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Silicon Graphics The Almighty Buck

SGI Faces Bankruptcy 383

Richard Finney writes " The stock chart tells the story: One time Silicon Valley high-flyer and contender for the Unix crown, SGI stock price dropped 20% on Friday ... deep into penny stock territory ... after releasing fiscal fourth quarter results. The Mountain View, California maker of high end computers is ' exploring financing alternatives with its lender and other sources.' With mounting losses and investors giving ol' Silicon Graphics the thumbs down, things aren't looking good."
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SGI Faces Bankruptcy

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  • Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirPrize ( 590850 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:37AM (#13020206)
    It's a shame to see a company that had such interesting hardware and operating system going down. I used IRIX on an O2, and loved it. Was way ahead of its time.
    • Re:Shame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tgd ( 2822 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:53AM (#13020281)
      Thats pretty debatable. The O2's were overpriced and underpowered, and Irix was SUCH a pain to work with. SysV but things just didn't quite work the same as other SysV boxes.

      SGI had gone from making significant high end hardware to making an attempt at the "trendy" market that Apple did such a good job being successful in. During the dot-com hype in the late 90's, they were pushing case design and graphics demos as justification for overpaying for their hardware.

      They were already on the way down at that point. The decision shortly after the O2 systems were introduced to start selling vastly overpriced PC-compatible Intel hardware was the nail in that coffin. (Lets hope Apple weathers that decision better than SGI did! There's a LOT of parallels between the two, only Apple has had success where SGI had failure).

      I think the last real significant (from a market innovation standpoint) hardware SGI really was selling was the Indy line, but even those were form-over-function and were mostly useful because at the time they had a real stranglehold on high-end graphics production.
    • I used IRIX on an O2, and loved it. Was way ahead of its time.

      IRIX on an O2 was ahead of its time? Sorry; the O2 was a nice sucessor to the Indy but at the point the O2 was released the pc vidcard makers were starting to get serious. and having uma and hardware mjpeg inside couldn't make up for the rather pokey cpu.

      The Indigos were ahead of their time (and above most people price range :).. But frankly from the time i first used irix ('92? '93 in a univeristy environment) to the last time ('01, as FEA mo
    • SGI has put some of its best IRIX things into Linux, so we get the benefit, but poor SGI just never quite knew how to grow big market. Until last year I had Indigo 2, fantastic CADD/CAE machine in its day, but any PC can whip a MIPS chip at the same clock speed now. I could see the writing on the wall in the late 90's as CAD and database vendors dropped IRIX support. Funny thing about IRIX was total focus on high performance computing but absolutely no thought as to security. That Indigo actually went
      • SGI has put some of its best IRIX things into Linux,

        Funny you should say that, because the most rabid anti-Linux people I've ever seen were the ones on comp.sys.sgi.*. If you want to troll, go over there and ask questions about how to install Linux on SGI MIPS hardware. But be sure to use a fake email address, or you may get lots of unpleasant mail.

        Most of the fanatics seem to think installing Linux on an SGI will turn it into a PC, but I've never seen a technical explanation for how this should work.


        • While Linux is available for practically anything, including old SGI MIPs hardware, SGI never suggested people use anything other than IRIX on MIPs.

          If you want to bitch to SGI about how well Linux runs on platfroms they don't support it for, while we're at it, let's give Microsoft a hard time about what a pain it is to run Linux on the xBox.

          SGI's change to Linux is to support SGI's Altix line of Itanium based systems which inlcude the fastest commercially available supercomputer in the world [] (Number 2 o
          • I've never publicly bitched about anything concerning SGI, and I always read a couple of threads in a newsgroup before posting. So I just sat back and watched. But a friend of mine had done the stupid thing, and posted a question. Result: hate-mail.

            But notice: These people weren't SGI employees, they were users, participating in a SGI hardware newsgroup, and more vehemently hostile towards alternative OSes than any other sort of OS zealot than I've ever seen. And I did notice the Amiga fans in their prime.
    • I ust it now on my O2 []. This is a sad thing! True, it's not at all my main machine...but it's great.


    • IRIX *was* way ahead of its time, back in 1995. It had some security issues, but they were eventually fixed too. But that's it folks, aside from new hardware support, IRIX has hasn't had many updates since it recieved the IndigoMagicDesktop and 64-bit support about 10 years ago.

      SGI's MIPS hardware went on a similar path. The fastest SGI MIPS CPUs available today are 800 MHz and 1 GHz (and maybe 900 MHz?) these are called R16K but are based on the oldschool R12K design. Still very impressive in terms of per
  • Well.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by sbentmar ( 638721 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:38AM (#13020211)
    They could always sue Linux.
    • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:47AM (#13020257) Homepage
      They could always sue Linux.

