Recently in SGI News Category

More retro-show annoucements! Checking the N8VEM mailing list this past weekend, I spotted a posting for the Seattle Retro-Computing Society's inaugural meeting (text posted below). Would be neat to see some SGIs there in addition to the usual crowd of retro machines.

I am pleased to announce... the Seattle Retro-Computing Society's inaugural meeting, on Saturday, June 25th, 2011!

Do you do any of the following with old computers near Seattle?

+ Use them
+ Collect them
+ Play games on them
+ Write programs for them
+ Develop new hardware for them
+ Help other people do any of the above

If your answer was "yes," as I expect it will be if you're reading this near Seattle, then the SRCS is for you! We exist so you can show off your awesome stuff, bounce ideas off of fellow enthusiasts, and be inspired by one another's achievements, plans and aspirations.

No idea is too big or too small, and we're not picky about what flavor of vintage machine you prefer! Come on down and tell us about it!

The meeting is graciously hosted by the Living Computer Museum, a relatively new organization which is building a computer museum in Seattle's SODO neighborhood. There will be refreshments, presentations on various vintage topics of interest, and enough table space & power to set up anything you may want to show off!

For further details, please see our page at http://srcs.nfshost.com/.
Hope to see you there!

Mark Wickens has posted an announcement for the upcoming DEC Legacy Event in the UK.  He's invited the SGI, HP and Sun communities to participate as well.

Hi guys,

Just wanted to make an official announcement on Nekochan for the DEC Legacy Event. This is the second year of the event, and following on from last years great success I would like to extend the invitation to attend not only to those interested in DEC hardware but also in SGI, HP, IBM and Sun hardware as well (or any other kit that would be of interest).

Given the size of the venue I am not entertaining extending this invitation to our 8-bit friends as I believe this is a community better served by VCF-GB which I am informed will be making a repeat appearance in 2012.

The event is hosted over two days in the beautiful Lake District of the UK. Last year we had many interesting talks and presentations, including a very memorable talk by Stephen Hoffman via video-conference to the USA about his time spent at the mill. It's a very unique opportunity to meet up with fellow enthusiasts. This year we are planning on being a lot more hands on - expect to see a multi-machine/OS DECnet cluster being created for example.

The cost is GBP 15.00 for the two days, although you are able to book for either Saturday/Sunday separately as required. Most of this cost goes to hiring the venue.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I am about to spend a little time getting the website more up to date with people and machines that will be attending. If you would like to make a presentation or do a demonstration (or would like to volunteer someone!) that would be great - just let me know.

I would love to see a good representation from the SGI, HP and Sun community there!

Regards,

Mark Wickens
http://declegacy.org.uk

SGI Terminates Graphics Division

| 1 Comment

VizWorld has posted a note that SGI terminated their entire graphics division from the Vice President on down to the engineers:

http://www.vizworld.com/2009/08/breaking-sgi-terminates-graphics-division/

It was a long time coming, but nonetheless it’s sad the day finally came to pass.

IRIX Blender 2.49a

| No Comments

A new version of Blender for IRIX was recently released, putting us at version 2.49a of the excellent freeware 3D graphics application.

As it was fairly cool this morning, I gave the application a quick launch check on my Tezro (screenshot below).

blender249.png

The latest and greatest version can be had from the Blender website at http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/.

A quick note — apparently the next release of Blender requires a newer Python than we currently offer in Nekoware (requires 3.1). Nekoware doesn’t currently have a Python maintainer, and there are a couple areas in the latest Python that require some porting work for IRIX. If anyone has any patches for an IRIX MIPSpro build of Python-3.1, please let me know!

Wanted to point out that edefault has purchased another set of PMC RM7000C-600T CPUs and is gearing up for another run of 600MHz O2 modules. You’ll need to supply your own RM5271 module for the conversion.

More info can be found in this thread.

I’ve one of edefault’s conversions in my clear cased O2 and I couldn’t be happier with it. The image below is of my own board - the “blue wire” mentioned in the thread can be seen on the module toward the bottom.

