The Day that NeXTstep Died: The Lament of NeXTSTEP User Groups International

August 1, 2009 § 1 Comment

NUGI was the grandly named “NeXTSTEP User Groups International” — a last ditch effort by a bunch of NeXT fanatics to maintain interest in a mainstream operating system while NeXT the company was gravitating towards WebObjects and the enterprise. I as a grad student was President, some guy in Europe was Chairman, and that was pretty much all there was to it.

We didn’t succeed, but we built some close relationships with others equally as zany that continue to this day.

And at least we went out with a bang (below). Amazingly, the original post — including audio from the live performance Rohit and I did — is still available on xent.com!

The Day that NeXTstep Died

The Lament of NeXTSTEP User Groups International

by Dr. Ernie

(to the tune of American Pie)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how those demos used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance,
That I could make those markets dance
And maybe they’d buy NeXTSTEP for a while
But competition made it wither, and vendors vanished in the ether
Changing to OpenStep; they couldn’t take that Last Step.
I can’t remember if I cried when I read about “Windows Inside.”
I felt like a widowed bride the day that NeXTSTEP died
So…

Chorus:
Bye, bye to the n-u-g-i
Went from Lavin to Barello but it just wouldn’t fly
Saw Conrad gone and Darren shifted aside
Thinking this will be the way that we die
This’ll be the way that we die

Did you write the book of flubs,
Do you have faith in Steven Jobs
If NeXTanswers tells you so?
Now, do you believe in PDO? Can WebObjects save your CIO?
Or, should I wait for N-E-O?
Well I know that you’re in love with Bill,
’cause I saw you climb that Windows hill.
You both run on Intel. Man I dig that visual shell!
Ooh, I was a lonely academic rube; with a campus net and a resold cube
But I knew I was doomed to lose, the day that NeXTSTEP died
I started singing…

[chorus]

Now for ten years we’ve had ups and downs
Following the venture clowns
But that’s not how it was meant to be
When the Steppers sang of “Vision in Black”
And Scott got paid for the Stuart hacks
And optic drives were replaced for free
But while they worked on PowerPCs
The bottom dropped on hardware fees
The factory got burned, all of us were spurned
Bud Tribble went to see the Sun, and PVC was the golden one
Do you recall all that was done the day that NeXTSTEP died?
That’s why we’re singing…

[chorus]

And there we were all in Moscone, a community without a home
And no one left to start again
So come on Wendy Mattson, Rob MacKim, Dr. E and that Khare kid, plus
Andy our remaining vendor friend.
And as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No users aching need, could vie with corporate greed
And as the prices climbed way outta sight
And all of us called it a night
I heard Crispin laughing with delight
The day that NeXTSTEP died
And he was singing…

[chorus]

I met a man who wrote some code
And I asked him for a pallete load
But he just smiled and turned away
I went down to the campus store
Where I’d bought NeXTSTEP years before
But the man there said that NeXTSTEP didn’t pay.
And on the Net, the vendors screamed,
The users cried, and consultants dreamed
But no one asked for teamwork
NeXT only talked to Dreamworks
And the vendors I considered sages,
RightBrain and AppSoft, and even Pages
Went off to work for better wages
The day that NeXTSTEP died.

And they were singing…
Bye-bye to the n-u-g-i
Tried to network, tried petitions but it just wouldn’t fly
And at the end it just was Rohit and I
Saying, “This is now the day that it dies.”

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