      Linux has always been a much bigger competative threat to UNIX vendors than to Mr Softy in Redmond.

      SGI had a ringside seat for the Web revolution, all the Netscape stuff was written on SGI. Sun trounced them because SGI made the mistake of concentrating on the 'high end' and abandoning the comodity computing area. Also all that Java mumbo jumbo somehow led people in the Internet world to think that everything had to run on Sun.

      DEC also disappeared, rmember the days when they were second only to IBM and growing faster? IBM is no longer in the PC business and its mainframe business is all but dead. They are now a consulting company that makes a few unix boxes.

      Clark predicted that SGI was on the road to ruin back in 1994 when he quit. They have been a shell for years. Pretty much all the former SGI offices off Shoreline and Charleston were taken over in the 90s.

      This is like the death of Cray or Symbolics, by the time the company finaly disappears its ten years later.

      • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by aktzin ( 882293 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:50AM (#13020539)
        IBM is no longer in the PC business and its mainframe business is all but dead. They are now a consulting company that makes a few unix boxes.

        You're correct that IBM left the PC business (sold the Personal Systems Group to Lenovo last year) but IBM is still making -- and selling -- plenty of hardware. From page 22 of IBM's 2004 Annual Report, ibm_financials.pdf []

        ($ in billions of US dollars)

        Systems and Technology Group 2004: $17,916 2003: $16,469 Yr to yr change: 8.8% zSeries: 14.9% iSeries: (17.2)% pSeries: 7.3%

        Almost $18 billion in hardware sales sounds pretty decent. A 14.9% increase in mainframe sales from the year before doesn't look "all but dead", and a 7.3% increase in pSeries (AIX/Linux) machines is more than "a few unix boxes." Especially since Gartner reports IBM leading the worldwide Unix server market last year, pressreleases/2005/feb/gartner.html []

        You make some very good points in your post and I agree with most of them, but please understand that IBM hasn't completely left the hardware business. We (yes, I work there) are having too much fun kicking Sun and HP around. And by the way, we sold over $15b in software last year, so we're not just a consulting company.

    • they gave all their goodies to Linux! NUMA, opengl, STL, XFS (which totally blows away ext3 and reiserfs), failsafe storage, toolkits. They always focused on the high end for $$ except for a brief time in about 94-96, and that killed them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:39AM (#13020217)
    And you lose. I'm pretty sure that SGI's downward spiral can be directly attributed to their little tangle with the Beast of Redmond.

    The zombie corpse of SGI, stripped of its important 3D computing patents which went mostly to NVIDIA and Microsoft, has been shambling around for a while now, but it will take a miracle for it to pull back from the edge.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:03AM (#13020317)
      How can you say that after all SGI have done for Linux, and open standards in general?


      - Gave Linux XFS, arguably its fastest and most robust filesystem to date. Far, far more robust than reiser, and quicker than anything else except reiser4 (and then only sometimes), except on deletes where it is slow by design - SGI realised earlier than most that if you need a simple rule, it's pretty safe to assume that people just don't delete files often (excluding short-lived temporary files, which XFS handles _incredibly_ efficiently.) Just check out the low rate at which XFS volumes become fragmented to see how you can take advantage of putting a little thought into deleting files.

      - Scaled Linux beyond 32 CPUs for the first time ever. And years later they still hold the record: 1,024 CPUs in the one computer with a single memory space. Nobody else comes close, and I do mean nobody. And this isn't just SGI lab stuff any more - NASA bought 20 of these computers to build the fastest computer on the planet that uses commercial microprocessors.

      - Invented OpenGL (hint: what do you think the "Open" in "OpenGL" refers to? bonus marks: compare and contrast [] OpenGL and DirectX) together with the surrounding (open) glue like GLX. This is pretty much the only reason Linux boxes and Macs have decent 3D, and the only reason you can actually have a decent game of quake even if you're using a dumb terminal. Try playing Quake when connected to a Citrix box. Fun? Didn't think so.

      - a bunch of other things I don't know about personally, but here you go anyway [].

      Anyway, since SGI's main role these days is selling IA64-based supercomputers and workstations, I hope Intel just buy SGI but let them continue to run independently so they can just keep on with all their good work. They provide a useful service to the Linux community, even if you never pay them a cent - this probably has something to do with their current share price (sadly). You might not use OpenGL, Itanium, massive shared memory systems or XFS but the odds are good that at least one of these is helping you, or at least some bugs SGI fixed while getting one of these working.
      • Gave Linux XFS Scaled Linux beyond 32 CPUs In regards to OpenGL vs Direct 3D, I have heard that D3D has gotten way better since Carmack made those comments. HOWEVER, it's still just Microsoft that controls all of DirectX. But just look at the orgs and people that are on the OpenGL board, even their emails addresses are public: [] _2004-12-07.html []
      • Gave Linux XFS, arguably its fastest and most robust filesystem to date.

