IBM to offer NextStep on AIX workstations

Business Wire

February 5, 1990

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- IBM and NeXT-a, Inc. Monday announced that IBM plans to offer NextStep-a on AIX-a.

IBM's NextStep offering will provide AIX users with a major new application environment for enhanced business and professional productivity.

NextStep is an application software development and user interface environment, created by NeXT and licensed to IBM in 1988. IBM will support the same application programming interfaces (APIs) as NextStep providing compatibility and consistency so that developers can offer applications on both machines, resulting in a larger market for their efforts.

NextStep will join OSF/Motif-a as graphical user interface offerings planned for the IBM PS/2-a and RISC computers running AIX, IBM's open-standard UNIX-a operating system based on AT&T System V and BSD 4.3. Specific product offerings and availability will be announced at a future date.

``The innovative NextStep application environment will offer outstanding ease-of-use and development productivity,'' said Nick Donofrio, president of IBM's Advanced Workstation Division. ``We're especially excited about the benefits of the NextStep Interface Builder-a and Application Kit-a which bring significant value to our customers.''

The UNIX operating system offers sophisticated features such as powerful networking and multitasking but it may be considered, by some users, to be too complicated for those who are not UNIX experts. NextStep, which hides the complexity of the UNIX operating system under an object-oriented environment, will allow users to take advantage of the benefits of UNIX.

``We believe IBM's support of NextStep will have profound implications over time,'' said Steven P. Jobs, chairman and president of NeXT. ``UNIX is destined to be an important operating system this decade. NextStep tames UNIX so business users can tap its power. NextStep offerings from both IBM and NeXT will be a dynamic combination.''

NextStep: What it is and How it Works

NextStep can be envisioned as an object-oriented environment sitting ``between'' the operating system and the application programs. It provides tools that allow programmers to construct applications in a fraction of the time traditionally required, and to make the applications easy to use for even non-technical people.

NextStep has four components: the Window Server, the Application Kit, Interface Builder, and the Workspace. The Window Server, taking advantage of a Display Postscript-a interpreter from Adobe Systems, routes signals from the keyboard and mouse to applications and from applications to on-screen windows, and it manages the windows. Because the Display Postscript system uses the same Postscript* language that controls printed output, everything looks the same on the screen as it does when printed.

The Application Kit contains pre-programmed, interacting software ``objects'' that embody core functionality of applications programs' user interfaces. By picking and choosing among these objects, modifying them as necessary and assigning how they will interact, developers can construct applications much more quickly than from scratch.

Interface Builder is a revolutionary tool for creating a graphical user interface to any kind of application, rapidly and with minimal programming, using objects such as those found in the Application Kit. The Workspace Manager is responsible for launching applications and utilities, managing and locating files and displaying the directory contents. It controls the workspace, which graphically displays the menus and icons that allow users to migrate through their systems.

Together, these four components provide IBM with the tools for an AIX development environment that delivers workstation applications with easy-to-build and easy-to-use graphical interfaces. a- AIX and PS/2 are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. a- NeXT, NextStep, Interface Builder, and Application Kit are trademarks of NeXT, Inc. a- OSF/Motif is a trademark of the Open Software Foundation, Incorporated. a- UNIX is a trademark of AT&T. a- Display Postscript and Postscript are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

``We enthusiastically support IBM's decision to license NextStep(r) for their AIX platforms. The strategic alliance between IBM and NeXT will be a boon to both software developers and end users alike. Developers will gain the advantage of two markets for the price of one and end users will benefit from the ability to choose software solutions that are not tied to one hardware platform. Products such as Who's Calling?(tm), a fully automated client management system built for the NeXT Computer, will be marketed to two different hardware platforms that share the same user environment.'' Adobe John Warnock, chairman of the board and chief executive officer contact Pat Marriott 415/961-4400.

``IBM's endorsement of NextStep for its AIX platforms has an enormous impact on the UNIX market. NextStep, which incorporates the Display Postscript(r) system as the underlying imaging model, provides a powerful and innovative development environment. Software vendors now have not only state-of-the-art tools, but an expanding base of platforms and customers for their applications. We tend to port our application programs to the AIX NextStep environment to take advantage of this expanding market.'' Ashton-Tate William Lyons, vice president and general manager, applications group 408/927-5300 or 408/927-5538.

``We are very excited about the user interface and capabilities of NextStep and are confident that putting NextStep on IBM's AIX platforms will broaden the market and increase customer acceptance for NextStep applications.'' Conextions Inc. Fred Hammond, vice president, marketing 603/888-5525

``Support for IBM's version of NextStep is strategically important to Conextions Inc. Products that have been or will be developed for the NeXT Computer will also be offered on IBM's AIX platforms. Our IBM Terminal Emulator (to be released later this month) will be Conextions' first NextStop product available for both the NeXT and IBM/AIX computers.'' Frame Technology Steve Klann, vice president, sales and marketing

``Frame Technology has been a strong supporter of NeXT and NextStop because early on we realized the benefits for programmers and end-users provided by the NextStep environment. The joint IBM/NeXT announcement sends a clear message to companies who have been taking a wait and see attitude: NextStep is a standard for the 90's. We're excited by this announcement because IBM computers have such a broad market and product appeal which opens up tremendous opportunities for developers like Frame.'' Informix Jeffrey Bork, vice president of marketing 415/926-6300

``The NextStep development environment on IBM AIX platforms provides an exceptional foundation for Informix's Wingz(tm) graphic spreadsheet. With its new DataLink cpapbilities, Wingz becomes an easy-to-use graphical interface to Informix SQL databases. This technology can integrate IBM AIX platforms into corporate-wide graphical information mangement system.'' Lotus Development Corporation Ed Belove, vice president of corporate research and development contact Susan Earabino 617/225-1281

``The decision by IBM to offer NextStep on their AIX systems for business users further enhances the market potential for NeXT technologies.'' Media Logic Inc. G. Hank Weghorst, president contact Rob Batchelder 213/453-7744

``We believe NextStep will make desktop UNIX a reality in the personal workstation market. NextStep makes UNIX a superior environment for general business users as well as technical professionals. For software developers like ourselves, NextStep has enabled us to create an innovative applicaiton like TopDraw(tm) and bring it to market sooner than would be possible in any other environment. We are pleased that IBM has shared NeXT's vision and look forward to supporting their future products. Discussions are currently underway with IBM to begin doing so.'' WordPerfect Corporation Alan Ashton, president contact Tom Mallory 801/222-2350

``We are pleased with IBM's decision to adopt NextStep for their AIX platforms. Our plans are to port our NextStep software to IBM's AIX platforms under NextStep.'' NextStep is a registered trademark of NeXT Inc. All other names marked by tm and r are trademarks or tradenames of their respective software manufactures.

CONTACT: IBM Corporation, White Plains Glenn Rossman, 212/230-5499 on February 5 in New York, or 914/642-4618 after February 5 or NeXT, Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif Allison Thomas, 818/981-1520 09:34 ET

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