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Silicon Graphics

SGI Embraces Open Source 63

SGI has announced they are "embracing the open source development model". They haven't said anything specific, but seem to imply they will integrate features from IRIX and their other software into open source products. Finally, they imply they are helping get Linux going on the Origin 2000. That would be really cool - Linux would gain ccNUMA and the likes. Makes me wonder what their rumored second announcement will be about...
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SGI Embraces Open Source

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  • Don't get too happy for 4Dwm...

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the "thumb-wheel" and zooming icon-views. The look/behavior of the boxes, sliders, etc. is also a dramatic improvement over the junk in, say, CDE.

    The widgets are mods of Motif, and the usual license fee will apply to any of these libraries which include OSF/Motif source.

    I suppose that they can purify these widgets of OSF source. This could then be coupled with LessTif, but I think it might be less work to backwards engineer a whole new LessTif derivative, if SGI provides a spec.

    Oh, yeah! I also forgot: SGI added beautiful extensions providing multiple icon-states, and integration of audio-events.

    You'd probably see all of this sooner as a GTK/qt theme, than as a free-software port.

    --Jeremiah Cornelius
  • All I've got to say is: WOOOO!

    Imagine Linux on a supercomputer like that... mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Plus all the things they could integrate from Irix into Linux... like the `scheduling' system of cellular irix...

    Now if only I had a few million to drop on one of these.

  • You forgot XLV and Fibrechannel support. :)
  • Doesn't anyone EVER say that something would make an EXTREMELY CRAPPY Beowulf cluster????

    No, that's the whole point of Beowulf clusters: to tie crappy hardware together to make good hardware.
  • Posted by Buffy the Overflow Slayer:

    Heck, I run FVWM2 on our SGIs. I see no real
    advantage to 4Dwm.

  • Two completely, utterly, totally different markets. Anyone you know run Oracle Parallel Server on a Beowulf? Anybody see physics labs writing up grant applications to buy new O2Ks?

    No and no. ccNUMA boxes perform an entirely different class of applications (well) from DSM clusters (which when built from Common Off-The-Shelf, or COTS, hardware qualify as a Beowulf). SMP boxes like Sun's (the UE10K for example) are the one extreme of parallel processing, all CPUs capable of acting from a single memory image. Distributed shared memory (DSM) clusters like Beowulves are the other extreme -- totally discrete information is acted on by each processor. ccNUMA boxes are somewhere in between, though from a programmer's perspective they are more like a big SMP box.

    More succinctly:

    A business that is doing online sales wants a resilient, fault-tolerant architecture for taking orders. So they build a Beowulf or an even-more-loosely-coupled cluster of webservers. That's where DSM clustering shines -- spill a 2L of Pepsi into one of them and nobody notices.

    Then one day they decide they need to profile trends in the orders -- say, they want to figure out whether ads on Slashdot generate a response, and whether those people buy stuff. The company has a big-ass database now, way too big to fit in the main memory of a 32-bit machine like one of their Beowulf (or neo-wulf, heh) nodes. So they take some money from the petty cash drawer, buy a Starfire box and an Oracle license, import the data they have collected, and grind over it until they get some answers. That's where SMP shines.

    Even if you were only trolling, the point stands.

  • look here []
  • perhaps it could be modified to work with
    lesstiff or gtk?
  • Ah, yet another zero-content post by an anonymous coward.

    But, honestly, I think that you're failing to grasp the bigger picture. What it means is yet to be revealed, and I doubt SGI is merely paying us lip service. Microsoft doens't have the stranglehold on SGI that, say, it has on Dell.
  • A few of those would make a damn fine Beowulf cluster.

    Ever looked at the specs for ASCI Blue Mountain? It's a cluster of Origins (48 Origins with 128 CPUs each, to be exact). The network fabric is GSN a.k.a HiPPI-6400, a 800MB/s full duplex switched network. Pretty darned cool. Right now it's the fastest thing on the planet, at least on the Linpack parallel benchmark.

