[rescue] NeXTSTEP or OPENSTEP?

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Thu Aug 7 12:05:42 CDT 2014

On 7 August 2014 18:38, Michael-John Turner <mj at mjturner.net> wrote:
> I don't think I remember that - my memory of so much 90s x86 computing has
> faded terribly :(

Every time I get really nostalgic, I dig out an old machine and fiddle
for a while. The feeling quickly passes; it was all quite nasty,

> Agreed, but it was certainly a lot better than Windows 3.1's Program
> Manager.  I used to use Norton Desktop in my OS/2 Windows sessions and
> rather liked it.

Oh, yes, true on both counts!

> I didn't get into SCSI until a bit later so didn't have any issues
> installing Slackware (2.1 IIRC) - getting X11 working was a bit of a
> challenge though, particularly as I had never installed any Unix before so
> had no idea what I was doing.

Heh! I can believe that.

> TBH, I only installed Linux because FreeBSD
> wouldn't boot from an extended partition - in those days I still used OS/2
> Boot Manager to boot everything.

Oh, yes, me too. *BSD's inflexibility on the partition front is still
an annoyance today. I like to juggle OSes and with any OS that can
only use a primary partition, that's at most 2 of them per hard disk
(assuming that I have a primary and an extended for other, more
grown-up OSes).

> I no longer have that system but am sometimes tempted to build a
> fully-specced system to run OS/2. Not sure what I'd do with it though... (I
> think some things are probably best left as fond memories).

Today there is eComStation. I have review copies but I've never got it
100% working. I may need to dedicate a machine to it. :B,(

I too miss OS/2, just as something genuinely /different/ in the
greater DOS family -- but really, NT was better in almost every way.
Less flexible by far, but also far more polished and stable. (E.g. I
could reliably kernel-trap an OS/2 machine with Fractint, one of my
favourite apps.)

But trying the modern version today brings the bad memories flooding
back, I'm afraid... Of multi-thousand-line CONFIG.SYS files, of
juggling drivers (PATA versus SATA today, for example), of patchy or
missing hardware support etc.

I would love to know what the alternate universe turned out like in
which IBM listened to Microsoft and built OS/2 1.x for the 80386. Then
it could have multitasked DOS like a champ, Windows 3 would never have
happened and we'd all have got to a protect-mode GUI-driven
multitasking world about a decade earlier.

Perhaps in the same alternative universe, Apple ported A/UX to PowerPC
and had its own in-house Unix-based MacOS successor ready to bring to
the battle with the IBM/MS OS...

In which case NeXT might have pushed OpenStep on Solaris and Sun would
have re-entered the workstation market with a world-class desktop

Or maybe Quarterdeck would have got DESQview/X out on time, and the
DOS world merged into the Unix world of X.11 and TCP/IP a decade

(Although no matter whether A/UX or BeOS, an Apple without NeXT would
have died, I think..)

Liam Proven b" Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
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