        Sorry, you are wrong. XFS is robust ON SGI machines, and nothing else.

        XFS uses a direct memory-to-disk scheme. This makes it fast, but not robust on common x86 machines. On these machines, the first thing to go out on a power failure is the memory and later the harddisks. So, on power failure garbage will be written to the disk. On SGI machines, they added little capacitors to the memory, so it will survive more than the harddisk (an
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2005 @11:39AM (#13020808)
          What the fuck are you talking about? Since it's impossible for any filesystem to be perfectly reliable in the face of arbitrary hardware failures, filesystems don't need to take hardware into consideration in order to be robust. You can simply desire that:

          1) if the hardware is running smoothly, the filesystem never fails
          2) if the hardware screws up in any way imaginable (aliens come and rape your hard disk while you're sleeping), the filesystem never fails to return to a perfectly working state (as if nothing had ever happened) and with a low amount of data loss.

          With XFS, you can tune the amount and nature of data loss in the case of hardware (power) failure. The default (which many people don't like) is to emit NULL for any region of a file that was known to have had writes that were not committed. This is arguably BETTER than filesystems that will simply give you the old contents of the file, even though the filesystem could have known that there was an uncommitted write. Of course, XFS can let you have that exact same behaviour, on a per-file basis.

          XFS also gives you advanced quota support and guaranteed-rate I/O, but most people don't need that.

          However, you shouldn't need to be a freaking guru to add the four letters "sync" to your /etc/fstab and mount any super-critical filesystems synchronous, so that power failures lose the least amount of data possible (and you take the accompanying performance hit.)

          In short, XFS' default configuration is top speed and high reliability only on high quality hardware setups (UPS or whatever), and this has surely bitten a lot of people who didn't bother to find this out/test things first/read the fine documentation.

          There is absolutely nothing about XFS that stops you from making it as reliable as any other filesystem, however. I don't see how a filesystem can not be "memory-to-disk". I guess you mean "buffered" (asynchronous) - you can turn that off dude.
    • I would attribute it to "not looking at the market" , complete management failure and stupid product directions, all this for over half a decade without rest.

      But ok, with piss in direction to redmond, you can always get +5 here. I
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yep. They're just one more Microsoft partner turned victim.

      More recently, SGI has been working with Linux, which means that Microsoft really wants SGI dead.

      And that means that you can't trust the price of SGI's stock to provide an honest picture of what's happening in SGI. Even if SGI does the necessary financial restructuring, and improves their financial outlook, their stock will remain low, because that's where Microsoft wants it to stay. When you have enough money to burn, and you don't care about the
  • huh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by user32.ExitWindowsEx ( 250475 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:41AM (#13020225)
    maybe nvidia will buy them (thereby fixing up lingering IP issues) and be able to open-source their video drivers.
    • Re:huh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alienw ( 585907 )
      If NVidia wanted to release open-source drivers, they would have done that already. The thing is, it's about as likely as Microsoft releasing Windows under the GPL. Why would they give away one of their major assets?
    • Re:huh (Score:3, Interesting)

      maybe nvidia will buy them (thereby fixing up lingering IP issues) and be able to open-source their video drivers.

      Or maybe ATI will buy them and screw nVidia over with IP issues. I mean, ATI has 650 million in cash [], and it will only cost ~170m [] to buy a controlling interest in SGI. And SGI has more than enough oustanding shares.

      If *I* were in charge of ATI, that's what I'd want to do -- then again, i'm excessively machiavellian. :)

  • SGI rocks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 )
    I hope someone buys them .. they've got good engineers. They introduced an affordable high quality LCD monitor before anyone else.

    SGI is responsible for evanglelizing visualization. (For example coming up with Open inventor and sponsoring Open GL etc)

    Hope they stick around. Irix wasn't the best OS .. but Microsoft and others jacked some ideas from them like the login screen having users images etc.
  • by bagel2ooo ( 106312 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:41AM (#13020228)
    Unfortunately, when the hardware was new I was not able to afford it. Currently I own an Indigo, Indigo2, and an O2. They are very capable and suprisingly rounded machines. I was concerned with SGIs direction during their stint of windows clusters but with the linux superclusters they've been working on lately and some of the rekindled movement with the workstations, I have been very hopeful of a bit of an SGI revival. Hopefully, they will be able to recover from this. If not, I know that many people will be greatful for the contributions they have made.
  • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:41AM (#13020230) Homepage Journal
    But I have to ask, is there really any reason why to get an SGI today? I can see a company with an installed base of SGIs upgrading or what-not...but do they really offer anything new or different?

