[rescue] NeXTSTEP or OPENSTEP?

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Sat Aug 9 08:40:40 CDT 2014

On 9 August 2014 00:36, Lionel Peterson <lionel4287 at gmail.com> wrote:
> It's nothing special (in hindsight), but I paid so much for it...

Yeah, and that is the key problem.

The IBM PC compatible didn't succeed because of any technical
excellence, because it never had any. It succeeded because it was
cheap, open and easily cloned. The x86 PC is the original COTS
hardware platform.

And too many of the rival platforms never understood that. Some didn't
play nice with PC disk partitioning -- e.g. all the many OSes that
can't be installed into logical drives in extended partitions. Notably
including Solaris but also all the BSDs and many others.

Or they required very specific hardware because they didn't offer
enough generic drivers to be able to adapt. Or they didn't support
major features of the PC platform -- over the years there were OSes
that didn't support particular buses, or PnP, or needed particular
controller chips, or didn't understand things like LBA.

Very few manufacturers caught on to the idea of aping PC standards --
e.g. supporting cheap commodity components like IDE hard disks, ATAPI
CD-ROMs, memory SIMMs or DIMMs. Instead, they wanted special
proprietary parts, hoping for the increased revenue from screwing
their own customers without looking down the road a ways and seeing
how that would eventuate for them.

Apple belatedly caught on, and thrived.

Sun never did. It had OpenStep but didn't launch it. It had NT for
SPARC but didn't launch it. It required fancy high-end disks and
proprietary RAM and expansion cards for far too long, when it should
have been making PC-formfactor motherboards which could plug into all
the parts of a standard PC, so taking advantage of cheap PC
componentry. Same goes for Atari, Commodore, Acorn, HP, DEC -- all of
them. They all failed to spot the trend and they all died. Sun adapted
too late and got bought before it imploded. The others never cottoned
on. Apple adapted and did very well out of it.

IBM killed OS/2 by mandating that OS/2 1.x had to run on all the 80286
PS/2 it had sold, although the owners didn't want it anyway. Again,
excessive technical conservatism.

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