  • Hmm... Not that they are the greatest there is, but I sure won't mind giving 4Dwm and some of thier desktop tools a spin on a Linux box. But, I am not going to hold my breath, I'll believe it when I see the source trees pop up on an ftp site.
  • There may be other exceptions, but Sun is definately not 'failing'. Of the big hardware companies, the only ones who got any decent growth last year where Dell, Compaq and Sun. However, Dell and Compaq aren't expected to do so well this year, according to analysists, while Sun is expected to do pretty well.

    See this report at Forbes []. A couple of months ago, Sun's stock was $40-$50, now it's at $100. There's also expected to be an announcement from HP today that it'll be splitting it's business up, so that it can try and compete better - IBM and Sun were named as two companies giving them trouble... Looks like Sun's "unix-only" strategy is doing pretty well.

    I do agree with the general point that some of these 'open source' innitiatives could be considered "desperate", or "last ditch".

    • I'm involved in admin'ing a few of these sleek, slick, mean monsters. To sum it up: (8x)~300mhz + 8gb-ram = $250k. Unless you have very specific needs, you don't need one.
    • For less than $80k you can fill a rack with 20 600mhz Alphas (512mb-ram each, dual ether, 2U cases) and get a few decent switches. That's a total of 12000mhz of Alpha and 10gb-ram for less than 1/3 the price. Even after you factor out ovehead, the o2k cost:performance falls way short. On the other hand, "Origin" is a cool name and they come in a very shiny contoured plastic box.
    • Nevertheless, having NUMA-kernel support can't be a bad thing. Who knows where it might come in handy?
    • Offtopic:On another note, as one who has a (small) cluster, I've finally gotten sick of the word beowulf being tossed around. Does anyone have even a faint idea what a beowulf is? All beowulfs are clusters, but the obverse is not true. For an explanation, visit [] and actually read their docs.
  • Doesn't anyone else notice that everytime a company announces open source initiatives it is because all else has failed? Furthermore it looks like everytime a company announces support for Linux, like Corel, it seems to be because they are losing terribly to their competitors. Sadly, support for Linux and open source are indicators that a company is in trouble and that they are choosing new directions out of desperation, not because they want to.

    well i still think it's a good thing. a company like corel that got crushed by microsoft has good reason to launch a nuclear bomb that could potential kill itself but hurt its enemy also. that's actually good for the industry.

    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."

  • Man, and I only have a lowly Indy that isn't even running Linux. Interesting how the university the O2000 is going to is *really* close to Red Hat.
  • ...but seem to imply they will integrate features from IRIX and their other software into open source products, and also say they will begin migrating customers away from IRIX...

    What I saw in their announcement was

    Silicon Graphics will migrate to the Open Source community key technology from its IRIX operating system...

    which says nothing about migrating users from IRIX; it says they're migrating technology from IRIX to "the Open Source community".

  • So, by "key technology", do you think they mean algorithms, libraries, whole apps, and/or something completely else?

    Dunno. One thing they've already released is the GLX code []; they may plan to release other things in the future.

  • I've got a few of them here at work. $50K for 8 CPUs.
    Steven Webb
    System Administrator II - Juneau and TECOM projects
    NCAR - Research Applications Program
  • Haven't you noticed all the people losing weight were fat before they started, and all those folks recovering from drug addiction were addicts before they recovered, or whatever?

    Yeah, all those companies - SGI, Corel, Sun, - were all starting to collapse. And the desperation surrounding those circumstances forced them to see the light.

    It also seems like it's working. Free Software is generating huge amounts of hype these days, which is wonderful ... what I can't believe is that everything is going so well. It's incredible.

  • > Makes me wonder what their rumored
    > second announcement will be about...

    could that be the Linux Distribution they announced at the presentation I saw? Or ist that an oldie already?

  • First they manage to make their customers believe that they'll drop MIPS and that their new CPU (Intels Merced) is a flop. Doesn't matter if that really was their intention or not -- a lot of people ended up believing it.

    And now they'll probably manage to make their customers believe that they'll drop IRIX next year or so...

    No, I don't believe you'll do that -- but your customers might.. Sigh, talk about shooting oneself in the foot..

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • ® U serious?
  • Newp.

    Not a touch panel, has some keys and thingies to enter commands.. sorry to burst your bubble.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.