    This is not a troll, it's an honest question. Back in the budding early days of the workstations sure, I could see getting these machines to work on 3D graphics etc etc. But now that 3D graphics cards are on regular PCs and Macs and both can run UNIX type operating systems, what does SGI or SUN for that matter have that you can't get elsewhere?

    I'd be interested in knowing what others think about this or why they would keep going to SGI.
    • Their large visualization systems and supercomputers are still quite competitive, the problem is that "no one" is interested in buying the workstations since it's just so much cheaper to use Windows, Linux or even OS X machines for workstations...


      • by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:07AM (#13020334)
        The problem really is that even the large systems have rapidly losing ground.

        12 years or so ago, an onyx with an infinite reality II graphics pipeline was in another universe compared to anything else...
        Nowadays, there are so much less situations where systems of those kind can play out their advantages...

        I mean, we have now GAMING cards that can run 19xx *1400 in 32 bit, while pushing 10million+polygones pre frame...
    • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:58AM (#13020300)
      Its a question they should've asked themselves six years ago.

      Sun has the advantage of being the "standard" for enterprise Unix applications. They're hurting but thats sigificant.

      SGI (aside from the Cray stuff) hasn't offered anything over other systems in half a decade.

      I used to work for a SGI VAR, and even seven years ago, most of the customers with existing installations were already looking and moving off them. The issue was people generally hated Irix, and as non-Irix hardware got better, the pain of changing platforms was mitigated by the pleasure of getting away from Irix. I commented in the parallel with Apple in another reply. SGI made the switch to Intel (or attempted it, I have no idea these days if that stuck or not) but unlike Apple, they had nothing to offer when they moved off MIPS. People didn't like their OS anyway.

    • by ebh ( 116526 ) * < minus math_god> on Saturday July 09, 2005 @11:14AM (#13020664) Journal
      Is there really any reason why to get an SGI today?

      It's a reasonable question, all right, with an unexpected answer: I/O. This is the one area where IRIX still stands out among the other Unix flavors, and nobody outside the supercomputer world knows it, even though it holds true on all their hardware platforms. If you look under the hood, you'll see that the IRIX kernel's I/O layer can move bits at a higher percentage of available bus bandwidth than any of the others. The OS does an amazing job of getting out of the way of the hardware.

      When I was working on HP-UX, we used them as our benchmark goal, and never met it.

    • by iwadasn ( 742362 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @11:44AM (#13020834)

      If you're NASA, you probably find the Altix supercomputers pretty compelling. If you're an iBank, you probably find the 8-24 way dual core (48 cores in the big ones) Sun boxes pretty useful for processing all your data and trades.

      Sun boxes are about the same cost as x86 boxes in the high end, and they have all the stuff you really need. 64-bit, lights out management (you can discover problems in the hardware even after it has crashed, because it contains a little computer on a chip designed just to report the statte of the hardware, power cycle it, etc....), lots of PCI cards, SSL accelerator cards, lots of ram slots, disk slots, raid cards, etc....

      Your average 8 proc US-IV system (16 cores) from Sun costs about the same as an 8 proc (8 cores) Opteron system from HP, for similar configurations. It (supposedly) has much better support for things like SSL cards and massive multiprocessing/multithreading, especially under java.

      Someone probably should buy SGI and Cray. There is a market for high end (top 500) supercomputers and other high end data processing systems.

      • by Wiz ( 6870 )

        lights out management (you can discover problems in the hardware even after it has crashed, because it contains a little computer on a chip designed just to report the statte of the hardware, power cycle it, etc....)

        Gee, 'cos it isn't like HP have lightsout, Dell have a remote access console and even Sun's own v20z/v40z have that. Of coruse, the reason Sun have it is because those boxes are Newisys reference designs, and they've put it in place.

