As a result of its Unix underpinnings, it is capable of extremely long uptimes and its XFS file system is regarded as one of the most advanced journaling file systems in the industry.
IRIX has particularly strong support for 3D graphics, video, and high-bandwidth bulk data transfer. IRIX was one of the first Unix flavors to feature a graphical user interface for the main desktop environment and was widely used in the computer animation industry and for scientific visualization due to its extremely good performance with 3D graphics. IRIX uses the IRIX Interactive Desktop, which by default uses the 4Dwm window manager with a custom look designed using the Motif widget toolkit.
The current major version of IRIX is IRIX 6.5 which was released in May 1998. New minor versions were released every quarter up through version 6.5.30. Until version 6.5.22 there were two branches of each release: a maintenance release that included only fixes to the original IRIX 6.5 code and a feature release that included improvements and enhancements. Historically, the maintenance releases were a free download while the feature stream required a support contract. Selected versions up through the 6.5.22 maintenance release are currently available for free download while version 6.5.23 and higher require an active Silicon Graphics support contract, despite only running on Silicon Graphics hardware.
Irix is compliant with UNIX System V Release 4, UNIX 95 and POSIX (including 1e/2c draft 15 ACLs and Capabilities).
The end of IRIX
In a press release on 6th September 2006, SGI announced the end of the MIPS/IRIX line. Production will end on 29th December 2006 and the last orders will be fulfilled by March 2007. Support for these products will end no sooner than December 2013. All remaining SGI products run Linux.