Installing NextStep OS (OpenStep) in VirtualBox

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39 Responses

  1. Jerry Coggins says:

    Nice job. I got through everything fine until running unarchive on the tar file. That didn’t seem to work. Any ideas?

    • Jason says:

      I’m not 100% sure why it wouldn’t work. In all honestly I wrote this quite a while ago so I haven’t done it myself in a while. I do remember that there wasn’t a progress bar during that extraction so I just let it go and eventually it finished. I didn’t think it was doing anything when after quite a while it finished and the extracted file showed up. Are you getting an error message or does it look like nothing’s happening? If it’s the later, I’d just let it sit for a while and see if that works. I don’t remember how long it took for me, but I remember it was longer than it should have been.

  2. Eric Knudstrup says:

    Wondering why NAT won’t work? Thinking I’d like to try to get a simple DHCP client to compile on it.

  3. Velek says:

    Is there a way to get the files out of the packages? I’d like to look at the example application source files and I can’t get networking up. Says netinfod is looking for its parent and won’t even finish booting.

  4. Not sure I am stating the obvious here: AFAIK OpenStep doesn’t support DHCP. At least I remember always using static IP addresses. Maybe that is also the reason why NAT won’t work?

  5. Lionel says:

    Anyone hitting this error after selecting the device drivers (twice):

    Load of /etc/mach_init. errno2, trying /etc/init
    Load of /etc/init failed, errno 2

  6. Thomas Taylor says:

    I am using Virtual Box.
    I had to setup the two drives as Primary Master and Secondary Master for it to work.

  7. Fergus Hammond says:

    Thanks for these instructions! Very useful and it means that I won’t go out and try to buy a real NeXT!

    The instructions worked until I got to the patch installation. Toward the end of the installation, I get an error that says “You don’t have permission to install some of the files in OS42MachUserPatch4.pkg.pkg (see the Log view).”

    Any suggestions?

    • Lewis says:

      Make sure you type the command su as indicated before typing the command to install the package file. This’ll make you root and allow you to install the package.

  8. andy MACKAY says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, one thing I had to start VM the ISO image mounted or the install failed at the first hurdle.

  9. Matthew White says:


    when i got up to the part where i install the video drivers, i installed the VESA drivers, rebooting, openstep gives me “cant find $LBL” can anyone help me? i dont want to sit and see openstep reinstall again

    again, brilliant tutorial!

    • Graham H says:

      Matthew, I had this too. It happened every time I reset the VM without shutting down OpenStep properly first. Once I shut down first, then reset, it worked like a charm

    • Frank says:

      Same issue here. Working with VMWare Fusion on macOS Catalina

  10. Fitzcarraldo says:

    Thank you for your excellent ‘How To’. Do you happen to know how to install OmniWeb in OpenStep? Version 3.1 of OmniWeb for OpenStep is available to download as a tarball on but I’m not sure how to get it into the virtual machine running OpenStep 4.2, nor how to install it once that is done.

  11. Fitzcarraldo says:

    OK, further to my previous comment, I have worked out how to install OmniWeb 3.1 for OpenStep 4.2. Below is a summary of what I did:

    1. I downloaded OmniWeb-3.1rc1-OSM-NIS.pkg.tar from Web site into a directory ~/OmniWeb/
    2. I created an ISO file:
    $ mkisofs -o OmniWeb.iso ~/OmniWeb
    3. I used ‘Settings’ > ‘Storage’ in VirtualBox to insert the ISO file in the optical drive of the virtual machine.
    4. In ‘File Viewer’ in OpenStep I dragged the file omniweb_.tar from CDROM to /me
    5. I double-clicked on /me/omniweb_.tar and clicked on ‘Unarchive’ to create the file /me/OmniWeb.pkg
    6. I clicked on /me/OmniWeb.pkg and selected ‘Services’ > ‘Open Sesame’ > ‘Open As Root’ from the Workspace menu, then clicked on ‘Login’
    7. In the Installer window I clicked on ‘Install’
    8. was installed in NEXTSTEP > LocalApps > Internet
    9. Double-clicking on launches the browser, which can open e.g.

    I have not played with OmniWeb much so far, but its ability to open modern Web pages appears to be very limited. For example, I cannot open https pages, only http pages.

    • Tom says:

      I tried installing the Omni packages from but they all give an error about missing files and to install from the original floppies. Also, when I try using Open Sesame>Open As Root I get an error saying it can’t open a directory. How did this work for you?

