Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 17:49 UTC
SGI and IRIX In the '90s, before MacOSX was released, if people were to reffer to a user-friendly Unix that looked cool at the time, that would have been SGI's 64-bit operating system for the MIPS processors, the IRIX. IRIX was first released in 1987, and by 1995 was already a highly respected UNIX, the first with immense multimedia capabilities! Check out our introduction and some screenshots of IRIX.
Order by: Score:
Irix...
by Bascule on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:16 UTC

the only Unix operating system you have to reboot more than Windows.

Take the above comment with a grain of salt, please ;) While, of course, it's true you can accomplish pretty much everything that the GUI will ask you to reboot for on the CLI in a relatively straightforward fashion, users still enjoy rebooting their SGI workstations constantly.

the reason that SGI machines are so fast is
by Jeremy on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:20 UTC

that it takes a play right out of the Amiga, it has seperate processors for Grafics and sound, the CPUs realy do not do much work other than system stuff. that, and they have large bus bandwidth.

Desktop
by Chris Parker on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:32 UTC

I know that I will be shouted down for this, but I think it would be great if SGI would ship an end-user desktop with GNOME as the default supported DE. I know that the GUI on an SGI is not important, but some people (like me) use Unix for their desktops and hate looking at Motif all day.

Irix is pretty sweet...
by Brad C. on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:32 UTC

>>'wow'. I have never seen an X server being so fast, on a 5-year old machine

like we have been saying all along...X is not the problem, it's lack of GOOD drivers (and XFree86 isn't the best X server...it's just free!)

>>OS looks dated. It really looks unatractive when compared to brand new OS systems. Usabilty of the OS is an issue as well. That filemanager, whilst is fast and spiffy doing vector stuff, it is really limited.

because in the end it dosn't really matter because it WORKS, no need to look flashy when you are a professional or an engineer just trying to work...and besides you can change the looks.

I used Irix a little while at university, it is pretty cool but the default evnrironment there was CDE

...
by null_pointer_us on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:33 UTC

/me drools over the 24" SGI monitor

Same IRIX?
by anon on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:33 UTC

Have we been using the same IRIX package manager? It's probably the WORST system I have ever come across ever. If you are trying to install something be prepared to have all 8 (or how many they are) IRIX CDs handy because you can be pretty damned sure it's going to prompt you to get fed ALL of them even though the package is only on one CD.

And don't get me started on uninstalling packages. It's a complete nightmare. Remove one package and you get told that n other packages are dependant on this even though you managed to install the other packages without the package you are going to uninstall.

And unless you got about a gazillion dollars buying an SGI machine will get you shafted big time. You get a dog slow CPU, moderate 3D performance and expensive upgrades. Unless of course you are shopping for a 8+ NUMA machine then SGI is a good buy.

RE: Same IRIX?
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:37 UTC

>You get a dog slow CPU,

For its time, when it was released, this Octane was blazingly fast.

> moderate 3D performance

I disagree. Read the article again about 3D performance.

>and expensive upgrades.

Maybe this is the only valid statement you did. ;)

SGI rocks
by Anonymous on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:40 UTC


I have to agree with you, my old Indigo2 (195Mhz) feels at least as fast as my 700Mhz PIII, when using it as a desktop machine. Such machines may not do so well on the benchmarks, mem I/O and disk I/O any more, but...

The SGI MIPS/IRIX combination is really great, can't wait for their Ithanium/Linux combination. Hope they contribute even more of what they have done with IRIX to the Linux community.

I also highly recommend any OS freaks out there thinking of buying old used SGI system to play with, to do it, it's worth it!

T

The old saying is true...
by Michael A. Clem on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:42 UTC

Even in computers, you get what you pay for.

shutdown on Linux is instant too
by jaldhar on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:45 UTC

<p>...when my 11 month old daughter pulls the plug out ;) </p>

Re: Brad C
by Bascule on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:48 UTC

like we have been saying all along...X is not the problem, it's lack of GOOD drivers

SGI has done an extensive amount of work as far as refactoring the operation of their display server on local systems while still retaining X11 compatibility.

Ultimately, X11 is a lousy protocol hindered legacy, and having applications handle redrawing events, especially by passing drawing commands over a socket, is stupid.

and XFree86 isn't the best X server...it's just free!

Yes, free and crashy. XFree is one of the few X servers I've ever seen crash. OpenWindows, for example, is rock solid. Seems like half of what's in xscreensaver is enough to crash XFree.

Re: Brad C
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:51 UTC

> and XFree86 isn't the best X server...it's just free!

I crashed XFree86 last night on my SuSE 8.1. ;)
I have this SGI machine here for 2-3 weeks, haven't seen any kind of crash.

Re: Brad C
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 18:52 UTC

(please note that I installed SuSE 8.1 only a few hours before its actual X crash)

More screenshots
by Out of the blue on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:00 UTC

Eugenia, could you post screenshots of Gnome/KDE and other open source GUI stuff running on the Octane? If the bandwidth allows of course... Thanks!

Re: More screenshots
by Out of the blue on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:02 UTC

Oh wait, I just noticed gEdit and Gimp running... Maybe a screenshot of a full GNOME and/or KDE session running?

Could SGI Help out with X?
by Christopher X on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:02 UTC

They've done a damn fine job porting over XFS (like Eugenia I too love it) and it seems with their recently Itanium/Linux/Numa demos that their interested in moving over to Linux (understandably they keep quiet about it to please their existing customers, but I see this move very likely) so now I'm wondering if they could lend their expertise to XFree86 and help it out in the performance/stability department. For what its worth on my hardware X is certainly faster then it used to be (good god is it ever) but I still see lots of room for improvement.

RE: More screenshots
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:03 UTC

We are still trying to put some mirrors online, until we do so, I can't really max out the bandwidth restrictions we have... I might be able to grab a shot later and send it to you via email (send me your email address if so).
As for Gnome on IRIX, well, it just looks like Gnome 1.4.1 (with some unaturally big fonts - anyone knows where to make the fonts size smaller on GTK+ apps under IRIX?). ;)

oh my word...
by phil on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:04 UTC

just when you think it can't get any worse, it does.

