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NEXTSTEP In Focus - Fall 1993

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NEXTSTEP In Focus, Fall 1993 (Volume 3, Issue 4). 
Copyright  ̄1993 by NeXT Computer, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.


How much disk space does NEXTSTEP need?
NEXTSTEP requires about 300 megabytes. If you want to do development work you need at least an additional 100 megabytes. If you want to have a DOS or Windows partition, take that into account as well. A safe bet would be to use a 500- to 600-megabyte drive.

Can NEXTSTEP run on a network? 
NEXTSTEP is a full client/server, peer-to-peer networking operating system.   It supports several network protocols, including UUCP, TCP/IP, Novell NetWare, NetInfo, and NFS.

Can a portable PC run NEXTSTEP?
Portables run NEXTSTEP well. See the Hardware Compatibility Guide for a list of compatible portables. 

If a floppy disk interface isn't supported, how can I save files?
The Hardware Compatibility Guide states that ªthe floppy disk interface is not supported.º This means that the interface on the SCSI adapter doesn't work. However, all systems that NeXT supports have a floppy controller directly on the motherboard, and those floppy disk drives do work. 

What CD-ROM drives can I use with NEXTSTEP on a PC?
Many standard, external, truly SCSI CD-ROM drives work with NEXTSTEP. Internal CD-ROM drives that manufacturers often offer with computer systems are usually IDE drives, and therefore don't work with NEXTSTEP.

Will my SCSI hard drive work with NEXTSTEP for Intel Processors? 
Yes, if you use one of the supported SCSI adapter cards. See the Hardware Compatibility Guide for a list of supported adapters.

Will any SCSI tape drive work? 
Yes. Just about any standard, external, truly SCSI tape drive works with NEXTSTEP. 

Can any VL-Bus, EISA, or ISA display adapter work with NEXTSTEP?
No. For NEXTSTEP to recognize a display adapter, the adapter must communicate with the system through a device driver. Right now, we only have drivers for the adapters listed in the Hardware Compatibility Guide. We can't guarantee that an unlisted adapter will work, even if it claims to use the same instructions as a supported adapter. 

Is there a ªsoftware compatibility guide?º
There's a booklet included with all copies of NEXTSTEP called Third-Party Products for NEXTSTEP. It lists the software products released or planned for NEXTSTEP as of June 1993. 

As a general rule, if a company hasn't written software specifically for NEXTSTEP, it won't run under NEXTSTEP. However, using the SoftPC application from Insignia Solutions, you can run almost any DOS or Windows program under NEXTSTEP.

Do I have to start up Windows separately from NEXTSTEP?
Yes. A PC can run under either DOS or NEXTSTEP, but not both at the same time. SoftPC from Insignia Solutions is an emulation program that allows you to use DOS or Windows programs inside a NEXTSTEP window, but if you want to use only Windows, you will need to start it up separately. 


NEXTSTEP In Focus, Fall 1993 (Volume 3, Issue 4). 
Copyright  ̄1993 by NeXT Computer, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.


Fun with booting

When you start up a PC with NEXTSTEP, you get the boot prompt, boot: This is your chance to send commands to the booter and change how the system starts. For example, you can select a different boot disk than the computer normally uses or load special drivers. Here's how to do it.

Booter syntax

The booter syntax for NEXTSTEP for Intel Processors is this:

xx[(d[,p])]kernel [-s] [options]

Items in square brackets are optional. There must be no spaces in the command, except within options. The command is not case-sensitive. (For a quick summary of the options while you're booting, type ? at the prompt.)

n	xx is either hd for an IDE disk or sd for a SCSI disk.

n	d is the drive number, like 0.

n	p is the partition letter, like a.

n	kernel is the name of the kernel you want to load; usually you'll use mach_kernel.

n	-s starts NEXTSTEP in single-user mode.

