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.
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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.