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No Browsers for NeXTstep? 30

Hanul asks this decent question: "I tried NEXTSTEP (3.3/PA-RISC) for the first time a few days ago. I think it still looks great compared to other GUIs and configuration is very easy. While I was surfing the Web with a 4-year old browser, OmniWeb 2.7, I experienced something unsatisfying: No Java, no JavaScript, no Plugins, nothing a surfer needs today. There are a lot of sites which state plainly: no access, your browser is too old. I wonder why the OS where the WWW was invented on by Tim Berners-Lee has no current browser. I know NeXT doesn't exist anymore and there is no (official) support for NEXTSTEP from Apple. But there a lot of obscure OS with decent browsers (AmigaOS, RISCOS) and it seems that every UNIX flavor in the world has one port of Mozilla except for NEXTSTEP. Of course it has no X (natively) and no current Java available, but I expected more geeks out there (with some respect to history) who are willing to give NEXTSTEP an up-to-date browser."
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No Browsers for NeXTstep?

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  • Actually, IE 5 seems to work nicely on Win 3.1, but likely the hardware that runs 3.1 can't handle IE 5.
  • It would be 6. 5 is Mac OS X Server, a.k.a. Rhapsody 5.x (a.k.a. Darwin 0.3); the 5.x was actually 5 because it comes after OpenStep 4.x. 6 is Mac OS X, a.k.a. Darwin 1.x. Except that Mac OS X is much more than OpenStep, so maybe NeXTStep 10 wouldn't be too far off kilter. :)
  • I have a NeXTStation color turbo slab. I bought it over a year ago because I just had to have one, and for the geek factor of it all. It's an amazing machine, even by today's standards. Recently brought it to a Linux users group and people flocked just drooling over it. Omniweb looks like what I will go with. Downloaded OmniWEb 3.1 this morning and will attempt to install it(crossing fingers). Who needs Javascript support anyways, right??
  • Any machine that can run NEXTSTEP can also run OPENSTEP (albeit slightly slower). Upgrade to OPENTSTEP 4.2 and use OmniWeb 3.0.


    Install one of the many freeware X clients on NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP and view your favorite browser remotely (-display your.ip.address).
  • Why aren't any Opensource developers developing cutting edge web browsers for the Vic-20???

    The Vic is all the computer anyone needs, and is plenty fast. Yet I don't see a BASIC webbrowser project on sourceforge??

    What the heck??
  • by vapfy ( 151888 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @03:15PM (#188349)
    Sadly, no.

    HP-RISC support was short lived - it's only in 3.2 and 3.3. It was dropped from 4.0 before release.

    If the poster's serious about having a modern browser on NeXTstep, he'll have to install X11 and use remote display from another machine. It might - might! - be possible to hack Mozilla enough to get it to build on a NeXTstep + X11 install but you'd have to have a lot of time and patience.

    If you decide to install X11, use Xnext ( r/Xnext/) - the other X11 packages for NeXTstep are either horribly broken or commercial dead-ware.

    Best of luck.

    -josh, former SQA geek at NeXT
  • Uhh... Mac OS X is like NeXTSTEP 5, or even 6.

    There was an OpenStep 4.0 (and 4.1, 4.2), as well as Rhapsody DR1, Rhapsody DR2, *and* Mac OS X Server. Way beyond 4 man.

  • Why is it that there is no decent browser for a proprietary, expensive OS which has an immeasurably small portion of the desktop market?

    Why aren't you complaining to Microsoft or Netscape that they haven't ported their browser to NeXT?

    Why aren't you complaining to Apple about the fact their MacOS X software isn't backwards-compatible with your version of NeXTSTEP?

    Most people on Slashdot use Windows anyway, so you'll get no sympathy here.

    Maybe you should look to the GNUStep project for help.

  • Click here [] for NextStep version 4.. there's many browsers available.
  • One problem you may run into: extremely slow performance rendering HTML. This is because OmniWeb, in those days, used the very elegant Object-Oriented architecture of NeXTStep to process HTML. In fact, the flowchart looked like this:

    HTML -> SGML -> RTF

    (RTF was one of the formats that the Display PostScript engine could display natively, and it was pretty easy to map HTML's bold and italic onto it.)

