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What's NeXT?

My apologies that the name here is so cliche. I'm open to suggestions for a better one.

Summary: This page was originally intended to become a history/description of the NeXT UI, starting with pre-release versions of the OS through OpenStep 4.2 (the release which I currently use) with my thoughts, commentary and suggestions interspersed.

I started work on a web site, for that project, but was unable to up-date frequently enough, so this passed on to Dennis Leeuw. The first page which I did describes the NeXT Font Panel. So, I've morphed this into a description of the NeXTstep UI, starting here.

NeXT User Interface Guide - this set of documents was made available by NeXT as a tar.gz archive available here. I have taken the liberty of converting said .rtfd files into Adobe Acrobat .pdf format using Frank Siegert's wonderful and making them available here.

NeXT brochure page 1. This brochure was done as part of a graphic design production class. Includes a selection of quotes on how/why NeXTstep was better than anything else.

NeXT Brochure inner spread. This includes a timeline of NeXTstep as related to the computer industry as a whole.

Below, please find a timeline which I hope to expand upon and use as a framework for more informative links.


Chris Franklin creates early version of File Viewer, later re-worked completely for 1.0

0.9-First public release, written up in Bruce Webster's The NeXT Book
(my thanks to Pete Clark for correcting the name here)

1.0-A file dump of this is available in Doug Clapp's The NeXT Bible

Chiseled, sculpted 3-D interface characterized by Keith Ohlfs' gorgeous 48 x 48 icons.








4.0-Name changed to OpenStep, initially supported by Sun (as Pete Clark pointed out, for a few months in 1996, one could get OpenStep for Solaris from Sun---this is still available at


4.2-Last release of OpenStep

Also released as the initial Rhapsody Developer's Release by Apple after their purchase of NeXT.

NeXT, NeXTstep and OPENSTEP are trademarks of Apple Computing.

Persons who were kind enough to contribute to this information include: Patrick T. Hickey and Pete Clark

First created on 24 February 1999, this page was last up-dated on 13 July 2001. It is available at

Copyright 1999 William F. Adams