        Your average 8 proc US-IV system (16 cores) from Sun cos

  • by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:42AM (#13020231) Homepage
    See that's their problem, there's a mutiny going on at Silicon Graphics, the graphics are turning against them!
  • by cide1 ( 126814 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:43AM (#13020239) Homepage
    Altix is paying the bills? I really think they have something going with these large scale, single image linux systems. From a technical viewpoint, they are very well designed. My understanding is that they are priced competitively for what is effectively the modern mainframe. When you need rediculous amounts of memory, that isn't segmented over many differant nodes, and gobs of IO power, these things are the way to go.
    • I wouldn't be surprised if IBM picked them up for the Altix line and expertise. I don't think Sun has the sense to do so, and I could see Big Blue using Altix to gain even more of the HPC market.
    • Re:Altix? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Verity_Crux ( 523278 )
      I've been working with Altix boxes for the past six months. They rock. The Numalink stuff works really well. I particularly like their FPGA boxes. The only competition for them in that arena is Cray, strangely enough. Nobody else can stream data into FPGAs at 6.5Gb/s straight out of the box. Nallatech, Starbridge, and the others are just wannabes in that arena. If SGI can get their FPGA boxes into the mainstream market they may have a chance for the Altix line to save them (or at least the engineers worki
  • Another notch... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lamz ( 60321 ) * on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:45AM (#13020245) Homepage Journal Apple's belt? Microsoft's belt?
    or Linux's belt?

    I vote Apple.
  • This is very sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darth Maul ( 19860 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:51AM (#13020271) Homepage
    I have an Indy. I used in in college for CS work, and it was perfect. Learned OpenGL stuff, etc. I was the biggest SGI fanboy. evar.

    I was actually at the event that started the complete destruction of SGI. It was summer 2000 in New Orleans. This would be SIGGRAPH 2000. I actually presented a paper, and was invited to the SGI party at Anne Rice's humble adobe. This was the day of a "big annoucement", and we were ALL expecting SGI PC graphics cards. Taking the SGI name and technology into the new up-and-coming PC graphics card market was the brilliant move we all expected. Compete with nVidia, and take names.

    What did they announce? Some newer, bigger supercomputer thingy. You could taste the silence in the room.

    That was the day, certainly in my book, that sealed the fate of SGI. After that, PC graphics cards just exploded onto the scene, and the whole reason for getting an SGI became moot.

    I still love Irix, and can't believe how amazing the Indy is that I bought back in 1994. Still is a great machine, and it's a shame to see SGI finally near the end.
  • Does this.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shreevatsa ( 845645 ) <> on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:52AM (#13020278)
    Mean anything for the STL []? I mean, is SGI still working on the STL, and will it continue to keep its excellent documentation publicly (freely) available, etc?
  • by delire ( 809063 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:54AM (#13020285)

    I said this years ago when working for a VR centre using SGI systems and saw the centre migrate more and more of their workstations to cost and performance effective NT systems.

    NVIDIA were becoming a big player, yet SGI was responsible for the extremely popular 3D library [] we were using.

    Their arrogance was partly to blame, they never did confess that the gaming industry would come to define the "3D graphics workstation" and that VR was fast becoming a ghost train. Instead they sent girls around in push-up bras selling upgrade licenses.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:59AM (#13020302)
      Instead they sent girls around in push-up bras selling upgrade licenses.

      Torrent please.

    • I worked at Videologic when 3dfx were in their ascendency (comprising a lot of SGI engineers). We were producing some fine graphics chips (yup, the dreamcast STILL looks damn good to me ;-) and so were they, nVidia were giving us the TNT and TNT2 and _STILL_ SGI were trying to charge mega-bucks for performance that could be got straight from the shelf at a fraction of the price & AGP was just around the corner. 3DLabs (worked there too!) whose chips _are_ very good at geometry - a corner stone of 3D ren
  • Let us mourn... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AnObfuscator ( 812343 ) <{ude.lfu.syhp} {ta} {gnireno}> on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:03AM (#13020315) Homepage

    ... the loss of yet *another* innovative & powerful system architecture ... yet another victim of the cheap-ass & now all-conquoring x86.

    PowerPC in Apple, SPARC in Sun, and now MIPS in SGI... one wonders how long PowerPC/POWER will last in IBM's workstations & servers...

    I love commodity hardware from a social perspective -- cheap, standardized, capable hardware means access to vast quantities of information is becoming practically free for a rapidly increasing percentage of the world's population. On the other hand, I can't help but feel a substantial pang of loss as these non-standard platforms are, despite innovative and arguably superior design, destroyed only by the economy of scale. Alas.

    RIP, SGI. You were damn cool while you lasted.

    • Re:Let us mourn... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:12AM (#13020353)
      PowerPC in Apple, SPARC in Sun, and now MIPS in SGI...

      Don't forget the DEC Alpha. Fastest CPU all thru the 90s.
    • You left out the all-powerful DEC/Alpha.
    • Re:Let us mourn... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by linguae ( 763922 )

      Err, the SPARC is still alive and shows no signs of dying, even though Sun is now selling Opteron workstations. I believe you can buy a 500MHz SPARC workstation for about $1,400 or so. I don't know how fast it is in comparison to x86 machines (I'm typing this on a 475MHz K6-2), but at least Sun is still making them.

