Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Silicon Graphics Businesses The Almighty Buck

Silicon Graphics To Be Delisted From NYSE 257

Dan Linder writes "Starting Monday, November 7th, Silicon Graphics will be delisted from the NYSE. The future of the graphics and supercomputing former-heavyweight has never been less certain. This is especially unfortunate given their ongoing commitment to Linux and other open-source projects." From the article: "The company's stock, which once traded at $50 per share, fell below NYSE's minimum standard for continued listing earlier this year. The move comes as little surprise. The company received a warning from the NYSE in May, when its share price dropped below the $1 barrier. Although it had dipped into sub-$1 territory in late 2001 and again in late 2002, the price on both occasions recovered within a month or two. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Silicon Graphics To Be Delisted From NYSE

Comments Filter:
  • Too bad about SGI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:28AM (#13940531)
    They were great machines in the day. It was really easy to grab video with them back 10 years ago when other machines were such a pain to work with. Too bad they couldn't adapt to the changes of the computing world.
    • Re:Too bad about SGI (Score:3, Interesting)

      by laptop006 ( 37721 )
      >Too bad they couldn't adapt to the changes of the computing world.
      They tried, haven't you heard of the SGI 320 series, relativly nice machines, but they just got slaughtered by dell et al.

      If SGI go it will mean that large scale SMP is essentially dead, I believe that they're the only people other then IBM doing systems > 64 CPU's at the moment, and IBM don't scale all the way up to 512 CPU's.

      But I still love my pair of SGI trinitrons on my desk, the best monitors I've ever used, and that includes som
      • Re:Too bad about SGI (Score:3, Informative)

        by LLuthor ( 909583 )
        That work will still be done (perhaps not by the same people though) - the vanilla kernel goes to 128 already. 512 is not too far off.

        AMD's next generation CPUs will essentially be a bunch of Opterons with a new generation of hypertransport to interconnect them. This will give commodity clusters machines with 16 or 32 CPUs, then scalability work will accelerate in the OSes.

        512 is impressive, but not too difficult to attain given the right resources.
    • Never build a headquarters that is a monument to your success. It's the kiss of death.
    • Their stock traded below $1 before a couple times and they recovered.
      What the public doesn't know, though, is that they're taking serious steps to change course. The company has enough cash to survive for quite a while and they're moving in directions they never moved before. It is quite likely that by the next summer they'll be quite profitable again.
  • NASDAQ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by principor ( 754410 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:29AM (#13940543)
    Can't they list on the NASDAQ? The NASDAQ requirements should be a better fit.
    • Re:NASDAQ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:51AM (#13940697) Homepage Journal
      Nope. You can't be under $1.00/share on NASDAQ for more than a month without being delisted.
      • Yes, but NASDAQ allows reverse stock splits. So SGI could easily (I say that with my tongue firmly in cheek) reintegrate its stocks to bring them back up to a level that NASDAQ would approve of.

        It's probably necessary anyway. It's not that SGI isn't big enough to list, they simply don't have the market value they once had. Under NYSE rules, the dillution of their stocks is enough to get them kicked out. Under NASDAQ rules, they could continue on as a smaller company. (Question to the market geeks: Would SGI
        • Re:NASDAQ? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nuggz ( 69912 )
          SGI would be a smallcap/microcap.

          Market cap is only $120 million, Redhat could buy them cash for 20% of their available cash.

          • Thanks for that. Someone else pointed me to MorningStar Research. They have SGI listed as Small Value. (!) Talk about falling from grace.
          • Re:NASDAQ? (Score:3, Informative)

