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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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

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.