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The legacy of NeXT lives on in OS X (arstechnica.com)
47 points by thealphanerd 1789 days ago | hide | past | web | 16 comments | favorite

WRT InterfaceBuilder/ProjectBuilder: It was like a pricy IDE which they made free for folks

Certainly was not free at least initially, NeXT workstations cost thousands of dollars (in 1980-1990 dollars) and NEXTSTEP software updates were not free either (I think I paid ~$600 to upgrade from NEXTSTEP 2.1 to 3.something).

I guess in the sense that all these tools were included with the system it was still a good deal compared to other alternatives at the time, when dev tools were typically purchased separately from the OS.

Well, it was free to anyone who bought the system, right? It's the same way it's done today: Macs aren't free, but anyone with a Mac gets the full version of Xcode at no extra cost. Contrast that with Windows, that requires you to pay hundreds or thousands for the "professional" versions of Visual Studio.

> NEXTSTEP software updates were not free either

OSX and Windows updates aren't free either.

Relevant - this 20 year old video with Steve Jobs giving a demo of NeXTSTEP 3. I first saw this after having bought a Mac running OS X 10.2 and was surprised by how the user-facing stuff was still very similar to its roots (maybe not nearly as much now).


Why does the article link have facebook parameters? Is this an attack?


It would appear at first glance that thealphanerd found the article through a link on Facebook, so the URL contains their tracking code.


chc is right... I got to the link through facebook and then shared in through a browser plugin... wasn't paying attention to the extra fluff that got added to the end of the url.

Will pay better attention to that in the future.

Thanks for pointing that out!

What do you mean by "attack"?

"Objective-C directly inspired Java and C# and has changed how almost everyone programs, even if they’re not writing for Apple’s machines," said developer Wil Shipley, who got his start writing software for NeXT computers.

I don't remember much talk of Obective-C when either Java or C# came out... I remember people comparing Java to C and C++, and C# to Java, C, and C++, but not really any mention of Objective-C. I actually remember researching Objective-C when I saw references to it in the Linux Kernel's "make config" and thought it was pretty awesome! but, still, I don't think the author's statement is really that accurate.

Java was influenced by Objective-C. First-hand evidence: http://cs.gmu.edu/~sean/stuff/java-objc.html

As it turns out, Sean and Tom are both absolutely correct. Usually, this kind of urban legend stuff turns out to be completely inaccurate, but in this case, they are right on. When I left Sun to go to NeXT, I thought Objective-C was the coolest thing since sliced bread, and I hated C++. So, naturally when I stayed to start the (eventually) Java project, Obj-C had a big influence. James Gosling, being much older than I was, he had lots of experience with SmallTalk and Simula68, which we also borrowed from liberally.

Here's a longer and more detailed essay Patrick wrote about Java's history:


Thanks for the link! This is why I love HN... I learn something within 10 minutes of querying.

(By the way, I'll accept that if Java was inspired by Obj-C, then C# was, by proxy)

As I said, I love Obj-C, I just heard nothing of it's inspirational nature in the Java (or C#) release days, despite learning about it somewhere between those two dates.

I type corrected!

Well, nobody's going to tout "Our language was inspired by this weird, unpopular little thing that lost hard to C++" in their marketing materials, which was pretty much the perception of Objective-C among the few who knew about it at the time. Remember, in those days, C++ was king — it was basically "the programming language for grown-ups" in a lot of people's minds — so Sun wanted to encourage that association above all others, even if it wasn't really where the designers' heart lay.

The OpenStep spec was a collaboration between NeXT and Sun. The early Java classes look a lot like the OpenStep foundation kit.

> "Objective-C directly inspired Java and C#..."

It would be more accurate to say Objective C inspired Java (not nearly enough, BTW) and that Java inspired C#. I see very little in C# that came directly from Obj-C.

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