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Silicon Graphics

SGIs Linux Future 151

james outlaw wrote in to send us a story at that talks about SGIs Linux Plans. We know about their Intel based Linux servers, but according to this article, they plan to lead with Linux, and only offer NT as an add-on. When they start shipping those Visual Workstations with Linux default, I'll definitely start desiring one.
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SGIs Linux Future

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    SGI will continue to support IRIX.

    There are such plans to "ditch" it as the original poster suggested.

    Please stop propogating such falsehoods.

    See for new developments in 64 bit IRIX computing.
  • Visual Workstations, albeit based on an Intel Processor, represent quite
    a new architecture and are definitely not PCs. In fact some of the ideas
    employed remind me of the old Amiga (custom chips/unified memory pool/etc)
    but with nowadays technology. It is interesting to consider that the Amiga was
    quite an interesting machine for its time due to the way some shortcomings were
    addressed (e.g. the blitter working on chip ram while the main cpu was busy processing instructions... just the opposite of what happens when you are going to need a cache :) ).
    I belive that SGI's VW architecture is exactly the same sort
    of breaktrogh technology for nowadays computers... Way to go, I belive!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I like your vision. It would be (IMHO) wonderful
    if our Plug and Play support was as good
    as Windows 98's is in some circumstances. An
    My father recently bought an eMachine to replace
    his Pentium 150. Not wanting to reinstall
    all of his applications, he moved the hard drive
    from the Pentium 150 over into the eMachine and
    booted. Windows went through one of those
    "Windows has detected new Hardware" screens for
    about 10 minutes, rebooted twice (yeah, ugh!),
    and then everything worked perfectly. The drivers
    for the new sound card, video card, et. all,
    had been loaded without a hitch. It's not that
    easy with Linux. The database of hardware
    currently being compiled should make it better,
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Visual Basic => for those who can't program
    Visual Learners => those who can't read
    Visual Workstations => for those who can't work, program, or read
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They do have high video/aux bus bandwidth, but that can be replicated in any pc with a good
    video card (with not as much memory since
    the VW can use all of main memory)

    In reality bandwith available to the processor, is
    actually a bit lower on the VW than on most PC's
    (about 300MB/s vs 340 MB/s stream) 800MB/s raw.

    if you want high bandwidth then get a
    compaq XP1000, it has a 2.6GB/s bandwith available
    to the processor.
    or a compaq DS20, that has 5.2GB/s (aggregate) for
    2 processors.

    So if you deal with very high textured objects. (i.e greater than ~96 MB for most high
    end graphics cards)
    then the VW will be a good fit for you. if not
    then getting a cheaper system with a faster graphics card will be better.

    If you need a very fast floating point unit and
    very high bandwidth. then get a compaq XP1000.

    here are some stats.

    Computer Bandwidth SpecINT SpecFP Cost

    VW320 550Mhz 300MB/s 23 16 $6000
    XP1000 667Mhz 1.2GB/s 37 67 $8000

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 1999 @11:42AM (#1787342)
    Photoshop is a professional product; GIMP is a nice toy, but completely unsuitable for professional print graphics. Obviously you have no idea what I'm talking about. Let me put it this way: whether your print job is just a few thousand dollars or a massive campaign worth millions, any print shop is going to look at your files and want to know the CMYK values you want to use. RGB to CMYK is a critical translation process in which onscreen color gets translated to *ink*. These ink values are PROPRIETARY INFORMATION controlled by a company by the name of Pantone (maybe you've heard of them --no?) Image processing technologuy aside, you can't do professional print graphics without Pantone color software. Find Pantone (tm) RGB or CMYK palette info in your version of GIMP. Try it. It's not there, son.

    One physical RGB->CMYK swatchbook costs about $100, (it can had for less) and they change from year to year. That's just the swatchbook (not software) to convert to CMYK --usable only if you already know the Pantone RGB values. Which you won't since you're using GIMP. Can you color calibrate a monitor to a Heidelberg press or a Lino-Hell drum scanner in GIMP? No. So you can't take a physical rgb->CMYK swatchbook and match chips to your monitor's colors and get anywhere close to what will come off the service bureau/printer's press. Your boss won't like this. Your client won't like this either. Problem.

    Even supposing you had authorization from your manager and just had a burning desire to piss your printer off forever (thereby assuring your jobs always get lowest priority) by insisting on using this software without color management where's your integration with a standard pagelayout program --ie, Quark or Adobe's own InDesign? Nowhere. So there's your lesson for the day, now go tell all your friends what you've learned and don't ask such stupid arrogant, questions again --M'Kay?

    Now you know I beg Adobe to port their software to Linux and hope SGI can help this eventually come to be.

  • How does this work? You can't put standard PCI cards in it?

  • Why should I believe one Anonymous Coward over another? Do you work for SGI? Do you have any more credibility than that other guy, nope?
  • I found Ivan actually a fairly good poster; if nothing else, he got discussion going, even if a lot of people didn't agree with him.

