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Silicon Graphics

SGI Faces Another Reorganization 84

dewey writes "This article [from Yahoo! News] says that SGI is expected to announce another business restructuring next Tuesday. No details about the reorg yet, but the buzz is that the focus will be away from big customers buying high-end machines and more toward being better able to 'compete on the Web' -- whatever that means." Update: It may mean more Linux support; jho sent in a link to the new SGI Linux page. A ray of hope in SGI's otherwise gloomy future, perhaps?
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SGI Faces Another Reorganization

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  • Two questions:

    What's the non-linear editing software like, and how does one find a copy of it?

    How do you find a reasonably affordable 100mbps Ethernet card for an Indigo2? I thought most of them were $ 800 plus.

    D

    ----
  • I think SGI has embraced GNU/Linux and Free Software more than any other commercial Company in recent times and I think we should help keep this Company making a Profit by giving it +ve press. And not focusing on Doom & Gloom.

    ---

  • Jamie,

    Your O2 is safe, at least I see no 'end of life' for it in the foreseeable future. Bug fixes and improvements come with continued IRIX 6.5 releases and I think the hardware can be upgraded to an R12K.

    I think SGI already dipped in the PC graphics market years ago - well before anyone else. Unfortunately, I think they were too far ahead of the field at that time. There was little or no PC graphics industry and their openGL PC board was ditched (maybe never really released).

    The potential NVidia 'partnership' factor is interesting though.

    I think we're all best waiting until next week rather than speculating on what they plan. I'd agree that SGI have made many mistakes - but, hey, hind-sight is 20/20!

  • Don't forget Samba [sgi.com], too.
    SGI has been dipping it's toes in open software for more than a year now - not including the times open software has been incorporated into IRIX in the past (ie tcsh and top). Learning open software development practices has been an ongoing process at SGI - IRIX 6.5's maintenance process has a remarkable resemblance to those of several open source projects. They're also doing quite a bit to establish SGI as a valued member of the community by making contributions to the open source base. SGI is one of the few vendors who have realized that open source projects are community efforts and success depends on having the recognition and support of the existing community.

    Note that effort to have Linux running well on the visual workstations have been redoubled, it looks like Fahrenheit was canned [news.com], and the new
    Intel based low-end server [sgi.com] is being pushed with more emphasis on Linux than on NT. Maybe a unix vendor found it hard to work with folks from Seattle. What a shocker!

    Unlike the other major vendors that are hopping onto the open source train, SGI still has some remainder of the freewheeling, motivated by coolness factor and pride in achievement (that has to be flagrantly displayed) corporate culture that made them a leader in the first half of the decade. The same motivations that drive open source. The 'g' stands for geeks, maybe?

    Another interesting thought is that while IRIX is certainly one of the most advanced OS's around, the only reason it exists is that SGI wants to sell hardware, but needs to have an OS that will actually take advantage of it. All that really takes is being able to contribute a few key pieces. They are bound to IRIX until another OS has it's capabilities but don't feel like waiting for a potential option to catch up - especially when they might make money supporting it now.
  • Is this /.? Or bad-attitude?

    There's definately a move to put more diverse products into the market at SGI. And they've put good stuff out the door, but haven't been able to sell it in the volume necessary to pull a decent margin.

    So how about 10) A bunch of people who played marketing experts on an Indy Cam find themselves unemployed on Tuesday and end up at Microsoft. A few years later, Linus achieves global domination. Even better, the engineers bought off by NetApp are revealed to have been working for satanic.org [satanic.org], a super-secret operations group of the ILUG. Netapp falls to (Linux MIPS based) Cobalt [cobaltnet.com], and the penguin government purchases large numbers of big Onyx3's to model plans for paving Canada in realtime 3D. Said marketing experts are branded with a g and are exiled to Seattle without umbrellas.


    Now is that b-a or g-a?
  • One would think that anything that SGI GPLs will be credited to them, and creditors might justifiably claim it was a fire-sale move and get the technology transfer declared illegal.

    That's a really good point I hadn't considered.


    ---
  • And many aren't. I work at a DOE lab, and we definitely do not buy enough SGIs to make their consumer business insignificant by comparison. Also keep in mind that the NSA has their own chip fab facilities, and those fables acres of underground computers are probably not made by SGI.

    I agree with the person who said SGI should extend into the consumer graphics hardware business. I can only imagine how fast Diamond Mm et al. would fall to the might of SGI hardware.
  • *You* can't build an SGI system. That's the point. You are buying into SGI's expertise (in server-land) for things like fast buses, CC NUMA, scalability etc. This is the future - potentially. If SGI manage to get openGL running accelerated/optimised on their 320/540, that's another reason to prefer an SGI over one of your PC's.
  • ..what is this knfsd patch? If it improves Linux's NFS system, then we want it! (and we want it Open Source)

    It is open source and well maintained ;

    http://www.CSUA.Berkeley.EDU/~gam3/knfsd/

  • I don't know what you mean by that last sentence.