            by mev ( 36558 )
            SGI also carries ~$265 million in debt. While not part of the purchase price, assuming this debt makes it a more expensive proposition for purchasers...
    • Well, they can be a NASD pink sheet. But NO ONE wants to be on NASD these days, as you can do reverse splits (destroy capital), and NASD allows shorting. Both of these are fatal to tech companies.
  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:30AM (#13940550) Homepage
    What are the consequences of delisting? Less access to raise capital by issuing new shares? Was that really gonna happen with their current financial situation, anyway?
    • One of the consequences is, people will tend to format their partitions using JFS instead of XFS...
      • Its comparing apples with oranges. XFS has the advantage of design testing and disk throughput for real-time video streaming. I don't really see an advantage from using JFS. If JFS is not outstripping XFS for performance or reliability, there's no reason to dump XFS. If JFS was in the process of outstripping XFS for performance or reliability, it would be in a relatively unstable development state, thus less desirable from a reliability point of view. Why would one adopt JFS over reiserfs or e3fs, let
    • by Funakoshi ( 925826 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:45AM (#13940648)
      Once they have delisted, yes it will become harder to raise more capital. The bigger issue I think though is that the analysts do not look fondly on a stock that drops off of an exchange. The investing public's opinion will fall drastically and, as a result, the confidence in them will be basically gone. The ability to raise any form of capital (through equity or debt) will be very restricted and there is a likelihood that other companies with receivables out with them will come knocking for their money.
      • by slew ( 2918 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:12PM (#13941477)
        You missed one of the biggest factors, many mutual funds and institutions (e.g., retirement/pension investors) generally have rules which prohibit them from investing in OTC stocks with low market cap (share price * shares). This is why a reverse split doesn't help, it may increase the share price, but of course reduce the number of shares.

        Mutual funds and institutional investors are highly desired as they tend to be stable stock holders which can reduce the volatility of a stock (once they decide to invest they hold large chunks of companies and hold them for a while to increase tax efficiency). Once you get into the open market, you get hedge funds, insiders, and day-traders manipulating your stock price which can cause other investors to flee for the woods.

        They also haven't had any analysts covering them since the beginning of this year (nobody likes to cover OTC or penny stocks).

        Moving to an OTC (over the counter) market means that there are only a couple brokers making a market in the stock and price reporting is really up to them to perform on a timely basis. This means your broker (unless they are the ones making the market in the stock) really has to try to find a buyer for any stock to you want to sell or will have to pay the market maker a fee and/or be subject to the price they report. In a "listed" stock there generally are several big brokerages that match buyers with sellers and with a big exchange like NYSE enough shares are traded on the floor to create a more continuous range of prices and fast execution of any retail sized trader order. As the price continues to fall, the OTC market maker gives up and demote the stock to the "pink sheets" where sales are reported on paper reports as trades occur. Then the stock isn't very liquid at all and the daily or weekly price report is fairly worthless as an indicator of the worth of the stock.

        The long and the short of it is that this means giving stock options to the employees or the executives is really not very meaningful anymore (anytime they sell, they don't have a good idea of the price they will get and more likely they will "heisenberg" the stock because if they sell the price is likely to go down) meaning it's hard to motivate employees and executives with either their existing or any new stock options or grants. Companies like SGI are all about employees, the assets are basically worthless to the investors w/o the employees. Unable to motivate them with stock/ownership, they have to pay them more (e.g. bonuses), or likely suffer attrition.

        It's a downward death spiral that almost no company can get out of. For example, SGI has already had to pledge assets (e.g., patents, trademarks, etc.) to get their latest operating loan. In bankrupcy this puts these new lenders in a primary position and the normal equity/stock holders and current bond holders in an inferior position making it less likely for people to invest in the stock (equity holders are the last to get paid back in a bankrupcy). This is what makes it hard to raise any captial, except by heavily mortgaging thier assets even further to the lenders.

        Once one of the lenders decides that the company assets are worth more than the company itself it often just rips the company apart for a fire sale to an army of lawyers who snap up patents at fire sales in order to shake down large companies for a few quick bucks. It's a sad, sad day when that happens.
    • []

      Most institutional investors (Fidelity, TIAA-CREF and ilk) can't hold your shares when you're de-listed. SGI is 40% owned by institutions, which is within normal limits. I'm guessing this has already been priced into SGI.

      Looking at the stats behind the share, SGI isn't in bad shape, but isn't the picture of health, either. They're bringing in decent money, but it looks like they need to reduce debt and trim expenses. I'm not sure what composes the sales (they could be
  • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:30AM (#13940551)
    For another inside look at SGI's delisting, see also yesterday's article on sister site Slashdot [] (disclosure: Slashdot and Slashdot are both part of OSTG). Writes contributor ScuttleMonkey: "SGI, the former darling of the high-tech world, has been in trouble for a while [], perhaps this is really the end."
  • A company that can't survive shouldn't survive just because it has a certain ideology or supports stuff that does. SGI can't figure out how to make money in todays environment, end of story. They had a wonderful go at it, but all great things must one day end.....
    • Because normal humans grow sentimentally attached to things... ...even if those things are a distant, faceless corporation whose products were used years ago, or even just read about.

