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SGI Announces MIPS and IRIX End of Production 275

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the end-of-an-era dept.
ramakant writes "Considering the recent news regarding their dismal financial situation, it should come as no surprise that SGI announced end of production for MIPS based hardware and the IRIX operating system. From the article: "SGI launched the MIPS/IRIX family of products in 1988. Since then, this technology has powered servers, workstations, and visualization systems used extensively in Manufacturing, Media, Science, Government/Defense, and Energy. After nearly two decades of leading the world in innovation and versatility, the MIPS IRIX products will end their general availability on December 29, 2006." IRIX has always been my favored OS, and I'll be sad to see it gone. Hopefully my O2 will survive for many years to come."
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SGI Announces MIPS and IRIX End of Production

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  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:45PM (#16054263)
    Now what narrowly-deployed architecture for which everyone runs a CPU simulator will be taught in computer organization and assembly language classes?
    • by OrangeTide (124937) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:50PM (#16054286) Homepage Journal
      Systems with a clean instruction set are apparently unpopular in the real world.

      PowerPC is rather nice, but it's not as clean. (but it is easier to use)
      • Um what? MIPS lacks a add with carry instruction. That makes it suck. :-)

        Tom
      • by timeOday (582209)
        Systems with a clean instruction set are apparently unpopular in the real world.
        I would put it the other way... when a lot of different people and applications pile on to a technology, it necessarily becomes more complex and loses some of its initial design clarity. This almost always happens to software programs in the end.
    • by jd (1658)
      ARM? (arcem isn't maintained, from the looks of it, but it's a neat pure-hardware-level ARM platform simulator.)
      • ARM is patented (Score:4, Informative)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:01PM (#16054371) Homepage Journal
        ARM?

        MIPS is popular because it's unpatented (except for a few less common instructions, which aren't taught in Computer Organization and Design anyway). A common term project in computer architecture courses is to design a reduced implementation of the MIPS architecture on an FPGA [wikipedia.org]; some students go beyond this and end up with Plasma [opencores.org]. The ARM architecture, on the other hand, is still patented.

        (arcem isn't maintained, from the looks of it, but it's a neat pure-hardware-level ARM platform simulator.)

        The most popular ARM platform simulator nowadays seems to be VisualBoyAdvance [ngemu.com].

        • Re:ARM is patented (Score:4, Informative)

          by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:42PM (#16054685) Journal

          The ARM architecture, on the other hand, is still patented.

          Those patents should all have expired by now, at least for the original architecture. Patents filed prior to June 8, 1994 have a term of 20 years from filing date or 17 years fro issue date, whichever is greater. ARM1 was in development testing in 1985 and shipped in 1986. Unless some of those patents too more than four years to be issued, they should be in the clear by now. Of course, you'll have to do a search to be completely certain, but....

          The thumb instruction set, on the other hand, does have currently active patents, I believe.

          A discussion of this issue can be found here [drobe.co.uk].

      • by Mercano (826132)

        ARM has those conditional execution bits at the beginning of every instruction. Useful, undoubtedly, but it adds another layer of complexity to teaching the thing.

        Side note, one of the coolest things I remember from EECS 2xx was how many instructions weren't implemented on MIPS hardware but they had anyway, mostly via the zero register. NEG? Sure, it might exist in the assembler, but its going to get turned into a SUB instruction from R0 by the time it hits machine code. Load immediate? No, you mean a

        • by mmkkbb (816035)
          I don't think that's unique to MIPS. I seem to remember numerous pseudo-instructions from my 68HC11 days as well.
          • by Dr Caleb (121505)
            " I seem to remember numerous pseudo-instructions from my 68HC11 days as well."

            "Branch Never" - BRN was my favourite. It was common to all the 68XX line.

            The logic was astounding! Load an address into a register then never, ever go there. The exact opposite of BRA "Branch Always".

            Nowadays, a PIC microcontroller is the way to go. 16 pin DIP, 4 D/A's, a few K of EEPROM, 35 instructions total. Sweet!
    • SPARC? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Grendel Drago (41496)
      I learned on SPARC; I thought everybody else did too...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by EvanED (569694)
        Penn State uses MIPS, I think Cornell uses MIPS (at least the musical I read based off of their org course seemed to indicate so, at least from the hardware point of view), I'm pretty sure Wisconsin uses MIPS. Heck, the aforementioned CPU simulator (SPIM) came out of U. Wisconsin. And those are the only three places I have any inkling about.

