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Old 14 May 2018, 15:12   #1
Akira
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NeXTSTEP on Amiga?

Bear with me for a second here, before I get dragged into the deranged Amiga zealot pile

I never really looked much into NeXTSTEP and its associated computer, but this weekend I was watching Retroman Cave's awesome video about it ( [ Show youtube player ]) and it occurred to me to look at the computer specs and I realized it's a 68k family computer (yeah call me ignorant).

So the Amiga can run MacOS via emulation, and we have EmuTOS, so how hard would it be to make it run NeXTSTEP? The hardware doesn't seem very interesting except for the DSP it has (I have no idea what it's used for. Audio I think?). I am guessing here the main drawback would be computer documentation, pretty sure Steve Jobs must have kept a rather tight fist on any info about it.
Yes, there's this:
http://previous.unixdude.net/
But it's not open source

What would this be for? Absolutely nothing but sheer curiosity. NeXTSTEP is a very interesting operating system which set the foundations for a lot of stuff we use today, most notably macOS, and it would be kinda fun/interesting to see it run semi-natively on another 68k hardware.

Anyway, please do not freaking turn this thread into another Amiga fan-fiction thread about specs and "what if Amiga did this or that" shit (I'm looking at all the usual suspects). Speak only of the possibility of emulating a NeXT computer or somehow run NeXTSTEP natively on Amiga (like EmuTOS) TODAY.
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Old 14 May 2018, 15:52   #2
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How about GNUstep on AMIX?

AmigaUnix is still mentioned in the configs
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Old 14 May 2018, 15:54   #3
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Get the code for Previous and have a try!
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Old 14 May 2018, 15:57   #4
Akira
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Quote:
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Get the code for Previous and have a try!
If you see the post above I linked to Previous, but it must be an old version website? It had no code!
That's definitely a good step to start with, thanks for the link.

About GNUStep, it's just not the same, I am interested in knowing if the real, original NeXTSTEP can run on other 68k hardware at all.
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Old 14 May 2018, 16:53   #5
drHirudo
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Previous is just the Hatari emulator in disguise. NeXT step is pretty easy to emulate, if not easier than the mediocre Atari ST hardware.
I didn't code and port stuff to the Amiga for a long time, else I would have given it a try. I ported many Hatari versions in the past.
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Old 14 May 2018, 17:00   #6
Akira
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Yeah but it has Hatari in it to emulate the 68000 stuff. We don't need to emulate that at all.
It does make it seem "trivial" to run it on another 68k platform, provided you sort out the kernel and the DSP. But I don't know shit so I will zip it.
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Old 14 May 2018, 17:01   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
So the Amiga can run MacOS via emulation, and we have EmuTOS, so how hard would it be to make it run NeXTSTEP? The hardware doesn't seem very interesting except for the DSP it has (I have no idea what it's used for. Audio I think?).
It would be much harder than Macintosh emulation. For starters you would need a FPU and an MMU. Then you would require quite a lot of power to emulate the DSP. The graphics part should be fairly easy though.

I would risk to say to forget about running it on anything else than a high end 68060 Amiga, and even then it will not be fast enough to properly emulate the DSP.

Of course, if WinUAE is the target Amiga platform, it can certainly be done and have it properly working there.
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Old 14 May 2018, 17:17   #8
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I would risk to say to forget about running it on anything else than a high end 68060 Amiga, and even then it will not be fast enough to properly emulate the DSP.
Does it really need the DSP? "Previous" does not mention it as emulated part.
I got the feeling the DSP was more a gimmick used only by a few special apps, but is probably not needed to run the system ...
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Old 14 May 2018, 17:42   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorf View Post
Does it really need the DSP? "Previous" does not mention it as emulated part.
Previous does emulate the DSP according to the first page I linked:
Quote:
Originally Posted by previous.unixdude.net
In more detail Previous emulates the following components:
Processor 68040 CPU or 68030 CPU combined with 68882 FPU, 56001 DSP
But the second page linked by Ffin does not mention that. I still don't understand which of these two pages is the official one, but if tehse are two forks and one runs without DSP emulation, that's great news.
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For starters you would need a FPU and an MMU. Then you would require quite a lot of power to emulate the DSP. The graphics part should be fairly easy though.
As far as I understand the DSP is only for audio processing so it's not a necessity rather a feature some apps used (most didn't) and you could run the OS just happily. If the OS has some consistency check to see whether the DSP exists or not, that's a different question.

As for requiring an FPU/MMU, yes, the minimum requirement would be the exact same spec of a NeXT computer: a full 030+FPU. Any Blizzard or ACA card or others with full 030s or better would be capable of running it and that's a lot of computers.
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Old 14 May 2018, 19:13   #10
commodorejohn
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If your goal is just to run NeXTSTEP on an Amiga, trying to do an emulator is probably a massive waste of effort and resources. It's just BSD and the Mach kernel with stuff piled on top; seems like it'd be simpler to build an Amiga-native version of that and then kludge NeXTSTEP on top of it so it runs natively. I'm sure you'd still want an 040 with FPU/MMU, but it'd be much simpler than trying to emulate the NeXT hardware.
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Old 14 May 2018, 19:26   #11
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seems like it'd be simpler to build an Amiga-native version of that
How do we do that?
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Old 14 May 2018, 21:09   #12
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Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post
If your goal is just to run NeXTSTEP on an Amiga, trying to do an emulator is probably a massive waste of effort and resources. It's just BSD and the Mach kernel with stuff piled on top; seems like it'd be simpler to build an Amiga-native version of that and then kludge NeXTSTEP on top of it so it runs natively. I'm sure you'd still want an 040 with FPU/MMU, but it'd be much simpler than trying to emulate the NeXT hardware.
Yes that's what I think would be possible and best here, that's why I said "run it semi natively". Would be no point in emulating what you already have there.
Thinking of something like EmuTOS.

I never said "emulate NeXT Computer", I said "run NeXTSTEP on AMiga".
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Old 14 May 2018, 22:56   #13
commodorejohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
I never said "emulate NeXT Computer", I said "run NeXTSTEP on AMiga".
No, I getcha, it's just the direction the discussion seemed to be taking.

Quote:
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How do we do that?
That you'd have to ask some Unix build junkies about. NetBSD has an active (though not a high-priority) Amiga port, so I'd start with talking to any maintainers for that you can get in contact with. The last versions of NeXTSTEP pre-metamorphosis into Rhapsody/OSX were based on 4.3BSD, though, and I don't know how much compatibility might've changed in the interim; in addition, you'd need to be able to build it using the Mach kernel. Definitely not a light undertaking, but, y'know, you could try it.
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Old 15 May 2018, 18:59   #14
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I was just searching NeXT details today... how coincidental...
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