The SGI desktop is of course based on a heavily modified commercial X Server

SGI's desktop apps are standard X11. SGI have their own X server, like most of the other commercial Unixes (although HP and IBM are currently migrating to XFree), which is fully compatible with X11R6. It lacks some of the goodies found with XFree, like RENDER; Sun are working on incorporating RENDER into xsun and as mentioned above, IBM and HP are moving to XFree. I don't know what SGI's position is on incorporating these extensions into their X server.

not like XFree86 and its problems with high-end monitors

XFree does not have a problem with high-end monitors in general. You just had a bad experience with your particular hardware combination; I have two 24 inch Sony monitors on this Linux workstation and I experienced none of the problems you claim to have.

Also, much like Apple Macs, the hardware in an SGI system is constrained and very predictible, so of course everything worked fine.

I think that this dual Octane at 195 Mhz is at least as fast as a PIII at 700 Mhz or so it feels like

I've got a similar Octane in my lab and all I can say is "wow, the placebo effect is stunning, isn't it?".

One of the most innovating things about the IRIX in the '90s were the vector icons it uses for its desktop and file/icon managers.

Offtopic, but I think that OSX and Windows XP are the only common OS's which don't support vector icons with the standard apps. Hell, Nautilus supports SVG (vector) icons :p

Installations just work.

Did you actually try and install anything which wasn't supplied on a CD with the system? *boggle*

while the toolkit used is the king of the Unix toolkits, Motif

Motif needs to die, and it needs to do so immediately.

SGI machines based on MIPS are mostly serving two kinds of applications: High-end movie animating (Simpsons were created with SGIs and a trackload of movies with special effects) and OpenGL applications (eg. a visual weather system, astronomy stuff, CAD/CAM and more).

Actually, this isn't strictly true anymore. SGI machines are rapidly being replaced by x86 Linux boxes in the SFX markets you mention. Where SGI still has a niche is in very high end visualisation (eg. CAVE systems) and massive NUMA installations.

Of course, SGI has tweaked their X server to fully "understand" and support OpenGL and multiple overlays, but this is something that the other Unices haven't mastered yet (with only exception this of the pretty recent MacOSX, which however is not based on X11).

I think you've confused yourself. Most of the modern X servers support the things you've mentioned above. eg. XFree supports overlays through XV. Maybe you need to explain yourself a bit better?

And this is truly a shame, because underneath this greyish ugly-ish look and pretty problematic usability, there is a huge potential. SGI needs to invest in this OS.

To what end? IRIX is very firmly tied to MIPS - this is why SGI have gone with Linux for their IA64 systems. Porting IRIX, with it's decades of code and reams of MIPS assembly simply wasn't a realistic option. SGI machines are very specialised and expensive; for what they're used for, IRIX is already plenty good enough. It isn't a desktop OS and never will be.

I notice that you make a number of comparisons to Mac OS X, with the note that Mac OS X is a recent entrant. However, you appear to be unaware of its predecessor, NEXTSTEP (particularly on the NeXT Cube, with the high end display card [the name of which escapes me right now]).

NEXTSTEP was a far more advanced UNIX based system, in many ways, than IRIX, back in the early 90's. It had a vector display system (Display PostScript, a successor to Sun's NeWS), had no problem with vector icons (in eps format), and was the first system to have Adobe Illustrator able to do real work in full display mode (all other systems had to go in and out of preview mode since Adobe didn't even try and have it do real work while fully diplaying what it would look like in print). It even had Renderman included. (Not in the early versions, of course.)

The only thing SGI's systems had over NeXT was the 3D hardware, which, admittedly, was a big deal if you needed, and could afford, it.

> However, you appear to be *unaware* of its predecessor, NEXTSTEP/

YOU GOT to be joking.

Re: Bascule
by Marvin on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:24 UTC

> OpenWindows, for example, is rock solid.

I couldn't agree less. I loved the Suns we had at university for their mind-boggling stability, but only after I had found out how to remotely log in to a machine and kill the X server after it had freezed. It did so whenever I used Netscape 3, sometimes it freezed and had to be restarted several times in just a few hours.

On another note: could someone enlighten me on the special features that make XFS so desirable? Up to now, I thought the only differences between the Linux Filesystems were performance, stability and their journaling support...

XFS
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:28 UTC

Read here
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/l-fs11.htm...
and here:
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/l-fs11.htm...
These are for the Linux version. For the SGI version, check the SGI site.

:)
by marcus on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:31 UTC

So this is how you pay for that fine new monitor ;P

XFS
by phil on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:31 UTC

could someone enlighten me on the special features that make XFS so desirable?

XFS supports metadata via extended attributes - which could be used to "attach" information to files (eg. artist, track, group for an MP3). EA's are interesting, but are problematic when moving files between disparate systems. IMO it's generally better to store the metadata without the file (eg. ID3 tags in our MP3 scenario).

Personally, I find the DMAPI (a high level interface for manipulating the filesystem ) and realtime segment (bits of the filesystem with gaurenteed throughput) parts of XFS far more exciting.

RE: XFS
by phil on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:34 UTC

These are for the Linux version. For the SGI version, check the SGI site.

The IRIX and Linux versions of XFS are functionally identical, with a couple of extremely minor exceptions.

Math is hard
by hylas on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:36 UTC

Irix was/is elegant and powerful, even today.
(Maya was unbelivable and hard, I never mastered it)
My former SGI was probably the the best computer I ever owned (whoops, *leased*).
Someone earlier talked about installing/uninstalling, HEY, it ain't Windows.
Unless your "THE Guru" don't muck with it.
They are made for Operators and Gurus - two distinct camps.
"Math is hard" ;-)
There lies a whole industry for just this.
Yes, they're touchy. But then so is a Cray.
I have to say one thing, trying to *buy* one (used with all licenses intact) is a nightmare.
But what a machine!

Re: Bascule's Irix
by Hank on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:41 UTC

the only Unix operating system you have to reboot more than Windows.

Wow, the experience at my company is the direct opposite. In fact the only time any of our UNIX boxes even go down ever are:

1. Upgrading system software
2. Switching operating systems
3. Power failures

A lot of those systems are used rather heavily too. I have an O2 on my desk running IRIX 6.5, and pushing it's limits too, and I've never had a system crash.

sgi... some good... some very bad
by debio on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:46 UTC

I have been developing off an sgi for the last four years at the research lab I work as my primary desktop OS. The machine is an entry level O2, but just in the other cubicle is an Octane that I have also used.