        I do know that PSU *used* to teach SPARC in a standalone assembly course, but that was later combined with the org class and at that point changed to MIPS.

        (BTW, an adden
        • by Neoprofin (871029)
          I can confirm that as of year ago Wisconsin was still using MIPS and I haven't heard any word on a change since then.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by jd (1658)
            You can't confirm that! You're not Netcraft! :)
      • Re:SPARC? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by E-Lad (1262) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:43PM (#16054698) Homepage
        I think MIPS was the popular arch to learn asm on. Here at UMBC, MIPS is still what the assembly programming courses revolve around. In the mid 90s, SGI/IRIX was popular in (american, at least) universities. This course is pretty much one of the only reasons why we keep a few O200s around (including a 24-CPU Challenge XL... well, okay, it's now 16 CPUs, because we seem to be seeing one CPU board die each year). It's funny because back in the 90s, the Challenge XL was billed to faculty as a high-speed research computing server, which it was - at the time. Some of the old timers believe that's still is true today, probably because they just don't know better. 16x 200Mhz CPUs ain't all that, no matter what arch you're on.

        Hopfully we can convince the CS dept to move their course off of MIPS so we can push these aging servers off the end of the loading dock. SPARC or x86/64 would be the alternatives here.
        • Re:SPARC? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @04:28PM (#16055019) Homepage Journal
          X86!
          using the X86 to teach assembly language is like using Perl to teach object oriented programing.

          No need to move off MIPS, just use an emulator.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by drinkypoo (153816)
            Using x86 to teach assembler is great! It means that once you've struggled and fought with that piece of shit, everything else will be easy. By contrast, MIPS is too easy. After that, everything else will be harder :)
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by swillden (191260) *

              By contrast, MIPS is too easy. After that, everything else will be harder :)

              My first assembly language was VAX. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the great thing about VAX assembler was that there was an instruction for everything. For example there was a machine instruction that performed a quicksort. The old joke was that you could write any program with a single instruction, if you could find it and figure out how to use it.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by hey! (33014)
                Jokes aside, the thing about VAX assembly programming is that the instruction set was probably one of the last ones designed where human readability was considered a critial factor. I swear that VAX assembler was almost as easy as coding in C.

                Programming after all is a matter of mastering idioms. Good programming is often largely a matter of choosing sensible conventions and sticking with them. The thing that kills you in the system is lack of orthagonality. Broadly speaking, what I mean by this is that
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mnmn (145599)
            x86 assembly is more useful than most other assembly. Once you learn it you can further learn x64, MMX etc and make fast drivers and codecs that you can (1) sell (2) get a job through.

            I learned x86 asm around 1994 mainly because there was nothing else for a 15 yr old with a PC, and because x86 even back then was pervasive enough.

            I was trying to build a boot code virus using instructions and code taken from a BBS server.

            I failed to infect my own computer.
      • by Nimey (114278)
        Meh, my glorified state college used ArrowAsm for MS-DOS. The tentacles...
      • by Nuskrad (740518)
        Just to add to the list, Lancaster University in the UK also teaches MIPS assembler (in the SPIM emulator)
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:54PM (#16054321) Homepage Journal
      Now what narrowly-deployed architecture for which everyone runs a CPU simulator will be taught in computer organization and assembly language classes?

      Duh. They'll emulate the 6507 in the Atari 2600 [sourceforge.net]. That way they can run it on real, modern hardware [atarimuseum.com]! :P
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *
        To be serious for a moment, the 6502 series [wikipedia.org] (which included the 6507 and 65C02) was an excellent processor architecture that was incredibly easy to learn on. Its small instruction set, focus on 8 bit instructions, and logical segmenting made it popular both in real usage (Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, Atari 8-bit computers, Apple II, BBC Micro, etc.) AND in teaching.

        Just about anyone can learn to program it by reading the documentation [demon.co.uk]. It's so simple, it can even replace BASIC as
        • Just about anyone can learn to program it by reading the documentation.
          Sigh, those were the days.. I learned 650x machine code (not assembler, didn't ahve one of those) on the C64 from reading the Compute! book. I miss my C64.