At the end of the command, you can specify additional options of the form keyword=value. Keywords that are made up of more than one word must be enclosed in quotation marks, and there can be no spaces between the keyword, the equals sign, and the value. The keywords are these:

n	config Specifies the configuration data to use to start up the computer. Instance0 selects the current configuration you created with Configure; Default selects the configuration from the installation CD-ROM, plus any drivers you loaded during installation.

n	maxmem Indicates the amount of memory in your computer in kilobytes. For example, for a computer with 20 megabytes of memory, use maxmem=20480.

n	rootdev Specifies the device containing the root file system. For example, if the root device is on partition a of SCSI disk number 1, use rootdev=sd1a.

n	ªBoot Driversº Specifies the drivers the computer should load when booting. Enclose the list in quotation marks, with no space between the = and the quotation mark. For example: 
	ªBoot Driversº= ªAdaptec1542B PS2Keyboard PS2Mouseº

n	ªActive Driversº Specifies the drivers to load during system initialization. These drivers can't operate a boot device, such as the hard disk containing the computer's root filesystem. The list must be in quotation marks, just like ªBoot Driversº.

n	ªAsk For Driversº Indicates whether the booter should ask while it's booting which additional device drivers it should load. The default is No. For example: 
	ªAsk For Driversº=Yes

Booting from an external SCSI drive

One common boot option is booting the computer from an external SCSI hard disk drive. How you do this depends on what other drives your computer uses.

If you have two SCSI disk drives with IDs 0 and 1 and want to boot from the SCSI drive 1, type this at the boot: prompt:

sd(1,a)mach_kernel rootdev=sd1a

If you have an internal IDE drive but want to boot from a SCSI drive, you have two options:

Use the floppy disk that comes with NEXTSTEP

Normally, the computer boots from the IDE disk, usually drive C. However, if there's a disk in the floppy disk drive (DOS drive A), and the floppy controller isn't disabled, the computer boots from the floppy disk drive. 

Insert the NEXTSTEP boot floppy (labelled, CD-ROM Installation Disk) in the floppy disk drive and restart the computer. At the boot: prompt, type:


The computer boots the Mach kernel and the rest of NEXTSTEP from the SCSI disk.

Install a mini NEXTSTEP partition on the IDE disk

You can install a miniature NEXTSTEP partition on your IDE disk, one that your computer can boot from but that leaves plenty of space on the disk. However, following this procedure erases anything already on the disk:

1	Boot NEXTSTEP from the SCSI disk as described above.

2	Log in as root.

3	Start up the Terminal application and use fdisk to create a non-DOS partition on the IDE drive for NEXTSTEP:

	/usr/etc/fdisk /dev/rhd0h

Note: It's rhd0h, not rhd0a! 

4	Create a NEXTSTEP file system for this partition:

/usr/etc/disk -i /dev/rhd0h

This also creates the necessary NEXTSTEP boot blocks for the IDE drive. (See the UNIX manual page for disk.)

Now when you boot the computer, the NEXTSTEP boot manager on the IDE disk presents the boot: prompt. At the prompt, type this command:


As above, the computer boots the Mach kernel and NEXTSTEP from the SCSI disk. 

New NeXTanswers e-mail commands

NeXTanswers keeps growing and growing. We've added new commands so you can search for files based on keywords, split large files so they're easier to mail, and more.

An e-mail message to NeXTanswers ([email protected]) can contain more than one command. The current commands are these:

n	ascii Tells NeXTanswers to send all mail as plain Internet mail, not NeXTmail, and to try to convert all files into ASCII.

n	help Requests the help file.

n	index Requests the current file index.

n	index by date Requests the current index, sorted newest item to oldest item.

n	reply-to address Causes NeXTanswers to send replies to address, rather than to the address in the request message's From or Reply-To lines.  

n	search [keywords] Requests all the files that contain all the keywords.

n	split Splits any large outgoing e-mail into 95- kilobyte chunks. Mail is split and tagged according to the MIME Message/Partial specification. The NeXTmail application doesn't automatically rejoin these messages, but some other mail programs do. 

n	number Sends file number as NeXTmail.   Remember to include the ascii command if you don't use NeXTmail.

By the way: Using the right return address

NeXTanswers sends mail to the address in the From line of your request message. If your From line isn't correct, NeXTanswers can't reply to you. If you have this problem, you should set your Reply To line to an address NeXTanswers can use.

Soon to come: The NeXTanswers BBS! 

Filling your NEXTSTEP library

If you're looking to add to your library of system administration references, or are just starting to acquire one, here's a list of excellent texts to consider. The list was compiled by Bob O'Connor, an independent consultantÐhe's included comments on many of the books.

