The sun chose…NeXT

The sun is the Sun Microsystems. In the 90s between Sun Microsystems and NeXT Software relations could not be, in principle, they were in different weight categories. People of the Sun mentioned NeXT in public speeches, and occasionally contemptuous. And suddenly, in early 1994…

In early 1994, Sun Microsystems has announced important changes in the development strategy of Sun’s DOE (Distributed Objects Everywhere).

Vice President at Sun Microsystems object-oriented products (actually his title sounded even more strange: VP Object Products) told about in Sun DOE infrastructure – it was not a sensation, journalists and experts were already aware of, although the company’s achievements could not fail to impress – and an important element of the project, which is still not implemented.

This element was environment for developing applications. According to VP Object Products, at Sun Microsystems there were several ways to address the issue. The missing link of the complex, it was possible to develop yourself, to wait for the release of the operating system Taligent and use it, or to use the achievements NeXT.

To the question about the object-oriented Microsoft project (Cairo), Rapporteur for a second in confusion, but nodded, “Yes, and Cairo, too.” It seems that this alternative was not considered, in any case, was not considered seriously – but the Vice presidents have no right to be rude.

Pause. With skillful use, a unique way of bringing listeners into a state of intense attention. It seems that even the air in the room froze, waiting. Just somewhere outside the window – softly, but distinctly unbearable in the tense silence was landing the plane. Airport a dozen blocks from the Convention hall.

– We chose… NeXT.

Infinite pause only lasted two or three seconds of the press conference one of the top managers of giant, influential companies filming for the news.

Beginning here, continuing here, here, here and here.

Bad Tribble

Sometimes it’s not what is said or done and by whom. Vice President at Sun Microsystems object-oriented products was Bud Tribble. One of the creators of the Macintosh, one of the founders of NeXT, Inc, chief developer of the object-oriented model of NeXTSTEP.

This man should write a book for the series “Life of remarkable people” help “on the sidelines” would not fit all of what we can not say, I will give only a couple of other unrelated facts: bad invented accessories desktop system first Mac, he is a doctor of medicine (according to our ranking – candidate of medical Sciences), he…

In 1992, Sun Microsystems Badu offered the post of Vice-President of object-oriented products. Instead of 75 thousand dollars a year, promised 300, though I doubt that is what prompted Bud to leave NeXT.

It’s not for you, he “betrayed” Steve and company to infiltrate the enemy camp to choose from very good (as it seemed) of alternatives the development of this company?

A man who came from NeXT selects the NeXT – agree, it is kind of… Suspicious? In a society where reputation is not an empty phrase, is almost suicide.

But Bud waited for the hall to calm down, and explained the reasons of this choice.

Sun is very serious and responsible approach to the development of the DOE, and the development environment in object-oriented complex – perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. This is for those who can create practical solutions for business, scientific and other vital fields of human activity, the face of the complex. Practically, it is complex in the perception of those who worked with him.

Hence the requirements to the candidates: candidate should be a product of authenticated users, and withstood it. According to the study, which has been studied hundreds of successful products in different segments of the software industry, was brought to an empirical law “3.1”. Almost always, with very rare exceptions, software products reach maturity to version 3.1.

Private development would not only “Mature product” and “product” at all. Taligent and Cairo – not products. Can be, reaching version 3.1, the development environment, these operating systems will surpass the NeXT – but it will take years and the decision needed now.

The advantages of competing systems you can ALWAYS parry added bad.

NeXT is the only Mature object-oriented development environment, a proven market recover from the inevitable childhood illnesses and purified from unsuccessful decisions.

To make such a decision trible the Bud was harder than any other in our world, this step requires courage. Work for stunt, deadly stunt.

The same evening, in an interview with NeXTWorld, bad told about how it was hard coming to this decision, and accepted as inevitable.

And besides, he told about prepared for Sun Microsystems proposal to the standardization Committee. With an industry standard object-oriented system was to be OPENSTEP. A continuation of NEXTSTEP, the joint development of NeXT and Sun Microsystems, system in which Bud Tribble also took part.

From Sun Microsystems already have experience of participation in standards development, and prospects of this proposal, “more than”.

Didn’t work out? Yes and no. There was a “solar Eclipse”, one of the projects that were born in the bowels of Sun Microsystems, has eclipsed in the eyes of company management, all the other projects.

Alliance Sun + NeXT

Public reaction to the Alliance between the recent enemies, giant Sun Microsystems and clinging desperately to the edge of the abyss NeXT Software, was turbulent.

Especially when it became clear that we are talking not only about the introduction of tiny particles of NEXTSTEP for Sun Solaris, and a full-scale invasion of foreign territory.

The debate was fierce – but very quickly rolled into a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the Intel, SPARC, and PowerPC, the “white” and “black” iron, and vocabulary from textbooks on gynecology. As is usually the case.

Engineers from both companies jointly developed the OPENSTEP specification, including all the most important of NEXTSTEP.

Sun has invested in the NeXT $ 10 million. OPENSTEP, still in early beta releases, has already shown signs of life on workstations from Sun, Intel and SPARC. The Alliance announced support for OPENSTEP workstations use the PowerPC processor, which was planned in 1995.

Problems were many, but normal to be solved and working. For example, OPENSTEP could not work on multiprocessor workstations from Sun. For mating a hedgehog and a snake needed time and resources – decided to first release the first release, and then engage in the solution of this problem.

In addition to published details, the Alliance signed a secret Protocol about it someone talked – but still the details of this Protocol nobody knows anything. We only know that he was.

Before OPENSTEP (and before the two hundred employees NeXT) opens the way to a million workstations from Sun Microsystems. Users of these workstations, no one is required to choose between Solaris and OPENSTEP – according to the developers of these systems had to co-exist peacefully with each other, Copy/Paste to work between systems without any problems (that is, copied from the application Sun Solaris was obliged to insert in OPENSTEP applications, and Vice versa).

The only thing no one guessed – Sun Microsystems waited an incredible success, from those which fall not all companies, copper pipes and…

And NeXT Software was expected a couple of very difficult years on the edge of the abyss.

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