    Ivan Thackchev (sp?) .. MEEPT!.. and now bugbear300[01]. Unfortunately bugbear is just a moron - at least Meept and Ivan, as trolly as they were, had some good things to say, some good ideas. I especially liked MEEPT's freestyle poems.

  • However, I've not had such great experiences with Window's version of PnP.

    When I take a harddrive out of one machine and put it in another OR switch the motherboard, I usually get duplicated everything and it doesn't tell you which duplicate to remove... you have to reinstall Windows. :(

    I can switch motherboards on Linux or move harddrives around with no problem whatsoever!

    I wan't Linux's support to be MUCH BETTER than Native Windows PnP!
  • Visual Workstations (wish I had one) are designed for graphically intensive operations. They are OpenGL enhanced and have high graphical throughput.

    The Visual Workstation is a perfect example of a company focusing on their core strength! SGI's core strength is graphics.

    If SGI wants Linux on their machines, you can just about bet that they will be the driver (pun intended) behind advanced graphics on Linux - especially their own hardware.

    I say more power to 'em.
  • Actually, Sun briefly sold the 386i, which was definitely x86 based. I've actually seen one. We used to have one sitting around the office as a conversation piece.

  • No prob. BTW, here's some more information from James W. Birdsall's excellent Sun Hardware Reference, which can be found at /Sun-Hardware-Ref/OLD/working/ []:

    Sun 386i Models

    Processor(s): 80386 @ 20MHz, 80387
    Speed ratings: 3 MIPS, 0.17 MFLOPS
    CPU: 501-1241/1414
    Chassis type: tower
    Bus: 4 32-bit slots; ISA (3 16-bit, 1 8-bit)
    Memory: 8M (documented) physical
    Notes: Shared code name "Roadrunner" with the /250.
    3.5" floppy. A variant of the 150 had the 250's
    external cache(?).

    Processor(s): 80386 @ 25MHz, 80387
    Speed ratings: 5 MIPS, 0.2 MFLOPS
    CPU: 501-1324/1413
    Chassis type: tower
    Bus: 4 32-bit slots; ISA (3 16-bit, 1 8-bit)
    Memory: 16M (documented) physical
    Cache: 32K
    Notes: Shared code name "Roadrunner" with the /150.
    3.5" floppy.

    Processor(s): 80486
    Notes: Code-named "Apache". A very limited quantity of
    these were supposedly built and shipped to
    customers just before the Intel-based line was


  • If there's a good upgrade path and they keep support for Irix for a long time, users might not resist so much. Remember Sun burned a lot of users, first with the switch to Sparc and then with the switch to Solaris. People got over it.

    SGI might have a better time of it than Sun did because people buy SGI for the hardware. People buy Sun for the software.

  • You can make the case that Sun has a lot of brand equity in Solaris and should continue it. IBM can afford to sink money into AIX. But SGI's strength really is it's hardware.

    I'm not saying they should drop Irix tomorrow, but a gradual shift makes sense. They can position themselves as the natural upgrade path for ISPs and others who outgrow their Intel/Linux boxes.

    They've already released their filesystem. All they need to do is gradually transfer other stuff over to Linux and in a few years there won't be any reason to continue new development on Irix.

  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Friday July 23, 1999 @12:08PM (#1787353) Homepage

    I'm not suggesting that SGI will be able to get out of the OS development business. If they want XFS, ccNUMA, and friends in Linux they're going to have to do the port and keep putting work (read "money") in to maintain it. There aren't a lot of hackers out there who can play with this class of hardware. But they're paying to maintain this stuff in Irix today, so it's not like that's a loss.

    Where they really gain something is in all the other stuff that goes into a kernel that they don't have to worry about anymore and all the applications that are becoming available for Linux.

  • You also probably thought both Microsoft and Intel were going out of business 10 years ago because of the 640K 286 addressing limitation.

    That was the 8086, not the 80286. The 80286 has a 24-bit address bus that can access 16 MB of physical memory. Actually, it's not even the 8086, which can access 1 MB of physical memory. IBM resevered the top 384K for the ROM BIOS and video frame buffers, hence the infamous 640K "limit".

    Not that this pertains to the discussion or anything, but this is News for Nerds, after all. :-)


  • It's a cluster of 48 128PE Origins tied together with an 800MB/s GSN (a.k.a. HiPPI) network. The individual Origin boxes are ccNUMA, of course, but the boxes communicate with each other using MPI over the GSN (much like Beowulf clusters do MPI over Ethernet or Myrinet or whatever). There used to be hardware specs on the web, but those disappeared after the China fiasco a few months back. This page [] gives some details.

  • I know that the folks at A|W keep tinkering with the idea for a maya port to linux. I know that where I work, which just migrated to Maya from soft image, wants the port bad.
    I am responsible for the renderfarm, which is currently 02s and Octanes, and we are looking at getting intel machines, which transaltes into NT right now, and this does not excite me at all.
    If/when the linux port is made, there will be several happy vegetables in Chicago.
    Tim Toll, Render Architect, Big Idea Productions
  • No. It doesn't. NT runs pretty well on them
  • Okay...almost any movie now seems to be made on SGI's running Alias|Wavefront, Maya, or Softimage. And usually on the behind the scenes shows there is an animator talking about this and that sitting in front of an SGI.