      I worked for university network management in college, and for a year or two I had an SGI workstation before upgrading to a newer Sun station. It was something different, which made it memorable.
    • A company that can't survive shouldn't survive just because it has a certain ideology or supports stuff that does.

      I think "shoulnd't" is too harsh of a word. It sounds like you are taking SGI out back to be shot rather than left to die on its own.
    • A company that can't survive shouldn't survive just because it has a certain ideology or supports stuff that does. SGI can't figure out how to make money in todays environment, end of story.

      I don't own any SGI stock, so SGIs stock price doesn't matter to me.

      On the other hand, I do use Linux. Having SGI contribute to Linux makes Linux a viable choice to more people, helping its userbase grow; having Linux's userbase grow increases the chance that a particular program will be ported to or a particular p

  • by d00ber ( 707098 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:49AM (#13940681) Journal
    SGI put out some increadibly cool technologies:

    OpenGL [] - a very important 3D API

    The Standard Template Library []

    VRML [] which gave rise to X3D Open [] Inventor [] which is a C++ wrapper around OpenGL.

    Pretty purple boxen that were great in their day.

    It seems that these came out years before the average user could really leverage them - years before anyone (including SGI it seems) knew what to do with them.

    It seems a shame that such a brilliant company could have such a hard time making money. They made the world a better place though, IMHO.
    • by ( 653730 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:02AM (#13940764)
      They made the world a better place though, IMHO.

      They made the OSS world a better place, at least. SGI is putting lots of resources in OSS software []. They gave us things like XFS. Their engineers are part of the group of programmers who made (and are still making right now with patches being merged in each release) possible to make linux scalable in big SMP boxes (ie: their 512-CPU boxes). They gave us things like GLX [] (the opengl xservers glue)

      Linux users owe SGI a lot. They're still not dead though, I hope they find a way to make SGI profitable again...
    • The problem is that the company stagnated. They found a niche that kept them going for years, but the niche closed up and they were never very successful moving beyond it. The stagnation also caused most of their best minds to flee for other companies and founding, among other things, nVidia.

      I still have an old Indigo under my desk (with Elan graphics and everything), and it's a fun toy to pull out every now and again, but it's down to toy status. A niche company just can't compete directly with the ma
      • They found a niche that kept them going for years, but the niche closed up and they were never very successful moving beyond it.

        It wasn't just that they had a market niche (graphic workstations). The real problem was that this niche was sexy. Lots of blockbuster movies were being made with mind-blowing effects generated on SGI hardware. That gave the company a lot of mind share with greedy investors looking for "the next Microsoft". So for years SGI had more investment capital than they knew what to do wi

        • Actually, I had an O2 and played around with O200s and O2000s at work. MIPS processers were just slower. The architecture of the chips was very nice, and with a budget they probably could have kept ahead of the IA32 architecture for longer, but they just didn't have the volume to keep it up. Sure they sold a lot of chips to Sony for the Playstations, but those were fairly low margin compared to the PC market.

          I even played around with one of the first PCs they made. It was a very nice machine, but it c
      • Damn straight. They had a huge feature and performance advantage in the early 1990s, with powerful MIPS processors and their own custom 3D subsystems.

        Under Jim Clark, SGI even proved they could create a powerful mass-market device by designing the N64, but then they dropped the ball and left Nintendo hanging on the next genration platform. They could have been huge as a console development house, but the company was unwilling to take such a risk.

        They started using Intel processors and Windows NT for their
    • SGI put out some increadibly cool technologies [including] The Standard Template Library

      As far as I know, Alexander Stepanov was the party responsible for STL, and (as noted here []) he worked by turns at General Electric, AT&T Bell Labs, and HP. What is the relationship between STL and SGI?

      • Re:STL from SGI? (Score:3, Informative)

        by d00ber ( 707098 )
        I know General Electric, AT&T Bell Labs, and HP all chipped in but SGI did too. I didn't mean to suggest they invented it though.

        They also have extensions for singly linked lists and hashes which will - in some form - make it into C++-0X. Boost deserves a lot of credit for that as well.

        There is a lot of SGI template code donated to GCC also.
      • Re:STL from SGI? (Score:4, Informative)

        by pavon ( 30274 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:06PM (#13941409)
        Alexander Stepanov went onto SGI after HP and continued his work with implementing and extending the STL while there. It improved many implementation details (the HP version was not thread safe for example), as well as adding several templates (hash'es etc) that did not get into the standard for political reasons. Like the HP version, the SGI code was freely available (BSD-like license).

