Modern IRIX

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This page documents setting up and using an SGI machine with SGI IRIX 6.5 as a primary workstation, in the context of modern, ~2015 desktop requirements.

Ideally, after completing the procedures listed on this page, the only limitation remaining should be in the hardware -- SGI's max speed of 1 GHz per CPU.

Where possible, the procedures have been automated, providing pointers to automation recipes rather than individual actions.

Where possible, links to specific external resources are provided instead of copy-pasing the information here.
The primary target of this Guide are "modern" SGI machines -- Octane2, Fuel, Tezro, O3xx etc.

This page is a work in progress!

Buying the Hardware

For buying SGI MIPS workstations, check out:

Supported Hardware

Devices and PCI Cards



SSD disks can be used as system disks by using a 80pin SCSI U160 <-> SATA adapter, such as ACARD ARS-2160H, ARS-2320H or ARS-2320S.
(If you buy an ARS-2320, which is a U320 adapter, you will still be limited to U160 bandwidth because SCSI in Fuel, Tezro etc. is U160.)
More info at

SSD disks can be used as non-system disks by connecting them to PCI-X SAS/SATA host bus adapters.
Basic Wiki page is at
More info at

MicroSD adapters can be used on older, 50-pin SCSI machines (e.g. Indy).
More info at

Quiet SCSI disks do exist; the info on vendors and model numbers of quiet disks can be found on first page of

Diskless operation is supported on SGI IRIX. However, an existing IRIX server is required to create the client tree, because the tools used to create the diskless trees are native to IRIX.
If/when a procedure is devised to install a diskless system without involving another IRIX machine, it will be posted here.

Installing IRIX 6.5

Installing Nekoware

The basis of a modern IRIX installation is the Nekoware software collection. It brings the usual/expected GNU apps to IRIX.

Nekoware is compiled using SGI's MIPSPro compiler and the packages are distributed in SGI's native tardist format.

Nekoware packages depend on other Nekoware programs and libraries.
To install Nekoware packages with automatic dependency resolution, use the tool:

Simply save it into the directory where you want to download Nekoware packages and run: perl
(On a clean IRIX install, you can download/save it using Netscape).

To later contribute your own packaging effort to Nekoware, see

Installing Other Software

User Community

For Nekochan IRC, use server and channels #nekochan and #Devel.

For Nekochan Forums, visit and create your account.
(After creating the account, add a SGI system icon to your profile's signature line as described here:
Apart from that, configure your Mozilla Thunderbird to watch all Forum posts by subscribing to a news feed:
The instructions for creating a new feed account in Thunderbird are on
And the RSS feed URL to add is

For Nekochan Wiki, visit and create your account.
(Wiki accounts need to be approved before use, and this process can take up to 10 days as seen in
Apart from that, configure your Mozilla Thunderbird to watch all Wiki changes by subscribing to a news feed:
The instructions for creating a new feed account in Thunderbird are on
And the Atom feed URL to add is

For asking advanced questions, see

Posting Your HINV

After installation, post your 'hinv' to the forum as described in

Also, find the "Hardware Aggregator" forum thread specific to your machine, and add your hardware to it (e.g.


Setting up the system consists of the following tasks. (These will be provided/converted to idempotent, runnable scripts, rather than having the data as text in the Wiki.)

In the parentheses of each item, there is (XX), where the first letter indicates whether the script has been written, and the second whether it has been tested.

The scripts are not available for download yet, but will be soon.

Misc Notes

An up-to-date subsection of all Nekochan Wiki pages which are not suitable / not needed to be converted to runnable scripts, but are still handy to be aware of:


Collection of links to external resources whose contents have not [yet] been integrated into the current page.