NeXT and Open Systems Standards

"Standards have become the watchword of the corporate technology manager. And rightly so, because multivendor computing is now the rule. To survive, a computer company must ensure that its products connect and communicate easily with other equipment. With this in mind, NeXT focuses on adherence to industry standards and multivendor connectivity. From the start, we built the philosophy of compatibility into all of our products. And we had an advantage. Since the NeXT™ Computer was designed more recently than the products of other major competitors, we saw what standards were actually accepted and which ones truly provided user value. We then incorporated these accepted technologies into NeXT systems. Our view is simple:
• Use standards whenever possible.
• Invent new technologies when users are dissatisfied with current industry offerings.
• Make our new technologies coexist in a heterogeneous world.

This document builds a structured model of where key industry standards are required and discusses where they are incorporated into all NeXT systems. We’ll begin with the operating system, the subject of unrelenting UNIX® wars between groups like the Open Software Foundation (OSF) and UNIX International (UI). From there, we’ll highlight the additional standards above the operating system that affect users every day.

Before we construct the architectural model we’ll use throughout this document, we also want you to know our biases: The ultimate standards-based computer would be a perfect clone of whatever computer system had the largest market share. This product would bring no surprises. Of course it would also provide no added value to its users. The NeXT Computer was never conceived this way. NeXT’s goal is to provide the finest possible computing environment in order to allow people to work together creatively and collaboratively. But this does not mean that our extensive use of industry standards was an accident. In today’s heterogeneous computing environment, the NeXT system is designed to fit in just as well as it stands out. We hope you agree that we developed the right balance between the exclusive use of established industry standards and the goal of adding additional value and functionality for our users."

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NeXT and Open Systems Standards