Brad J. Cox designed the Objective-C language in the early 1980s. The language was based on a language called Smalltalk-80. Objective-C was layered on top of the C language, meaning that extensions were added to C to create a new programming language that enabled objects to be created and manipulated.
NeXT Software licensed the Objective-C language in 1988 and developed its libraries and a development environment called NEXTSTEP. In 1992, Objective-C support was added to the Free Software Foundation’s GNU development environment. The copyrights for all Free Software Foundation (FSF) products are owned by the FSF. It is released under the GNU General Public License.
On December 20, 1996, Apple Computer announced that it was acquiring NeXT Software, and the NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP environment became the basis for the next major release of Apple’s operating system, OS X. Apple’s version of this development environment was called Cocoa.
With built-in support for the Objective-C language, coupled with development tools such as Project Builder and Interface Builder, Apple created a powerful development environment for application development on Mac OS X.