A portion of work does involve ad hoc sys admin type responsibilities, and other than sgi we have several Linux boxen that we use as well.

I can say very good things about my trusty ol' O2. It's rock solid. I have never had it go down on me, and it's hammered at times. Well, I should add that I (sadly) can only really use the machine as a glorified smart terminal (it's far too slow to do much of anything locally other than X and KDE 3.0 - which still is *not* included in the sgi freeware - at least last time I looked).

This leads on a bit to my main gripes with the sgi experience. 4Dwm??!!! Oh come on! That has to rate on the absolute bottom of list of window managers. And I mean the bottom! I'd rather use Windows than work in 4Dwm. Borders on Windows that are so thick you can land a 747 on them? An X server that seems to default to 8bit mode? 4Dwm looks and feels every bit the fvwm 1.x (circa 1992) of which it is something of a shameless hack. I am amazed that in 2002 sgi still ships this dinosaur (conceptually) of a window manager! The filemanager icons are 16 colours! Wow!

And I'm surprised that anyone would sing the praises of the tardist format. From direct experience I can say that playing sysadmin to an sgi box and tardist is a far distant second to sysadmin on Debian with `dselect' and deb files.

Try this: download the current sgi freeware tardists (I think they're at August 2002) from freeware.sgi.com. Select all of them for installation. Hello dependency hell a la rpm on steroids (granted, I'll say in sgi's defense that the freeware tardists might be an exception, but the point is that the packaging format is antiquated and fragile).

Oh - and let's not even start with the default C/C++ compilers!! I had so many problems with `CC' (the C++ compiler) - I don't know where to start. Up until a year ago it didn't support the "new" (already middle 90's) header conventions (#include <iostream> instead of #include <iostream.h>)...

Hmmm... this article didn't really do the way I wanted to... don't get me wrong, I really like my sgi box. Really. I promise!

Let me say in IRIX's defense that once you go to the trouble of installing things and tweaking a bit, things work. Take the true type font server (xfs). It displays Windows ttf fonts better than on Windows. Always. Not like my minty new Mandrake 9.0 laptop that shows KDE fonts nicely antialiased but OpenOffice's UI looks like a revenge of the bitmap monster.

Actually, the way I work is to run most of my critical apps remotely, displaying to my O2. Seems the best of both worlds...

Still - I have to agree with some of the sentiments that the entire MIPS line is probably something of a hardware dead end. And with it, IRIX.

Re: Irix
by stahbird on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:55 UTC

the only Unix operating system you have to reboot more than Windows.

Wow, the experience at my company is the direct opposite.


Jim Clark reportedly used a bunch of SGI workstations to remotely control and navigate his 150 foot sailboat. I figure he knew something about their suitability for mission critical tasks.

SGI and security
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 19:57 UTC

SGI's IRIX was a very nice system to develop and run OpenGL applications on it, and it also offered unique features like
XFS and full multithreading throughout the whole OS (no other OS i'm aware of, even not BeOS).
But security? The best way to secure your pool of SGI machines is NOT to connect them to the intra/internet at all. Ever tried to keep up with the security patches? And even the latest security patches didn't fix the well-known bugs that everybody exploited. A X-Server that didn't ship with Authetication so that everybody could connect to your X-Session? And everybody logged into your machine remotely can eg. change the volume and play mp3 even YOU are using the console? Just some thoughts ...

Eugina, what do you run?
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:12 UTC

What exactly do you do to your system that causes X or the NVIDIA drivers to be unstable? The only crashes I ever have on my system are the occasional SEGV in Konqueror, but that's my fault for using Beta1. If you could give me a few examples, maybe I could try them here and see if I get the same problems?

RE: Eugenia, what do you run?
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:15 UTC

Nothing. I just use the machine. And it just crashes randomly. When I move a window, when a resize a window or just out of the blue. It happens on both SuSE and Red Hat.
I used the mem=nopentium as well, same problems. ;)

Re: Eugina, what do you run?
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:15 UTC

> What exactly do you do to your system that causes X or the NVIDIA drivers to be unstable?

I don't have any problems with NVIDIA drivers either (P4 1GHz, linux-2.4.19 and Gefore2-MX), but some guys/developers at the linux-kernel mailing-list also have quite some trouble and even said that NVidia's drivers are buggy as hell. Obviously there are systems that run perfectly with the drivers, and some don't ...

RE: Eugenia, what do you run?
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:19 UTC

Please note that I also have QNX and BeOS there. The card works perfectly on these systems. But I have problems with Linux and the nvidia drivers. SuSE's nvidia driver is more stable than the Red Hat actually, but still crashy at the *exact same way* as the red hat one.

Re: SGI and Security
by Hank on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:20 UTC

At school one of our IRIX 5.3 boxes was hacked because the printer was talked to via the user "lpr", which had no password...very very bad :-)

RE: the reason that SGI machines are so fast is
by j on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:31 UTC

that it takes a play right out of the Amiga, it has seperate processors for Grafics and sound, the CPUs realy do not do much work other than system stuff. that, and they have large bus bandwidth.

(opens up his case) Hmmm, let's see I have a separate chip for my networking, I have a couple of separate chips on my SB Audigy for my sound, I have a separate GPU on my GeForce4 Ti4600 for my graphics, I have northbridge and southbridge controllers for bus and memory access...

What exactly was it that SGI learned from the Amiga platform that made them so fast again?

SGIs are fast because they are a closed platform that the engineers can tune and tune and tune. PCs are generalized and open, thus ensuring that no hard-core optimizations will be done for fear that they will break something or create an incompatibility.

Re: SGI and Security
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:32 UTC

I was nearly trown out of the university after some guys had hacked remotely the SGI I was logged in (well, it was not really hacking thanks to support from SGI). They used a simple ftp-exploit that was well-known (and after one year there was still no patch for it). Then they used this SGI to hack into other machines remotely (Sun Solaris8).
Since the administrators just looked at the log files, they just saw that the further attacks came from the SGI I was using, and since rsh sessions where not logged, they didn't know that other people were using the SGI aswell.
Luckily these guys didn't stop hacking after my account was disabled by the admin staff, so I had a perfect alibi.

power consumption
by johnG on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:39 UTC

Eugenia, any idea how much power the dual-octane consumes? I'll bet it breathes fire of a pair of "D" batteries! ;)

Seriously though, I had to pick up an ATX power supply at CompUSA last weekend and, IIRC, the smallest they come these days is around 240 watts.

