5.0070 NeXT (2/64)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 16 May 91 16:54:52 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0070. Thursday, 16 May 1991.

(1) Date: Wed, 15 May 91 22:36:41 CDT (49 lines)
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: NeXT

(2) Date: Thu, 16 May 91 08:09 CDT (15 lines)
From: Technically Correct <HARWELL@PANAM>
Subject: The role of the NeXT

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 15 May 91 22:36:41 CDT
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: NeXT

> The major problem I see with both the interface and the programming
> environment for the NeXT is that they are both idiosyncratic. IBM
> licensed Next Step 1.0 for $10 million. There was the hope that Next
> Step would not just be NeXT only. Alas, IBM decided not to use it. In
> the UNIX world, Motif is clearly the new GUI. When there was a UNIX
> trade show here in Dallas recently, Motif was seen at every corner.
> NeXT did not even show up, I believe.

I'm not a NeXT person, but I couldn't disagree more. Let me offer an
opposing view!

The programming environment is not at all idiosyncratic. As I noted in
a previous posting, I've managed to get virtually everything I've wanted
in the way of Unix software up and running on the NeXT. As for the win-
dowing environment, there IS no standard Unix GUI that I'm aware of, ex-
cept perhaps the X11R4 base that many vendors customize as they see fit.
If you really want X, you can get it. X, though, is a bloated compromise
between C and the message-passing paradigm. Tell me, do you fully under-
stand it? (If so, you're a better man than I.)

> The primary programming language for the NeXT is Objective C. I have
> said here before that I like Objective C. It is a hybrid between
> Smalltalk and C. However, with the exception of NeXT, Objective C does
> not have a measurable market share. C++ is the clear winner. Objective
> C is only available from one vendor and is quite expensive.

I find this analysis very skewed. C++ has only stabilized in very, very
recent years. And right now very few houses use it. In point of fact,
most programmers are still writing FORTRAN and COBOL code. Many now use
C. C++ is way, way down on the list. You might say it's up and coming,
but don't hold your breath. In point of fact, the NeXT supports standard
C as well as objective C. It also supports C++. With the 2.1 software
release you get both Objective C and C/C++ compilers, so if you really want
C++, you can have it on the NeXT. In my opinion, it's not idiosyncratic
at all.

I certainly wouldn't recommend a NeXT for the naive user who just wants an
application base. But if you're using it as you'd use any other Unix-
based research workstation, I really don't think it's any worse than any-
thing else on the market, and better than most. I find I'm quite produc-
tive on one.


(2) --------------------------------------------------------------18----
Date: Thu, 16 May 91 08:09 CDT
From: Technically Correct <HARWELL@PANAM>
Subject: The role of the NeXT

I agree with those who say that the NeXT will never be a mainstream
machine. Its role in the history of computing will be that of
influencer of the great ones. Right before the NeXT came out, Apple
suddenly released a not-ready-for-Mac-users flavor of Unix. After the
NeXT appeared on the scene, we saw a host of "floptical" drives hit the
market. Now we hear of Apple's rumored 040 Mac with built-in ethernet
and a similar laser printer.

All of these advances, I feel, would not have been so soon in coming if
it had not been for the NeXT.