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Silicon Graphics

SGI Clarifies Multiple OS Strategy 41

Silly-G writes "SGI's free DevCentral web site features a story called "SGI Invests in OS Technology" that "updates information about recent developments" on SGI's four supported operating systems: Linux, IRIX, UNICOS and that other operating system. Perhaps nothing new is discussed but at least it's clearly described in one breath. Tons of interesting info including delivering intellectual property to the open source community, the upcoming IA-32 Linux server, the relationship with VA Linx Systems, the IA-64 Linux port, and the accelerated OpenGL graphics environment for Linux. "
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SGI Clarifies Multiple OS Strategy

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  • Does anyone have any pricing information on SGI computers? SGI, along with Sun, and many other high-end Hardware/Software vendors refuse to give you a price for their products. I'm not interested in pricing on NT boxes, just the IRIX boxes, like the 02, and the Octane (even the Onyx2). Anyway, maybe there's a website that sells SGI boxes...

    I have no witty quote...
  • The link is just a technical document explaining XFS... no software.

  • AFAK, Unicos and IRIX are going to fade out along with their supported hardware, which will take a fair number of years. It's not like Linux will be powering current T3E's.

    Keep in mind that developing and supporting an OS costs a LOT of money. SGI has stated that it just doesn't make economic sense for anyone to always play catchup with the Joneses by adding features that are the must-haves du jour. It is far easier to start from a common OS base and then add value on top of it. The splintered nature of commercial Unix almost killed it, remember?

    So, once IA-64 based systems are reality, Linux on them with appropriate extensions to accommodate high-end features makes a whole lot more sense than porting existing Unices.

    SGI is slowly migrating features from Unicos into IRIX (DMF and SCSL recently) and at the same time migrating features from IRIX into Linux (XFS is a recent example). Eventually, a variant of Linux will be able to power a true supercomputer, no doubt. (Yeah, I know about Beowulf. I'm talking about tighter integrated systems here.)
  • Posted by rdobbs:

    Linux was never designed to run the kind of hardware that the Cray and Origin SuperComputers run as standard equipment. We're talking a million dollar+ machine here, why run an OS that's free. As I recall of hand, UNICOS is free with the computer. Companies that spend that much on hardware aren't going to abandoned a tried and true platform for an upstart on which NONE of their modeling software, code, or simulations will run without extensive rewrites.

    I'm not bashing Linux here - but I really doubt that Linux was ever intended to compete with a SuperOS. Linux is pretty powerful, but your talking a total rewrite of the entire system to even get it to boot one of those bad-boys.

    If you have the millions to get your hands on the machine, and the time to port the system - be my guest. I'm just saying that you'd have a lot of catch-up pedalling to do to even get in the same league as UNICOS...
  • Clearly the AC who posted this is more than a little biased. Certainly they are more than a little wrong.

    SGI is a systems and solutions company. The article definitely says that SGI will not, quoting the poor misguided AC, "ditch Unix for NT". Quite emphatically, SGI is fully in support of what its customers request in terms of OSes and support.

    What I have seen in recent months has been pure FUD spewing from little Sun driods and lackeys about SGI. It is amazing how many times I run into people who have heard this nonesense from a Sun lackey, and never questioned it. Well, I guess the old salt is true, you can fool most of the people most of the time.

    Regardless, SGI is alive, and on the 21st of July we will hear how healthy it is, and possibly more about its focus and direction w.r.t OSes. This developer document looks like the first salve.

  • change the logo will ya?
    Intel/NT/Linux killed the cube.
  • If they are "Just another NT company", then why are they doing the things that they are?

    They have been very active in developing their IRIX Operating system. 6.5 is very stable, and very feature complete, and very friendly. There is a GUI for most common tasks. If you are into any kind of media application, it is very hard to compete with IRIX given that the BASE OS provides many functional media tools, that are add-ons for everyone else.

    From what I see, they are seriously trying to develop solutions in the Linux space as well as the NT one. Just because they have released an NT product does not make them a sellout. They did what they always do. Make killer hardware, and code to run on it. They did produce their own HAL for NT. This is clearly different from "all the other companies" who do a little tweak here and there to get performance. Their Visual Workstation was designed to run other things anyway. It boots with an ARC loader, and comes with simple install tools. Just like the IRIX based machine the O2. If you know both machines, you can't miss the likeness in design. (Internal design that is...) You need to take another look at one of these before deciding that they are just another NT company. (NT still does suck even on a great machine tho :-J )

    These machines will run Linux, and they will have full Open-GL support under X. For graphics they will most likely set the standard for GLX under Linux.
  • I wouldn't change it. I hate the new logo, I think the Cube is way better looking than the SGI. think they have now.

  • Posted by rdobbs:

    So that's the stuff their putting on the 4 color glossies (technical specs). Well, your technically correct in that aspect. Now the trick is - could they fix all the short-comings in NT to even have that impressive system architecture make a difference?

  • It looks like a stream of capitalized profanity to me.. What's the question, or are you being funny?
  • If I said I was heading North, East, West and South you'd say I was going nowhere, not a direction.

    I don't think they have a chance of real success with any of them unless they choose to dump at least two.

  • Linux-the onrushing solution for Intel processor-based servers

    And Windows NT is tied to the tracks.

