Ye Ole NextSTEP connections

lighthouse design - diagram

I was reading something on the internet today, about Unit Testing, and how it is ‘teh suck‘. The post was by the infamouse Wil Shipley, ex OMNI developer.

Inside the post he makes a strange connection, that I didn’t know about. “Why is this important?” It just goes to show how the NextSTEP community was small and connected? “Ok, still, why is this important?” Well, I used to REALLY be into NextSTEP with my buddy Steve and we used to think those guys at OMNI were ‘da bomb’.

Here is the connection:

Wil mentions that he started out writing unit tests at ‘Lighthouse Design’. Aha. I don’t remember that in his bio. It explains how he knew who wrote Diagram!, the best diagramming app in the world. It explains how Omni built its direct descendant so quickly, OmniGraffle. Oh, and uh, it is the number one selling app for Omni.

What else did Wil say? Well he talks about Jonathan Schwartz, the now president of the flailing Sun Microsystems. He says that Jon was the CEO of the afforementioned Lighthouse Design. Wow, I didn’t know that. I saw that this guy was President/CEO or whatever, but that never came through. Lighthouse was acquired by Sun in the 90’s when Sun was toying with using Openstep as their new desktop. (I tried installing Openstep on a Sun Sparc 5 back in 1997, unsuccessfully. I didn’t try to hard since the machine wasn’t so good in the video department. Read: Really F’n Slow). Anyways, what an interesting connection.

In fact… ye ole Bob Congdon remarks about this and I missed it. (Bob was part of the small team that wrote Lotus Improv, the first Spreadsheet for the Next. A slightly radical departure from the old Lotus 123/Excel styles of the day. He worked at IBM and is now in Redmond working for Microsoft). Here is his post and recollection of the failure to bring any of those great apps to light.

Behold! In the post, what does he mention? The long forgotten IFC! Read Bob’s blog for the link. Wow. Jayson Adams did that lib. It wasn’t long ago where I saw him driving around in his convertable in Menlo Park going to Cafe Borrone (sp?). I think Jayson did well on the IFC deal (good for him!). How is this interesting? My friend Steve used to work for one of Jayson’s companies up in the city called ‘Farcast’ which got renamed ‘Inquisit’. He doesn’t mention Farcast in his bio, but it looks as though he is back up in SF.

And the beat goes on…

Sidebar: If you ever want to see me getting misty eyed, mention the old days of computing. Old Macs or Old Next machines and coders exploring the new frontiers on such excellent hardware/software…. systems!

Sidebar 2: Bud Tribble is back at Apple. Bud was also at Next. Bud was also at Sun. Bud was also on the original, core Macintosh team.

Sidebar 3: These ex-Next’ers are in high places and powerful.

Sidebar 4: Does anyone have the old PBS documentary on the start of NeXT before they went public??

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