PICT1036.JPG

This is a really cool hack courtesy of deBug on the Nekochan forum.

redlight.JPG

I’d attempt it myself but I’m afraid I’d wind up with two broken mice when all was said and done. Looks great though and I certainly prefer optical mice whenever possible.

Newsforge: "My Workstation OS: Irix"

Robert Mertling-Blake has written a nice article for Newsforge extolling the virtues of the SGI/IRIX platform. Nekochan gets a mention alongside the excellent Iconbar project and Ian Mapleson's incredible resource page. Definitely worth checking out!

SGI Reveals Itanium Prism Deskside

prismd.jpg
Yup, it's finally here. SGI now has a Linux/Itanium/ATI Desktop Workstation, the Prism Deskside. See the overview on the SGI website here. Personally, I like it's family nickname "Dorado" better, but who am I ...

Nekochan threads discussing this new machine are here and here.

Wired: Whatever Happened to SGI?

Wired News has published a nice little piece focusing on SGI/IRIX hobbyists - Nekochan is mentioned as well. Definitely worth the read.

Update: Wired News Japan just picked up the story under the title "SGI-shasei "Indy", Fan ni nezuyoi ninki" which is roughly "SGI-made "Indy" Still Popular With Devoted Fans".

New SGI Visualization Machine: PRISM

To further add a nail into the IRIX/MIPS coffin, SGI has just launched a new Visualisation system, the Prism. An overview of the machine is here And here is the datasheet.

It looks like they took an Altix 350 brick and combined it with an UltimateVision brick. That's what a lot of people at the forum already have discussed/speculated for a couple of months now. So what Operating System is going to run on that? The datasheet mentiones the "Advanced Linux Environment" but uncertain is, whether it is RedHat or SuSE based...

A forum thread which contains discussions about and related to the new machine is here

New SGI Related Mailing Lists

Shawn from http://www.sgihelp.org wrote that he's set up a few new mailing lists for SGI/IRIX users. These new lists include "sgi-rescue" "irix" and "big-iron". Be sure to drop by and sign up if interested.

As of 1st of july, i'm a bit late i admit, SGI's Reality Centres exist for 10 years now. Their webpage is over here. Yes, it already is that long ago that the customers had their first Terminator rack Onyx with MCO reeled into their studios :). The press release contains nothing terribly exciting, except for the announcement that they are working on a new generation of visualization Centres. Will this then be the great breakthrough for ATI with the UltimateVision? Or are they planning on deploying Altix with GFX bricks? Speculations, speculations... :)

Resurrecting an Onyx2

Joe Gill recently posted a link on Usenet for his newly created weblog detailing his efforts on getting a Onyx2 machine up a running, complete with pictures and part numbers. The machine apparently isn't functional yet, but it's already shaping up to be quite a nice documentary!

I came across several announcements for this event on Usenet, and while obviously not something designed for hobbyists it still may be of interest:

The SGI User Group's annual international Technical Conference will be held 23-27 May, 2004 in Orlando, Florida, USA. The user conference is open to all SGI customers.

The SGIUG 2004 conference will include technical information and tutorials, as well as an opportunity to meet with SGI's top executives and engineers. There will also be a tour and dinner at the Kennedy Space Centre.

The Organizing Committee will present the results of their work and nominate candidates for office. There will be an election at that time to accept a more formal organization and officers to continue to refine the group. Please make your desires known in regards to your participation and ideas on making it a world class user group.

More details at the official website, as well as a PDF of the official flyer:

http://www.sgiug.org/SGIUG2004.php

R16000A 800Mhz

| 4 Comments

SGI has released a press statement yesterday that for the Fuel and Tezro a CPU upgrade to R16000A at 800MHz is now available. No word on Octane2 options :(

Thanks to schleusel for pointing this out on the forum

Read all about it here

www.irixcentral.com to Reopen

| 3 Comments

I just received an e-mail from Daniel Leeds, webmaster of www.irixcentral.com, with news that the popular IRIX website will shortly reopen. This is great news, especially in light of the delays and rumors surrounding SGI's Freeware site at the moment.