Anderson, Gail, and Paul Anderson. The UNIX C Shell Field Guide. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986. ISBN 0-13-937468-X. 
	An excellent step-by-step tutorial on scripting.

Comer, Douglas. Internetworking with TCP/IP, Volume I: Protocol and Architecture, 2nd edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991. ISBN 0-13-468505-9.
 	A good conceptual overview; useful for non-programmers.

Comer, Douglas. Internetworking with TCP/IP Volume III: Client-Server Programming and Applications. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991. ISBN 0-13-474222-2 
	A more advanced discussion of these topics than is in Volume I.

Garfinkel, Simson, and Gene Spafford. Practical UNIX Security. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1991. ISBN 0-937175-72-2.

Hunt, Craig. TCP/IP Network Administration. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992. ISBN 0-937175-82-X.
	Includes a discussion of sendmail files.

Krol, Ed. The Whole Internet: User's Guide and Catalog.    Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992. ISBN 1-56592-025-2.
	Provides both an excellent big-picture understanding of the Internet and a great discussion of tools and resources to be productive.

Lamb, Linda. Learning the vi Editor.    Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1990. ISBN 0-937175-67-6.
	Part of the ªNutshell Handbookº series. Short and concise, an excellent reference. Includes a useful quick reference card.

Nemeth, Evi, Garth Snyder, and Scott Seebass. UNIX System Administration Handbook. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1989. ISBN 0-13-933441-6. 
	An excellent introduction for beginners.

Specialized Systems Consultants. UNIX System Command Summary for Berkeley 4.2 and 4.3 BSD. Seattle, WA: Specialized Systems Consultants, 1986. ISBN 0-916151-17-4. 
	A very useful quick reference guide. 

Stern, Hal. Managing NFS and NIS.    Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992. ISBN 0-937175-75-7. 
	Describes how NFS works and is loaded with diagnostic and problem-solving tips.

Todino, Grace, and Dale Dougherty. Managing UUCP and Usenet. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992. ISBN 0-937175-93-5.
 	Another in the ªNutshell Handbookº series. Choppy, but informative as a reference.

Todino, Grace, and Dale Dougherty. Using UUCP and Usenet. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1991. ISBN 0-937175-10-2.
	Part of the ªNutshell Handbookº series. Choppy, but an informative reference.

Other lists of books

Others have compiled lists of useful texts as well. One to check out is Samuel Ko's A Concise Guide to UNIX Books. To get it, contact him at [email protected]

For another extensive list of more general UNIX and C books, see YABLÐYet Another Book List. It's available via anonymous ftp at 

Special thanks to Bob O'Connor for this list and the accompanying comments! Bob is an independent consultant specializing in a variety of operating systems. He welcomes comments and additions to this list and can be reached at just�[email protected]


NEXTSTEP In Focus, Fall 1993 (Volume 3, Issue 4). 
Copyright  ̄1993 by NeXT Computer, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.


New developer journalÐNXApp

Beginning in December of 1993, NeXT is publishing a new technical journal especially for developers. NXAppÐNEXTSTEP Developer Journal provides timely technical information for anyone who develops for NEXTSTEPÐthird-party product developers, consultants, and corporate developers. It's available quarterly by subscription.

What's in it

NXApp addresses a variety of NEXTSTEP development topics. It provides higher-level overviews of the kit architectures and guidance on their intended use, as well as details about particular kits and tools. It includes design guidance, such as object-oriented application and user-interface design; it also discusses compliance with NEXTSTEP interface guidelines. For developers of third-party NEXTSTEP software products it gives tips on marketing NEXTSTEP products. And for all developers it lists programming tools and resources available from NeXT and elsewhere. 

Articles that describe code or examples are accompanied by well-written and commented sample code, which is included on a disk that comes with each issue.

How to get it

NXApp is distributed primarily through subscriptions, which cost $150 per year ($200 outside the U.S.) for four issues. Each member of the Registered Developer and Registered Consultant programs receives a free subscription. Premium Developer Support sites receive two free subscriptions yearly.

In addition, an on-line version of each issue is available through NeXTanswers.

To subscribe to NXApp, call 1-800-848-NeXT and press option 4. From outside the U.S., call +1-415-424-8500. 