    Does this now mean that all these ubercool apps are going to be moved to Linux?

    It's not like I could afford any of them, but this could be a big boon for the commercial Linux software arena. I wonder if it would help pull Photoshop over, or some NLE's?
  • Sorry, it was the only piece of SGI Adobe software that came to mind...I guess I should have said Premiere...I think that's already on SGI.

    I prefer GIMP - just wish I could get it running again on my HPUX machine :(
  • what I heard from other sources...

    Bit of a shame in some ways... however, I expect they'll effectively be giving lots of their tech to the open-source community. If SGI are dropping their support for Irix, that wouldn't be very nice to their some of their existing customers, because that means they are forced to port/convert. Some of you might think I'm nuts for suggesting it, but it's true. One of the many reasons Sun have been doing well is that they're quite clearly NOT moving away from SPARC/Solaris.

    According to some people I talked to, SGI doing the Intel/NT Visual Workstations hasn't helped with their image with established customers. Didn't help either that they had/are planning to move from their own CPUs to IA-64. (basically, this makes them 'just another' Intel box-shifter in some people's eyes). Incidentally, the current CEO of SGI is an ex-HP (co IA-64 developers with Intel) exec. You'd be surprised what difference image can make. I heard of a Alpha based server Compaq were selling. They then decided to sell the same machine under the Digital brand. Sales increased 10x or something.

  • You don't want one *already*? I'd like one even if it had NT on it! Their hardware is just so danmed cool.
  • I think people bring up workstations because SGI's Intel systems are called "Visual Workstations". Which does seem imply that they are meant to be workstations.


  • It still smells of Microsoft.

  • That's funny. I have an SGI at work and another at home, and I ditched 4Dwm in both, using fvwm2 instead. It's a lot more customizable.

    I just wish installing Enlightenment on IRIX wasn't such a pain in the ass.

  • Because the new one sucks.
  • Uhmm... like you said {NeXT/Open}Step uses DPS..
    and MacOS X is basically the next revision of OpenStep..

    So are you saying MacOS X doesn't use DPS?
  • by slothbait ( 2922 ) on Friday July 23, 1999 @09:42AM (#1787369)
    What makes the Visual Workstations better than a Dell is their very customized video subsystems. I can't quote exact numbers, but the systems have ridiculously video high bandwidth, which makes them usable in video applications that traditional PC's would fall flat in.

    Besides the video system, though, I think the rest of the appeal is the industrial design aspect. Cool looking (Non-translucent) cases, and sci-fi looking LCD displays.

    I can't speak at how proprietary the hardware is, but if they write open source drivers for it so that they can install Linux, do you really care? Closed hardware doesn't bother me at all, but closed API's do, and if their drivers are GPL (or something close to it), and they don't try to close the thing up like Glide, everything is fine.

    And it seems that they really are embracing Linux. Lets not forget their intent to release IRIX's journalling filesystem. This is no small deal: the lack of a journalling FS has been holding Linux back. Quite likely, they will phase out IRIX and slowly contribute to Linux those few high end features which it still lacks.

    so that Linux can catch up to the big boys in the FS department. This is no small act, and I do hope that it is executed quickly.

    With them releasing Linux boxes, we should atleast get drivers out of them (hopefully free), and hopefully they will support some of the big projects.

    Anyone out there use these things for a living?
  • I don't want some lame, broken OS running on their cool hardware. That leaves NT right-out, now doesn't it? IRIX makes the stuff just a wee bit out of reach realistically- so I'll just wait and see if Linux shows. If it does, I know what I'm saving my pennies for... :->
  • XFS has not been released yet, that's why there's no Linux version. With SGI's backing, XFS could be running happily under Linux within 6 months (from release).

    A 'few' years might be about right though - not that long. Remember IA64 is coming.

    As for 'ccNUMA', why not? Clever memory management etc. :-)

    Scalabilty to 256 processors, a bit longer. 2 years?
  • Houdini is being ported to linux - it is a 'high-end' 3D product. ml

    Same with the rendering software 'Mental Ray' ;

    Blender is supposed good as well ;

    Sidefx must be looking forward to getting their hands on a VW that can drive graphics/video under Linux. I would expect that this might put a bit of pressure on Alias/Wavefront - they're part of SGI after all. I see little reason not to port to Linux if the hardware is ready. SGI appear to be working towards hardware accelerated openGL support, and hopefully video (HD?).

  • Avid Technology own Softimage - purchased from MS last year.

    Soft still runs on SGI's and I can't imagine they'll move to NT alone anytime soon. Too many BIG Softimage companies want the unix version.
  • Maya is already running on Linux, it's just not released.

  • -3! What?

    It used to be possible to set the threshold in the preferences to high negative values. When that changed, I seem to recall that it was explicitly stated that (-1) was an absolute minimum: no post would ever have a score lower than that, so (-1) was equivalent to negative infinity for a threshold value.