        The SGI implementation of STL has pretty much become the defacto-standard implementation. It is definately the most widely used implementation in the open source world and probably in the proprietary world as well.

        On a related note, this is a pretty interesting interview [] with Stepanov.

      • Re:STL from SGI? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Waffle Iron ( 339739 )
        What is the relationship between STL and SGI?

        The answer is right there in your local header file. From <vector>:

        // Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
        * Copyright (c) 1994
        * Hewlett-Packard Company
        * Copyright (c) 1996
        * Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc.
    • Too ahead of its time? I'd say the opposite is true... SGI survived so long as they stayed ahead of the competition. Their customers paid through the nose for goods only SGI could provide. But when their tech. was rivaled by commodity PC hardware, it was all over.
    • by njcoder ( 657816 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:20PM (#13941550)
      "It seems a shame that such a brilliant company could have such a hard time making money. They made the world a better place though, IMHO."

      SGI machines are being replaced with cheap x86 clusters running Linux. In the race for GNU domination is this a case of friendly fire?

  • by MadMoses ( 151207 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:52AM (#13940710) Homepage's been rendered by SGI, too.
  • Zonk did it again! (Score:3, Informative)

    by iive ( 721743 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:56AM (#13940739)
    I knew I had read this news. It is from 8&tid=167 []
  • "... will be delisted from the NYSE."

    "... their ongoing commitment to Linux and other open-source projects."

    Boy, now THERE are two clauses I never thought I'd see together.

  • Terrible management (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:05AM (#13940787)
    I have followed SGI's stock and conference calls very closely since 2001.. I have also Extensively used their product since 1993. I've made a lot of money trading the pops in the stock but those days seem over and the risk is too high.

    They've had the Same CEO for 7 years. He is also the Chairman of the board. That makes it difficult for the board to remove him. The board should be sued. The executives should be sued. It is sad to watch those assclowns run the company into the ground. Their is no sense of urgency and there never has been.

    No executives have been fired. Heads are rolling at Dell because of a single bad quarter. It is like that at most successful companies.. but not SGI..

    On October 25, they had their quarterly CON call.. The CEO didn't even mention the impending delisting.. I figure he had to know that it would be announced to the public by the NYSE within days.

    The story of SGI is that the best tech doesn't always win (though it is a bit hard to say that with Itanic in the picture).
    • by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:51AM (#13941256) Homepage
      Heads are rolling at Dell because of a single bad quarter. It is like that at most successful companies..

      Yes you can always tell how good a job someone is doing in 3 months. That's the recipe for short term thinking and arguably what is wrong with most publicly traded companies.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Their problems go back to the day they bought Cray. They used essentially all of their cash reserves to purchase a company that hadn't been profitable in some time. They were then faced with the need to spend cash which they no longer had to overhaul their new acquisition - and keep their own product lines updated and technologically ahead of the Wintel juggernaut. They failed to do so. Their ultimate failure is the result.

  • I don't believe it! Not until Netcraft confirms it!
  • I heard this at SC a couple of years back:

    "There has never been a supercomputing company that the US National Labs couldn't drive out of business" []
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:11AM (#13940844) Homepage Journal
    SGI made some great machines both in the form of the hardware and the looks [] of the hardware. They also provided us with the likes of OpenGL.

    The problem is that the market they once had, being high-end graphics workstations, is being eaten up by cheap MS-Windows based systems. They could try redefining themselves, but I not sure what form it could take. While their version of Unix had some nice additions, it was never really a selling point. Their cheapest systems start off at $9000, which more expensive than Apple, and they also have less technology diversity than a company like IBM to help buffer any slow growth of their hardware. Maybe if they offered a very capable $4000 machine, it might help them attract people who might have never considered them before?

    BTW CATIA, which is a very important piece of CAD-CAM software in the automotive and aeronautical industry is actually Windows centric, so they benefits of a SGI machine there is zero.
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @01:13PM (#13942089) Journal
      A few years back, a group of SGI employees approached the management with the idea of a graphics chip that could be made cheaply enough to be sold for gaming and low-end CAD-type things for going in PCs. It would be slower than the rest of the SGI products, but `good enough' for a lot of their potential customers.

      Management decided not to pursue this - they didn't want to cannibalise their workstation sales. The employees shrugged, left, and set up a new company of their own - you may have heard of it, it is called nVidia.

