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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.

PSA: Apple betrayed you all. Abandon Apple ASAP. We're currently looking into alternative 'free' platforms. Your biggest threat now to your personal autonomy is Apple.

Rixstep are a constellation of systems 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.

Seventeen years into the venture, the Apple Core Project (ACP) already sports a specially designed Cocoa application architecture, a turbo file manager under 50 KB [sic], and another 100+ lean and mean utilities and tools for OS X / 'macOS'.

Already with hundreds of thousands of downloads and widespread media coverage, CLIX is the runaway most popular ACP application, voted the #1 power tool Apple's OS 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 platform become more tangible. A 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 application is macTag, 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 noticeably easier.

Bad Boys

We're the bad boys of the platform. We consistently speak truth to power. We're favourited by the 'white hats' who want a platform to highlight security vulnerabilities that Apple want to keep hidden. We militantly oppose Apple's cancellation of their Darwin 'open source' project, we militantly oppose Apple's attempt to 'wall in' their platform with code-signing, 'CodeResources', and the general overall policy of Apple's controversial App Store. We continue to provide the most lean and mean (and powerful) applications, and openly deride the move to Swift, which we find an unnecessary and abysmal programming language. And we hate fanboys.


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 represented 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, it's still far ahead of anything anyone else can today offer.

App Store, Gatekeeper

Apple's App Store is not a good marketplace. Gatekeeper is false security and an encumbrance.

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 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.


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 10.14 Mojave still runs away from the field at blistering speed.


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

Fighting Apple's XAs

Things started nicely enough - replacing Apple's 'beige' resource fork and file info with extended attributes that were close to industry standard. But they lost control of the wheel and veered off the road.

Starting as an obnoxious inconvenience, Apple's extended attributes have morphed into so much more: today they're essentially the 'walls' of Apple's infamous 'walled garden'.

Rixstep categorically refuse to be intimidated by this nonsense and, to that end, have developed and released a number of utilities over the years to combat, counteract, and neutralise Apple in that regard.

The utilities include CandS, Changes, Keymaster, Lightman, and XaBatch, along with a command-line administration version.

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' and to give people, who are unfortunately stuck on an Apple platform, a sporting chance.

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 will never let outside parties exercise software control or interference.

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.

About Rixstep

Stockholm/London-based 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. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

Rixstep and Radsoft products are or have been in use by Sweden's Royal Mail, Sony/Ericsson, the US Department of Defense, the offices of the US Supreme Court, the Government of Western Australia, the German Federal Police, Verizon Wireless, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Corporation, the New York Times, Apple Inc, Oxford University, and hundreds of research institutes around the globe. See here.

All Content and Software Copyright © Rixstep. All Rights Reserved.

John Cattelin
Media Contact
ACP/Xfile licences
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