    If that is not the case, and posts can be scored lower than that, then there absolutely has to be a way to specify a threshold of negative infinity. Otherwise, there is no way to be sure of seeing absolutely everything.

    For all I know, it's possible that this is a bug in the Slash code and not an intentionally unfair change in the rules. If so, it's pretty important that it be fixed.

    David Gould
  • by merentha ( 6487 ) on Friday July 23, 1999 @10:10AM (#1787376)
    Did anyone else notice, or has it already been discussed, that in this article Belluzo says they'll be bringing ccNUMA support into Linux?
    ccNUMA is definitely drool material - even better than Beowulf, and this would suggest that they are planning to have Linux running on machines in the 'Blue Mountain' (~6000 processor?) class ...

    Seems to me that SGI may turn out to be the best thing to happen to Linux since usenet. After all, what have the three biggest (technical) problems with Linux been since it started getting mainstream acceptance?

    1. Lack of a solid jfs
    2. Lack of high-end graphics
    3. Lack of support for *really* big, high-throughput hardware

    All three of which SGI looks to be contributing.

    I agree with the previous poster - you gotta love these guys.
  • When you add in the prices of the Microsoft / commercial versions of all the goodies that you get on a Linux CD... I'm sure it comes pretty close to 5 grand.
  • I really hope they port 4dwm and the tools that go along with it. Having that for a desktop is
    really neat.

    You and me both! I have started using Linux at home and it is just not as smooth as the SGI O2 I have at work. Even though my Linux box is two or three times faster, it still is "chunky". The UI is not as smooth or consistent. The more SGI can make Linux look and act like the default IRIX environment, the happier I will be.
  • I have a feeling that MEEPT!! is really CmdrTaco's alter ego. Someone's got to prod the whole system from behind , now and then, to get things moving! Nothing does that like unpopular views and crypto-philosophic wisdom. Religion can never survive without a Devil to make it interesting. Slashdot without MEEPT!! is like... (warning: only kevin is going to know what I'm talking about) .. Bynum without Scott...

  • This really should be continued in e-mail, but... nah, got another major to work on.

  • The company will contribute work to beef up the Linux operating system so it supports SGI's ccNUMA architecture, SGI's take on a method for designing services that allows a manufacturer to cram hundreds of processors into one machine. The credibility of NUMA (non-uniform memory access) as a concept has risen in light of IBM's plans to acquire NUMA server maker Sequent, he added.

    This seems to me to be a very general statement, hinting at the idea that SGI will support Linux all around, which would be a Good Thing(tm). They're working on getting Linux to support their architecture (more drivers...whee!), and they're trying pretty well to make Linux more accepted. That's backed up by this statement:

    "We think Linux is important," Belluzzo said. "We think it's the operating system of the Internet. The opportunity is to make Linux more powerful, which we intend to do."

    Sounds like a plan to me.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Sun never made 386 based boxes. The IPC is a sun4c, same as the IPX and the sparc 2. Sun continues to make Solaris for x86 boxen, though its hardware support is, well, specific. Solaris8 won't even support ISA.
  • How embarrassing ... since I work for Sun. Those suckers aren't even in the field engineer manuals. They must really not want to speak of them again :)

  • You answered your own question. I still think the new SGI logo looks like something you'd see on a generic toilet paper brand, so I'm glad to see the old one instead.
  • Apple was supposed to be bought be Sun a while ago.
    Ellison said he wanted Apple, too.
    Last year HP was buying all of sgi. Or maybe IBM. Now HP wants the workstations and Sun wants Cray ( yes that cray that lost 50% of its revenues from last year).

    Rumors will always be around.

  • I saw the opening demo. If I remember correctly, they motherboard is SGI with their own memory and bus but using intel CPUs.

    The bus is the key. It could move data many many times faster than your typical board. I wish I could remember the specs. I know it was in the Gigabits.

    Romans 10:9-10 []
  • is promised by the year's end...
  • Q was about color separation capabilies of the Photopaint and Draw. I judged from the reviews, not from my personal experience, and it I remember quite a lot of very positive reviews for the Draw, when compared to Illustrator. Ought to be something in it then...
  • The new logo was designed to appeal to SGI's new
    customers, ie PC NT users (and soon linux too,
    as if there's a difference).

    The cubes day has passed, but the old machines
    live on.
  • So do I.. but it isn't the CPUs.. or the RAM, it is the bus speed... oh man do those things have throughput... *drool*
  • Looks like this rambles a bit, but hey it has been a while. Most of it is relevant I think...

    The 320 initially was regarded as a "non expandable" propritatary solution. Over the last few months people have begun to see value in the hardware. Entry level machines have the same graphics sub system as do the full boat systems. You can get the whole box for the price of the Wildcat 3D card in some cases. They are expandable where it counts. You can add RAM, and CPU. These will directly affect the overall performance of the graphics system as well as other things. They also have the ability to fine tune the system in ways that their competetors cannot because they have created their own HAL for NT to run under. It is pretty obvious that they made the machine just the way that they wanted to, but are offering customers a choice as to what they want to run. Right now it happens to be NT. The CAD/Graphics community simply has more interconnectivity on that platform and that is hurting all things Unix. (Even though it clearly is better, faster, more reliable.....)