Hey,

Just an FYI, I will be resurrecting the www.irixcentral.com website shortly
along with some of our custom software packages and builds. One thing of
note which has garnered some interest and you may want to announce is a
release of perl 5.8.2 with a bundled oracle 8i client including
DBI/DBD-Oracle for IRIX64 (r10k+).

While it contains commercial code (the oracle client sdk) we are taking a to
hell with it atttitude since it is only the client not the full database.
There is no reason to prevent IRIX users from connecting to oracle databases
at work and at home on other platforms.

We hope to have more net8 clients for 32bit IRIX in the future and for 5.3
and 6.2 if we can procure the necessary bits from oracle.

--daniel

512 Altix SMP Machine at NASA Ames

While browsing for some news, i noticed that NASA Ames laboratory has bought a 512 CPU Altix as a single system image. Hardly surprising, this configuration is not supported by default, but again a "special" created by SGI. Check out the photograph at www.sgi.com. They also were the first and only one to receive a 2048 CPU Origin 3900 system.

BTW, Linux Torvalds initially refused to modify the linux kernel to accept more than 64 CPU in smp configuration. The answer to my question from an SGI engineer a year ago, if SGI could support more than 64 CPU's in an Altix, he replied: "Sure, but Linus won't allow it, and if we put it in the kernel anyway, it becomes GPL, so we won't make that modification."

I'm curious why he changed his mind. It looks like Linus is supporting Altix in his kernels directly, see his posting about kernel 2.6.0-test9. Maybe he got convinced about its performance?

On a side note. The systems initially were released with Redhat 7.2. from this news item one can infer that plans are underway to support SuSE configurations, and already in august there were plans at SuSE to go beyond 64 CPU's.

Mare pointed out today on the chat channel that no other than Greg Douglas has tried to insert an SI GFX XIO board into the Gigachannel O200 Expansion module. He booted and It seems to work just fine :) Well, atleast in the bootup screen. There is a google thread on this, it includes the hinv.

Ofcourse if you want to do this, do so at your own risk. Gigachannel Expansions are not easy to come by, and keyboard mouse issues are not solved yet. Plus the fact that this is completely unsupported...

On the SGI support site there's a notification that the Origin and Onyx 3200 and 3800 machines will no longer be produced after the 31st of March 2004. Interestingly, they offer a CPU PIMM (Processor-Included Memory Module) upgrade to 800 MHz. They do not reveal the CPU name, but I estimate it's an R16K.

Chris Miller wrote in with the news that SGI is holding a contest for "the most compelling OpenGL API demos as judged by a panel of visualization luminaries." Over $80,000 worth of prizes are being offered, including two Onyx4 UltimateVision systems. Complete details are available here.

I know we have some talented OpenGL programmers out there - so get to work and bring home an Onyx4! I'd love to see some action shots of that system and can always use more photos for the gallery. :)

If one live-installs IRIX 6.5.21 on an Octane without applying patch 5086, it will kill the PROM, rendering you unable to boot the Octane anymore! Check out this forum thread.

Be absolutely sure that you have patch 5086 installed on your Octane, if you want to upgrade to 6.5.21. The patch is previously explained in this forum thread.

A miniroot 6.5.21 install should be fine, provided you boot the miniroot from the 6.5.21 install CD.

SCO Turns Its Attention to SGI

| 4 Comments

Well I suppose we were waiting for this:

Silicon Graphics Inc says that it has received notice from SCO Group Inc that the Unix vendor intends to terminate its Unix System V license on the basis that SGI has breached the terms of the license.

SCO turns its attention to sgi

IP35 PROM Innards and Speculations

| 4 Comments

While paging through the IP35 PROM from IRIX 6.5.21m which, as many of you know, is the PROM used in most current SGI machines, i stumbled accross some IP board numbers: IP34 IP35 IP39 IP45 IP53

The Tezro is the IP53, no doubt. Also the IP35 is the Fuel, but what are the other three? One of them should be an Onyx4... hm...

The bootlogo's for the fuel and Onyx3 IR which i could extract from a recent PROM image aren't there anymore, because SGI has changed the image format from RLE encoding to something different. Color maybe?

