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Subject: PC Magazine NeXTSTEP Review
Message-ID: <1993May21.064028.313@nugget.rmNUG.ORG>
Sender: garr...@nugget.rmNUG.ORG (Garrett Rice)
Organization: Rocky Mountain NeXT Users' Group
Date: Fri, 21 May 1993 06:40:28 GMT
Lines: 93

Just off the wire (excuse me if its already been posted).

Garrett Rice
Renaissance Software, Inc.

The NEXTSTEP Generation
PC Magazine June 15
by Heidi A. Patton and  Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Screen caption:  NeXTSTEP for Intel Processors has a user interface that's  
nothing short of breathtaking.  With 24-bit graphics support, NeXTSTEP offers  
true-color images that move with fluidity on the screen.

	NeXT is known for its innovating operating system, which until  
recently, has been available only with the company's proprietary black  
hardware, the futuristic NeXTcube.  But recently, NeXT sold the hardware part  
of its business to Canon, now to enjoy wider success, it has been working to  
make its software available on the Intel platform.
	NeXT hopes to convince users that its OS is a more productive  
environment than the better-known alternative:  Windows NT, OS/2, and the more  
traditional implementations of Unix.  So much of NeXTSTEP is based on cutting  
edge object-oriented technology, that it has often been compared with operating  
systems not even available yet:  Taligent's Pink and Microsoft's Cairo project.
	NeXT is determined to make the most of its NeXTSTEP for Intel  
Processors.  The early beta we saw didn't yet contain the forthcoming DOS  
emulation, but it did show off the gorgeous user interface and the productive  
Interface Builder development environment.

	NeXT has rigorously adhered to the object-oriented paradigm in  
NeXTSTEP.  The graphical environment, dubbed the Workspace Manager, is a highly  
designed interface where end users can easily mix menus, icons, and windows  
into a customized interface--no third-party development tools required.  File  
manipulation and program launching is all done by drag and drop, and NeXTSTEP  
supports ObjectLinks, where changes made in one document element are  
automatically reflected wherever that element appears.  Multitasking,  
networking, and multimedia are securely integrated.  While multiple operations  
still leave Windows 3.1 floundering, NeXTSTEP (thanks to its enhanced Mach  
operating kernel) never skips a stitch while running half a dozen operations at  
once.  The multimedia support provides video-in-a-window capabilities and full  
audio support.
	NeXTSTEP's real-time graphics amaze and delight.  It is the only Unix  
we looked that integrates 24-bit graphics support.  The system takes advantage  
of the linear frame-buffer facilities available in many high-end graphics cards  
and employs a technique called "windows backing store," which keeps keeps   
windows images in either memory or virtual memory.  As long as you've got RAM  
to spare, NeXTSTEP gives you eye-popping true visual color images that move  
with incredible fluidity on-screen.  The technique also allows fancy visual  
effects like image transparency, in which images can be seen through other  
images.  NeXTSTEP also includes cross-application support the Pantone  
color-matching system.
	These visual delights come at a cost.  NeXTSTEP requires a minimum of  
16MB of RAM for color graphics (24MB are recommended).  Moreover, NeXTSTEP uses  
486-specific instructions, and runs only on 486- or Pentium-powered machines.   
All that plus the required 120MB of hard disk space for the user environment  
alone, adds up to an operating system that demands haute cuisine hardware.
	Communications will also prove to be a strong point for NeXTSTEP.  The  
Mach kernel supports object-messaging, which simplifies not only interprocess  
communications but also inter-system communications.  NeXTSTEP has always  
supported Unix's networking standards, like NFS, TCP/IP.  Release 3.0, which is  
NeXTSTEP's foundation, comes with NetWare client and Macintosh AppleShare  
client software.

	NeXT is also bringing NeXTSTEP's well respected development environment  
to the PC world.  The Project Builder component is an integrated   
point-and-click application for managing and maintaining development projects.   
The Interface Builder helps developers create user interfaces that are  
consistent with the look and feel of all other NeXTSTEP applications.  For  
commonly used programming objects (like panels for selecting files and objects  
that handle data exchange and printing), NeXTSTEP includes the Application Kit.   
Programmers can plug these ready-made elements into their applications or  
tailor them for more specific functionality.  There's even an object-oriented  
database tool, the Database Kit, that lets programmers build GUI front-end  
database apps quickly.

	Several popular programs like WordPerfect, Adobe Illustrator, Lotus  
Improv, and Informix's Wingz, already exist in NeXTSTEP.  The operating system  
itself comes with a variety of cutting-edge applications, such as a multimedia  
e-mail system that lets you send and receive sound and graphic elements as well  
as text.
	We'll need to wait to see how NeXTSTEP handles DOS and Windows  
applications, though.  NeXT's integration of Insignia's Software's SoftPC DOS  
emulation was unavailable for testings during the beta cycle.  SoftPC allows  
you to run DOS 5.0- and Windows 3.1-compatible programs in standard mode.
	NeXTSTEP for PCs is as beautiful and awe-inspiring to look at as its  
picture on the on the company's sleek black boxes.  Its easy-to-use  
object-oriented interface makes it stand apart from the other 32-bit operating  
systems.  The steep hardware requirements may not make it the Volkswagon of  
operating systems, but there's always a market for a Mercedes.

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