    I find it interesting that the CAD users will look hard at compute/floating point performance, and less at graphics. The things that they do are simply not as demanding of the graphics as are the other 3D apps. The other competetors stand up to the SGI machines pretty well in this space, although SGI is now gaining a price advantage. Maybe those earlier problems with manufacturing have gone away?

    The graphics people happen to like the box quite well. Given all the different features that are intergrated, they get a lot of bang for the buck. There is no beating the unified memory scheme for rendering complex things. Their own applications run quite nicely on their machines, and give a compelling price/performance ratio. I think that they are competeting quite nicely in this area. Many of the graphics people that I have talked to miss high end batch rendering and scripting though. NT is still NT, and that means being in front of the machine to do real work.

    It is obvious that they have built this machine to run the OS that the customer wants to run, whatever that is. Over the next few years interoperability will become the dominant force in computing. Those that have Unix have been buying PC's because of this. I have said this before, but maybe it bears repeating. The real battle in both of these markets is not really against NT, but the applications that run on it. Office in particular. Once a company starts using it, then it is only a matter of time before Unix in any form starts to die in R&D, Engineering, and Graphics.

    At least SGI is adopting a stratgy that allows them to provide computing flexibility where the customer wants it. Right now that means co-existing with NT, and many users that I know are happy to see it. For those lucky enough to be running X based applications, that means that they can utilize the reliability of SGI Irix, and the luxury of having one PC on the desktop. All of which could be SGI. When Linux hits, maybe a bunch of them will find a reason to run it on hardware that was designed to take advantage of it.

  • Once you add SQL server and all the other crap, it get pretty expensive. Oh yeah, and the liceneses for the amount of connections, and the.... and the....
  • OK, here is my prediction (despite all the people who think SGI is in league with the devil, microsoft, Saddam Hussein, and Ronald Reagan):

    SGI is(are*) the white hats.

    That's right, I think that SGI is going to be a major player in making linux kick NT's buttocks. How? I think in 3-5 years they are going to open source most if not all of the IRIX OS. Considering their state right now, wouldn't it make sense that they JUST sell hardware and not worry about the OS part?

    As one person I read put it, why buy 1 machine with NT on it for $10,000 when you can buy 2 machines with Linux (LIRIX??) on it for $10,000..... It makes sense for the hardware-oriented vendors (can anyone spell IBM?) to support Linux so there will be more HARDWARE and less SOFTWARE money being spent.

    So b***h all you want about offices in Redmond and any other 'atrocities' you want. I think that SGI is going to be the company that comes out with the Linux fix for 256 SMP, an awesome file system, a cohesive GUI (tie GNOME and KDE together with Indigo Magic or something), high-end graphics programs, and enough other stuff to kill NT.

    That's right, you heard me: if SGI does what I've described above, NT is dead. Long live Linux/LIRIX.


    * I don't agree with the philosophy of seeing corporations as a corporate, anthropomorphic entity. It makes them faceless, like Microsoft....
  • Linux already does to an extent. You just compile the kernel with EVERY thing enabled. This works great with PCI devices, w/ ISA devices it can be a bit touchy and can cause system locks. The problem is you have a huge friggan kernel with a bunch of junk you don't need wasting ram. The alternative is to compile EVERYTHING as a module and have a script read /proc/pci at startup and load the appropriate modules. This could also work fairly well with ISA PnP devices. w/ non-pnp you are screwed pretty much, even windows doesn't do that hot of a job at recognizing them. The real question is why have no distributions implimented something like this?
  • I want one with an 19" LCD display please.. and 256Meg of RAM.. I must be dreaming. 2 CPU's please..
  • Blender, and Houdini is maybe already available, or at least being beta tested on linux. I don't know squat about hudini, but it cost a lot of money, which should make it good for somebody, and usefull on that hardware.
  • A prorpietary memory bus which gives them something like 3.2 GB/s bandwidth, shared with graphics card. Integrated video I/O, very nice, uncompressed 30 fps video capture. 64-bit PCI slots. They really aren't much more expensive than dell workstations. These things are pretty sweet.

    Now I wonder, if they are really going full tilt with Linux is Alias|Wavefront going to be porting their software over? That would be pretty huge.
  • SGI has been taking emergency measures for awhile now, what do you think that Visual Workstation was all about? SGI has been hurting for awhile now, but it looks like they might be able to recover faily well if everything pans out the way they hope.
  • Because they are designed for Visual work; 3D graphics, video editing, modeling, etc.
  • Hey, you have the old sgi logo up, why not use the new one? (granted the old one looks cooler)
  • Even if CMYK is a bunch of proprietary, changing ink color values, editing is usually done in RGB. Then, it is converted to CMYK before it prints, because that is the color of the inks.