  12. Sacha Tholl says:

    Hi I am trying to get the network working on VirtualBox 6.0.14r133895

    As soon as I try to activate bridged network, NEXTSTEP 4.2 boots and gets stuck at thatnistrator if you need help point:

    see your system administrator if you need help
    nov 16…. MyNEXTSTEPVM netinfod local [105]: unable to bind to parent – RPC Timed out

    Under network (in VB), the following parameters are set:
    Network bridge (unfortunately its in german, I do not know the exact wording here in english)
    Name: Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller

    advanced feature:
    adaptertyp: PCnet-FAST III (Am79C973)
    Promiscous-mode: deny —-> (also: no other VM is running at the same time)
    MAC-Adress: yet a mac adress
    Cable connected : yes

    What other could I say?
    VB is running on windows10 on a lenovo laptop

    So please, If someone has any clue, that would be great,
    Thank you very much in advance

    • Petter Sundlöf says:

      Same issue here. Second time I’ve tried configuring an OPENSTEP machine… doing this on VirtualBox 4.2 on Ubuntu 19.04, and followed this guide by the letter :/

      “Starting RPC and network services: portmapadd net default: gateway

      Still searching for parent network administration (NetInfo) server.
      Please wait, or press ‘c’ to continue without network user accounts.

      See your system administrator if you need help.
      April 17 20:42:42 NEXTSTEP netinfod local[104]: unable to bind to parent – RPC: Timed out
      April 17 20:43:44 NEXTSTEP netinfod local[104]: select failure: interrupted system call”

      Unable to ^c it or anything….

    • Petter Sundlöf says:

      Go into NextAdmin and open, click Local… and under “NetInfo Binding”, select “Use local domain only”. Worked for me for the same issue

  13. Sacha Tholl says:

    Also, there is no way to shutdown NEXTSTEP other than brutally switch off the VM 🙁

    • Rob says:

      In Workspace -> Logout. Then select Power Off from the pop-up. Wait until it says it’s safe to turn off, then power off the machine.

  14. Chad W. says:

    Everything worked for me after a couple of missteps of my own. Some notes.
    – You keep referring to “NetAdmin” it is actually “NextAdmin” no big deal, I figured it out.
    – I was able to get networking working but it does complain about an RPC server and no users being configured. Will work on that…
    – Maybe don’t have statements like “We need to reboot for this to take effect.” and then follow with “But before we do that…” Just do the before we do that step and THEN mention the reboot.

    Anyway, thanks for this, it worked great!

  15. R.T. says:

    Dude this tutorial is dope! I always wanted to know how to install Nextstep, and the floppy boot screen looks very similar in Hackintosh macOS.

  16. kang says:

    aah the memories… thanks!
    Loved nextstep. MacOSX public beta / openstep is also super cool and works in VMs emulating PPC.

  17. biffuz says:

    Nice, I always wanted to play with NextStep.
    Only one thing: please, PLEASE remove the smooth scrolling. It causes dizziness in some people, others totally hate it. There’s an option in the browser for that, if people disable it there’s a reason. Do not force it.

  18. rastersoft says:

    I have a problem with the mouse: it is barely usable. If I move it slowly, it goes fine, but if I move it a little bit faster, the pointer moves too much quick. The configuration app doesn’t seem to allow to configure the acceleration, only the speed.

  19. Frank D says:

    Got Openstep installed but when I launch the OS I get a System Panic that says “vfs_mountroot: cannot mount root”. Any hint on how to get passed this? Thanks.

  20. Howard Owen says:

    I have VirtualBox 6.1 running on MacOS Catalina. My first difficulty involved and inability to mount /etc/init when I tried to install from the developer CD image. The user image worked fine. I got Openstep installed with the patch CD applied, but the OS doesn’t see any display devices. I’ve tried switching between the Oracle VGA and SVGA drivers with the same result. Is anyone experiencing the same difficulty?

  21. Stephen says:

    HI all,
    encountered the below error while installing,
    hc1: LBA supported
    hc1: IORDY supported
    hci: buffer type 3 of 512 sectors
    registering : hc1
    IDESisk : disk 0 is ATAPI
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: No Data Request: 80
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: Packet command failed. Retrying..
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: No Data Request: 80
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: Packet command failed. Retrying..
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: No Data Request: 80
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: Packet command failed. Retrying..
    hc1: ATAPI Device 0: FATAL: Packet command.
    registering: sg0 at sc0
    registering: sg1 at sc0
    registering: sg2 at sc0
    registering: sg3 at sc0
    registering: event0
    registering: kmDevice0
    No DC-ROM drive found
    use sd%d, hd%d, fd%d, en%d or tr%d
    root device?

    I’m using Windows10 and VirtualBox 6.1.

    appreciate you advice.


  22. Stephen says:

    HI everyone,

    is there any integrated mouse pointer for NeXTSTep 3.3/Openstep and NTP or method for the time sync to host OS?

    Thanks & Regards

  1. September 18, 2019

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