Correction: Editing driver bundles

In the article ªThe Big SetupÐBehind the Scenes of Configureº in the Spring 1993 issue, we said that you could edit device driver bundles under the technical guidance of NeXT. This is incorrect. Never edit device driver bundles. Only the Configure application should make any changes to these directories. If Configure can't configure a driver properly, report the problem immediately so that we can fix it.

Before you report a bug, you can check first to see if it really is a bug by starting up your system with a default configuration. When the system starts, type the following at the boot: prompt:

-s config=Default

If the default configuration doesn't work, report the problem to NeXT Support or send e-mail to [email protected] 

How to talk to NeXT

You can reach NeXT several different ways. We look forward to hearing from you!

To reach NeXT in North America

Information, product registration, and order status

n	To get NeXT literature or find the location of your nearest NeXT sales office or reseller, call 1-800-TRY-NeXT.

n	To order or find out about support products, or to register new NeXT products and warranties, call 1-800-848-NeXT and press option 4, fax (415) 363-5188, or write us at:

	Customer Support 
	NeXT Computer, Inc.
	900 Chesapeake Drive
	Redwood City, CA 94063 

n	For order status, call 1-800-848-NeXT and press option 5 or fax 1-800-228-NeXT.

Technical support

n	For information on many technical topics, use NeXTanswers, a free automated information retrieval system. To use it by e-mail, send mail with the subject ªHELPº to  [email protected] To use it by anonymous ftp, connect to To use it by fax using a touch-tone phone, call (415) 780-3990 (within the U.S. only). 

n	For technical support through the System Support or Developer Hotline, call 1-800-848-NeXT and press option 4, or send e-mail to [email protected] (There's a charge for this support.)

n	To comment on quality of support, e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] You can also fax comments to (415) 363-5188.


n	Send comments about this journal by e-mail to [email protected], or by U.S. mail:

	NeXT Computer, Inc.
	900 Chesapeake Drive
	Redwood City, CA 94063

n	To subscribe to NEXTSTEP In Focus, in North America call 1-800-848-NeXT and press option 4. If you're calling from outside North America, call (510) 732-5069. 


n	To register for or to inquire about training in North America, call 1-800-848-NeXT and press option 2. If you're calling from outside North America, call (510) 732-5069.

Reporting bugs

n	To report NEXTSTEP software problems and suspected bugs, send e-mail to 
	[email protected] (Use BugNeXT in /NextDeveloper/Demos.)

To reach NeXT in Europe

Contact NeXT's European Headquarters by calling or faxing:

	NeXT Computer Germany GmbH
	Oskar-Messter-Strasse 24
	85737 Ismaning
	Telephone: +49/89.996.5310
	Fax: +49/89.961.2392

To reach NeXT in the U.K.

Contact NeXT in the U.K. by sending e-mail to [email protected], or by calling or faxing:

	NeXT Computer U.K. Limited
	Somerville House
	50a Bath Road
	Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 3EE
	United Kingdom
	Telephone: +44 81 565 0005
	Fax: +44 81 565 0016

What's New In Release 3.2

NEXTSTEP In Focus, Fall 1993 (Volume 3, Issue 4). 
Copyright  ̄1993 by NeXT Computer, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

What's New 
in Release 3.2?

NeXT Product Marketing

Release 3.2 offers a variety of enhancements for users and developers. This article gives a brief  overview of what's new.

More fun in the new world

The versions of NEXTSTEP and NEXTSTEP Developer released at this May's NeXTWORLD Expo  were mature software productsÐbut they were also brand new. NEXTSTEP Release 3.1 for NeXT Computers was the second version of the third generation of NEXTSTEP, the fruit of over eight years of development. But while NEXTSTEP Release 3.1 for Intel Processors was based on the same mature technology, it was the first release of NEXTSTEP for the Intel i486¬ and Pentium¦ families of processors.

So the blueprints for the follow-up release of NEXTSTEP had two obvious goalsÐplus 
a kicker. The first goal was to expand on the foundation of Release 3 technology. The second was to widen and improve support for Intel-based PCs. And the kicker was to roll out Insignia Solution's first version of SoftPC to run DOS and Windows applications within a UNIX¬ environment: NEXTSTEP Release 3.2 for Intel Processors.