Any info on Fuel's 6.5.21m bootlogo or even a Tezro's bootupscreen is appreciated :)

BTW: Tezro support started with IRIX 6.5.21, but the IP53 entry was already present in the IP35 PROM from 6.5.19. This dates the development of the Tezro prototypes back to february this year, or even further back...

Weekly Roundup of SGI News

SGI Leads Again in IDC Performance Report

Growing Popularity and Blistering Performance of SGI Altix 3000 Systems Help Push SGI Atop Multiple Computing Class Categories.


SGI aims to become storage Giant

Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) has launched a new storage initiative intended to make the company a bigger player in the storage industry.

New SGI Web Site

| 1 Comment

Vissy wrote today with info on his new SGI web site:

Hello nekoneko,

My SGI-site is located at http://www.hytti.uku.fi/~tkalliok/sgi

Includes mainly Indigo2 based stuff, but also general IRIX stuff like easy-wallpaper-handling-scripts etc.

-Vissy

It's fantastic watching the SGI hobbyist scene growing like this - be sure to drop by and take a look!

New SGI Related Web Portal Opens

I noticed while browsing Usenet today that Damon S. has launched a new SGI related portal complete with forum: http://risc.cc. Check it out and see how it comes along!

New SGI Backgrounds

RageX, a Nekochan forum regular, has created number of very nice Tezro inspired desktop backgrounds at various resolutions and added them to the Gallery. Be sure to check out his work here.

Instructions for using these backgrounds under 4Dwm can be found in the Custom Backgrounds On IRIX article.

Look for more additions to the Gallery soon. Perhaps we'll have some SIGGRAPH photos up in a couple weeks as well.

In a rather odd move, SGI subsidiary Alias|Wavefront has shortened their name to Alias:

"Alias|Wavefront, a Silicon Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: SGI) company, announced that today marks the start of its 20th anniversary celebrations and the launch of a corporate identity change from Alias|Wavefront to Alias. The name Alias signifies the rich heritage of the company and provides a simple yet powerful name that is well known throughout the 3D industry and beyond."

Read the full press release here.

SGI announces Tezro/Onyx 4

| 5 Comments

Today SGI has publicly announced the new Workstation Tezro and the new Visualisation system Onyx 4. With 4 R16K CPU's and VPro 12 GFX the Tezro is an impressive machine to be placed onto anyone's desk. And the Onyx 4 fits in right underneath...

Techdocs however are still not online yet.


Though not officially announced by SGI, a new techpub document has been posted detailing the next generation SGI workstation.

Some highlights include: a rack mountable chassis with the famous SGI cube logo, 1 to 4 R16K CPUs, 128MB VPro graphics with DVI-I output, PCI-X expansion slots, LVD SCSI, IDE DVD-ROM, NUMA-LINK, 5 DB9 serial ports, PS/2 keyboard & mouse, optional audio board, optional 4 port USB card, gigabit ethernet built in and an LCD status display.

More information will no doubt follow in the next few days.

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.

More SGI Boot Logos

| 4 Comments


Frank Everdij has succeeded in extracting even more boot logos from various SGI EEPROM firmware! In addition to the three logos from last month, he's retrieved images from Fuel, Octane and InfiniteReality. All three have been added to the boot logo tarball archive; the actual images in the archive are much larger than the samples shown above. Very neat stuff.

Abekas Diskus

Sergiu Partenie sent some great images of an Abekas Diskus unit which have been added to the SGI Photo Archive. He's also filled in a couple of missing cover scans in the HotMix/IndyZone gallery.

SGI Photo Archive Updates

Over the past couple of weeks I've been steadily adding to the SGI Photo Archive due to new hardware image submissions from Steve Bian, Sergiu Partenie and Shea McCombs. In addition I've added scans of several interesting HotMix and IndyZone CD covers.

I believe it's come along nicely from the four lonely Indigo shots that populated that section for nearly two years!

Silicon Graphics Espressigo

| 1 Comment

Benoit Gassien has come through once again with another very cool SGI promotional item sighting on eBay Germany: the SGI Espressigo, an espresso maker housed in an Indigo case!