          I think for me it was knowing i had essentially total control of the machine. I had the Mapping The C64 book, i could learn what every byte did. A kid trying now with Linux has megabytes and megabytes to read.
          • I learned 650x machine code (not assembler, didn't ahve[sic] one of those) on the C64

            Are you saying that you actually hex edited your programs? Ouch. Now that's old school! :)
            • by davechen (247143)
              HA! For my machine language class we had to enter binary code into a PDP-11 and debug the code using the switches and LEDs on the front panel.
              • by plopez (54068)
                In my hardware course we also wired the damn thing together, then programmed it. We tested against a simulator we wrote in Pascal (we worked in pairs).

                Those were the days. It hurt a bit but you got an end-to-end view of these things and learned virtual machines to boot!

                That was also the summer (yes I took it in the summer) I learned to watch baseball. Not much happens in base for long periods of time, so I would wrap wires. I would hear the bat, watch the replay, then go back to wrapping wires.

                Damn I'm old
          • I learned 650x machine code (not assembler, didn't have one of those) on the C64 from reading the Compute! book.

            Likewise....

            I hand assembled 6502 code by only using the mnemonic reference in the back of the VIC-20 Programmer's Reference Guide. All this after just learning basic. I used the open architecture of the system and the well documented memory map to create a bitmapped Formula 1 car graphic that moved across the screen one pixel at a time. Lots of ROL/ROR usage. I entered the code via POKEs read fro

        • by rbanffy (584143)
          300: AD 30 C0 4C 00 03
          300G

          Boy... I miss the Apple II days. 6502 rocks.
        • by xiox (66483)
          I laughed upon my schoolmates with their puny 6502 with three 8-bit instruction registers. My blistering 4MHz Z80 came complete with several 16bit registers (with an alternative set), lots of fancy addressing modes, and my favourite the LDIR instruction. How could I ever do without that wonderful memory copying instruction?

          The 6502, for comparison, felt like some sort of masochist's apparatus!
        • by jd (1658)
          I believe the 6502 series is up to 65I02, and is still going strong. If I'm correct on this, it's one of the longest-lived series of microprocessor, as virtually everything else from back then has been abandoned.
          • I believe the 6502 series is up to 65I02

            AFAIK, the only models of the 6502 are 6502, 6507 (fewer pins), 65C02 (fixes bugs), and 65816 (16 bit). These cores have been implemented by various processors, and are still often used in modern microcontrollers. You're probably thinking of either the 65C816, or a specific manufacturer's model number.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bluesman (104513)
      It'll all be Motorola 68000.

      Anything but Intel, it's just way too easy to find recent and cheap hardware and software that's i386.

      Plus the textbooks won't have classic lines like,

      "Today's machines now come standard with up to 4 megabytes of Random Access Memory, and this continues to increase every year!"

      • Hardly. Everyone knows it's all ball bearings nowadays!
      • by mmkkbb (816035)
        New Freescale ColdFire microcontrollers still use the 68000 instruction set and they're still getting put in new devices, although the current CF core is a bit different...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrDitto (962751)
      MIPS is not going away. They are a seperate company that now focuses on the high-end embedded market.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by neonprimetime (528653)
        Can I ask a legit question then, since you seem to know what you're talking about :-) What if any effect SHOULD this announcement have on current undergraduate Assembly courses that teach MIPS? Thank you in advance.
        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @04:18PM (#16054950) Homepage Journal
          I will answer. None at all.
          This announcement is about the end of MIPS as a server and workstation platform. The vast majority of CPUs are not used for server or workstations. They live in toasters, DVD players, digital cameras, microwaves, and so on. In the real world very few people ever write assembly programs that run on a server or a workstation. However in the embedded space assembly is still pretty common.
          MIPS isn't dead. MIPS servers are dead. MIPS lives on in many devices.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by vincecate (741268)
            That MIPS is not dead is both true, and a good point. However, the Zilog Z80 is not dead either. But we don't get very excited about it any more. When we got our first one, it was way cool, but today most people would not even think about the fact that Zilog still sells Z80s [zilog.com].
      • by jd (1658)
        MIPS is a consortium, as I understand it, that produces a specification for the sole purpose of having Broadcom ignore it. (I'm serious - the Broadcom SB1 core is a mishmash of a wide range of MIPS specifications, uses a HyperTransport bus that takes bits from three different versions, and has an ethernet controller that almost works at the rated speed.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tarlus (1000874)
      I'm sure they'll continue to teach MIPS assembly for many years to come simply because it's the easiest to teach and learn. SGI's dropping of MIPS won't matter since every computer-organization student is emulating it with SPIM on more common architectures, anyway.
    • by ajlitt (19055) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:20PM (#16054532)
      MIPS isn't going away. MIPS is very popular for embedded video processing. TiVo is MIPS (now, at least), the PSP is MIPS, and many DVD players are based on a MIPS. MIPS is still popular because the ISA isn't patented and there are a number of compatible cores out there.
    • by 10Ghz (453478) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:23PM (#16054548)
      SGI MIPS-workstations are going away, MIPS itself is not going anywhere, It's still running in millions of embedded devices, and more will be announced in the future.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Now what narrowly-deployed architecture for which everyone runs a CPU simulator will be taught in computer organization and assembly language classes?''