What's new for users

The user version of Release 3.2 includes the NEXTSTEP CD-ROM, a floppy disk with installation software, and the award-winning NEXTSTEP user documentation: User's Guide, Here's How, Installing and Configuring NEXTSTEP Release 3.2 for Intel Processors, and Upgrading to Release 3.2.


Because the first goal for Release 3.2 was to add quality and features to an already solid product, NeXT sought the advice of people like you: NEXTSTEP users. The result was a prioritized list of over 500 bugs that have been fixed in Release 3.2. You'll find new on-line help in the Print Manager application and in the developer mode of the Edit applicationÐin addition to the existing help in Edit's user mode. 

Widening support for Intel-based PCs

The software for installing and configuring NEXTSTEP on Intel-based PCs has been rewritten from the ground up. For the first time you can load the device driver you need to install NEXTSTEP during installationÐeven if the driver for your SCSI adapter or hard disk controller comes on a floppy disk. You can use the new version of the Upgrader application to upgrade your Intel-based computers from Release 3.1 to Release 3.2, with the same easy user interface NeXT computer users have enjoyed since Release 3.0. And the architecture is in place so that if you manage a large site, you'll soon be able to install NEXTSTEP from a network server (with tools NeXT will release after Release 3.2 ships).

All the device drivers bundled with NEXTSTEP for Intel Processors have been rewritten, so they're more reliable and have many new features. There are several new audio drivers in Release 3.2, for Compaq¬ Business Audio, the Microsoft Sound System, and the Intel GX/Professional on-board sound system. Support for 32-bit display drivers has been expanded to include more RAMDACs and resolutions for the ATI Graphics Ultra Pro and S3 805 device drivers, as well as support for the S3 928. And you'll find it easier to take advantage of these features with the new version of Configure.


Perhaps the most eagerly awaited addition to Release 3.2 is the new version of SoftPC, which you can use to run your favorite DOS and Windows applications under NEXTSTEP. (See ªThe New SoftPCº in this issue).

A demonstration version of SoftPC is bundled on the NEXTSTEP CD-ROM. If you like what you see, you can unlock the demo into a full working version by calling Insignia Solutions and purchasing a license number.

What's new for developers

NEXTSTEP Developer Release 3.2 includes the NEXTSTEP Developer CD-ROM and all six printed volumes in the NEXTSTEP Developer's Library (which are also bundled on the CD-ROM).

Release 3.2 features major improvements to the Header Viewer and Project Builder applications, a new demonstration application called File Merge, improvements to the GDB debugger and C++ support, as well as the same kinds of quality-inspired bug fixes and performance enhancements as you'll find in the user version of NEXTSTEP.

Changes to Header Viewer

The two most noticeable improvements to the Header Viewer application are the new Update command and the Kit Filter preference setting.

When you create a new version of precompiled headers, you can use Header Viewer's new Update command to reload themÐwithout having to quit and restart Header Viewer. You'll find this particularly useful if you work with dynamically changing object libraries.

You can control how much information appears when you're browsing a kit with Header Viewer's new Kit Filter preference setting. You can use it to filter out object classes that aren't directly defined by the kit you're browsing. For example, if you're browsing the Database Kit¦, you can view just the Database Kit object classes and screen out the Application Kit¦ object classes.

These and the rest of Header Viewer's features are described in the complete on-line 
documentation, included for the first time in Release 3.2.

Changes to Project Builder

The new version of Project Builder includes more powerful searching tools, new support for building distributed objects (DO) and portable distributed objects (PDO), and improved bundle support.

You can find all instances of a word or string in files that live in different project categories with Finder Mode, a new view option in the Project Builder main window. For example, you can search for a word or string in both the object header and implementation files within a project.

With Project Builder's new Tools project type, you can build programs that aren't dependent on the NEXTSTEP graphical user interface, so they don't use standard Application Kit event-loop processing. This means you can build object services that run on a network and can be accessed by client applications through distributed objects and portable distributed objects. You can also use this feature to build standard UNIX command-line programs that don't interact with the Window Server.

The new version of Project Builder can communicate via portable distributed objects with non-NEXTSTEP computers, so you can build objects and applications in the target environment remotely, from your local NEXTSTEP computer. (Of course, you've always been able to build objects and applications remotely on NEXTSTEP computers.) This means you can build object services for servers from a NEXTSTEP client, using the same Project Builder facilities as you use for NEXTSTEP applications.