Unlike the rOctane and Indy Case which I found out about after the auctions had closed, the Espressigo is currently still available (until February 2nd).

Now I'm wondering if SGI ever made similar promotional items out of Indigo2/O2 cases.

(Note: I've added the Espressigo auction photos to the SGI Gallery.)

SGI Boot Logos

| 2 Comments


Frank Everdij wrote that he has managed to extract boot logos from SGI EPROM firmware:

Last couple of weeks I have tried to reveal some secrets of the EPROM-firmware of several SGI's and I succeeded in extracting the Boot Logo for three systems: the Indy, the Indigo and the O2. I have included the gifs to this email (my first in Pine!)

Maybe someone can use this as elements for a custom Wallpaper...

I've rolled the three logos into tarball which you can download here. This is really very cool and I may just throw together some custom wallpaper myself! :)

G160 Online, Nekochan Net Operational

Nekochan Net was offline for a couple of hours this evening for the 3c597 to G160 swap. I'm happy to report everything is working perfectly; I'm seeing about 2MB/sec increase in transfer rates with lower processor occupancy so I'm very happy.

The G160 has some installation caveats that made it a bit challenging to install, the most vexing being the inability of the system to boot if the G160 occupies slot 1 (lower slot; system status light amber with no video output once powered on). After messing around with it for a bit and getting nowhere I found others on Usenet who shared the same experience. The fix was to shift the Maximum IMPACT down to slots 1-3 and put the G160 in slot 4. I've no idea if this strange behavior is covered in the Phobos documentation since I received the G160 as a system pull ... no box or manual.

After some further research it seems this is normal behavior due to the arrangement of the GIO-64 slots. Despite having four GIO-64 connectors there are only two logical GIO-64 slots; the two top and two bottom are combined. Since MI uses the bottom connector as the "live" interface, the G160 and MI were sharing a slot. Weird stuff.

I'm going to let the G160 burn in for a week or so and then the 3c597 will be available for sale. Make me an offer if interested!

Silicon Graphics rOctane

Benoit Gassien wrote to point out another interesting auction that recently closed on eBay, this time for a rOctane. A rOctane is apparently another SGI promotional item much like the Indy Case sold in Europe, this time an Octane case integrated with a JVC UX-1000 stereo system.

It looks like this one sold for a good price; makes me wish some of these SGI promotional items were available here in the US.

(Note: I've added the rOctane auction photos to the SGI Gallery.)

SGI Freeware GCC 3.2.1 Alert

| 7 Comments

Just a heads up to those who are thinking of updating to gcc 3.2.1 off of the February 2002 Freeware distribution: there have been several reports that using this version on an OS below 6.5.18 can cause problems ranging from the inability to compile simple programs to outright kernel panics. I'll keep an eye on the situation and report back as events unfold.

For the record, it's been working great for me under 6.5.18f.

New SGI Related Web Portal Opens

| 4 Comments

James Holden has launched a new SGI related site: http://www.microcosmos.co.uk. Check it out see how it comes along; he's already hinted that a FTR tutorial is forthcoming.

I missed this a couple of days ago, but SGI announced the latest update to the Fuel workstation line on the 9th: Fuel R16000/700. Still too much for me to afford (the 700MHz models start at $13,995), but it's always nice to see new IRIX workstations still coming out of SGI. Plus they're a lot cheaper than IRIX workstations were a few years ago. Read the SGI press release here.

Silicon Graphics Indy Case?

| 2 Comments

Another humorous entry, this one brought to my attention by Gavin Hubbard: the mysterious Indy Case, as seen in this eBay auction. The auction closed December 9th so the attached images might not stick around much longer. According to the auction description this was manufactured by SGI in 1994 as a promotional item.

(Note: I've also added the eBay Indy Case photos to my SGI Gallery.)

The Return of Silicon Bunny Downloads

| 2 Comments

Tom of Silicon Bunny wrote earlier today and advised me the Silicon Bunny downloads page has reopened! Go have a look; the site has lots of great material in addition to excellent tardist offerings not found anywhere else.