      The moral of this story? Never avoid creating a market just to avoid destroying your existing market. If you do, then you will find that you have a competitor who wasn't even in your original market.

    • The problem is that the market they once had, being high-end graphics workstations, is being eaten up by cheap MS-Windows based systems.

      The SGI market wasn't 1337 gamerz machines, and not even CAD visualization (which was more of a general Unix workstation market segment originally), which is where cheap Windows PCs took over. SGI had cornered high-end rendering, and that kind of work is now done on massively parallel Linux clusters [].

  • by thanasakis ( 225405 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:13AM (#13940860)
    When I read the comment about the commitement of SGI to linux, I couldn't help but think of Sun which gets a lot of bashing because they insist on Solaris instead of commiting itself to linux. Now, SGI's future is uncertain although they "commited" to the supposedly right choice.

    IMHO Irix was great and they should commit to their own child. Who knows, today we might had yet another choice if they did.
    • by fgodfrey ( 116175 ) <> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @01:40PM (#13942342) Homepage
      SGI definitely would not be in better shape if they'd stayed with Irix. Irix is, internally, quite difficult to port to new architectures. In particular, changing it from big endian (MIPS) to little endian (IA64) would have been a challenge, at best. Even moving it to another 64 bit big endian platform (the Cray X1) took awhile. It also has other "issues" like a somewhat outdated IP stack (though SGI may have fixed that also).

      SGI's problem is that they've made way too many mistakes and missed too many boats. They should have released a PC graphics card in the mid 90's. Instead, that group went to nVidia. They should have allowed Cray (who they owned) to continue with the (quite successful) T3E line. Instead they pushed Origin which, at the time, was barely working. They should never have built a PC that didn't have a standard BIOS and couldn't run a standard version of Windows. They should have never built PC's, period. They should have not tried to commit to shipping Windows on every platform they built (this was a late 90's thing which, fortunately, died). They should have actually used the people and technology that they bought when they bought Cray. Instead, it took 6 years of political infighting before the companies were really merged (a large part of what was Cray Research is still part of SGI). They should have put effort into stabalizing and securing Irix back in the mid 90's when it was swiss cheese. They *owned* the webserver market at one point. Sun anhialated them. They shouldn't have sold the Cray SuperServer to Sun for $56 million. It became the Sun Ultra Enterprise and Sun has made billions on it. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, they shouldn't have driven off their best employees because of poltical infighting and starting, but not finishing, far too many projects.

      You can't make that many *major* errors and stay alive. Honestly, I'm surprised they've managed to last as long as they have. I thought they were dead 4 years ago when I quit.

  • .... That SGI could survive by being bought in whole or in part by someone else? I'm assuming that there are some technologies that would be of interest to some company out there.

    It would be a shame to simply see them disappear.
  • Possibly good news? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 )
    AFAICT it is the fact that nVidia graphics cards contain some so-called "intellectual property" claimed to belong to SGI {as if ideas could ever belong to anyone} that is preventing nVidia to release a true open-source driver enabling them to be used to the fullest extent under the popular GNU/Linux operating system and others.

    If SGI are bought out, the purchaser might be more keen to release the necessary information. Alternatively, if SGI are wound up, then the information might effectively revert to
    • "If SGI are bought out, the purchaser might be more keen to release the necessary information. Alternatively, if SGI are wound up, then the information might effectively revert to the public domain by default {since there will be no party in a position to assert a claim over it}."

      The rules of how things are handled in a dissolution of the company doesn't automatically move Patents and Copyrights to the Public Domain. If the company doesn't place the stuff in the Public Domain or under a suitable license

    • Why are some people (like you) so damn stupid? Nvidia will never release an open-source driver for the same reason it will never release the blueprints for its chips, and the same reason GM won't give you a car for free. The drivers are a crucial part of the videocard. They are valuable intellectual property. There is nothing for nVidia to gain by releasing them as open-source, and everything to lose. Therefore, they will never do that.

      You are making an idiotic assumption that nVidia actually wants to
      • And you're making an assumption that the Trustee can find a buyer for the IP. Honestly, that's all it is, an assumption.

        Several things can actually happen when a company goes bankrupt...