    So why must this conversion be built into the graphics program? I think it would make sense for whatever driver software that comes supplied with a printer to accept RGB color values, and convert them to CMYK at printing time, according to whatever ink the machine is using. Or perhaps Pantone could sell a simple filter program that performs the conversion.

    Even if none of this is done, a person right now could take any finished RGB image, and just open it up with photoshop and print it.

    Of course, I agree with you that the way things are, photoshop is a better choice in business. A call for standards is definately in order (just like with everything else).
  • May I ask why you have chosen the name of bugbear3001? This would not be to confuse your postings with those of longtime /. member bugbear3000, no? I notice the above is the first and only posting in your user history.

    At any rate, regarding the technical merits of a VW versus a Dell, I suggest you look into the specs of the former. Not only as concerns the graphics pipeline, but also the ultra-high memory and system bus bandwidth. I can't compare the two very well, alas, because there really is no comparison.

    If you can consider a Dell, however, then the VW is probably overkill for you. You don't get one of these boxes to play Quake, put it that way :-)

    As for SGI needing NT-- I suppose that's true, as things currently stand. A lot of customers are still demanding NT, and SGI would be remiss to not offer that choice. That says nothing of the relative merits of NT, however. If people demanded DOS, SGI would have DOS solutions. What is evident, however, is not only their strong support, but also ardent enthusiasm for Linux. (Coming from one of the premiere high-performance computing firms in existence, the compliment is very well-given).

    they're dumping everything to ride in Uncle Bill's backseat

    I see absolutely no indication of this. You may as well have said Microsoft was planning on open-sourcing its Windows accessory programs. Please substantiate.

    (Actually, never mind. I just saw your "Kool-aid" posting below. You are obviously not here to discuss the topic at hand.)
  • "The opportunity is to make Linux more powerful, which we intend to do."

    You've got to love these people. And drool over their computers.
  • You're going to have to save alot. I just cashed in a full 8 gallon jug of pennies. It was only ~$300 worth, though I did find some wheat pennies, and an off-center error.

  • uhhh...IRIX is a pretty hardcore OS. I use Linux
    at work but most of the time I'm logged into
    O200's w/IRIX6.4 XLV striping, the XFS filesystem, GRIO, these things just Rock! I'm
    all for choice and so I actually enjoy having
    all these different OS's around for different
    things...NetBSD for firewalling & mail, Linux
    for workstations (on a visual workstation ... mmm)
    and for an Origin server I think I'll stick to the
    OS that can scale to 256 Processors.
  • Like there's an, um, _multitude_ of systems? I count Solaris, UnixWare, OpenServer. All the others are irrelevant (from a "popularity" point of view). Number-wise, Solaris is quite irrelevant as well, compared to OpenServer/UnixWare (85% of the Intel UNIX market).
  • Ummmm, not to be a prude, but why do you want Photoshop for Linux when you've got the GIMP [] for free?
  • SGI is just going two directions with their product lines. With machines you put on your desk, SGI's long-term plans are Linux/NT on IA-64. With servers, they are planning to stick with MIPS and IRIX.

    Take an example - with Indigo2 I am typing this on. In it's day it was pretty fast, but SGI can't compete with the price/performance of a fast-pace market like desktop workstations using low-volume chips like the R5000/R10000 and the IRIX O/S. So, go with IA-64 and Linux and put your knowledge of graphics into making them better.

    Now take another example - the 4CPU R10K Origin 2000 in our server room. You need the scalability and reliability of IRIX. You have thousands of customers who have come to respect and rely upon it. As much as I like Linux, you aren't going to go replacing IRIX with it any time soon.
  • They've already released their filesystem. All they need to do is gradually transfer other stuff over to Linux and in a few years there won't be any reason to continue new development on Irix.

    It's going to take a lot more than a few years to get Linux up to where IRIX is. SGI may have released XFS, but why isn't it in use by Linux yet? Becuase the implementation is non-trivial. Same with ccNUMA, 256 (soon to be 512) processor scalability, etc.

    This may happen over time, but it will be a long time. As in don't plan on it any time soon.
  • I just wanted to emphasize that mental ray [] has been available [] on Linux x86 and Alpha for at least a couple of years now.

    Another major rendering package, Pixar's Photorealistic Renderman Toolkit [] AKA PRman may already be available for Linux as well. I saw a demo at ACM/SIGGRAPH'98 []

    I just hope that the various 3D modeling and animation packages are ported to Linux as well. The Sidefx Houdini [] port is a great first step, but I'm hoping that Alias|Wavefront Maya [] and Softimage|3D [] are not far behind.

  • He got lucky.

    Nope, this is pretty standard fair for win 9x (although not NT). I have one windows instalation that I keep moving around, I'v *never* had problems using a windows Install in another computer.

    Moving hard drives from one system to another with a different configuration without reinstalling the software is pretty touchy, since the software still "thinks" it's installed on the original system and has access to the same resources.