New IRIX Tips Site

Jappe Reuling wrote that he has started a new IRIX tip archive at sun.lowlife.org. I found the bit on integrating ssh-agent with the Toolchest very interesting.

Octane: The Soundtrack

| 3 Comments

I came across an interesting site today which offers Silicon Graphic's promotional Octane: The Soundtrack CD in MP3 format (look toward the bottom of the file list). It's kind of neat actually ... if you haven't heard it before, check it out.

"New" SGI Gear

| 1 Comment

The past couple of weeks have seen the arrival of quite a bit of interesting SGI related gear at the residence. One of the first arrivals was the ACARD ARS-2000FU Ultra SCSI-IDE bridge I mentioned last month. I have to say the bridge has been everything I hoped for; extremely easy to install and use. It's amazing how much storage capacity this gives you for such little cash and the performance is wonderful. I can't say enough good things about these ... in fact, I'm going to buy a couple more of them very soon (one for the Indigo(1) and another for the second bay in the Indigo2). After setting the SCSI ID on the bridge and connecting everything up it was a simple matter to clone my existing system drive over. I used the "Cloning A Root Disk" section of Ian Mapleson's Disk and File System Administration guide, opting for the xfsdump/xfsrestore method outlined in that document.

Another item I received this past week: a Maximum IMPACT TRAM upgrade kit I'd "won" on eBay. Installation was a bit more challenging since I'm not familiar with the Maximum IMPACT board layout ... I initially neglected to install a TRAM module on the boardset's middle tier which resulted in missing scan lines in textured surfaces. A quick search on the comp.sys.sgi newsgroups helped to clue me in and my next test was successful. I must mention that it took quite a bit of pressure to fully seat the TRAM module on the middle tier though ... the topmost TRAM was very easy to snap into place in comparison.

One of the most exciting new bits I received: a cable set for the Galileo Video/Cosmo Compress pair installed in my Indigo(1). I was finally able, at long last, to loop my Cosmo card through the Galileo as well as connect up my ABOB! I've had everything save the cables for about a year now but haven't been able to do anything with them aside from use an IndyCam.

I tried a few test captures earlier this week and am pleased with the results thus far; I've been sending the captured video over the Indigo's integrated 10Mb ethernet (slow!) to the G4 for playback and/or editing. I'm planning on experimenting with the Galileo/Cosmo some more this weekend, trying out some of the various quality related settings to see how it effects the end result.

Finally, as a result of having a nice video capture solution operating on the Indigo(1), I chased down a Phobos G130 100Mb ethernet card, brand new in box through B&B Solutions (via eBay, cost was $42 US before shipping). This should make moving captured video over to the G4 much less painful.

By the way, I have an extra ABOB for Galileo available if anyone is looking for one.

New IrixDiVX Coming Soon

This evening Brandon Corey, the author of IrixDiVX, wrote that he's nearing completion on a new version capable of playing a wide range of DiVX codecs. Perhaps even more exciting is the news that IrixDiVX has evolved into a true one-stop multimedia playback solution capable of decoding MPEG1, MPEG2, VCD, SVCD and even DVD.

The update will be available for download from the official IrixDiVX home page once released.

irixdivx_snap.jpg
IrixDiVX screenshot courtesy Brandon Corey

Reawakening the Indigo2

| 4 Comments

ars-2000fu.gifI mentioned a while back that I'd begun work on restoring my newly acquired Indigo2 IMPACT R10000 system; way back in April I'd picked up a Maximum IMPACT boardset from Pastech, 3.5" & 5.25" drive sleds and a 32x internal CD-ROM from Used Tech Dot Org (formally Aftermath Technologies), a 195MHz R10000 CPU from Reputable Systems and a 100Mbit 3Com EISA 3c597 card (essentially a Phobos E100) purchased from an individual seller. The system has languished since then; the current system drive is too small to do much with (6GB) and my attempts to locate the TRAM option to fully expand the Maximum IMPACT have met with absolutely no success despite a couple postings to comp.sys.sgi.marketplace pleading for help.