  • I have no real knowledge either, but could it deal with living in space and all that entails (ie. CO2 build-up, O2 generation, food, water, recycling, everything else necessary for long-term manned missions.).

  • Could someone fill me in on what astrobiology is

    My wild guess, based on my many years of having - literally - no experience with said field; is that it's simulations of growing stuff in space.

    I could be wrong though. Ignorance is bliss.

  • The TNT2 and the hardware of the VW have different purposes. The TNT2 is optimized to render relatively few large, multi-textured polygons. The VW is optimized to render huge numbers of small, shaded polygons. TNT2s have absurdly high textured fillrates, but lower polygon throughput. VWs have somewhat of the opposite, although, their textured fillrate is nothing to sneeze at.
  • Techniques for finding biosystems elsewhere in the universe, and trying to figure out how life gets started; finding other places amenable to human life; how those places formed.... it's fairly broad.

    As for the 512-processor Origin, the only thing that jumps to mind is modeling a single-celled organism, down to the molecular level.

    The NASA Astrobiology Institute site [] has more, though it's scarce on useful details.
  • The notes say SGI has released XFS recently for Linux, yet the link they give is to an internal development box no one can get at. Anyone see it loose out there?

  • Perhaps it's wistful thinking on my part, but I noticed something that felt almost like shame in their putting NT dead last in their list. This is especially odd in view of their heavy promotion of the VWS as being a NT-only system.

    Remember when the implication of their press releases was that NT was a major part of their roadmap and eventually every SGI machine worth mentioning would run NT? I must admit to being scared half to death by that one.

    Now if we could just figure out a way to get more useful client software for Linux on the VWS, I might be persuaded to buy one ... I'm sure it would do a nice job running Enlightenment :-).


    (Proud owner of a used Indigo2 Extreme, on which this message was typed).

  • Detailed, specific and technically accurate. SGIs stock has gone up in my brain :-) I wish more companies put out real information like this, instead of the usual empty marketing drivel.

    Actually, this is so good we could probably point people who want a "Linux roadmap" to it.

  • "Perhaps nothing new..."

    Nothing new indeed. This is all information that can be gleaned from SGI's latest 10Q submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission in March. Geeks would do well to read a financial document or two every once in a while. Read the PDF of SGI's 10Q form -- a "forward-looking document" [] penned by SGI and turned in to the Wall Street types. (Click on the link to the Q3 1999 PDF under the heading "10Qs.")

    In the 10Q, SGI further defines present and future markets, lays out risks and puts their tarot cards on the table. It makes for interesting reading for some of us. SGI says some things in the 10Q that would make the SGI-faithful faint. Shrinking supercomputer market. (Yes, SGI has the lion's share of that market. So? If a market is shrinking, by their own admission, how does that help them succeed?) A move to the low- to mid-range desktop and server market.

    As someone else indicated, SGI's earning statement, due out later this month, will tell more. I hope it's better news than last quarter's statement.

  • Perhaps it's wistful thinking on my part, but I noticed something that felt almost like shame in their putting NT dead last in their list

    What I found even more interesting is they went far further into their future plans for Linux, the advantages of Linux, the status of the VWS port for Linux, etc. The NT section was essentially 'it runs VWS and can run Win32 apps'.

    Maybe that's because you have to do a better job selling Linux than NT . . . any maybe not.

  • Looks like we now know at least three SlashDot accounts that are owned by the same person using different e-mail addresses. Apparently, he has yet another account that received moderator access -- we won't be seeing that one here, since you can't post and moderate on the same thread. Make that, not from the same account, anyway.

    Elberon, eponymous cohort, and rdobbs appear to be related, though the four accounts (these three plus the unknown moderator) are not necessarily all the same person, since they could be a group of people posting in concert. I do not believe that this really happened independently. For all I know, the AC who appears to be so impressed with (and fooled by) the result could be from the same person or group, congratulating himself.

    I am not part of the scheme, though I realize now that I can't prove it. (Why would I blow the whistle on my own game? Maybe to let "myself" be the clever one who saw through it? This is not the case. Really.) This may be a bit juvenile, but it's still pretty cool -- this sub-thread should be framed.

    David Gould
  • Posted by rdobbs:

    They HAVEN'T Abandoned IRIX. You can still buy IRIX stations, and they are on par with the NT workstations.

    I was in the market for an SGI box - but their VAr jerked me around with inaccurate information, and flat out lies, I had no choice but to get a Macintosh to do my high-end graphics with.

    Their NT workstations are nice, but they aren't anything you couldn't build with the proper knowledge in hardware, and a good cheap supplier.

    SGI pretty much forced their position on themselves when they forcefully aquired Cray Research (a purchase they even STATED they couldn't afford - but went ahead with anyway). Poor marketing decisions and bad VARS will do this to a business...
  • >Their NT workstations are nice, but they aren't >anything you couldn't build with the proper >knowledge in hardware, and a good cheap supplier

    Yeah, yeah, just try to build me a graphics subsystem with 3.2 Gb/sec bandwidth throughout. 512 MB/s is as good as you'll get currently (1 GB/s soon with AGP 4X).

If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary. -- Samuel Clemens