Re: Eugina, what do you run?
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:40 UTC

> SuSE's nvidia driver is more stable than the Red Hat actually, but still crashy at the *exact same way* as the red hat one

Did you try to compile the nvidia drivers by yourself? I never used the precompiled ones, and I always used gcc-3.1 or gcc-3.2. No problems whatsoever ...

Re: Eugina, what do you run?
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:44 UTC

I used the tar.gz for the red hat ones, and I used the *suse* nvidia rpm drivers that come with the suse online update FROM Suse.

Also, we are offtopic. And second, my name is Eugenia.

RE: power consumption
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:48 UTC

At least not as much as the VAX 8700 I had the pleasure to disasseble! They come with a 330W connector that in turn splits/transforms into six 220W power lines. It (just the transformer) had a fan of the size of a 17" monitor ...

The VAX itself was a 19" rack look-alike and was about 5 feet high ...

slow X (free)
by aviv on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:49 UTC

Xfree is not so slow, but the developers are not interested in fixing simple problems that cause bad user experience - i have found a bug in xfree that makes opaque mouse drag (in xfree) to be too slow (jumpy), but got no response from any of the developers. (i've tested a workaround, and on my system Xfree is faster then XP).

b.t.w. IRIX is fun, but i managed to lock (by mistake) an o2 box (don't remember the actual IRIX version) by using GL commands... so the performance has some drawbacks.

Re: EugEnIa, what do you run?
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:51 UTC

sorry, I just copy'n'pasted the subject of the former poster ;)

SGI future?
by gandalf on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 20:55 UTC

BTW, I thought SGI don't manufacture for anybody anymore, but they are focussion on work with the government and some agencies like NASA, Boeing etc.?

Hey Eugenia!
by Kevin on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 21:14 UTC

Nice review. And when you done with that monitor send it along to me. Just kidding ;)

OT: shell
by Chris on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 21:16 UTC

>First thing I did of course was to change the tsch shell over to Bash.

Why? What's wrong with tsch?

RE: OT: shell
by Eugenia on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 21:22 UTC

I like Bash better. I know it better, that's all. I did the same on QNX as well.

zsh
by Anonymous on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 21:25 UTC

I like zsh better.. ;)

Re: SGI future?
by RalphT on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 21:27 UTC

> BTW, I thought SGI don't manufacture for anybody anymore, but they are focussion on work with the government and some agencies like NASA, Boeing etc.?

What? Of course SGI still manufacture! They did close thier European Manufacturing place in Switzerland, so now most manufacturing gets done in Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls).

Ralph

Another SGI hacker horror story
by Hank on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 21:29 UTC

Along the lines of security issues with IRIX, at least back in the day. Another group in our university had an SGI system that was hacked. The hacker changed all passwords, including root. What a mess that made. The hackers into our system only setup porn e-mail spam servers. Eventually the computer services department at our school made us take the SGI off the network because we couldn't get it hack proof enough, and it didn't have regular sysadmins for monitoring.

XFS special features
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 22:17 UTC

XFS has support for attributes, ACLs, and node monitoring. No other Linux filesystem has support for all of these features. On top of that, it has support for dynamically growing the FS (while its mounted) and an excellent set of backup/recovery tools.

Irix is SysV, not BSD
by Richard on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 23:28 UTC

For the Unix side of things, IRIX is based on BSD 4.4 (do not confuse this root of all BSDs in the '80s with today's FreeBSD 4.x)...

Irix was originally based on BSD, but circa Irix 4.05 (around 1990, I think) became System V, much as the BSD SunOS became SysV Solaris. In each case, there are some BSD compatibility libraries, but on the whole, it's plain SysV.

OT: shell
By Chris (IP: ---.bur.adelphia.net) - Posted on 2002-10-02 21:16:24
>First thing I did of course was to change the tsch shell over to Bash.

Why? What's wrong with tsch?


RE: OT: shell
By Eugenia (IP: ---.client.attbi.com) - Posted on 2002-10-02 21:22:09
I like Bash better. I know it better, that's all. I did the same on QNX as well.


zsh
By Anonymous (IP: ---.ks.ok.cox.net) - Posted on 2002-10-02 21:25:11
I like zsh better.. ;)


(sorry i know this was a blatant troll.../me goes to my room)

XFree fix
by stew on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 23:32 UTC

i have found a bug in xfree that makes opaque mouse drag (in xfree) to be too slow (jumpy), but got no response from any of the developers. (i've tested a workaround, and on my system Xfree is faster then XP).

Care to make that public? I'm sure quite a few folks would be interested in it (me included).

i dont know about the OGL performace...
by bile on Wed 2nd Oct 2002 23:49 UTC

I've been working on and off on a OpenGL based 3D experimentation enviroment for the past 2 years. We use a higher level toolkit to make the OpenGL easier for the researchers to deal with... but even so... our Octane starts lagging after about 30k polys. My Panasonic 3DO from '93 can handle about that till it's maxed and it's running on a 12.5Mhz ARM60. If it weren't for the fact that the toolkit is so damn expensive i'd recommend moving the development to an NT or Linux platform with some modern industrial grade OpenGL card. It would cost less than the SGI support alone.

SGI ogl toolkits
by Ott on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 00:28 UTC

I've been working on and off on a OpenGL based 3D experimentation enviroment for the past 2 years. We use a higher level toolkit to make the OpenGL easier for the researchers to deal with... but even so... our Octane starts lagging after about 30k polys. My Panasonic 3DO from '93 can handle about that till it's maxed and it's running on a 12.5Mhz ARM60. If it weren't for the fact that the toolkit is so damn expensive i'd recommend moving the development to an NT or Linux platform with some modern industrial grade OpenGL card. It would cost less than the SGI support alone.