      Itanium?

      *ducks*
    • You may think I'm joking, but I'm not. For 2nd year architecture, we ran a PDP-11-ish simulator on MIPS boxen. It must have been locally developed, however, as I cannot find it online anywhere. As a simulator for this stuff, I found it particularly retarded, as it included "extra" instructions for I/O. What a crock of shit!

      We used real MIPS assembler in fourth-year compiler construction, however.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TeknoHog (164938)
      More importantly, what units shall we use to measure CPU performance when MIPS goes away?
  • Meanwhile, on eBay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Intron (870560) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:50PM (#16054294)
    204 items found for SGI.

    Good times for collectors.
  • by phayes (202222) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:52PM (#16054301) Homepage
    Irix itself wan't that much worse than any other *nix of the same time period, but none of the varied tools, 3D bells & whistles that SGI bolted on were designed with security in mind. The only way to avoid getting hacked into was to remove it all before connecting it to the net, but once you removed it there was little point in buying one.
  • Oh Gosh (Score:2, Funny)

    by sarathmenon (751376)
    Now I have to dump my IRIX, right after I dumped SCO UX. This just isn't fair!
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:53PM (#16054317) Homepage Journal
    My computer architecture class textbook was based on MIPS, and after messing around with 68k and x86 assembler for years, its assembler was like a breath of fresh air. It had a truly elegant design, or so I thought, and it's a shame to see it die.

    Alpha, MIPS, and others - where are you now? x86-2^x is pretty much all that's left for general-purpose programming these days (although Sun might have something to say about that), and that's too bad. Kind of like how you can't be a great programmer without ever having seen Lisp, you can't be a great chip designer without ever having known something that doesn't run IA32 code.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BrentRJones (68067) *
      Consolidation of operating systems is not good for computer science. Variety increases knowledge just as travel expands the mind. Everything is heading for the day when there is one primary OS on one primary HW platform. Let's hope that creativity spawns many new creations.
    • Kind of like how you can't be a great programmer without ever having seen Lisp

      Is your name Richard Stallman? :-)

      Seriously, none of the programmers I worked with who I thought really knew their stuff ever worked with Lisp, although I suppose many of them may have seen Lisp, so technically you may be right, even though I suspect your definition of seen is not literal.
      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
        I wouldn't go as far as saying that you can't be a great programmer without knowing Lisp, but it's definitely true that everybody I know who knows Lisp says it's been an eye opener, and I would say they are all better programmers than the ones who haven't worked with Lisp.
      • by be-fan (61476) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @06:19PM (#16055793)
        It's quite true in a sense, though of course it depends on your definition of "great". If "great" is just someone who is very good at his/her job, then yes, you can be a "great" programmer without ever using Lisp. However, if you define "great" to mean somebody who really has a higher-level perspective about programming as a whole, then I'd have to say that you can't be "great" without experiencing Lisp or something like it.

        Put simply, different languages represent different areas in the design space of programming languages. C represents one area, C++/Java/C# another set of closely-grouped areas, Ruby another, Python another, etc. Lisp represents a very large, and to many people used to C++/Java/etc, very novel portion of the design space, as does ML and its kin. A truely great programmer, then, must not only be proficient in the usage of a specific tool that represents a specific point in the design space, but must have a perspective of the whole design space. He must be able to look at specific solutions, and realize when they are just instances of a higher-order, more generalized principle. The only way to gain that perspective is to explore the design space, and mastering Lisp is a way to explore a very large and unique part of that space.

