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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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 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.