Post-Install and Patching

Now you'll boot into the final set up phase, where you can choose a language and a keyboard layout. For a standard qwerty keyboard you'll want the USA layout. If you're using a NeXT keyboard with an adapter you'll still want the USA layout, because the adapter maps the keys to standard USB keys.

Confirm your selections, and congratulations! You have an OPENSTEP system!

You'll probably get a warning about the floppy being unreadable, just click eject and then OK on the next alert that pops up. We'll fix that in a bit.

This is cool, but our screen is tiny and monochrome. We need the right drivers.

Before we get started, take a look at how the desktop is arranged. Instead of a menu across the top like macOS or the bottom like Windows, there's a menu on the left side. That menu changes depending on the active program, right now we're in the Workspace. The icons on the right are like the dock in macOS, you can add your favorite programs and launch them from there.

Let's install the last patch and get the proper drivers running.

Click on the Disk menu, then Eject to eject our install CD. The menu stays open until you click on Disk again.

Now go to the virtualbox Devices menu, optical drives, choose disk image, and find the ne2k+os42patch4+vmwarefb.iso image. You should see the NEXT_STUFF CD appear in the File Viewer. At this point you might want to resize the File Viewer window so that we can see everything.

We want the os42machuserpatch.tar file, but we need to extract it on our system. Click and drag it to the me icon to copy it to the home folder. There's no copy dialog to show the progress, but you'll see the word copying show up on the right side of the window. It'll disappear when done copying.

Go to the me folder and double click os42machuserpatch.tar. Click Unarchive. There's no progress bar here either, but it's working. You should see a file with a question mark show up. When it's finished it'll look like the picture below, with a nice cardboard box icon.

Now it's safe to close the Archive Inspector (click the X in the top right corner).

We want to run the patch file but wait, we need privileges to do that. OPENSTEP is based on BSD Unix, so it has user accounts and permissions just like a modern system. To run the file as root, we'll use the OpenSesame service. Select the OS42MachUserPatch4.pkg file by clicking it, then go to the Services menu, OpenSesame, and Open As Root. It'll ask for a password but we haven't set one up yet, so leave it blank and press enter.

Now you can click Install to begin installing the patch. Click Continue when the alerts pop up.

Once it says Installation completed you can click Quit on the left side (or try out the keyboard shortcut, Alt or Option+Q).

Now click log out, then power off. When it says it's safe to power off, reset the machine (Virtualbox Machine menu, Reset).

Once it boots, we'll get the annoying floppy message again, click Eject and then Ok to the next alert.

Navigate to the Configure app by clicking the computer icon, then double clicking the NextAdmin folder. Double click Configure.app to run it.

Notice the .app extension? Did you ever wonder why programs are called apps now? Mac OS X and iOS were based on this and kept the naming convention, now it's used for everything.

Click on the monitor, then select the VESA VBE 2.0 Display Driver and click Add. Under Display Mode, click Select and then find the 1024x768 RGB:888/32 display mode. Click OK.

Click on the globe, select the AMD PCNet-32 PCI Ethernet driver.

Click the speaker, select Sound Blaster 16 PnP.

Click Save, then Quit.

Now let's fix the annoying floppy message. Click log out, then power off. Once it's safe to power off, go to the File menu, Close, and Power off the machine.

Go to Settings for the VM, Storage, click on the floppy controller and remove it. Now start the VM again.

You should be greeted with a bright blue and higher resolution startup screen. That looks better!

There won't be a proper NeXT network, so press Ctrl+C to start up without it.

Go to NextAdmin again, then run SimpleNetworkStarter. Select Use the network, but don't share administrative data. Choose a host name and a static IP on your network. Getting the networking running properly could be a whole other guide, so check out the resources for more info.

You can adjust other settings in the preferences app by double clicking the clock and calendar icon in the dock. You can also set the time and date, it even supports Y2K!

The mouse probably won't feel right unless you're using a NeXT keyboard and mouse. PS/2 and USB mice use much larger values for their movements than NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP were used to, so it'll feel very fast and you'll have to focus on moving it slowly.

From here it's up to you! Check out the Apps and Demos, poke around and see what it's like to use an old (but advanced for the time) operating system. If you'd like to try creating an app you can install the developer tools from the developer ISO. See if you can get it on the network and sharing files via NFS. If you manage to get it on the Internet, just be aware that security was not a priority in those days so don't use it for anything sensitive and keep it behind your router/firewall.

This guide was first published on Mar 15, 2019. It was last updated on Mar 15, 2019. This page (Post-Install and Patching) was last updated on Nov 15, 2019.