        The IP could be licensed in perpetuity under an Open License like the GPL.
        The IP could be sold to the highest bidder (Like you indicate...).
        The IP could be claimed by one of the creditors.
        The IP could be claimed by private shareholders if there's no further creditors in line.
        The IP could revert to the artist/inventor or the
  • Art vs Technology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcraig ( 757818 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:30AM (#13941050)
    IMHO its a shame because SGI have always been visionaries in computing architecture, and if you look at a modern PC alot of what it is doing for the 'first' time was done years ago by SGI. I think I'm right in saying that many of the people working for ATi/Nvidia/Microsoft etc. are ex SGI guys and have carried the seeds of great ideas to places that are perhaps better at executing commercial designs.

    I'll be sad to see SGI go because they've never seemed as tied to consumer demands and as such look to be a place where elegant/correct designs are valued over whatever can be thrown together in six months and stamped out on a production line to make some quick bucks.

    Perhaps I'm just getting older but it seems like a modern version of an older problem, namely that we no longer value artisans. We value mass production and whats cheap, we live in carbon copy houses (watch MTV cribs for a few minutes) and buy the same mass produced items. Though there are some inklings that we are starting to get fed up of it with more people these days focusing on individual fashion and customising everything to their own tastes. What were really saying is we want something unique/crafted/personal just look at all the case modding going on.

    Sadly by the time we value something it can be lost for good, many old techniques have been lost over the ages only for modern historians to bemoan and endeavour to recover. And even if we can flawlessly record the techniques used does that prevent them dying out, I'm thinking of bruce lee recording the techniques he used or a japanese sword maker recording his techniques. When not practiced these techniques become 'sterile' and are much better passed on to an apprentice. Maybe it doesn't matter if these techniques die out after all who needs japanese swords and martial arts? Though you can't help feeling the world is a poorer place without them.

    I don't know I could be way off the mark and if so I'm sure someone will shortly correct me, but I for one would be sad to see SGI go (looks around and steps down off soapbox wondering how he got up here).

    • I was an SGI systems admin at a Uni in 95 and 96. I really miss the old indy boxes we had there. That was from my personal favorite era of computing. NeXT, SGI, Apple, Sun, DEC, Cray, Amiga... it just seemed like the world was full of exciting new toys, amazing new technology, and that the future was wide open.

      Here I am, 10 years later, a cynical and bitter admin running Solaris at work and Apple at home. It seems (to me, at least) that most of the 'wow' has gone out of it all. CS now is a joke, the computi
    • Their hardware design was cool, but their business approach sucked.

      They were selling computers at Rolls Royce pricepoints without delivering enough of a ROI to their corporate clients. How different is this from the old mainframe days when computer users were only found in big corporations, government, or higher education? Only when computing is released to the mainstream does it really have an important social impact.

      They had the gall to market their O^2 as an entry level machine in the late 90s with a $
  • by Darius Jedburgh ( 920018 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:33AM (#13941079)
    ...incompetence ever told. It's astonishing that a company that made the best computers in the world for 3D graphics can have fared so badly in a world where even your cell phone is a computer supporting 3D graphics. They had the world handed to them on a plate and they simply threw their hands in the air, the plate with it. Astonishing. And so depressing. I'd really ike to try to understand how the likes of nvidia took the laurel from them. I remember nvidia's very first '3D' card (you probably never saw it, I helped develop drivers for it many many years ago). It was the biggest pile of crap ever developed. Never in a million years would I guess that a few years later these guys would be blowing away SGI and hiring half of their staff.
    • by lmlloyd ( 867110 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:49PM (#13941855)
      You are certainly right about the level of incompetence, but in some ways it even goes beyond incompetence, to what almost seemed like a willful destruction of the company by Richard E. Belluzzo. During his tenure at the helm of SGI, they made several decisions that doomed the company to ultimate failure. The first and foremost being that Silicon Graphics would change its name to SGI, stop focusing on graphics, and focus on internet and database servers. The next suicidal decision was that SGI would dump a lot of money into porting their flagship software graphics software (Maya) to Windows. The most crippling blow was that since they were no longer focusing on graphics, they would actively lobby a PC card manufacturer (Nvidia) to hire their engineering staff, and sell them their IP. Then they decided that they would abandon their own OS, and instead make components of their OS available to the Open Source community and put out machines with Linux and Windows. By the time SGI workstations were just PCs running Windows, using Nvidia graphics cards, it was clear the company was dead.

