White and black

From the outside it seemed capitulation: when the company fires half its staff and close the most significant part of their business, what else can you think? In fact, it was even worse – but give up they did not intend.

Public opinion has rendered a verdict: “black” iron, dubbed as the computers from NeXT in the industry for their unusual tragic color, was too slow and did not suit anywhere. The company switched to Intel, and rightly so.

Public opinion is clearly sympathetic to the company, a rare case in history. And was waiting for the NeXT Software something special. Basically sympathized. It is very different, it is opinion. The company did not become “public”, it was presented on the stock exchange, and its actions did not react, the crowd had fallen into panic shareholders.

In 1991-92, the performance of “black iron” NeXT is not inferior to competitors, and it is very suitable for the tasks allocated to it, but in public opinion lived its mythical image – insanely beautiful black Cuban, mysterious and unusual.

Correctly received jobs that turned NeXT Computer, NeXT Software? To answer this question harder than it seems. Insufficient data. On the financial situation NeXT we can only guess: it was a private company owned by jobs.

Most likely, with a yield she had serious problems. In addition to Steve and the company accountant about the real situation, no one knew.

The RISC revolution was inevitable. That was about to begin mass production of processors, “such as on powerful workstations”, “incredibly powerful”, which will sweep away the current “junk” from the market… She was very close, but still hasn’t started yet.

Mass production the first production of the PowerPC was supposed to start in about a year. Naturally, the first would get them on an industrial scale, “Union members”. I mean, of the consortium. Apple. But for Apple the consortium with its participation in any case would be of particular prices and preferences.

The delay in the release of the NeXT RISC Workstation on the market for a year or even two years, little would change. Less just wouldn’t. A prototype of NRW in the company already was, it could bring to unearthly perfection. Meanwhile, 68040 processor with a clock frequency of 33 MHz was one of the best mass-produced processors…

Continued from hereand here.

Toy story Steve jobs

The period between the exile of Steve jobs from Apple Computer and return is divided into two unequal in duration part. For periods NeXT and Pixar.

We have all heard about the dear business people within a myriad of boards of Directors absolutely unrelated corporations – is, oddly enough, does not require any special intellectual effort.

But to put the soul at once in some cases – is another. No NeXT, no Pixar, from the point of view of any member of the Board of Directors for a two-digit number of companies, considered to be “businesses” would be incorrect. Instead of making a profit, both companies account emptied of Steve jobs. They were his toys.

Some play in Robinzonov Crusoe, some twisting aerobatics, why not?

In the era of NeXT, Steve directly “run” the company. Made decisions and communicated with candidates for vacant positions, made mistakes and corrected them. He was the head of the company and its owner.

Most likely, with the exception of 1992, the NeXT was hopelessly unprofitable. 1992 brought or a small profit or smaller loss than usual. There is no accurate data.

It seemed even an effort or two – and the company is in the industry worthy of its potential place. In a world of hundreds of thousands of companies, most of them successfully and profitably sell their products, hundreds of them are widely known and popular, but only few of them manage to turn their product into a cult.

NeXT, it is possible – but love does not guarantee anything to anyone. But Pixar held its own circles of hell, just as inspiring love and teetered on the brink, there is hope – ethereal and almost unreal.

Steve could not feel, but a prolonged period of failure has turned him into a skeptic, and he believed in it, it is not – but hope is not gone, despite setbacks and failures.

Prior to that, Steve, from time to time, stopped by Pixar, solved questions, and again plunged into the NeXT. Now he was torn between the two companies, more going into “cartoons”.

And with the money he already had not. “Squandered”.

Mess with RISC processors occurred at the border between these periods. Bet on RISC Steve was willing to do one of the first in the industry. A year before the release of SPARC and MIPS. Works on creation 88000 Motorola made no secret, and if in the first cube from the NeXT in the history of mankind was MC88100, could all be different?

On the border between era and the NeXT era of Pixar in his life, everything was close.

NeXT had the chance. Unique. In fact it was not, but about it nobody knew. Workstation with RISC processor with a clock frequency 50-66 MHz, she appeared for a year or two before the start of the RISC revolution, had a chance to “break” the market. Many wanted to connect his life with the NeXT, the company had strong support, despite the modest sales and more than modest user base…

The workstation was waiting for, the willingness to buy it by the hundreds and thousands Steve wrote very serious people – responsible for their words. They could wait a couple of months. Longer – no.

The engineers NeXT time. Managed twice. And on one 88110 prototype, and the prototype on two PowerPC-601 (50 MHz) and worked. The last of them was brought to the commodity level in a month or two. But…

No sooner had Motorola.


The NeXT invasion to the land of “white” iron began on may 25, 1993, with version NEXTSTEP 3.1. Its task was to seize and hold a bridgehead, and intelligence. It was a clash with another civilization is very diverse, massive and brutal. Reconnaissance.

The bridgehead was captured and held, but at the cost of huge losses. Reputation. The forces were unequal. It amazes me the shortsightedness of the reviewers that prevent commandos on alien and unfamiliar territory because of their small size and inability to win it all immediately and at once, a mighty blow.

Disadvantages NEXTSTEP 3.1 painted with gusto and enthusiasm, not paying attention to the “3.1” in the name of the new system. It was the version number. The version number, with a decent probability, implies the continuation. The following version.

The claim was supported by only selected options of the IBM PC, and the rare Board of extension; not compatible with Windows; a huge number of bugs and glitches. Here it is, NeXT!

NEXTSTEP 3.2 was presented to the public in October 1993, its sales began in November. Has represented the RIC Jackson, Director of NeXT Software marketing. Already Steve. Times have changed.

Rick made a small excursion into history and laugh (along with the audience) the most well-known and unpleasant bugs in 3.1. These bugs are fixed. 3.2 fixed more than 500 bugs. But this is not important.

Now PC affordable, high-quality sound, graphics and video. The fact that for several years has been available to users of the “black” iron. But this is not the most important thing.

Expanded support for configuration (enumeration, ending with the phrase “and others”). Supported configuration, but all worthy of attention. NEXTSTEP 3.2 is simply no sense to install on a cheap budget PC, this is a serious system that needs serious resources.

In the system SoftPC 3.1, through which the user can use the programs for DOS and for Windows.

PDO (Portable Distributed Objects) for HP – is a separate software product that simplifies the interaction between server with the NEXTSTEP client for HP and Vice versa. In the alien NEXTSTEP system appears representative office, taking care of the data transfer, queries and management.

The number of configurations of “white” iron is almost endless. The number of types of peripherals is amazing. The need of the industry drivers for all these devices is huge.

And NEXTSTEP 3.2 is a great answer for this need. It’s called DriverKit. This object oriented class library (framework) for developing drivers.

In the set of base drivers for the various categories of peripherals and their subclasses-added properties that often non-trivial. For example, drivers with support 32-bit “true color”, SCSI, graphics and network.

New drivers are based on drivers from a set, as subclasses. In the library hierarchy of the dozens of objects that can be used for training purposes. Their entire source code is open.

On stage were invited Brent Terry, a senior Manager of integration technologies from the company Pencom, for a story about his impressions of DriverKit. Reduces labor costs by a third. Typical UNIX new driver, written in standard means – it is 6000 lines of code. Drivers written using DriverKit, on average, take only 1000 rows.

As it turned out, the “war” was just beginning. It was long and bloody, but now no one could accuse Hicks of little remote from the raging world of the company of inadequacy.

To be continued

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