    Nope not really ether, most software dosn't consern itself with the resources on a computer, other then the location of files, witch woudln't be a problem if you moved the whole hard drive. The only thing that needs to change is the drivers for whatever add-ons you have in the system, like the graphics card, zip drive etc. windows does this automaticaly. in fact, I'm surprized linux dosn't
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • cool demos

    well I don't know about the rest of the stuff, (I think they already have multiple desktops though).
    if you want to see somthing cool on your box, check out [] a site dedicated to the Europian demo scene. The stuff is amazing, I've seen demos that have blown my mind, and this was on my p200MMX... in *dos* mode (no fancy 3d accell running). look at some of the 4k .com files from the takedown99 party (.com files are dos apps with a 64k memory limit) Amazing stuff with less data then this post!

    there is an active Linux demo sceen as well, and products can be found at [].

    another good site for demos is, but they stoped updating the page last year :(

    anyway, run this stuff on your computer, the good stuff will blow you away :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I think what he ment was that beacuse of NT's jornaling file system, you don't loose the entire file system when the computer crashes, thus you are *very* glad you have one when the BOSD shows up. That point wasn't Anti-MS at all, infact it was somewhat Pro-MS.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I thought Turbo Linux was the distro from Pasific Hi Tec, the guys big in Asia, am I wrong? or did the jornalist who wrote this just get the product/company mixed up?
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • what about web designers? they would never need to do RBG to CMYK, anyway. It seems a little rediculis to be foreced to use one particular graphics app just so you can print. I'm sure it would be posible to dump a .BMP file and then load it into photoshop on some old 486 to print, if all you need is color conversion.

    I don't have much exspereance with the gimp. I'd like to get the win32 version sometime (or get linux installed (I'm wating for another hard drive, I don't feel like fips'ing my hard drive...))

    Photoshop is an *amazing* peice of software though :) gfx designers may just like it beacuse it's nice. I'd like to see a linux port.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • hrm... and you baught a mac, yes you must be a very good judge of computer products....
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • i doubt that guys' dad knows how to compile kernels
  • I though Micros~1 bought SoftImage ?
    I doubt we will see a Linux port of that.
  • I forgot all about that. I'm a 3DSMAX man myself, I started on R3 for DOS. It, Photoshop and Speed Razor Mach III are the only real reasons to run NT workstartion.
  • Does anyone else remember the 386 based SUN boxes? I think they were IPCs?? Not sure. Anyways, the point is, SUN stuck its toe in and promptly pulled back out. I see SGI pulling back out as soon as they wake up. Existing PC users don't pay attention to SGI and if they did, would be thrown back by the price tag (I was). Workstation users would never sink so low as to have a *gasp* Intel chip on their desk.

    They had a niche and seem to have chased a lot of people off. I think they need to find a new niche while still trying to preserve what is left of the old one. Linux could give them that new niche. I would love to have Linux running on a decent workstation. In front of SGI *hardware* has always been one of my favorite places to sit (Irix and its history of bugs makes me cringe). Give it a good OS and they could have something.

  • Woo hoo!!! I'm not crazy!

    Thanks man.

  • by Silverpike ( 31189 ) on Friday July 23, 1999 @10:55AM (#1787422)
    I realize there are a decent amount of posts about why this strategy is good for Linux, but maybe a closer look reveals why this is so good.

    SGI, currently, has two things Linux desperately needs. The first is a journaling file system. I don't think I really need to explain why this is a good thing; all it takes is one bluescreen with NT and you'll understand me completely. SGI's is mature and stable, and has a very good reputation among the workstation community. Nuff said.

    The second, IMHO, is even more important. SGI has (again IMHO) the most outstanding implementation of thread-level parallel processing. Almost all the other platforms you care to look at (IBM, older Sequent, Sun) either depend on MPI [] coding or are designed using close-coupled SMP, which tend to reach their limits quickly. It seems SGI has profited greatly from their acquisition of Cray Research.

    SGI has a great thread library which they have mapped to their NUMA implementation, which scales a little better than SMP does (I'll skip the technical explanation here in favor of the point). SGI's extensive knowledge with multiprocessing comes at the perfect time for Linux, which is this very minute undergoing heavy kernel modifications to better facilitate thread level parallelism.

    SGI has so much to offer in terms of technical skill that Linux could absorb at this point in time. Make no mistake, this is a perfect opportunity for Linux to milk the expertise from SGI, who needs Linux to survive.
  • There was a /. thread a while ago on this very topic of GIMP v Photoshop and the RGB/CMYK issue.

    Actually, depending on your workflow, most editing is done in CMYK. The scans come back from the bureau drum-scanner in CMYK. Often RGB to CMYK is done at the bureau by a specialist scanner operator, sometimes targetted for a specific output device (a particular printshop's press).

    It is more or less impossible to acurately proof on a monitor (without mega expensive calibration setups) and most designers 'do it by the numbers', ie from the photoshop info palette.

    Also, there is no one method on converting RGB to CMYK, and 'apparently' there are some patents/trade secrets on the methods involved (I have not been able to verify this).

    Pantone colours are used for spot colours, not process, and there are different inks used for process colour, sometimes depending on what country you are in (in japan they use 'toyo' I think).