The system will once again be receiving some attention; I've just arranged to purchase a Video for IMPACT boardset (essentially Galileo (ev1) for IMPACT systems) and will be picking up at least one ACARD ARS-2000FU Ultra SCSI-IDE bridge to utilize low cost high capacity IDE drives as I happen to have two 60 GB drives I'm not using for anything else at the moment.

The ARS-2000FU is a small tray like device that attaches to the underside of a 3.5" IDE drive, transforming it into a SCSI unit which will still fit the drive sleds of SCSI based machines like the Indigo2. After searching online, I discovered Microland USA resells these units for $80.00 each.

I should mention that these upgrades have freed up a couple of components if anyone is interested, namely a Solid IMPACT board (SGI PN 030-0786-002; would be great as a second head if you have a 060-0027-xxx power supply) and a 175MHz R10000 CPU module (SGI PN 030-1433-002).

The Most Attractive OS

| 4 Comments

While monitoring my weblogs the other day I noticed quite a few hits from an ArsTechnica forum thread titled What is the most attractive OS?. Apparently one of the debaters linked some of my screenshots along with a caption trumping IRIX as one of the more attractive OS/UI combos on the market. Of course, this was immediately leapt upon as one might expect, with one poster claiming that the presence of anime backgrounds alone does not a pretty OS make.

I made my opinion on this matter known in the thread itself, but let me restate it here: my website is not designed to dress up IRIX with anime and try to sell it as something beautiful, it was created to show IRIX in action, performing tasks which hopefully will be of interest to IRIX hobbyists while providing links to useful software. The anime in some of my screenshots is a matter of personal taste; I have anime on all my systems, whether they be Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc.; that is the way I am and I'm not changing any time soon.

On another related note, please don't link my images directly in the future. You may use them elsewhere, but host them yourself. If this continues I'll lock it down. Thanks.

The Ancient Computer

NOTE: This entry is already obsolete as I was forced to retire the Indigo after a series of hardware failures left it severely crippled. Ryouko will be missed. My Indigo2 IMPACT, Mika (named after the lead character in the anime Geneshaft), is now running the site.

It's quite amazing really, running a web site (among other things) on a computer that's now ten years old. That's right, the Silicon Graphics Indigo Elan R4400 powering this website was introduced in early 1992 (then stocked with a 64-bit, 100MHz MIPS R4000 RISC CPU). I suppose you could argue that this particular configuration formally turns a decade old in 2003 (which is when the 150-MHz MIPS R4400 that now powers the mighty Ryouko was released as an upgrade option for the R4000), but either way it's far removed from what we now consider an effective service life.

The Indigo At Work: A rack of Indigo machines at Fermilab. The Indigo At Work: Rack of Indigos at Fermilab during the 90's.

I've given serious thought to replacing the machine with something more modern, either a newer IRIX system or perhaps even a Macintosh running OS X, but for some reason I can't bring myself to do it despite having hardware for both options available to me. I derive a sort of obscure pleasure knowing that old, "obsolete" hardware which goes for pennies on the dollar on eBay and increasingly populates dumpsters can still perform serious tasks and perform them well. How many webservers are still out there running on Indigos anyway?

I am incredibly impressed by SGI's continued support of the Indigo. To this day, the latest and greatest versions of IRIX still run on it, and add on cards like Galileo and Cosmo Compress still receive maintenance updates. I often wonder if there are individuals at SGI that have a fondness for the machine and keep the support alive for nostalgia, or perhaps there are still large customers running Indigos someplace (an intriguing thought!) Especially considering the Crimson lost support as of IRIX 6.2 and contained the same R4400 CPUs, and even further back, the Indigo R3000 lost support as of IRIX 5.3.

Perhaps more prophetic than intended ...

Perhaps more prophetic than intended ...

I now have a more powerful SGI machine, a fully loaded Indigo2 R10000 MaximumImpact which I could press into service if need be. But for now I think I'll keep plugging along with the machine that has served me well in the 20th century and continues to perform equally well in the 21st.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the SGI News category.

Retrocomputing is the previous category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.