Would that "higher level toolkit" happen to be Performer? If so I feel your pain, as a former admin on a system using it for 3D simulation (on a bunch of Indigo2's to be spesific).

i miss my baby
by idvah on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 03:09 UTC

I miss my o2, it was super sexy. Running nedit (for mel scripts) and Maya, was all I needed. ;)

i want my SGI...
by bytes256 on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 03:20 UTC

i want an SGI...but i'm just a poor college student...anyone looking to donate an SGI would find a good home for one here...it doesn't have to be anything new at all...i just wanna play with IRIX

okay </shameless plug for orgasmic computer hardware>

i remember that
by jodie on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 03:33 UTC

at my job we used to run very large oil field simulations using sun machines, and sgi for visualisation. When all the required software(eclipse, isatis, geoframe, stars, isatis, etc) was available in windows, most users switched eventually to PC licenses, eliminating many of the sun machines and most of the sgi machines except for certain tasks. surprisingly, many people complained a lot about crashes under windows, etc, BUT people still prefered to run the simulator in their pcs simply because it was easier to set up a run and manipulate the results.

Loved SGI Day
by Richard Fillion on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 05:38 UTC

I loved both of those articles/reviews, you dont hear much about SGI anymore, which is a shame. I make it a point to go and visit their site every few months to see what they are up to, but its nice to see a news site give them a bit of attention, they really do have a kickass product. I just hope that they can survive. Good job Eugenia!

SGI I2
by p13as3 on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 06:46 UTC

Hi,

I own an old Indigo2 R10K SolidImpact with 380something RAM in it. It has 2 Seagate barracuda 4 gig (fullheight monsters) HD's in it. It currently runs IRIX 6.2, the install is totally fubarred. I want to get my hands on a complete IRIX 6.5 cd set, but its pretty hard to find it.

Anyway, my experiences vary. I really like irix, but indeed 4Dwm is butt-ugly. So i just use enlightenment or wmaker depending on my mood. The machine in general feels pretty snappy, knowing i run a SolidImpact board, which does not have a raster engine, so 2D is quite slow. It plays mp3s like no other machine (it just sounds pretty special).

The package manager for me is not all that interesting. It works, as others pointed out for THEIR dists on THEIR cd sets. It might have to do with the fact that the install on my machine is totally fubarred, it is from the previous owner who fucked it up pretty bad.

Real world performance is okay for today, and is flabbergasting for then.

It's a good geekstation(tm), but i wouldnt see just anyone use it. It still is UNIX you know. The desktop principle is not really more implemented then anything these days, in fact KDE and GNOME really work in a tighter combination then 4Dwm. And as i said 4Dwm is butt-ugly.

The overall stability is more then okay. I never had it crash on me (xcept for kde apps and netscape that is). A lot of things feel faster then on my pc, then other things, again, don't.

Hardware component quality is exceptional. If anyone here ever opened one up, they know what i'm talking about. The case also looks really sexy (i own a purple one with the tower stands intact).

Just the fact that this thing does 3D (untextured due to no Raster Engine and Texture engine on SolidImpact), and does digital media, mp3, mpg movies, etc. I even know of people that own MaxImpact, and HighImpact that can play full res divxes (PAL-S 25 fps).

Upgrades are a pain indeed, i've been trying to find a HighImpact or MaxImpact gfx board, but to no avail. Even finding a @#!@#! IRIX 6.5 cd set is IMPOSSIBLE. I can buy a cd set, but dear god, i'm not rockefeller.

As for the security hole, somebody told me once that IRIX is probably the most insecure UNIX ever built, and as far is i can tell, that somebody was absolutely right.


my 0.02 €

Take Care

Kevin

Re: power consumption
by JBQ on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 06:47 UTC

I don't know how much it actually uses (I don't have a Watt-meter handy). The sticker at the back says "110V, 10A, 850W", which I guess is about twice as much as a decent PC.

There's a big-ass 5" fan at the back, noisy but in a "low" sort of way (definitely not one of those whiny 6000RPM fans), that spits out some fairly warm air.

JBQ

Mac OS x does not have Vector icons!
by Chad Hardin on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 09:34 UTC

I don't understand why people are always confused about this. The icons in Os X are not vectors, they are really big pixmaps that scale nicely.

Quartz, on the other hand, is a vector based graphics system, just like Java2D, GDI+, libart, etc

Irix is rock solid when well managed
by bloodflowers on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 12:52 UTC

Like most commercial unixes, Irix is a rock solid OS when you manage it properly. I'll deliberately leave Sun out of that endorsement due to their extremely unreliable hardware of late. Just make sure you use the 6.5.x series, since the 6.2s were terrible.

There are now a lot of second hand SGI machines floating around on ebay/etc - they make excellent general purpose desk machines, and the big iron is affordable and ideal as a fileserver. $900 bought me a 12x CPU challenge L - which now sits in the garage obediently serving files, and running seti ;-) $900 spent on a PC will not get you anything like the memory bandwidth and SMP power an old server can (and the server will probably last longer too..) Shop around and it's pretty easy to find ones with multiple fiber interfaces :-)

irix security
by Andy on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 13:04 UTC


Perhaps those complaining about irix security holes
would do better to use a more up to date version of
irix and/or a more competent admin. A version that
wasn't retired 5 or 6 years ago for example, as
the 5.3 version that someone complained about was. Sure,
older versions did have security issues...show me an
older version of any os that doesn't. And yes, the new
6.5.x (x increments by 1 every 3 months for free) os
costs money and it ain't cheap. It is also stable and as
secure as any unix out thereas long as the admin is
competent.

IRIX
by elemur on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 13:46 UTC

Irix has long been a good OS.. I used to run servers (Crimson's and Challenge XL's) that would support 250+ users concurrently logged in. (Non graphical sessions obviously) But then, I had a few Challenge S server's driving NFS to 50-75 desktop servers, and to the multi-user login machines without a problem.* When they made XFS standard, it really solidified the filesystem base. It makes me want to re-install my O2 and get it working again.. almost.

* Ok.. Actually, the FDDI drivers could be a nightmare, but fast ethernet was much easier to manage when it became more widespread. ATM was ok as well, but it was sort of flaky, though that was Fore system's I guess.

X crashes (OpenWindows and Linux/NVidia)
by Jim on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 13:50 UTC

It is quite easy to crash OpenWindows (at least on Solaris 8). Telnet to a box running XFree86, export the display, run mozilla, and start browsing web sites. X will crash a few web sites later. Also, look at the memory usage. I know, I know, Sun will tell you that "Its not really using that much memory, it just looks like it in top." When your system runs out of memory, you will know they're not being honest. Of course, these problems may be limited to my SS20 w/ SX video running Solaris 8 (with all patches installed).

