NeXT to “white” hardware

When Steve announced the verdict as “black” hardware, hall stunned silence. Imagine Tim cook at the Apple Event with a beautiful name, a cheerful reports the termination of the development and production of Macs. Supposedly, suppliers ceased production of the cunning of screws for mounting the battery to the body, and other way we have. But now macOS (for $ 500, in the United States and without taxes) can be purchased and installed on any PC, instead of Windows or alongside it. What?

For those who liked the “black” iron (and lots of it that was something that was spelled) that’s what happened. They’re not the first, but that didn’t help.

Fortunately, the immortal soul of the platform is moved to “white” hardware, and, over time, made it NeXT to Intel. And then not just Intel…

I already wrote about NEXTSTEP 3.2, the most important event in the history of “white” iron, but can not tell about it something else. About the program and about the technology from NeXT. Of the many programs and technologies, they, in my opinion, best reflect the essence and nature of the “supernova explosion”.

Industry, teaming up to fight Microsoft, ruthlessly trampled small and cozy area of the computer industry. Generated by this struggle of natural phenomena smashed to smithereens by its instigators, which nearly destroyed Apple Computer and throwing Motorola among producers, processors, and almost not affected neither Microsoft nor Intel.

Trampled cozy corner survived, and began to regain living space instead of lost, making it better and better…

SoftPC 3.1

Insignia Solutions, since the mid – ‘ 80s, for ten years, he reigned unchallenged in the market emulators Intel and MS DOS. Starting with emulators for Unices, including for A/UX, the Insignia on the Mac and with regular operating system (in 1987). Of course, SoftPC appeared in NeXTSTEP.

As of October 1993, according to the Insignia Solutions SoftPC was installed in every sixth copy of NeXTSTEP and NEXTSTEP in the world. For the program, the price tag of $ 549 which is a very good result.

In the program, with permission from Microsoft, included a full copy of MS DOS, and even in the particularly perverse form: compiled from source Microsoft and deeply optimized to improve the interaction with the emulator. In the Insignia guide clearly had his own secret Steve jobs – hardly anyone else could convince gates to agree to this.

Great company and product with unique consumer properties.

But SoftPC 3.1, designed for NEXTSTEP 3.2 and only “white” iron, on the background of the previous versions of this program on all platforms was a real masterpiece. Not otherwise on the Insignia Solutions adopted adapt to IVF ovsky faith.

SoftPC 3.1 emulated MS DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1…. For the first time. Later, Insignia Solutions will release a separate product, SoftWindows, and adapts it for all supported platforms, but SoftPC that will never and never will be. As far as I know.

MS DOS and Windows 3.1 was disassembled to the last screw and re-compiled, in the corporate style Insignia. In 3.1 there was no emulator Intel who ate the “black” iron, on Macs and RISC workstations on Unix, 2/3 of the CPU cycles. It was not necessary, as in the “white” hardware was used for both native Intel processors.

The emulator worked in two modes, in full screen and in window the next step. Switching between modes was ruled by a special combination of keyboard.

Between MS DOS and Windows in the emulator and NEXTSTEP supported Copy/Paste. Easy to text a little harder for the graphics (but it also was possible, just needed to know how to use the program Grab to take screenshots on all systems).

In fullscreen mode, especially in MS DOS, Copy/Paste did not work always. But DOS and Windows taking up the entire screen, and no spy would have guessed that hidden underneath NEXTSTEP. Spies are always interested in such things – and then they spent.

In the emulator supported trump the technology of linking data from Microsoft the DDE and OLE, but outside of the emulator they were available, even if the program was NeXT implemented their support.

Product Manager, responsible for on Insignia Solutions SoftPC, mark Manford, promised to consider the elimination of this restriction – it company would be beneficial to remove all obstacles from the path of customers – but, apparently, intervened some third force.

Were still some flaws, but the product was premium class. On one of the drives (CD/ROM?) in the distribution NEXTSTEP 3.2 was the installer of the demo version (without restrictions compared to the real version, except for the expiration date, 30 days after first activation, the second in the second, she had stopped working; according to one German adapt to IVF, to deceive her was very easy – pushing the current date in the past). The installer had a button “Buy”, “Install” and “Buy and install”. Copyright and Paget Press.

Buy “through the NeXT AppStore”!

Cost SoftPC 3.1 $ 249. Even cheaper, more than twice than the previous version.

Portable Distributed Objects (PDO)

PDO is a small piece of the NEXTSTEP portable to other platforms. Personally, I used it for the client to communicate with the server, both of which are running Mac-native system and it seems that this whole subsystem is still lying in the depths of the macOS (I have not heard that it was declared obsolete), but for a very long time, few people uses it. She’s 26, for software is more than respectable age.

In someone else’s system tolerated the main classes of NEXTSTEP, library NXStream, the program nmserver (UNIX like), and the main working mechanism of the PDO, classes, NXConnection and NXProxy. In the era they were called Cocoa NSProxy and NSConnection, but they were almost the same as in the early 90s.

On another platform was transferred Objective-C (GCC 2.4), the debugger GDB and Portable Build Server. And many, many more. NEXTSTEP is a very large system.

In a program on someone else’s platform, which was planned to organize joint work, embedded objects subclasses NXConnection and NXProxy, and from the instance of nmserver for NeXT station to the instance nmserver on a Unix station using TCP/IP has sent the request, indicating the server name and the desired object.

Finding a search (if the server has not been started, run), nmserver left in the shadow, and NEXTSTEP was a full working reference to an object in another system with which it was possible to do anything, as if he was on the NeXT station. Send him messages, which he was able to react, to obtain from him the results of calculations.

In fact, at that moment it was the only commercial implementation of such interaction in the industry, perhaps only in General. On like wrote smart articles, almost dreaming.

Use PDO expected in different ways. For example, directly from the program to NEXNSTEP stations to run time consuming calculations on powerful workstations, or use on hundreds of NeXT-clients General a program on a very powerful server.

For example, a company where you have to conduct transactions in different currencies, the server could accommodate the program returns the current ratio of the currency pairs, which can simultaneously operate hundreds or thousands of customers. When you change the ratios of courses new values became available for all customers.

In October 1993, during the presentation of NEXTSTEP 3.2, presented the first implementation of the PDO for HP-UX. On Data General and Sun already was working on the transfer of PDO on DG-UX and Sun Solaris, which was supposed to come out in January and March 1994.

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