      Of course, after making all these ruinous decisions, Belluzzo immediately quit to take a job at Microsoft. I have never been able to figure out if his job at MS was his reward for scuttling SGI, or if after what he did at SGI, MS was the only company that would hire him! Either way, it was SGI itself (under Belluzzo's leadership) that opened the door for Microsoft to walk into the high-end 3D market. Before Maya was ported to Windows, and before Nvidia came out with their Quadro cards, the idea of doing film-quality animation on a PC (while possible) was not taken seriously by anyone in the industry. 90% of the production tools were SGI-only programs written for Irix.

      All in all, I think the market is probably better for it, since now you can buy a $100 motherboard using SGI's crossbar architecture (now called the Nvidia Hypertransport), and $300 graphics cards using SGI graphics processors, instead of having to shell out $10,000 for a workstation. None the less, it is a coffin SGI made for itself.

      • To add to the MS/SGI conspiracy theory: many people felt that the MS/SGI Fahrenheit 3D library was a deliberate attempt by Microsoft to drain resources from SGI into a fruitless project (Many of the people saying this were working on Fahrenheit and are now colleagues or ex-colleagues of mine). When the project was canned this is exactly what it turned out to be: a fruitless waste of resource. The direct assault on OpenGL by MS is also well documented [].
      • "SGI's crossbar architecture (now called the Nvidia Hypertransport)"

        Um...Hypertransport is an original technology developed by AMD and licensed by Nvidia (and others). It doesn't have a thing to do with SGI.

        "and $300 graphics cards using SGI graphics processors"

        While aspects of the technology are similar (which really is kind of inevitable), again Nvidia's cards are very much original designs.
        • by lmlloyd ( 867110 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @02:55PM (#13943162)
          The first time I ever heard about Hypertransport (long before it was available on any motherboards) it was from a friend of mine who works on drivers at AMD. His exact words were "you are going to be happy, the upcoming Nvidia motherboard is going to use the same architecture as your O2."

          I asked him "they are putting a crossbar in a PC motherboard?"

          He responded "they are calling it hypertransport, but it is the exact same thing. We have been working with them on it, and it is going to be the center of their new Nforce boards."

          All press releases aside, AMD was well aware of the SGI crossbar, and Nvidia had the rights to the technology to make it happen on a PC.

          As far as the Nvidia cards go, of course they are original designs. I'm not saying they aren't. However, they are original cards being designed by ex-SGI engineers, with access to over a decade of SGI graphics research. Just look at the huge difference between the TNT line of cards (before they acquired SGI's resources) and the Geforce/Quadro line of cards (after they acquired SGI's resources).
      • change its name to SGI, stop focusing on graphics, and focus on internet and database servers.

        This was the crux of their demise. Their systems no longer had significan tly more processing power than a really nice PC (which cost 1/4 as much as the SGI box). The big advantage they had was a high bandwidth connection to the graphics card, and a filesystem capable of handling high bandwidth read/writes.

        None of those advantages really mattered to an internet server that would more than likely (especially a

  • you guys were sooooo cool in the 90's, if you'd only get your head out of the sand and realize that people do want cool hardware, and then you actually engineered a laptop worth owning, then i could stop smoking the powerbook crackpipe and return to the hardware vendor i adored .. in the 90's ..

    sheesh. you guys. MAKE A LAPTOP DAMNIT.
  • Quake 4 uses DirectX (Direct3D), not SGI's OpenGL. A shame, because OpenGL was independent of Microsoft as well as looking better IMO. DirectX gives a cheesecloth effect on underpowered systems - Quake 4 looks as bad on my PC as Unreal did all those years ago. I wonder if the loss of big names like this has hit royalties, or was OpenGL free as in beer?
    • Errrrrmmmm... I was under impression iD games used still OpenGL rather than Direct3D.

      The Windows versions probably do use DirectX, but remember that DirectX is a lot more than just Direct3D - DX is probably used for keyboard and mouse support.

      I don't have Q4 yet, but my package of Doom 3 has absolutely no mention of OpenGL even when it definitely uses OpenGL extensively - and the iD software's Linux page definitely says that Q4 needs working OpenGL!

    • That's not even funny. Check the dependencies for quake4.exe. It does depend on opengl32.dll. The executable has a lot of references to glXXX functions inside. There are no D3D references or dependencies. Is it enough for you to figure out which API it uses?
    • No, Quake 4 still uses OpenGL.

