEP will work on some multiple CPU Intel systems, but will only use the first CPU.“—Graham J Leee132

Number of bits: 32e132

Kernel: Mach 2.5-based implementation of BSD 4.xe44 (microkernel)

POSIX: compatible

    “POSIX compatibility came around fairly late and wasn’t fully stable — a special flag to the C compiler (-posix) had to be used to compile against the POSIX libraries and headers.“—Graham J Leee132


    “The peripherals section I could spend a fair while on :-). The most important though are the NeXTDimension board which allowed the 4-grayscale cubes to draw to a 32-bit colour display, and the N2000 laser printer. This was a raster printer which used the GUI code to prepare the printouts, just like the GDI winprinters of the 1990s.“—Graham J Leee132

File Systems Supported:

Other Systems Emulated:

Graphics Engine: DisplayPostScript

Text Command Shell: UNIX shells

User Interface (graphic):

Graphic Command Shell:

NeXT screen shot

click on the preview image for a larger version

screen shot courtesy of Pat Gunn’s Operating Systemsw57

Disabled support:

Internet Services:

    “Internet Services: The world wide web was invented on NeXT by (now Sir) Tim Berners-Lee, working at CERN.“—Graham J Leee132

Application Programs:



    NeXT was the first operating system to have a graphical web browser.


references within this web site

(for your convenience, look for this symbol marking passages about NeXT, NeXTSTEP, and OPENSTEP)

further reading: web sites

Please send recommendations on additional URLs to Milo.

official web sites



    http://www.stepwise.com/ (“The NeXT answers section is still useful, but I would consider www.stepwise.com a more useful site these days.”—Chris Jensen)e4


(Frequently Asked Questions)

    http://peanuts.leo.org (“This is also the site of a large ftp archive.”—Chris Jensen)e4

user group web sites


other related web sites


    http://www.peak.org/~luomat (“Definitely check out www.peak.org/~luomat. Tim’s site has everything…”—Chris Jensen)e4

    http://www.isc.org/products/DHCP “Internet Software Consortium DHCP Server, Client, and Relay agent” freely redistributable tools: source builds on most Unix platforms, Mac, NeXTStep, and Rhapsody.

    http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/ John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”

further reading: books

    For more UNIX book listings, see also the general book listings on the UNIX web page.

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

Price listings are for courtesy purposes only and may be changed by the referenced businesses at any time without notice.

further reading: books: introductory/general

A Practical Guide to the Unix System; by Mark G. Sobell; Addison-Wesley Pub Co; October 1994; ISBN 0805375651; paperback; 800 pages; $37.95

further reading: books: administration

Essential System Administration: Help for Unix System Administrators (Nutshell Handbook); 2nd edition; by Aeleen Frisch; O’Reilly & Associates; December 1996; ISBN 1565921275; paperback; 788 pages; $27.96

The Complete Guide to Netware 4.11/Intranetware; 2nd edition; by James E. Gaskin; Sybex; December 1996; ISBN 078211931X; paperback; $47.99; includes information on getting NetWare working with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and OS/2

further reading: books: internet

Building a Unix Internet Server; by George Eckel; New Riders Publishing; June 1995; ISBN 1562054945; paperback (with CD-ROM); 325 pages; $30.40

further reading: books: enterprise/business

    OPENSTEP for Enterprises; by Nancy Knolle Craighill; John Wiley & Sons; October 1996; ISBN 0471308595; 245 pages; $27.96

further reading: books: content creation

further reading: books: programming

    Developing Business Applications With OPENSTEP: With 37 Illustrations; by Peter Clark, Nik Gervae; Springer Verlag; December 1996; ISBN 038794852X; Paperback; 275 pages; $43.95

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series); by W. Richard Stevens; Addison-Wesley Pub Co; June 1992; ISBN 0201563177; hardcover; 744 pages; $63.95

further reading: books: hardware

further reading: books: miscellaneous

In Association with Amazon.com

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

geek humor

    “Did you ever notice that those small NeXT stickers just cover up the Apple logo on a Mac’s monitor and keyboard?” —Michael C. Matthews

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    A web site on dozens of operating systems simply can’t be maintained by one person. This is a cooperative effort. If you spot an error in fact, grammar, syntax, or spelling, or a broken link, or have additional information, commentary, or constructive criticism, please e-mail Milo. If you have any extra copies of docs, manuals, or other materials that can assist in accuracy and completeness, please send them to Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, CA, USA, 92781.

    If you have an extra or unwanted copy of any official manuals or documentation on this operating system, please send them to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA. I have the following items: NONE.

    Note: I am looking for a fan of NeXT who has the time to check this web site for completeness and accuracy regarding NeXT. Just check through the site about once a week or so and report back with any information (including the URL of the web page you are reporting).

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    Last Updated: May 1, 2004

    Created: June 22, 1998

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