June 2003 Archives

Fast brainf* Interpreter For IRIX

And now for something completely different ...

While browsing about this morning I came across this interesting announcement - a MIPS optimized build of a very bizarre, Turing complete language/compiler with an amusing name:

"For all the SGI brainf* developers out there, I'd like to introduce Thalion Graphic Solutions eK. bf-sgi-1.0, the brand-new, MIPS-optimized implementation of Urban Mueller's infamous creation, the programming language brainf*.

It translates brainf*-source to Mips n32 code on the fly, and is thus able to run your brainf*-programs at native system speed.

Supported platform(s):
SGI Irix systems able to run mips3/mips4-n32 code.

Get the (gpl'ed) source distribution at
and the binary-only package at http://www.thalion-graphics.de/download/bf-sgi-1.0-bin.zip

If you don't know, what it is good for, read more about brainf*, for example, at
http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/bf/ or search metacrawler ...

Have fun with it :)

Helmut Schulz
Thalion Graphic Solutions eK"

If nothing else, check out some of the source code available for this thing -- it's quite interesting to say the least.

Thanks to the efforts of Nekochan forum member nicolas, Mozilla Thunderbird is now available for IRIX.

The other half of the Firebird web browser (SGI's Freeware site has an older version of Firebird - aka Phoenix - available for download), Thunderbird is a new e-mail client which will eventually become part of the standard Mozilla suite.

Two archives are available for download, a packaged tardist which installs to /usr/local/thunderbird with a binary link in /usr/local/bin and a bzip2 compressed tarball which can be extracted anywhere.


Thanks to dexter1, new optimized builds of XMESS/XMAME are now available! Both packages were compiled/optimized with MIPSpro and are mips4 only for maximum performance.

Information on the 0.70.1 release can normally be found at the XMAME Home Page, however the list of changes for 0.70.1 hasn't been posted yet so it's not certain what's changed since 0.69.1.



xmame-0.70.1.tardist - 12.5MB
xmess-0.70.1.tardist - 5.6MB

VMD 1.8.1 Released

A new version of the free biomolecular visualization package has been released.

From the press release:

"VMD "Visual Molecular Dynamics" 1.8.1 Announcement

The Theoretical and Computational Biophysics group at the Beckman Institute For Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Illinois (U-C), is proud to announce the public release of VMD 1.8.1. VMD is a package for the visualization and analysis of biomolecular systems. VMD includes features for animation of molecular dynamics trajectories, interactive simulation, sequence browsing and structure highlighting, and powerful scripting capabilities. This software is distributed free of charge and includes source code, documentation, and precompiled binaries for IBM, HP, Linux, MacOS X, Sun, SGI, and Microsoft Windows. The VMD documentation includes an installation guide, a users guide, and a programmers guide for interested researchers. VMD also provides on-line help through the use of an external HTML viewer. VMD development is supported by the NIH National Center for Research Resources.

A full description of VMD is available via the VMD home page:

Release notes, documentation, and download links for the new version are available here:

The authors request that any published work which utilizes VMD includes a reference to the VMD web page and/or the following reference:
Humphrey, W., Dalke, A. and Schulten, K., "VMD - Visual Molecular
Dynamics", J. Molec. Graphics, 1996, vol. 14, pp. 33-38.

The Theoretical and Computational Biophysics group encourages VMD users to be closely involved in the development process through reporting bugs, contributing fixes, periodical surveys and via other means.

We are eager to hear from you, and thank you for using our software!

John Stone
June 10, 2003"

FlightGear IRIX Performance Survey

Erik Hofmann is collecting performance information from IRIX FlightGear users.


I would be interested to know from FlightGear users how well it runs on their workstations. It would be nice if users want to report the following information to emh@a1.nl (preferably using the subject "FGFS Survey") so I can put a list on the website.
To make the test comparable it would be a good idea to use an empty ~/.fgfsrc file and use the following command line:

/opt/bin/fgfs --fog-fastest

I would like to know the following:

* the following output of hinv
+ CPU info
+ Memory info
+ Graphics info
* output of uname -R
* installed texture memory
* framerate when standing still on the runway (after it settled down).