        There's a saying that "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". This refers to a general notion that our tools limit the ways in which we think about solving problems. Let me give you a concrete example. Lisp has a feature called multi-method dispatch, in which the target of a polymorphic call is decided by the types of more than one of the arguments. To someone who has only ever used a language with single-dispatch (ie: C++/Java/C#'s virtual methods), the very idea of using multiple-dispatch to solve a particular problem never even comes to mind. He makes due with what he has, using techniques like the "visitor pattern", and sits content thinking that this is the best he can do. Somebody who knows Lisp, on the other hand, might still have to use the visitor pattern (because his boss forces him to use Java), but he'll realize that its just a way to do double-dispatch in a single-dispatch language, and that increased understanding of the nature of the solution will help him write better code.
    • by mnmn (145599) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @04:14PM (#16054923) Homepage
      MIPS was great and still has life left in it. However ARM has been bulldozing its way through recently in the higher embedded markets where MIPS was strong. Even AMD sold Alchemy eventually.

      The embedded market was getting crowded, which is a good thing. The survival of the fittest gave us ARM instead of us being stuck with assembly codes like the PIC and x86.
  • FOSS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:59PM (#16054354)
    I think they should release IRIX under the GPL and let the community maintain it!
    • Re:FOSS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by archen (447353) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:34PM (#16054615)
      I'm not sure where the logic for something like this comes from. Like there is an infinite ammount of people who will work on every project ever abandoned. If IRIX was so wildly popular, I doubt SGI would stop working on it. I'm sure there's lots of useful code in there, but I'm also sure it's littered with stuff that has a patent on it as well. SGI is still a company that seeks to survive (I would assume), and isn't doing so well. They are in no position to work on figuring out licence issues to put IRIX under the GPL.

      Well this is the first of the old school Unix's to fall that I can think of. AIX and Solaris will probably be last. The ones maintained by Hewlet-Compaqard will be next in line after the death of SCO derivatives.
      • Re:FOSS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Burdell (228580) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:56PM (#16054779)
        The Alpha and Tru64 Unix are going away first. The last order date for a new AlphaServer is October 27, and (despite earlier Compaq and HP promises and guarantees) Tru64 and its related technologies die with the Alpha.
        • by mnmn (145599)
          Alpha was a lost cause, but much of Tru64 was incorporated into HPUX.

          Some good stuff from IRIX like XFS and OpenGL was shared, but IRIX may never be shared. As much as I want it to be opensourced, I dont think I'll spend more than a day on it. I'm still waiting for opensolaris' complete sources to go through, and solaris is far more usable, in our company at home and elsewhere than IRIX.

          Makes me wonder. Is there a group of people from the OSS community, possibly funded by IBM or whoever, to help with the le
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hackstraw (262471) *
      I think they should release IRIX under the GPL and let the community maintain it!

      I believe that is called Linux. SGI has already released bunches of IRIX to Linux including ccNUMA code and XFS and I'm sure other goodies as well.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by turgid (580780)

      It's just Another UNIX System Vr4 variant that runs on SGI MIPS hardware. You get all the same and more in Solaris (swap MIPS for SPARC) since it had much more R&D. You also get the same and more in Linux, but without the official Sys Vr4 codebase.

  • What would be awesome is if they made *all* the patches available after the EOP/EOL period. As of right now there are a lot of them that are restricted to folks with support contracts. Ideally they would make the core OS available as well instead of just the overlays, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

    It'd be nice though.
    • by iggymanz (596061)
      just buy them for dirt on eBay like the rest of us museum-piece SGI owner/operators 8)
  • IRIX==Motorbike. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sbaker (47485) * on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:04PM (#16054410) Homepage
    I always remember talking to some vendor at a usenix conference a few years after the birth of IRIX. We were talking about the relative benefits of SunOS (Solaris as it is now) versus IRIX. The guy said that using IRIX compared to SunOS was like riding a motorbike compared to driving a car. "It's fast, it's a rush, it's more fun than you can possibly imagine - but it's easy to fall off - and when you do it hurts a lot more!"...that pretty much says it all.

    I spent a large fraction of my most productive years sitting in front of a million dollar computer with IRIX in my face. It was pretty good - but with SGI's market share shrinking and Linux getting so mature, it makes sense for them to dump the hideous cost of maintaining an entire OS by themselves. For SGI, it's a good decision in desperate times.