      But yes, this is sad. All we have left is the PowerPC (which we only have a year left before Apple goes to the Dark Side(TM)), and the Sun SPARC. All of the elegant and good architectures ha

      • Re:Let us mourn... (Score:3, Informative)

        by aaronl ( 43811 )
        You can buy Sun Blades with UltraSPARC IIi's up to 650MHz, and with UltraSPARC IIIi's up to 1.6GHz CPUs. You certainly pay for it, though.

        IIIi 1.6GHz = 7195$ and up
        IIIi 1.5GHz = 3195$ and up
        IIi 550MHz = 1395$
        IIi 650MHz = 1995$ and up
  • Nerd Typo (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:03AM (#13020320) Homepage
    after releasing fiscal forth quarter
    They're still using Forth? No wonder they're going out of business! Keep up with the times, SGI!
  • license its technology to other companies, and encourage customers to invest in it, like when Kmart started encouraging non investors to purchase KMart shares.
    • This idea might be good:

      >>> license its technology to other companies

      But this?

      >>> and encourage customers to invest in it, like when Kmart started encouraging non investors to purchase KMart shares.

      Consumers buying their stock on the market would do NOTHING for the company itself. Maybe if they issued another stock offering, but that would be pretty foolish unless they had a very good plan for what to do with it.
  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:10AM (#13020347)
    Back in the mid 90's, I wrote software for a commercial satellite imaging system (now part of Space Imagining). SGIs were the workstation of choice: Very high-end, graphics without compare, in-depth support for parallel processing, and relatively fast. Cheap they were not (not to mention a fairly buggy C++ compiler in IRIX that took up many hours of our time...usually very esoteric bugs that even stumped the SGI folks).

    Back then, the rumor was always floating around that SGI was considering moving from Irix to Linux. (Did I hear correctly that they finally did, years later?) Amongst ourselves, we would talk about there was no way Linux would be able to replace Irix (remember, this was '96!), and that it would be a mistake for SGI to go this route.

    How wrong we were...SGI, like Cray and some of the others mentioned, refused to give up their hold on proprietary high-end hardware, and have fallen hard. Now that the hardware market has become commoditized, with throw-away PCs, there's really no need for companies like SGI, Sun, etc. Sun, to their credit, has tried to bail from their sinking ship by making overtures to the OSS crowd and by delving into software, but they may have been too late to start manning the lifeboats. But it's my belief that Sun's days are numbered as well.

    So a hearty farewell to SGI. I just hope they go down swiftly and silently.
  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:12AM (#13020352) Homepage
    after releasing fiscal forth quarter results


    Everyone knows that you need to release your results in Java or C# these days... *sigh*

  • by william_w_bush ( 817571 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:21AM (#13020386)
    owned an indigo2 for a while, nice r10000 mips. nice having a 64-bit cpu and operating system back in 1999. well designed too.

    the problem with sgi is that it's been living in the year 1995 since 1990, which was working well for it for a while, but when commodity gear just starts killing your performance and cost there comes a point where you have to move on to a new platform. this is like sun, except sun seems a little farther along and willing to keep pushing forward, while sgi just keep digging bigger and bigger holes for themselves.

    sad, but the dot-com boom which fed these companies also birthed the commodity pc boom which killed them. i actually want to lump apple in that same catagory, but unlike the rest which stayed in their path and carved themselves farther and farther from the mainstream, apple kept pushing to keep their market position, and in pc's managed to keep their niche. surprising, but their success in the last few years had very little to do with their core pc business, and everything to do with i*'s keeping their brand warm.

    just hope these same market forces end up killing the ms monopoly they created, an good open sourced os (not necc. linux) would make a lot of the hardware innovation that stopped post-lintel possible again.
  • by skogs ( 628589 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:24AM (#13020399) Journal
    the financial problems were from TiVo. Everybody thought that it was stupid, and their leadership had just left. Everybody mocked me, as I shoved otherwise unused 15,000 from my portfolio into them. I would like to say that right now, if I pulled it right now, I would gain significantly from it. I'm going to wait some more time. With SGI I'm not sure. Their market seems weak to me. They still make superb and beautiful hardware, but I am afriad it is nothing that in a corporate environment I couldn't duplicate. Not identically at any rate, but I could certainly grid the corporate work environment and achieve at least competative results...and I could do it cheaper. The major university number crunching has also been well proven to be able to be run on our 'limited' hardware we store under our desks. Now, don't flame me because I think this AMD and INTEL hardware under our desks is good. Far from it, SGI's hardware whips the poo out of them. But its kind of like this: Never get involved in a land war in asia.
  • Very sad news. SGI always represented the bleeding edge. I suppoes that was before a pimped out Mac or Dell could come pretty close in the visualization workstation niche.

