I was going through a box and found some CD-ROMs of old NeXT software. On a lark, I thought I would stick one in and see what happened. Well, Mac OS X recognized the app, gave it an icon, but with an overlay.
Starting up the application offers that the application cannot open because it is not supported on “this architecture” so that begs a very interesting question. The original architecture for the NeXT cubes and slabs was old motorola 68000 chips. The self-same motorola chips that Apple was using in their Mac II machines, which honestly boggled me at the time because of how much better the NeXT systems were when compared to the Mac II, in my experience.
However, most later applications offered fat binaries, essentially just the ‘app’ directory contained distinct compiled binaries for each architecture. Along with the motorola 68000 binaries, NeXT fat binaries often included PA-RISC and Intel.
So, do old NeXT apps for intel work on the new intel Mac OS X boxen?
For the most part it just wouldn’t matter, since the old apps are mostly curiosities now. The one app that I couldn’t live without was Diagram, but that has been replaced on my Mac by Omnigroup’s OmniGraffle, which for the longest time I called OmniGiraffe for some reason. In the back of my head, I do think about WordPerfect, although I doubt I’d use it, prefering to place my hope in some future native OpenOffice to replace Microsoft Office or if Apple keeps working on iWork. Of course, I also have InDesign, which I have yet to touch …
Yeah, okay, it’s just pure geeky curiosity then.