    We split from using SGI to off-the-shelf PC/Linux about 5 years ago - about as soon as nVidia's graphics got good enough for our needs. A PC costs about 1% of an SGI with similar horsepower...QED.

    As for MIPS, the equation is the same one Apple had to face down. Performance = Horsepower per CPU / Price per CPU -- and whilst your own solution can win on horsepower, you can't beat the price of whatever is made in the largest quantities...and it's the same deal as with IRIX - when you have to cut costs, designing your own CPU isn't the smart way to go.

    Sad - but inevitable.
  • by earbenT (992594) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:06PM (#16054418)
    Lex's skills are useless now. :(
  • by museumpeace (735109) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:27PM (#16054571) Journal
    Apollo, DEC, Amdahl, Prime, RCA, Remington Rand, GE, Univac, Perkin Elmer, MassComp, Concurrent Computer, Compaq, Sequent, Encore, Xerox, Scientific Data Systems, Wang, GO corporation [wikipedia.org]...and so many more.

    The only lesson you could profit from in all this carnage is knowing when to sell your shares, when to find a good merger rather than waiting for the bankers to hold a fire sale of your patent portfolio.
    • by iggymanz (596061)
      well, half those companies live on as merged parts of another, can still find their name inside some of the newer systems on components even!
      • by 1lus10n (586635) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:46PM (#16054719) Journal
        True, but we could still use technology driven companies like DEC, Sun and yes even SGI.

        When left to their own devices most of the large computer companies (IBM, HP, Dell, even Intel, AMD, Cisco etc etc) do very little revolutionary or insightful things. They usually tread water with minor "improvements" until someone comes along and kicks them in the pants (see: IBM vs Apple, IBM vs DEC, Intel vs AMD etc etc) with some better technology.

        If all we have left are the "big guys" where is the next revolution going to come from ?
        • by iggymanz (596061)
          well, there's mighty cool stuff being R&D'd with optical, quantum, biological computing, to say nothing of different digital electronhics such as reversible and spin-bus, so I'd say there's still some chance some major disruptive technology to computing will come.
        • by hackstraw (262471) *
          If all we have left are the "big guys" where is the next revolution going to come from ?

          I guess nothing will be new. Startups, and the sucessful ones will be bought out by the big fish, or they will become a big fish themselves.

          On your large computer company list IBM brought us the PC architecture, POWER, and Blue Gene. HP brought us HPUX (never used it), Itanium (with intel). Intel brought us ia32, ia64 (Itanium), and mobile processors. AMD the Opteron.

          I'm getting conservative in my old age, but I much
      • by dgatwood (11270)

        DEC (Intel), RCA (Thomson), GE (Thomson), Compaq (HP), Xerox (NYSE:XRX).... In fact, with the exception of DEC, all those I just listed still have their names on the outside of products....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#16054658)
    For those of us who still work at SGI and continue to support this product line,
    also of importance at the bottom of the article is:


    SGI is also committed to offering our customer a full level of support needed to protect their investment in SGI products. End of support (EOS) for MIPS/IRIX products is currently scheduled for no sooner than December 2013. SGI Technology Solutions is continuously evaluating the demand for extended support and may consider longer extensions if necessary.
  • by Medievalist (16032) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @03:55PM (#16054775)
    SGI ported their graphics code to linux years ago, so that they could eliminate the cost of maintaining their own unix variant.

    Even chkconfig reasonably standard in mainstream linux distros. IRIX is not worth the effort.

    They can now concentrate on their core competency, which is presumably better graphics hardware than their competition.

    I guess Erwin will have to start shopping for spare parts on ebay...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mr. Hankey (95668)
      They do make clusters as well, which I suspect is where they're really going to dig in. I work in a HPC environment and there are some fairly large SGI systems (how's 10240 CPUs sound?) in the building next door that scale quite well.
  • I do not quite understand why they didnt move into the x86/Linux server market, including the low end market, and perhaps, even desktops. This seems to be where the most demand is.
  • They could release Electrapaint as free software...

    The current equivalent I have isn't quite the same - It moves differently.
  • by hubertf (124995) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @04:43PM (#16055128) Homepage Journal
    You can run Irix binaries on NetBSD/sgimips. See http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/bsd/2002/08/08/irix.ht ml [onlamp.com] for more information, and check out the NetBSD port's page at http://www.netbsd.org/Ports/sgimips/ [netbsd.org].

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas

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