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Welcome to Rixstep. Where business is the usual. Where the industry is watched because it needs watching. Where software products are watched for the same reason. Where you can actually unbelievably enough learn things. And where you'll find heaps of serious software, some of it even for free.

Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. The Rixstep domain was registered in May 2002 and went online in October of the same year. It is wholly owned and run by the Bloatbusters.

Rixstep software is the antithesis of 'REALbasic' programming. It's the original 'extreme programming', with many years experience behind the current effort and credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, SAAB Defence Systems, IBM, Microsoft, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, and Sony/Ericsson.

Fifteen years into the venture the AppleCore Project already sports a specially designed Cocoa application architecture, a complete file manager under 50 KB [sic], and another 100+ lean and mean utilities and tools for OS X.

Already with hundreds of thousands of downloads and widespread media coverage, CLIX is the runaway most popular ACP application, voted the #1 power tool for OS X by iCreate Magazine. Also in the running are the ACP Web Services which totally bypass the need for separate applications or widgets when accessing the Internet.

More and more the power and elegance of the Xfile System has been recognised as the threats and vulnerabilities of the OS X platform become more tangible. A recent well received addition to the ACP is Tracker which monitors what's happening to the filesystem and what applications, benign or otherwise, are doing to it. Another break-through app is Rixtag which makes sense of, and adds intelligence to, the otherwise paraplegic Apple system of applying labels to files and directories, and makes generic searches and overall management so much easier.

UNIX™, NeXTSTEP, OPENSTEP, Mac OS X, OS X, macOS

Unix was the big breakthrough of the 1970s, straight into a world dominated by rugged yet sluggish IBM mainframe systems. Unix made concepts such as 'stream of bytes' and 'hierarchical file system' commonplace.

NeXTSTEP represents the by far most productive years in the career of Steve Jobs. Banished to 'Siberia' by an Apple CEO that refused to go away, Jobs finally set out to find the 'best of the best' and ultimately found it. His own estimation that NeXTSTEP was five years ahead of its time was woefully conservative: in many ways, NeXTSTEP is still far ahead of anything Apple are today prepared to offer.

'macOS' 10.12 'Sierra' is today, unfortunately, a mess. And arguably is beyond repair. The total neglect of the core OS by an increasingly 'mobilised' Apple, together with a favouritism shown to designers who want only 'thinner thinner thinner', at the expense of engineers who'd rather have 'smarter smarter smarter', seems to add the right parenthesis to a period when Apple took the lead in market cap. And with Microsoft now entering the hardware market, 'Apples & lemons' can finally be compared, the only obstacle bring the eminently hackable 'Windows 10' that still uses 'C:\' and way too much 32-bit code.

App Store, Gatekeeper

Apple's App Store is an insult to ISVs, Gatekeeper is an insult to end users. End of.

White Hats

Although Rixstep are programmers and not security researchers per se, their relationship with the latter in the industry has always been good and in fact they're the only 'outsiders' the authors of Opener, Oompa Loompa, and other OS X exploits have consistently communicated with. This gives Rixstep an unique advantage in assessing risks to OS X and the purported cures for these risks. Rixstep journalistic integrity - not picking sides but always seeking the truth - played a major part in establishing this reputation.

CLIX

CLIX is what first put Rixstep 'on the map'. An onomatopoeic acronym for Command Line Interface for OS X, CLIX harnesses the BSD subsystem's power in a 'Rolodex' graphic user interface, making it an indispensable tool for both the seasoned techie and the productive newbie.

Xfile

OS X users are more and more tired of waiting for Apple to 'FTFF'. And it's been noted than when recruiting new blood to help out, Apple have in their own online advertisements referred to the application as 'notorious' - anything but an understatement. And when searching for alternatives, Mac users do not want yet another perhaps even more bloated file browser. And as with IT pros, they want a fast, lean and mean, 'show it all' file manager. And so they got Xfile.

Previous PPC-only versions of Xfile for Panther and earlier have proven perfect for use on 'older' computers where otherwise things just get too slow. And Xfile for Leopard and beyond is the only file browser for OS X that is ready today for all possible file systems - including devfs, ZFS, and the coming APFS. Xfile for 10.12 Sierra still runs away from the field at blistering speed.

Rixtag

Rixtag is the latest addition to the ACP, the result of nearly three years of research. Rixtag is more of an 'end-user' application, but no less important, and certainly no less challenging to implement.

Content is King

The entire Rixstep site is optimised for content. No scripting, cookies, or advertisements are used - not even in the weekly newsletters - operations being financed solely by online software sales and donations.

The Client is King

Updates and new versions are a method for software companies to get more money from paying customers - often without justification. Vendors hold back on crucial updates, waiting for things to build up, then drop it all on the market at once, and offer their current clients a (ahem) 'discount'.

Such fanfares are often followed by a flurry of additional updates (for once at no additional cost) with miles upon miles of 'fixes' that should have been addressed beforehand.

The Rixstep team, as with the Radsoft team before them, do not approve of such methods. The client is king and must remain king. Rixstep software, the so-called ACP or AppleCore Project, is a project and remains so. It is not run by a profit motive, but seeks only to 'make ends meet'.

Rixstep 'fixes' are rare, if not nonexistent, because there are almost never any bugs to fix. Vendors should test products properly before release, not after.

'Shareware' methods are strictly verboten. 'Shareware' implies intrusion, and software welcomed as a guest on someone's computer must never abuse that goodwill. Shareware technologies to curb extended use necessitate extra code that has nothing to do with the application domain at hand. It's stealth, it's sloppy, it's irresponsible, and it's unethical.

Rixstep offer hundreds of applications, but only two 'products': the ACP, which is literally everything that leaves the 'factory', and Xfile, which is a subset dealing solely with file system management. A free Test Drive is also available.

To keep up with expenses, all that's asked is a two-year renewal fee after the first year of support. This fee is $14.50 per year for the ACP, and $9.50 per year for Xfile.

Both these products have seen their application counts double, treble, and more over the years, at no additional cost.

Finally, Rixstep will never consent to outside parties, including Apple's 'App Store', exercising software control.

Apple will maintain NeXT's commitment to cross-platform and cross-processor support, and will continue to develop, sell, and support products currently available, including those for Windows NT, Solaris, HP-UX, and NEXTSTEP. In addition, we plan to add support with Rhapsody on PowerPC processors. Cross platform support for WebObjects and OpenStep aligns perfectly with Apple's overall strategy of moving core software technologies such as QuickTime cross platform.

We firmly believe that Apple's acquisition of NeXT will increase the market acceptance for the NeXT technology in which you've invested time, resources, and money. Apple is firmly committed to enhancing, selling, and supporting this technology in the future, and to providing NeXT customers with innovative technology for cross-platform development of mission-critical, enterprise solutions.

We were, in a phrase, complete Mac heads. When installation finished, we were presented with what I believe is the most beautiful computer interface ever designed. As a 12 year user of the Macintosh, I'm afraid I must admit that the NeXT interface is better. I prefer it to my Mac. The truly unbelievable aspect of this is that now your application will run under Windows 95, Windows NT, Openstep for Mach on Intel, Openstep for Mach on Motorola, Openstep for Sun, Rhapsody for PPC, Rhapsody for Intel, and soon, the MacOS.
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