    My SGI O2 system [] sheds a tear of abandonment... :-(


  • The low-end has always, eventually, overtaken the high-end. Minicomputer became as powerful as mainframes, Workstations became as powerful as minicomputers, and PCs became as powerful as workstations. There will always be room for some high-end gear, but total marketshare for high-end stuff isn't growing and some of the high-end players have died.

    The interesting question is when consumer electronics will replace PCs as the most ubiquitous computing device. They are not there yet, but I'd wager that ne
  • by Felinoid ( 16872 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:30AM (#13020433) Homepage Journal
    My mother got into the stock market buying up Commodore stock just before it went into obilvion.

    Now it's time for me to buy SGI stock. Just like my mother did.
  • To go from the most badassed logo ever to appear anywhere in the world... w le/images/sgi.logo.jpg []

    to an utterly bland, vanilla logo: []

    Well...they had it coming. [ shakes head ]


  • Recipe for Failure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) * on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:33AM (#13020446) Journal
    1. Make something that is X better than everything else.

    2. Count on the fact that people will pay Y times the common average going rate for "the best".

    3. Charge X*Y+Z where Z is an arbitrary high number chosen by management who are paying more attention to the stock prices than the computer science.

    4. Neglect the fact that while many people will makes googly noises about "the best", they will go for "good enough" in proportion to the constant Z, and that this effect will increase over time.

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:39AM (#13020471) Journal
    Their engineers and their software libraries alone should be worth quite a tidy sum and at least Apple would put the stuff to use in some or other product (some high end 3D package that does for 3D what FCP did for video). Microsoft would almost certainly mess it up if they bought them up.

    That said, the fact that buyers are not exactly beating down SGI's door speaks volumes in itself.
    • by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @12:04PM (#13020939)
      Their engineers and their software libraries alone should be worth quite a tidy sum and at least Apple would put the stuff to use in some or other product (some high end 3D package that does for 3D what FCP did for video). Microsoft would almost certainly mess it up if they bought them up.

      That said, the fact that buyers are not exactly beating down SGI's door speaks volumes in itself.

      Hey, those with mod, points... mod parent up, please. The poster makes a good point. Bear with me here, I'm going to address the second line first and proceed to the first.

      For years, SGI was seen as the platform for CGI but SGI was indeed one of the biggest bunch of arrogant bastards I ever got within ten feet of. I requested some information and nothing more and they ignored three requests and on the fourth called me and asked to meet with me at a local sales office. I asked to be sent their printed marketing material first before I would meet with them and they point blank refused and insisted on speaking with me in person at which point they'd hand me the literature.

      So I reluctantly agreed. I was looking to start a small CGI business for local broadcasters and video producers and what was on the PC platform was just not fast enough for the time frames that prospective clients were asking for. Of course, what the fark would they know, but I digress.

      I got there and they gave me the full court press. I told them at the outset that the package would have to be solid and self-consistant and problem free. I could teach myself anything they had, that wasn't the issue. Price and performance was. If it was right I might be able to swing $100K in financing toward it with the backing of some interested people. But I had to show them that it could be done in one shot.

      The SGI sales people basically ignored everything I said, kept pressing me on their most expensive machines, and kept encouraging me to blow off my would-be partners and find someone willing to go in on a deal of at least $1.5M. I wasn't planning on any such level, made it clear, they ignored me, gave the full court press, continued on.

      I ended up walking out as gracefully as I could, after it became clear they had no intention of settling for $90K worth of sales (I needed to hold back 10% for support equipments), and handed me literature that was by their own admission one year out of date and they promised the up-to-date literature would be sent anon. It never was.

      The result was no sale, the potential business never got off the ground, everyone went their different ways, and that was that. Here's where I address the first part. I tried to salvage something of my time by going with off-the-shelf PC hardware and software.

      There was maybe one Macintosh app of the time that could do anything useful and IIRC it was Electric Image. At the time, they wanted some ungodly amount of money that was a good 25%-50% above comparable Windows NT based offerings such as Lightwave and even SoftImage. The DEC Alphas of the time were faster than the Macs and they had SMP Alpha boxes availible which could really do some serious work (at that time). The Windows platform was the one to go with, but it couldn't touch SGI of course.

      Fast forward to today when Apple is selling SMP boxes every day, they have a really well put together BSD-ish/*nix-ish OS, paid supported software support, and are comparable to the Wintel side. The Wintel side can already do 64-bit, and there are boards which will take four dual-core 64-bit AMD chips. Makes the SGI base of yesteryear look like a calculator. With Apple going to Intel for their boards, a quad SMP dual-core board from Apple could be a reality fairly quickly.