    In photoshop you can control very exactly black generation, undercover removal and a host of other options in the conversion process. Frinstance, going to Vogue uses a different conversion that going to newsprint (assuming RGB source). This is a bit of a black art and takes experience to get a good result, as no two presses are quite the same.

    GIMP I think is more or less targetted for online graphics, and low end print jobs (soho?) where accurate RGB to CMYK is not super-critical.

    Without accurate CMYK information and conversion it would be difficult to use it for professional print jobs.

    The alternative is to send the jobs to the bureau in RGB and let the RIP do the conversion on the fly, but then you have little or no idea of what you will get until you receive a proof. Sometimes this is acceptable, but it is risky.

    -- Reverend Vryl

  • For crying out loud, I already sent in the article in Forbes [] about how SGI has plans to SELL OFF their workstation line to IBM and their Cray subdivision to Sun. Hasn't been posted yet, and it's already way old news (7/1).

  • I've got two Origin 2000's (4x CPU, 4GB RAM, 100GB Disk, OC12 LAN connection), and an O2 Workstation (1600x1024 display, 250MHz, 320MB RAM) for the next 3 weeks for our OC-12 testing.

    These things are _incredible_. The ease of use blows Linux away and the performance is unreal. I was able to do sustained streams of 49-50 Megabytes per second (_not_ megabits) between the two SGI's over the OC-12 connection. I can't imagine being able to do that with any of my Intel boxen.

    The ease of use management wise on the SGI's is _unreal_. Irix very painlessly detected all the SCSI devices I attached, has a point and click logical volume manager, and the journalling filesystem _is_ hardy. Below the icing, the system is similar enough to linux that it's almost like coming home again. Just a wee bit faster.
  • SUN had an x86 box (386 based) whose name esacpes me at the moment. I've read that they scrapped the 486 model because it would have been a serious threat to the Sparc1 performance-wise (to put it nicely).
  • SGI has shown MIPS CPU roadmaps [] for several years out. Essentially, the current R12000 wil be followed by R14000 and R16000. Search Deja for more details.

    All systems based on MIPS chips will run Irix. Keep in mind that such systems tend to live far longer than your average PC. I expect to see MIPS/Irix-based boxes in operation (and supported by SGI) well after 2005, probably out to 2010.

    However, SGI has publicly stated that they will migrate features from Unicos to Irix, and from Irix to Linux. Eventually, Unicos will fall by the wayside along with the systems it runs on. A few years after that, Irix will be discontinued. But this is many years from now.

  • We changed our name recently from Pacific HiTech to TurboLinux (more info at []), but we are the same company. We're beginning to focus on performance, high availability, etc.. And yes, Dave is here.. -- Justin Ryan Developer Relations, TurboLinux
  • I don't like the new one very much either. The typography is very "gimmicky". Having the letterforms one half curve-ended, and one half square-ended is just silly. And that "g"...eww...
  • Two motherboard replacements and a copped-out fan on my Ultra... Most expensive machine I ever bought; I'll never pay for that again. Fortunately all was still under warranty. PC hardware craps out a lot, but it costs beans to replace. Much less fear.
  • The new logo DOES suck! The old one was way better - IMHO, more glitzy, more high tech, more in line with what SGI is - Silicon Graphics, Inc. A spinning 3D cube - I mean, this is what SGI is for - High End Graphics!

    Too bad they themselves don't get it...
  • I hope they would release it GPL rather than just ditch it.
  • If Linux is going to be default on Visual Workstations, those things are going to be _fantastic_. Wow.
  • I read the article a little too quickly. I guess Linux is being targeted at their servers. But, at the same time, didn't they say that they were de-emphasizing the server market?

  • 'twould appear so, as just before bugbear3001's post is a post by bugbear3000 at -3 (set the threshhold to -3 in the URL, don't try to use the forms).
  • I dont know about the Visual Workstation, but the article stated that they were leading out Linux on NEW Intel servers. correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the Visual Workstation was built around NT, and while it is possible to get Linux up and running on one, it is not practicle. Linux does not yet have the openGL support to preform the primary purpose of these machines, 3D graphics, and video editing. While they would make a ok server, there are better options for less money out there.
  • Putting all our hype together (ie SGI + Transmeta+ Amiga+ Linux +Partnerships ) can we speculate that there will be a home based sgi machine running linux kernal (with transmeta as chip no1) with the little boing ball up front as their logo??

    (Okay now and salt to taste, masha nd serve hot)
  • Contrary to your assertation, Sun has been in the x86 world for quite some time. The Intel Platform Edition of Solaris 7 is one of the most popular commerical UNIX operating systems for Intel based servers. They've been supporting IA for years, and years, and the OS is quite popular.

    As to no workstation users choosing to have an Intel chip, I'd have to disagree. Most workstatipons *are* based on the Intel architecture, such as those by Integraph and SGI.

    Aaron McKee
    Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer
    TurboLinux, Inc.
  • What this news sounds like is that since Linux is available at no cost, it will come bundled with the servers (why do people immediately start talking about workstations at this point?). Has NT ever been 'bundled' with the hardware? Is it costing extra anything new?

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.