If you create applications that use bundles, you'll appreciate Project Builder's increased support for modifying their attributes. For example, you're no longer limited to just the .bundle extensionÐyou can now create extensions unique to your application.

A new demo: File Merge

File Merge appears for the first time in Release 3.2. Since it's a work in progress, it's included as a demonstration application for now, but it will become a fully supported application in a future release.

File Merge is a graphical tool for comparing two files or directories. You can see at a glance which lines or files have been added, deleted, or modified. You can also merge two files into a new file, using the mouse to select which lines in the originals you want to include. For example, you can use File Merge to see immediately what's changed in different source branches. Then you can merge the changes with a few clicks of the mouse. 

Other enhancements for developers

One feature dropped in NEXTSTEP Developer Release 3.1 was GDB data breakpoints, because the implementation in Release 3.0 was platform dependent. A platform-independent implementation has been added in Release 3.2Ðand it's actually more accurate than the earlier, platform-dependent version.

You'll find the GNU ++ library and matching on-line documentation in Release 3.2. And for the first time the GNU sources are included on the NEXTSTEP Developer CD-ROM.

What else is new?

This article only summarizes the new features you'll find in NEXTSTEP and NEXTSTEP Developer Release 3.2. Be sure to read your release notes for details. And let us know what you think! 

You can find out more about NEXTSTEP by calling 1-800-848-NeXT within the U.S., or by calling your local NeXT representative.

The New SoftPC

NEXTSTEP In Focus, Fall 1993 (Volume 3, Issue 4). 
Copyright  ̄1993 by NeXT Computer, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

The New SoftPC

Bob Lawton

NeXT has worked closely with Insignia Solutions to bring a high-quality, high-performance emulation application to NEXTSTEP for Intel Processors.

You may have read about it in the press. . .now check  it out for yourself in NEXTSTEP Release 3.2. By running all your Windows applications inside a NEXTSTEP window, you can have the best of both worlds, in one seamlessly integrated environment!


In the 1990s, a major shift is occurring as corporations move from mainframes to client/server networks. Factors responsible for this evolution include the economics of low-cost MIPS on workstations and PCs, high-speed networking, the arrival of advanced 32-bit operating systems like NEXTSTEP, and a new generation of client/server applications.

The problem: Incompatibility

Even as the technology evolves, 90 percent of personal productivity applications, including spreadsheets, desktop publishing programs, and word processors, run on DOS or Windows. Abandoning these applications and the PC infrastructure that supports them would be costly and time-consuming.

What's needed is a bridge between the two environments. Such a bridge must allow users on workstations and PCs to access data created on DOS and Windows and to run their legacy applications. Companies depend on the PC infrastructure, with its many applications, vendors, and industry-wide standards. They need to preserve the investment they've made in their DOS and Windows environments. 

The solution: Emulation

EmulationÐthe ability to make one computer behave like anotherÐis the bridge. SoftPC from Insignia Solutions provides an emulation bridge by bringing DOS and Windows compatibility to NEXTSTEP. SoftPC provides 100 percent DOS and Windows software compatibility. In effect, SoftPC creates a virtual PC within NEXTSTEP.

In a window or full screen

SoftPC for NEXTSTEP for Intel Processors can run in two modes: Window and full screen. 

In window mode, SoftPC runs in a window within the regular NEXTSTEP workspace, so that DOS or Windows applications run side by side with NEXTSTEP applications. 

In full screen mode, SoftPC takes over the whole screen, so the computer looks as if it's running DOS or Windows. However, NEXTSTEP applications continue to run in the background, and you can flip back to window mode anytime you want to use a NEXTSTEP application. Full screen mode provides near native performance of DOS and Windows applications.

Cutting and pasting

In window mode you can cut and paste text between NEXTSTEP and Windows applications, just as you do between NEXTSTEP applications. You can even copy graphics from Windows to NEXTSTEP, but not from NEXTSTEP to Windows. (Some display drivers may not support cutting and pasting.)

Note: Full screen mode currently doesn't support cutting and pasting between Windows or DOS and NEXTSTEP applications. 