    Not only do I want references to the 'forward looking' analysts, but wonder why I'd trust them.

    Maybe you work for Sun?
  • You ended with 'Sticks and Stones may break my bones but FUD will never concern me' but are guilty of spreading FUD yourself.

    SGI have never announced the death of IRIX/MIPS. As long as MIPS competes, then IRIX will be around. What appears to be in doubt is the port of IRIX to IA64 - but even this is rumour and hearsay.

    To a degree, it doesn't make sense to spend LOTS of money porting IRIX to Intel. If they're building Intel systems, it makes business sense to use Linux.

    STOP SPREADING FUD
  • Yes, I do remember that roadmap. It very clearly delinated IRIX as living on IA-64 (Merced), and MIPS for quite some time to come.

    NT was still at the low-end of the division, and was in no way replacing IRIX.

    MIPS was the only part of the equation set to 'go away.'

    And I just can't understand anyone who is "rankled" by this. Am I the only one with any sort of vendor loyalty who just doesn't care about NT?

    Suffice to say, it's moot anyway. The big plan now is to add Linux to their roadmap, while IRIX remains on MIPS through R14000 and posisbly the R16000.
  • I agree with the person who said SGI should extend into the consumer graphics hardware business. I can only imagine how fast Diamond Mm et al. would fall to the might of SGI hardware.

    In my opinion, that would be suicide. SGI are not cut out to be 'graphics board' manufacturers. They build complete systems.

  • but if Roblimo's description is accurate, I don't think much of the approach. With SGI's NT efforts having a relatively poor reception, I would think they'd want to emphasize supercomputers and high-end workstations and servers as their core strengths.

    D

    ----
  • Correct Link [yahoo.com] There was a ' instead of a ?
  • As callous as this sounds, I do hope they manage to get a good amount of their IRIX tech into Linux before they go belly-up. I doubt their creditors would be as free with it.

    ---
  • I would have to agree. The high-end graphics systems are where it's at for SGI as they've really made their market there and have been able to dominate successfully. Maybe they see cheap distributed computing as a nail in their coffin and want to go on to something that would mean selling more units at lower cost. Still, there's a lot more competition in that market.

    ian.
  • I agree with you when it comes to high-end workstations and servers, but not supercomputers. The article states and SGI has been saying for a while that the supercomputer business has not been growth or profit oriented. Time to rethink and, unfortunately, to re-org.

    Interesting stuff about SGI these days. Like watchin' daytime TV.

  • If they "give away the store" before going belly up, creditors might then take after Linux, one would think. One would think that anything that SGI GPLs will be credited to them, and creditors might justifiably claim it was a fire-sale move and get the technology transfer declared illegal. Maybe the GPL could see it's day in court.

    Remember, no matter how much people might think of Linux and the GPL as a "buck the system, take it down" movement, it all rests on the validity of current copyright law. As such, GPL advocates have to play by the rule. Linux contributors are more "bought into the system" than many people are willing to recognize.
  • As the artical said, SGI had so much resources going into R&D that they dont have enough money to put into other areas. The R&D is needed to stay on top of the marked with new improvements in technology, and if they cant keep up there they will lose some of that market.
    But that is only my oppinion.
  • One thing worth pondering, in the light of the serious period companies with commercial Unices like HP and SGI are now facing, is wether the success of Linux is what's killing the companies. People don't have to go for a big bucks system anymore like a decade ago. They can throw Linux on a PII system for pennies on the dollar.

    Linux certainly has changed the Unix market. It might even have hastened the death of Unix (as a viable commercial platform).

  • Nonsense. Anyone who has used IRIX knows how horrible it is at multi-tasking (I recall compiling on an O2 or an Octane and witnessing other processes grind to a halt) and other functionality that we take for granted under other operating systems. SGI doesn't make money selling an OS; it makes money on hardware. IMHO, opting for Linux instead of IRIX is probably one of the better software ideas SGI has had.

    ian.
  • Selling boxes for 'portals' and internet companies in general is seen a a 'growth' market - and some (like HP) are only now just starting to target this area. However, Sun really do have both the mindshare and marketshare for high-end internet-related stuff. SGI, which isn't doing very well at the moment (it made a 'surprise' profit in the last quarter, when it has been making losses recently) will have to work really hard to be able to make a good grab for this market - on the high end they'll be mostly up against Sun (on their home turf too) while on the low end they'll be against a pretty crowded market, and jumping on the Linux bandwagon won't help a great deal here.

