Most of you will be familiar with Silicon Graphics, Inc., once the proud leader in the graphics workstations market with their high-end MIPS workstations, running the UNIX System V based IRIX operating system. The company has been in steady decline for a long time now, and two years ago it put an end to its MIPS product line, favouring processors from Intel. Back to IRIX – it has many assets and good features (XFS, for instance), and the IRIX Interactive Desktop was certainly one of them. Sadly, it never properly made its way out of IRIX, but this is now being worked on, with the full support from SGI.
The MaXX Interactive Desktop is an effort to bring the IRIX Interactive Desktop to Linux (please note that this is a continuation of the 5dwm.org implementation, so not a case of re-inventing the wheel). In order to achieve this, MaXX Interactive, the commercial entity behind the project, has “a special license agreement from SGI enabling itself to push for a full implementation on Linux”. As they explain on their about page:
Our goal is to bring to the masses this great user experience which focus on performance, stability and productivity. So there is no surprise that the MaXX Desktop is a highly tuned Workstation Environment for the Linux x86, x86_64 and ia64 platforms.
The project has just released MaXX Desktop DR2 after a year of hard work, and it includes support for compositing, lives peacefully with KDM and GDM, and can be installed without any problems on Ubuntu and Fedora. The project is also looking towards the future, as they will create a spin-off project that will build on the classic Interactive Desktop look, but will try to enhance it, and make it more up-to-date.