    Sounds slick, right? Unfortunately, until NeXTStep 4.2 (?) the text object was not multi-threaded. This was never a problem until web browers were invented, and suddenly the system had to do things like format web pages based on data from the network. IIRC, later versions of the OS did have a multi-threaded text object, but the upgrade was really expensive even for Academic customers. The OS's hinderance of good browser performance contributed to the death of NeXTStep (not that it needed any help in this regard.) I suppose Omni could have re-written their rendering engine to not rely upon the OS's text object, but that would kind have defeated the purpose of developing on the platform.

    I don't know enough about OmniWeb nowadays to say whether it uses equivalent services under OS X...

  • Heh. Silly AC. But s/he does have a point. This was a rather stupid Ask Slashdot. That's not to say most of the other Slashdot stories aren't stupid. *shrug*
  • With an X server (cubX) you can run netscape/mozilla/whatever you want from another box. I've done this with my turbo slab just ... well, just because.

    But, it's still dog slow. While I love my NeXT (both of them, actually) neither the color turbo slab (68040 @ 33Mhz) or the mono slab (68040 @ 25Mhz) can do much more than they were designed to do.

    Useful things for your NeXT? Apache is typically available as a package, and runs quite well, and a ssh client is also available. I haven't seen a ssh daemon though, so it's still just a glorified terminal.

    I always get lots of questions about "What the heck is that?" It's still amazing that the machine I lusted after in 1990 is still "geek" enough to get me to shell out a copule hundred bucks just to say I have one.
  • by Mike Miller ( 28248 ) <> on Wednesday May 30, 2001 @03:48PM (#188356) Homepage
    Two general directions. Go get Omniweb or another NeXT based browser from a respectable archive ( w/ []) or run a X client/server pair on the box (strangely VNC doesn't seem to be available, but that might be worth further research: []) and try and get mozilla or some other 'modern' browser running using X for the graphical display. It's BSD deep under all that fancy exterior and display-level postscript, and it will run X11 with some help ( []).

    Sadly, lack of a decent browser is what pushed me from using my nice NeXT cube with a 19" monitor to a Linux box with a 13" monitor around '96.

    - Mike

  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @06:58AM (#188357) Homepage
    Hold on there fella... Apple had a huge Y2K upgrade program for NEXTSTEP and OPENSTEP. Users of NEXTSTEP 0.9 - 3.2 got a free upgrade to 3.3 as well as free patch CDs to bring 3.3 fully Y2K compliant. Users of OPENSTEP 4.0 & 4.1 got a free upgrade to 4.2 as well as patches. Developer tools were thrown an and upgrade as well. When I called to request the updates for my machines, I politely asked if I could get OPENSTEP even though I was using NEXTSTEP, they said sure and mailed me both. Within 3 days I had a huge package from Apple full of CDs, (boot) floppies, and manuals. Where did you get the $400 quote?? Are you talking about the OS itself or the software running on it? Any app that correctly used the NeXT date routines should be Y2K complaint.
  • And why is there no browser for my abacus? I mean an abacus is all anyone really needs right?

    It may be slow, the GUI isn't very good by today's standards and is no longer supported by major abacus manufacturers but why isn't there be a browser for it? I think we need a new Abacus Application Protocol (buzzword: AAP) which defines where each bead is placed to represent a binary number. This would allow all those abacus programmers out there to actaully create my dream of an abacus web browser!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hate to say it, but ebay might be the best place to find a reasonable priced copy of NeXTStep or OpenStep for x86.

    Or try if you don't mind paying Apple's current rates.

    There's also a newsgroup -

  • use WindowMaker. it's a lot like NeXTStep and you can run Mozilla on it.

  • The Y2K remediation program is long gone :(

    They also weren't too nice 'bout sending out multiple CDs if one had multiple licenses for NeXT/OPENstep---knew I should've used two different addresses....


    Lettering Art in Modern Use
  • Not to mention that OS X probably won't run too well on a PA-RISC machine.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Masturbate. it's a lot like SeX and you don't need a woman.