      I bet you were confused by the recommended specs mentionning a "DirectX 9.0c compatible 3D card". Doom III had those same retarted specs, too.
  • Can anyone explain the SGI's decision to open source XFS? What did they envision the results, from a marketing point of view? Were they sucessful in their goal?
  • ...who's going to make all those cool displays for the Jupiter II in the future??? :P
  • bad ventures (Score:3, Informative)

    by namekuseijin ( 604504 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:19PM (#13941546)
    In the 1990's, soon after their great success at Hollywood blockbusters, they ventured into the videogames business with Nintendo in the form of the Nintendo64 console. Unfortunately, a more modest machine won the hearts and minds of videogames enthusiasts all over: Sony Playstation.

    Then, regular PCs, with very powerful and cheap 3D video cards began eat their Workstation lunch. Linux clusters of common pc hardware substituted their costly hardware in the making of Hollywood flicks.

    Now, the end is near for the once king of rendering...
  • by SavoWood ( 650474 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:21PM (#13941560) Homepage
    A while back, I had to change careers. The bottom fell out of the market for what I was doing before (audio engineering). I was able to take my UNIX skills and pick up a new career where I left off.

    About 15 years ago, I was living in Germany working at a post production studio. The graphics department used SGI hardware along with some amazing software. One Friday evening, as I was finishing up and about to go home, someone stuck their head in the control room where I was cutting some ADR for a film (German voices to replace the English). They asked me if I spoke English. Having lived in the US for about 18 years prior to that, I was able to say I was extremely comfortable with the language. Luckily, I also could speak some "tech". SGI's office was closed for the weekend, and they didn't know how to get any other tech support. I sat down with the manual (in English) and fixed the problem with the machine. From then on, I was hooked.

    I started learning about all sorts of UNIX-like systems, but SGI is what saved me. When the bottom dropped out of the market, I was able to take my skills in UNIX and experience with SGI systems (albeit in broadcast facilities), and get a job working as a contractor at the NIH on a project where they had about 10 SGI systems ranging from an Origin 3400 to a little O2. I even have an O2 at home on my network there just so I could break it there before I screwed it up at work. =-)

    I've been watching this Titanic go down for several years. It has been a long slow death. Now, I hope someone like Apple picks them up and uses their technologies to help better their own products. I'd love to see the Apple Store with a new listing next to the Xserve; the Gserve. 512 POWER5 (yeah yeah...Intel, blah blah) processors, massive disk array, and three steps to get it working:

    1. Deploy it in your server room.

    2. ????

    3. Arrrrrrrrrrgh...I can't do it!!!

    Seriously, I'd love to see something like this. It could really help to boost Apple and keep the "legend" of SGI around for a long time to come.

    I wonder if I should be scooping up some SGI stock about now so I can sell it to Apple for the buyout. Now, where did I put that crystal ball?
  • by micromuncher ( 171881 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:46PM (#13941827) Homepage
    I remember when our computer science dept. bought some real expensive SGI boxes. Only a couple people were allowed to use them. They were used for one purpose only; rendering fluid simulations. So, the rest-of-us never really got excited about the hardware.

    SGI never got mind share. Even in the 3D world where they had an opportunity. MacOS briefly had a toe hold that was quickly surpased by PCs in the modelling and rendering world. Both were a fraction of the price of the SGI. Suffices to say desktop Wintel owned the market by 1995.

    I don't think its fair to say SGI was the Doyenne of computer graphics systems. I don't think any of the players are bitches and SGI was the alpha female...
  • SGI effectively died (to me) when they dropped their signature logo, the one that Slashdot still uses.

    It's a shame to see them be delisted, but in the world of Nvidia and ATI graphics cards, cheap unix.. not sure where they would fit.

    Shame. The first "real" computer I ever used was a SGI Indigo box.

  • I recall attending a briefing given by SGI reps several years back. They were explaining to us how they were getting in bed with Intel, and planned on producing top notch windows machines. Many of us left that meeting shaking our heads. Among our many concerns was, how do you expect to take a company full of *NIX geeks, and make them work on MS stuff? Also, how could we continue to use their products for our mission critical applications (we knew Windows wasn't up to it)? I don't know, and maybe someon
  • SGI, back in the early and mid 90's was the best place I've ever worked, or could imagine working. SO many cool, fun, and super intelligent people. Of course that was before TJ thought he was a rock star and various other blunders caused it to implode.

    Very sad passing of an amazing company.

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.