I also have stability problems with NVidia drivers in linux. Last night I crashed my X Server (and the machine with it) 3 times in 15 minutes. I'm going to have to wait for NVidia to come out with better drivers before I use MPlayer again (the best avi/mpg/wmv player for linux, BTW). I just like my 3D too much!

Re: Brad C
by Anonymous on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 13:52 UTC

>, especially by passing drawing commands over a socket, is stupid.
Prove it.

Re: power consumption
by johnG on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 13:59 UTC

Wow. Thanks. My first guess couldn't've been more wrong. Well, does the 24" SGI-branded Trinitron monitor that comes with it plug into the Octane itself? That thing would consume maybe 250 watts right there. Then the Octane would consume closer to 600 W. Hmm.. still that's a lot.

I've always heard that the MIPS chips were some of the most efficient CPU's around.

This little computer from NEC
http://www.neccomp.com/v2/products/PowerMate/eco/
(recently mentioned on /.) only soaks up about 80 watts (including flat panel monitor) and runs on a Transmeta chip.

If anyone's still reading this comment, "shoppa" on /. gave a link to this baby:
http://www.viavpsd.com/product/epia_mini_itx_spec.jsp?motherboardId...
Evidently, it fits into a micro-ATX case and it's CPU is something called the "VIA Eden™ ESP 5000". (?) This person's computer (that uses this mobo) only consumes 30W under load. Sweeeet.

They mention that a case is available here:
http://www.caseoutlet.com/NWPc/2677/itx2677.html

In the article:
>Of course, SGI has tweaked their X server to fully >"understand" and support OpenGL and multiple overlays, but >this is something that the other Unices haven't mastered >yet (with only exception this of the pretty recent MacOSX, >which however is not based on X11).



I belive that MACOSX is based on X11. The window manager, not... but all X are based on X11. By example Xfree is based on X11.
I doesn't know MACOSX, but I suppose that e.g Aqua runs
above X11.

Solaris from Sun, also has applications with OpenGl. Sun is
winnig to SGI a lot of its market of small-medium graphic stations , cad..etc.

Ancient history
by Kurt on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 14:19 UTC


So what really is new in the latest version? This review could have been written 5 years ago. I'm really not that excited about being able to run gnome or kde. I'd rather get work done.

Those old Octanes really screem with 2 procs and the mips pro compilers. SGI really knew how to do parallel processing.

As for uptime, if you get a machine setup right, it'll stay up for a LONG time. But, it definitely pays to be on a support contract if you are using an Onyx or Origin system... how many power supplies have I had sgi replace ;)

Aqua/Quartz != X11
by tim on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 14:38 UTC

>I belive that MACOSX is based on X11. The window
>manager, not... but all X are based on X11. By example
>Xfree is based on X11.
>I doesn't know MACOSX, but I suppose that e.g Aqua runs
>above X11.

No it's not. Quartz is based on Display PDF. See here for more info: http://www.apple.com/macosx/jaguar/quartzextreme.html and http://www.apple.com/macosx/technologies/

re: SGI ogl toolkits
by bile on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 14:46 UTC

Would that "higher level toolkit" happen to be Performer? If so I feel your pain, as a former admin on a system using it for 3D simulation (on a bunch of Indigo2's to be spesific).

no... World Tool Kit... it's an ok toolkit... but it's damn big and we dont come close to using its full abilities. It makes the ogl programming soooo much easier... but being a low level programmer originally... it's impossible to optimize this code for speed or size and it's so frustrating.

RE: Ancient history
by Eugenia on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 14:46 UTC

> So what really is new in the latest version? This review could have been written 5 years ago.

It is not a review. It is an introduction to IRIX. Read the title. And I can't compare it with any previous version, as this was the first time I used an IRIX for more than 10 minutes. I am not rich you know.

Stability and uptime...
by Frank on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 15:09 UTC

Built a NOC for a large ISP in 1997. All SGI machines. Had 8x Origin 2000 and 4 1x O2 machines. Ran the Origin for over a year without a crash. Hardware failure (power supply) caused it. Not the OS. Ran one of the O2s for 14 months without rebooting. WOW! Now that is a stable OS.

My wishlist? Give me a dual processor O2 running 6.5.x and the world is my oyster!

SGI Experience
by Robbat2 on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 15:12 UTC

I spend all day working with a CAVE system, powered by IRIX 6.5.17 running on an Onyx 3200. 8 way NUMA, 4 display channels (each running at 1280x1024). Since I admin the system as well as do the majority of the development on it, I'm kept quite busy.

However I did upgrade to IRIX 6.5.17 just earlier this week, due to a bug that one of our users found in IRIX 6.5.16. SGI Tech Support (who are the best tech support I've ever dealt with. Call them, you will be talking to the engineers in under a minute 24/7/365). It turned out upgrading was the easiest solution for the bug, so we did it and the assoscated reboot.

The machine gets rebooted maybe every 50 days or so. The instablity that many people have seen is actually the graphics pipes, not the CPU system. I can reproducabily crash the graphics pipes running a few OpenGL applications myself. The graphics pipes will crash, logging you out, and then come back about 20 seconds later, and you can login again, and most of your programs, except the ones that cause the crash will still be running.

It is definetly one of the better operating systems around. I have Enlightenment as my user shell, with 4Dwm as the root shell for safety.

I have exactly two qualms with the system. Firstly it seems that the big NUMA systems are very limited when it comes to USB hardware. Sure the keyboard and mouse are attached, but even talking to SGI, we cannot get some other devices connected to USB. It will take devices that speak USB HID only. The second qualm I have is with the keyboard configuration. It's kinda like Sun Solaris that way, in that at the actual workstation, something is royally messed up in the keyboard settings (which are in no regular place that I've ever found), so you don't have the use of insert/home/pgup/pgdown/end/delete/arrowkeys/numerickeypad most of the time.

If anybody is interested something I am currently developing: http://mvs.sourceforge.net/

Irix was not 64-bit for a good while
by Kriston on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 15:26 UTC

In 1987, Irix was not 64-bit. It was 32-bit. Not only that, but it took a painful route into 64-bit land. Today's Irix systems have a total of three (3), count'em, THREE ABI's. There is the original "o32," the newer "n32," and the current "64." Irix has no less than three (3), count'em, THREE, copies of system libraries to make all applications work.

Anyone who thinks this is a good Unix has never actually used it for real, live work.