      Apple was always the darling of the DTP mavens even when it lagged in power compared to Wintel and less expensive Wintel apps had more and better features than Photoshop. They nearly squandered that religious fervor altogether and if the OSX platform had been delayed any longer,
  • OpenGL? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rexguo ( 555504 ) * on Saturday July 09, 2005 @10:46AM (#13020509) Homepage
    SGI is the inventor and care taker of OpenGL. Without OpenGL, desktop 3D graphics would be completely monopolised by Microsoft's Direct3D. If SGI goes down, what's going to happen to OpenGL and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board that's responsible for advancing OpenGL?
    • Re:OpenGL? (Score:3, Informative)

      by bamb8s ( 766268 )

      SGI is the inventor and care taker of OpenGL. Without OpenGL, desktop 3D graphics would be completely monopolised by Microsoft's Direct3D. If SGI goes down, what's going to happen to OpenGL and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board that's responsible for advancing OpenGL?

      SGI already sold patents that cover some aspects of OpenGL to MS. It's been mentioned here previously in the MS Buys (Some) SGI Patents [] article. You have permission to be afraid, very afraid. ;-)

    • Re:OpenGL? (Score:3, Informative)

      If SGI goes down, what's going to happen to OpenGL and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board that's responsible for advancing OpenGL?

      Presumably the ARB will be run by nVidia, ATI, and 3DLabs, just like it is now.
  • Cases (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @12:00PM (#13020917)
    SGI has a proud history of innovation in graphics, microprocessors, operating systems, etc, but this post has to do with one other small part of that history... their cases.

    Well before the iMac, SGI always had instantly recognisable hardware. I wish there were PC case manufacturers with the same vision, who would churn out something stylish and interesting that doesn't look like an Air Jordan.

    My favourites: the Octane [], and Tezro [].
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @12:07PM (#13020961) Homepage
    This has been coming for a while. The only question in Silicon Valley has been why it took so long.

    Around 1997, I went down to Sony Imageworks in Hollywood to talk to them about physics engines. They were almost entirely an SGI shop back then, but had just purchased some NT systems running Softimage|3D. I was asked whether some NT software was going to be ported to SGI, and, realizing that was a dead end, replied "Resistance is useless. You will be assimilated".

    Three years later, I visited again. Everything was NT except for some of the same SGI machines I'd seen three years ago.

    SGI just couldn't cope with graphics becoming cheap. Around 2000, they dramatically announced some NT workstations, priced from $7000 upwards. They just didn't get it.

    SGI's supercomputer side developed some interesting hardware, but there's no real market for supercomputers. It's all government, and mostly pork anyway. Lousy price/performance has forced them out of the server farm business. What's left?

  • CEO still gets $1m (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coward Anonymous ( 110649 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @01:24PM (#13021397)
    Makes you wonder why a company going down the tubes is paying its top executives a combined $2.7m [].
    They are obviously dismal at their jobs and could have trimmed the company's losses by 12% if they were paid based on their performance.
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @02:00PM (#13021571) Homepage Journal
    quit smoking, cashed in my retirement fund, put off buying a new car, told my wife she can't get her breasts augmented right now, and applied for a HELOC loan..

    When & where will the asset auction going to be? I need to reserve my U-Haul
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Saturday July 09, 2005 @05:28PM (#13022607) Journal
    Well, there are any number of reasons, but I think that the biggest "problem" that they had was that the rest of the world moved at a faster pace than SGI was able to. SGI was used to four year or more product cycles, and Microsoft/Intel and the rest of the PC juggernaut moved twice that fast. That kind of failure builds exponentially over time.

    My first day at SGI in 1991 included the presentation to the company of what would become the Origin 3000 "brick", that would allow you to expand processors, memory, I/O by connecting boxes with thick cables. Unfortunately, I don't think that technology shipped until 1998 or so -- and you know that the engineers were working on it before 1991. Now, this was (and remains!) an amazing piece of technology (not in the Bruce Karsh sense) but anything that takes seven or eight years to produce is the wrong thing by the time it is finished. It has to be. Still, in the late 80's and early 90's, one could be forgiven for not noticing that the pace of change had increased.

    I was elated in '92 when SGI introduced the Indigo. Almost immediately, though, I was horrified to learn that it had "special" designed-to-be-incompatible memory modules. It was almost (but not quite) cheaper to buy memory by buying whole Indigoes and throwing the box away.

    I've always thought that it's not surprising when companies fail to adapt to change -- it's truly more surprising when they do.

    Anyway, we have our shrine to SGI still at Hammerhead -- a bookshelf full of O2's that we can't bring ourselves to part with.

    Thad Beier

I've got a bad feeling about this.