  • I figured as much. I got my software last November, but it was still technically Y2K then.
  • The way I got a hold of OpenStep 4.2 + developer software:

    1) Bought a cube :)
    2) Dug around Apple's site until I found a Y2K upgrade form. Filled out serial number and requested OpenStep 4.2 and faxed it in.
    3) OpenStep for Mach and Intel showed up at my door 2 days later.

    So, if you have any old NeXT stuff (or just the serialz), better get your Y2K upgrade today.
  • Check out Frank Siegerts excellent suite of programs at [] and you can get a VNC client from there. Works nicely on black hardware and 3.3.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    No Java, no JavaScript, no Plugins, nothing a surfer needs today. There are a lot of sites which state plainly: no access, your browser is too old.

    I am still looking for an example of a website that is impossible to implement without Flash, Java and/or Javascript. The only example that I saw where Flash was used in a usefull way (and not eye-candy as everywhere else) was a site that even offered an alternative for users without Flash.

    What will be next?
    Web sites complainig that your IE5.7 browser has ActiveX and VBScript disabled and telling you that, 'to continue, you must set the option "Security Settings" of your browser to "None"'?
    Webpages in Powerpoint format? (Including all those "usefull" macros).

    Instead off trying to install every possible plugin (reducing the stability and security of your system to zero), complain to the web designers and tell them to read THIS [].
  • H-h-hey! There aren't any good browsers for my TRS-80 Model III! I was thinking of migrating to a Sinclair Spectrum or maybe a Commodore 128. Are there any standards-compliant browsers for the Spectrum? And I don't mean Netscrape or Internet Exploder! Is Opera doing a Commodore port? If not, anyone want to start a petition? Maaaaan! The NeXT was *so* far ahead of its time that I bet a 33 MHz 68030 with NeXTSTEP would run Java *great*!!!!!

    Also, can anyone recommend an open-source Apple II+ browser written in Applesoft BASIC that will run on my Coleco Adam?

    Openstep for x86 hardware superseded the last OS for NeXT hardware years ago. The current "upgrade" of NeXTSTEP is Mac OS X on Apple G4 hardware.

    Surely after using a NeXT box for what, 12 years? it might be time to think about getting a new computer. I hear you can get Pentium 166s that run Openstep 4.0 really well for about $30.
  • While I wasn't directly responsible for researching the Y2K compliance of our machines, my boss was, so I heard about it. I don't even remember what version was running. Let me give you some additional pieces of info:

    1. This WAS a CS department and so it is possible that they had some funky apps or things that weren't explicitly supported by Apple. And thus, we would have paid for upgrading that component
    2. I absolutely remember that $400 is what it was going to cost PER machine.
    3. We changed all these servers and workstations from NEXTSTEP to Linux the summer of 1999. I don't know if that program was in place when we decided to go with Linux.
    4. Like I said, this was a school site and so they might have had some upgrade agreements from the past. Who knows?
    5. I really think that the $400 was for upgrading the OS.

    That all said, NEXTSTEP rocked because of the easy application builder. But Netsurfer was dog-slow. Although it was cool to have those spiffy looking black PREFECT cubes around.
  • This has got me interested...

    Where could someone get their hands on a copy of NeXT/OPENSTEP for x86? And are there any good websites around dedicated for it?

    I had a quick search a few months back, and found nothing of excellent quality about it. I'd love to just play with it on some old hardware...

    Any info would be appriciated.

  • Buy a mac and upgrade to NeXTSTEP 6.0, oops, I mean Mac OS X. burris
  • I'm surprised no one mentioned NetSurfer. I remember playing with NeXTStep whenever the CS department still had it (they wisely upgraded to Linux rather than pay the $400 per machine to get the OS Y2K compliant.). Netsurfer was the default web browser if I remember correctly. But then I didn't know very much about the OS so I could have this wrong.
  • by Agave ( 2539 )
    You might as well ask why there's no modern browser for Windows 3.x. Because most of the users (and developers) are using the latest version of the operating system. The current version is NEXTSTEP 6.0 a.k.a. Mac OS X 10.0. OmniWeb 4.0 is pretty good and you can use IE 5.1 if you have to. Unfortunately you'll have to ditch the Gecko and pick up some Apple hardware to run the latest and greatest :)

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant