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OpenStep was an object-oriented application programming interface (API) specification for an object-oriented operating system used by many modern operating systems, developed principally by NeXT with Sun Microsystems. OPENSTEP (all capitalized) was a specific implementation of the OpenStep API developed by NeXT.[1]. While originally built on a Mach-based Unix (such as the core of NeXTSTEP), versions of OPENSTEP were available for Solaris and Windows NT as well. The software libraries that shipped with OPENSTEP are a superset of the original OpenStep specification.



The OpenStep API was created as the result of a 1993 collaboration between NeXT and Sun Microsystems, allowing this cut-down version of NeXT's NeXTSTEP operating system object layers to be run on Sun's Solaris operating system (more specifically, Solaris on SPARC-based hardware). Most of the OpenStep effort was to strip away those portions of NeXTSTEP that depended on Mach or NeXT-specific hardware being present. This resulted in a smaller system that consisted primarily of Display PostScript, the Objective-C runtime and compilers, and the majority of the NeXTSTEP Objective-C libraries. Not included was the basic operating system, or the display system.

The first draft of the API was published by NeXT in summer 1994. Later that year they released an OpenStep compliant version of their flagship operating system NeXTSTEP, rebranded as OPENSTEP and supported on several of their platforms as well as Sun SPARC systems. The official OpenStep API, published in September 1994, was the first to split the API between Foundation and Application Kit and the first to use the "NS" prefix.[2] OPENSTEP remained NeXT's primary operating system product until they were purchased by Apple Computer in 1996. OPENSTEP was then combined with technologies from the existing Mac OS to produce Mac OS X.

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