Kris

Multiple dedicated chips
by Chris on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 15:36 UTC

Hmm, I keep seeing references to the VLSI tricks of the Amiga. Well folks, the Amiga borrowed the idea of dedicated chips for sound and graphics from the old Atari XL series of machines...

Irix, as has been pointed out, is very stable when well admin'ed BUT has numerous security holes that have been a continuing bugaboo. Poor SGI has become so skeletonized in the last few years that they really can't afford to do as much as they should to support IRIX. I have a friend at my last job that used an Indy 2 until this month! He refused to give it up as it did just about everything he needed.

4dwm is not that bad when compared to generic Motif and things like window border size can be modified quite easily with changes to the resource files.

SGI was very innovative for it's time and I think people have forgotten that they were the first big Unix vendor to make a real effort to integrate multimedia into their operating system. The first webcams that I saw in widespread use were in an SGI lab (Indys to replace old DECstations) back at Univ. of Cali, Davis.

And as to Eugenia's X problems - dump the nVidia card! XFree has much more stable drivers for ATI and Matrox cards. My ATI Radeon hasn't required nearly the tweaking to get high resolutions that your nVidia card has.

Cheers

Real Work
by Tim Swenson on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 15:48 UTC

> Anyone who thinks this is a good Unix has never actually
> used it for real, live work.

Bzzzzt. Wrong answer.

I used an R5K Indy for 4 years as my main desktop system. I worked just fine. Due to a memory leak I did have to reboot about once every 3-4 months, but other than that it worked great. Plus, by the time I got my Indy (in 1997) it was already considered an older system.

Tim


I've been using IRIX since 1992 and currently run a variety
of systems from Indy/Indigo2/o2,to Onyx2/Origin/Octane/etc.

My take on these things would be:

Stability/Reliability:

- the first poster must be smoking something. I've not
yet been able to make my R4K/250 Indigo2 crash, and
sometimes I've tried just for the hell of it. ;) Run
100 applications at once? No problem. No errors. Not
a single crash since I bought it in May 1997. The
Origin200 server I run at work has never had an error
of any kind, and I've been running it for 3 years. By
contrast, I've seen $15000 NT servers fail 5 times
in the 1st hour of use. And don't even get me started
on issues such as PC viri, etc.

GUI:

- if it works, don't fix it. I like it. And many tasks
are faster with command line actions, especially for
those who customise with aliases, good xterm layout,
etc. People forget that moving a mouse takes time,
and many actions are impossible with a GUI anyway,
eg. doing multiple tasks where the output of one
action is piped as the input for another.

OS: *real* plug & play. With only a few exceptions, the
OS already includes drivers for just about anything one
can add on, from upgrade options to 3rd-party hardware
such as CDROMs, disks, DAT drives, etc. Most of the
time, one can change the internal hw of an SGI without
having to do any sw changes at all. And what other OS
is there that scales to 1024 CPUs? There are features
in IRIX that other OSs can only dream of. The work that
goes into it to support high-end features (such as
supporting 40GB/sec disk bandwidth on an Onyx2 Group
Station for Defense Imaging) filters down to the desktop
to create one of the most reliable OSs there is. Far
better than Windows.

Software Manager:

- brilliant, no probs. Learn how to use it. Use
Selections files to save hassle when installing stuff.
Never any damage caused by multiple actions, precise
management of files, use as a source of info such as
file locations/sizes, access to release notes, etc.

Speed:

- Just shows what a decent OS and top-down hardware
design can do. Oh, and btw, NO pc can do what my
ancient R5K/200 O2 can do, namely handle an 800MB
texture data set in real-time, or spin a 16000x16000
res image in real-time, or capture/playback/edit
full-size/rate video right out the box. And of course
there's the advanced features on some models: 48bit
colour, guaranteed pixel fill rates, real-time
determinism, etc. Not possible on PCs.

Costs:

- 2nd-hand market and good SGI 2nd-user dealers mean
that costs are not an issue, and even SGI is offering
very good deals now on its remanufactured line. Out
there in Ebay-land, there are real bargains to be had,
and even from company sellers a basic 195/SI Octane is
only $300 to $400. Heck, I sell basic Indys for $80.
My fastest system is an Octane R12K/300MHz (2MB L2) MXI.
For general responsivness and speed, it blows the latest
P4 systems I run at work away completely.

Another example: I helped sell a 24-CPU R10K/195 Onyx
RE rack system for $6750. Mega bargains are out there.

So there ya go. SGI rules IMO, no contest. But then I'm
probably very biased. ;)

For those new to IRIX and SGIs, here are some handy
references. First my SGI index page, which is one of
the biggest/best [so people tell me] and a mirror of it
on SGI's US employee server is coming soon for those who
find the link the Europe a bit slow:

http://www.futuretech.vuurwerk.nl/sgi.html

and for those learning IRIX, my UNIX Administration Course,
which focuses on IRIX:

http://www.futuretech.vuurwerk.nl/admin/

See the main index for links to everything else, eg.
benchmarks, buyers guides, original brochures, etc.

Cheers! ;)

Ian.

SGI/NT Admin, Centre for Virtual Environments,
University of Salford, Salford, UK. mapesdhs@yahoo.com

Re: Brad C
by Ericson on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 16:20 UTC

Ultimately, X11 is a lousy protocol hindered legacy, and having applications handle redrawing events, especially by passing drawing commands over a socket, is stupid.

It is a network protocol, hence the reason for using a socket. This is the reason you can run programs on one machine and display the output on another. X11 isn't really that bad considering what it is doing.

i want my SGI
by scott on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 17:37 UTC

You pay the shipping?

SGI & Xfree...
by janne on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 18:54 UTC

With more and more companies supporting Linux (yes, SGI too), wouldn't it be nice if those X-gurus at SGI started working with the Xfree-team? I would LOVE to see those SGI-tweaks and improvements in Xfree!

O2 as a workstation
by Peter van Dijk on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 19:01 UTC

As opposed to your thoughts in the article, I have been using
an Indy (or 2 at times, x2x rocks ;) as (a) workstation(s) for years. Nowadays I have an O2 (R5000-180, 128meg, IRIX 6.5.9) as my main workstation with x2x to an indy (R4000-100, 64meg, IRIX 6.2). I can only say it rocks. I *love* 4Dwm, and tardist is quite okay if you get the hang of it. It's not apt, I admit, but it sure does a better job than rpm. If you ask me it is similar in userfriendliness to the FreeBSD ports system.