Thanks for your help.


Make sure to drop him a note after installing FlightGear; I'm sure this information will be used to make FlightGear even better.

FlightGear 0.9.2 for IRIX Released

A new version of FlightGear was released last week, and an IRIX tardist of the core package is available for download.

From the 0.9.2 press release:

"The Flight Gear Flight Simulator project is a free, open-source, multi-platform, cooperative flight sim development project. Source code for the entire project is available and licensed under the GPL. The Flight Gear project is working to create a sophisticated flight simulator framework for the development and pursuit of interesting flight simulator ideas. We are developing a good basic sim that can be expanded and improved upon by anyone interested in contributing.

FlightGear can be found at:

New in this release:
o New aircraft available: P51-D (w/ full 3d cockpit), Sea Hawk (WV908), a research ornithopter (propelled by actual flapping wings), A10, B-52, F-104, F-15, F-16, OV10, PA28-161, T-6A Texan II, T-38, British TSR2, YF-23, 737
o Added some early multiplayer features.
o Much improved sky and coloring as well as more realistic coloring of the sunset and sunrise.
o Clouds are drawn on a surface that better matches the underlying curve of the earth.
o A few updated terrain textures, better variety of random ground cover objects.
o Most weather options can now be set via the GUI. Added an option to randomize the weather.
o Various instruments and systems can now be failed/unfailed via the GUI.

For a complete list of changes, please visit:

Erik Hofman"

Some of my observations while setting up the sim under IRIX:

1. Make sure to install the base package -- for some reason it isn't included in the FlightGear tardist. Currently the download link for the 0.9.2 base package on the IRIX download page doesn't work. Get it here instead:


Extract this file into /opt/lib32 (you'll need to create the lib32 directory first) and rename the resulting FlightGear-0.9.2 directory to FlightGear.

2. There are additional IRIX specific notes on the IRIX download page (tips for increasing framerates, etc):


SGI Mozilla 1.4rc1 Released

Forum member chicago-joe discovered SGI posted the new Mozilla 1.4rc1 binaries on their Developer Central Open Source page sometime in the last week or so. Many thanks go out for the heads up; I've been away on business this week and haven't been able to make the rounds as much as I would have liked.



Free Blender 2.0 Manual Posted

The contents of the famous Blender 2.0 manual, previously available only in printed form, has been released in both browsable HTML format as well as a downloadable tarball:

Blender 2.0 manual in HTML

This is great news for those who may just now be looking into Blender for the first time and find themselves needing something to get them going. I bought the printed book when it first came out and it's quite a nice guide to have around.

More Emulators for IRIX

Time for some emulator fun!

A trio of new packages for today -- both XMAME/XMESS (Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator/Multi-Emulator Super System) versions 0.69.1 and VICE (Versatile Commodore Emulator) version 1.11. All three packages were compiled/optimized with MIPSpro and are mips4 only for maximum performance.

Once again, thanks go to dexter1 for providing the new IRIX MIPSpro patches for all three emulators. He also provided this IRIX XMAME Gallery screenshot showing XMAME in action.

More general info on the 0.69.1 release can always be found at the XMAME Home Page:


Discussion regarding this and other IRIX XMAME builds can be found in this forum thread. XMESS discussion is available here.

Moving on to VICE; more information on the latest 1.11 version can be found at the VICE home page:


The discussion thread for VICE is located here. All of the forum threads mentioned contain source code patches and compilation instructions if anyone wishes to roll their own build (i.e. for mips3 support).

Noise Proofing the Indigo2

James Holden of MicroCosmos dropped a note that he has just published an article detailing his experiences applying noise reducing foam to an Indigo2. Details and photos are available from the web site at http://www.microcosmos.co.uk -- it's very much worth checking out if you're interested in making your Indigo2 a bit quieter.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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