Compatibility with existing applications

SoftPC supports all real and standard mode DOS and Windows DPMI (DOS Protected Mode Interface) compliant applicationsÐmost DOS and Windows applications run in real or standard mode, or are DPMI compliant. 

The current version of SoftPC doesn't run Windows in enhanced mode, so applications that require either enhanced mode or complete hardware controlÐfor example, other operating systems like OS/2¬ and Windows NT�¦Ðaren't currently supported.

Insignia's extensive testing program ensures compatibility with the latest versions of the most popular DOS and Windows applications. 

SoftPC also includes networking support through SoftNode, which supports Novell NetWare¬ (SPX/IPX) and Novell LAN Work�place¬ (TCP/IP).

Running applications

You can launch DOS applications directly from the NEXTSTEP workspaceÐSoftPC automatically starts up and runs whatever DOS application you double-click. You can run additional DOS applications at the same time by running additional copies of SoftPC.

To run Microsoft Windows applications, you launch SoftPC from the NEXTSTEP workspace, and then start up Windows in either window mode or full screen modeÐyou can set a default mode in AUTOEXEC.BAT . Once Windows is running, you launch Windows applications from the Windows File Manager or Program Manager as usual. 

Because SoftPC supports the complete Microsoft Windows 3.1 environment, you can run as many Windows applications as you want within a single SoftPC session.


SoftPC takes advantage of the native Intel processor to maximize performance. Unlike SoftPC for NeXT computers, the Intel version doesn't emulate a CPU; instead, applications interact directly with the hardware. As a result, many DOS and Windows applications perform as well under NEXTSTEP as they would on a high-end 80386 or low-end i486 computer.

Insignia has worked with NeXT to increase not only raw CPU performance but also graphics performance. For example in window mode, SoftPC uses a NeXT-developed technology to improve the performance of applications. This technology allows SoftPC to access the graphics display frame buffer directly for highest performance.

Even better, in full screen mode SoftPC directly accesses the built-in VGA graphics hardware. This allows applications to run with nearly the same performance as on a regular Windows or DOS system. 

Future directions

SoftPC provides the equivalent of a PC/AT running in the NEXTSTEP environment. Insignia and NeXT have optimized SoftPC to provide the best PC emulation possible. Currently, NeXT and Insignia are exploring ways to further accelerate applications running under NEXTSTEP. n

Bob Lawton is Program Manager of NEXTSTEP for Intel Processors. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] Thanks to Insignia Solutions for providing information for this article. You can contact Insignia at 1-800-848-7677 (outside the U.S., +1-415-694-7600).

Feature Summary for Insignia's SoftPC Solution

Feature	Support
Real mode	Supported

Protected mode	Supported-DPMI compliant only

Math co-processor	Supported

Expanded memory	0 to 32 MB

Extended memory	1 to 16 MB

DDE and OLE	Supported between Windows applications within a SoftPC Windows session

Floppy disk drives	1.44 MB and 720 KB 3.5" floppies

Hard disk drives	C: and D: via container files, with a single NEXTSTEP file for the entire DOS drive; local DOS partition supported as D drive

FSA drives	E: through Z: host file system access (NEXTSTEP file system)

Video in a window	VGA text mode only; CGA text and CGA graphics supported

Full screen mode	VGA text and VGA graphics supported; Windows supported at VGA resolution; not supported on all systems	

Printing	Full support through UNIX lpr; supports PostScript, printers and includes HP, LaserJet, emulation

Parallel ports	LPT1 and LPT2 SoftPC output supported; direct access to parallel ports not yet supported

Serial ports	COM1 and COM2 direct access to serial ports supported

Keyboard	101/102-key AT-style keyboard; US, UK, French, and German keyboards supported

Mouse	Microsoft Bus Mouse compatible; DOS mouse and Windows mouse supported

MS-DOS	Includes Version 5.0

Microsoft Windows	Includes an optimized Insignia version of Windows 3.1, standard mode only; supports Windows in a NEXTSTEP window and full screen mode

Network	Novell NetWare IPX and Novell LAN Workplace DOS TCP/IP

PC CD-ROMs	MSCDEX shipped with SoftPC, supported for data only (audio playback through NEXTSTEP)

NEXTSTEP Display Modes	Supports 2-bit grayscale and 16-bit color

Sound	Limited support

On-line help	Supported