I got an indigo (R3000) yesterday to play with (more toys!), and tonight I'll be helping my girlfriend set up her Indy (R4600-100, 64meg, IRIX 6.2) so she can experience a REAL unix.

I can only say it's too bad IRIX and SGI aren't that popular anymore - I sure hope they will keep developing IRIX. The only thing I really miss in IRIX is IPv6..

Amiga/PC comparisons
by Former Amiga User on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 19:13 UTC

> (opens up his case) Hmmm, let's see I have a separate chip
> for my networking, I have a couple of separate chips on my
> SB Audigy for my sound, I have a separate GPU on my GeForce4
> Ti4600 for my graphics, I have northbridge and southbridge
> controllers for bus and memory access...

With the exception of the GPU, those are interface chips, not co-processors. If your OS crashes while an interrupt-driven modplayer is running, will your Audigy keep playing? I think not. On an Amiga, it would. It used to happen with annoying regularity on a particularly unstable A2000 I used to own. ;)

i want my SGI
by Filter on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 20:02 UTC


Hey Scott, absolutely.

Re: slow X (free), and rambling about NVidia
by nav on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 22:38 UTC

i have found a bug in xfree that makes opaque mouse drag (in xfree) to be too slow (jumpy), but got no response from any of the developers. (i've tested a workaround, and on my system Xfree is faster then XP).

You should bother them some more ;) . I'm having a hard time getting a patch of mine into a relatively mature project too, so I know how it feels ;) (wow! I just checked the CVS and my patch has been merged, after 6+ weeks, heh).

About the NVidia drivers: They seem to be plenty stable for OpenGL applications (which I'm developing) but I can't use any GTK+ 2.0 applications without killing the X server while using them. If I switch to the "nv" drivers everything is fine but I can't use OpenGL =P.

v win idiots
by D. on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 23:28 UTC
v editor
by Bill Gates on Thu 3rd Oct 2002 23:36 UTC
RE: win idiots
by null_pointer_us on Fri 4th Oct 2002 00:32 UTC

For once I am undecided. Should his comment be moderated down or should it stand as an example of bad posting? Or would people just find it enormously funny?

nvidia on linux
by IndieRockSteve on Fri 4th Oct 2002 01:16 UTC

I had tons of problems with nvidia's drivers on my old motherboard, I went through all the driver options one day to see which problems I could solve, and I ended up solving about 80% of them. Then I upgraded my motherboard and processor and the only problem I have is i have to force the driver to use the NVidia AGP stuff instead of the kernel AGP stuff(by stuff I mean i don't really know whats changing, drivers or something?).

moral of the story... play around with the options available for the nvidia drivers(a pdf can be downloaded from the same webpage the drivers can be downloaded from nvidia) you'd be surprised what types of problems you can solve by changing the defaults for the settings.

After reading all these posts ...
by <<>> on Fri 4th Oct 2002 02:42 UTC

To the author, good job, nice to see this kind of material on the net. IRIX 6.5 is based on SVR4 with BSD enhancements. And as for the default compiler, it is only intended for recompiling the kernel and other system tasks. You'd be hard press to use it for compiling applications, try GCC or fork over the money for SGI's spectacular MIPSpro compiler. Also, alternate file managers are available if fm isn't your cup of tea.

SGI got a bad security rap about 5 years back due to a string of vulnerabilities. Today IRIX is as secure as you make it (like all other UNICES with the exception of NetBSD which is really tight out of the box). Their new quarterly release system is far superior to the old system of patches.

inst and swmgr are the best install tools I've ever used. Learn how to use them. Freeware does have some annoying dependancies, try using inst-get.

The guy who is always rebooting his system must have some major trouble. I've never witnessed an SGI crash myself and many others report similar reliability.

To those who don't like Motif/4dwm use what you like, there are many options. It sounds like many here are not aware of the customizability of their desktop. If the border is too wide or the font not right or the colors not right then change them. To see some nicely customized and comfy desktops checkout the IRIX screenshots at http://www.nekochan.net

To the fellow who complained about the wm defaulting to 8-bits, this takes 2 seconds to change. And just b/c the wm is at 8-bits an app can still request 24/etc.

To the poster who pointed out that IRIX uses 3 ABIs. This is because of the large number of systems currently supported, from 10 year old 32-bit Indigos to current 32-bit systems like O2 to 64-bit workstations and huge 64-bit NUMA installations. The o32 is for compatibility with older systems. New 32-bit platforms use the n32. New 64-bit platforms use mainly n32 and some n64 where needed. On a given systems there is usually only one copy of a library, sometimes and older one for compatibility and sometimes a 64-bit one for certain apps.

I'd also like to add that the crappy guilded interfaces found on Mac and MSFT stuff these days does not interest me. I need something lean, clean, and flexible. IRIX provides a perfect environment for working as quickly as I can (CAD/CAM). And it feels quiet comfortable after tweaking it a bit. I do wish SGI would include antialiased fonts and a few other interface niceities. New systems are expensive but pay for themsevles rapidly in an production environment. Used systems are incredible deals, a $400 Octane will smoke a $2000 PC for the things I do.

Regards,
Chris

Re: Chris
by JBQ on Fri 4th Oct 2002 03:50 UTC

Thanks for the enlightening comments, very informative ;)

JBQ

nvidia on linux
by Filter on Fri 4th Oct 2002 19:41 UTC

Eugenia, is your nvidia problems on your dual cel mb? Your problems sound very much like the ones I had running on my abit bp6. Is this your motherboard? Mine is stable as could be now, email me if that sounds right.

RE: nvidia on linux
by Eugenia on Fri 4th Oct 2002 19:58 UTC

No, it is an AthlonXP with VIA KM266PRO chipset.

Re: Opinions, plus some useful SGI/IRIX references...
by Filip Van Raemdonck on Mon 7th Oct 2002 13:50 UTC

> NO pc can do what my ancient R5K/200 O2 can do

Just curious, not even a SGI Visual Workstation?

IRIX ROCKS !
by Meatplow on Mon 7th Oct 2002 21:48 UTC

The only time my IRIX machines are down are when the batteries cant outlast the power hit ! I've had birthday parties for my uptimes on many machines. O2 & Origin 2000 both...

Meatplow