    Shame really - SGI have some really sweet technology. Been rather letdown by management lately it seems. I know some people who are kinda traditional buyers of high-end (ie Origin 2000s) SGI kit and they aren't too impressed with SGI's moves recently.

    If SGI are going to drop/lose/sell some of their high-end stuff, I wonder who's going to buy... Sun bought the physical design for the Starfire about 3 years ago for $100M. Now they're making about as much revenue off the Starfire (including attached storage and services) as SGI are making in total...

  • Check out this C|Net article for more information [news.com]

    It describes how SGI is laying off and transferring a bunch of the Advanced System Division engineers. ASD is the heart and soul of SGI, and has been for a decade. It will be interesting to see what they say next Tuesday, but their actions are pretty revealing. Many engineers are being transfered to NVidia...recall that SGI reached some sort of deal with NVidia in the last couple of weeks about intellectual property.

    The article says that the changes are designed to help their more profitable Intel workstations instead of their older Mips-based machines. Now, this of course flies in the face of reality, that the Intel machines lost a ton of money, but the Mips machines made enough that the entire company turned a profit. Of course, reality is a crutch for those who are not cut out to be Marketing Managers.

    The article also confirms that the Fahrenheit initiative is being cut back. This is tremendously good news. Fahrenheit was supposed to be a follow-on to OpenGL, Inventor, and Performer -- it is a joint venture with Microsoft. I cannot imagine any input that Microsoft could have on OpenGL to make it better; even without the wretched example of Direct3D. If Fahrenheit was just a bone thrown to Microsoft to distract them from attacking OpenGL -- as it appears to me -- then I give SGI a lot of credit.

    In articles a month or so ago, the announcement of the reorganization was going to happen today, the 5th, instead of the 10th. Their stockholder meeting, which used to be in August when I worked there, is now Oct. 27th.

    Read the above article mentioned C|Net article, it's chock full of good information.
  • I'm not sure why SGI articles on Slashdot are always accompanied by negative editorial comments from the /. folks. They make great hardware, they've got great technology, and they're actually making a profit. Sure, they're not taking the world be storm, but that's not the same thing as being on the verge of collapse.

    --

  • I suspect those of us (including me) who love their traditional product line are bitter about their attempted conversion to NT. The fact that it doesn't seem to have worked doesn't make us feel any better.

    It's tough not to love their products - I'm typing this on an ageing Indigo2 that's the best computer I've ever owned. What makes matters worse is that the traditional product line is the only one making them any money. Yes, the article says that won't last, but I think enough people prefer these systems to make a viable business out of them. If they took the money used to invest in the NT workstations and put them towards some serious cost control in their traditional line, I think they would have done much better.

    But that's just me speaking, and perhaps my love for their traditional systems clouds my judgement.

    D


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  • Please use the new logo, it's for you!

  • Its sad to see SGI hurt like this, hell I feel
    their pain.

    But, on the other side, SGI has always had one
    thing on its side: fan-fsking-tastic hardware.

    And when the OS is the same, and the platform
    is the same, what matters? Hardware. So maybe
    they have a chance in the server market. If they
    have fun with stupidly high bandwidth busses and
    don't get greedy with the prices, they may do alright.

    But for God's sake man, LEAVE THE HIGH END MARKET
    AS IS! The world needs at least one vender doing
    what SGI's doing. Sheesh.

    --

  • I was thinking it might come with the video capture system for the box, which I've seen for sale on occasion.

    D

    ----
  • You can generally get:

    3COM 597 TX Controller
    10/100 Base T Ethernet
    Drivers available free on web
    www.phobos.com
    ftp://ftp.phobos.com/drivers/SGI/


    For roughly $200
  • The $800 US Phobos G160 Fast Ethernet boards attach to the Indigo2's proprietary GIO64 bus which has much higher bandwidth than the EISA bus.

    Unfortunately, this card wasn't much faster than the built-in 10BaseT Ethernet with the drivers available for IRIX 6.2. A very depressing realization considering that the card costs more than eight times that of a PC 10/100BaseT card. I just started upgrading to IRIX 6.5.4 and it looks like performance has improved quite a bit.

  • No biggie on the spellcheck. The guy you were responding to spells definitely the new ignorant/geek way -- "definately." Someone notify Websters
  • My interpretation of the current SGI-Linux development is this:

    The company suits decide "The world is moving to NT. We must move to NT."

    The techs, of course, respond with "Oh god no." So they push Linux as an alternate hot, emergent technology -- one that doesn't suck.

    The best parts of Irix technology can be moved into Linux, they can still make awesome hardware, the company does well, and everybody's happy.

    --

  • From SGI's website:
    SGI Linux Environment Features:

    *Includes Red Hat Linux 6.0
    *Improved NFS stability with the knfsd patch
    *Improved Web serving performance
    *Security strengthening through ICMP denial of service patch
    ...what is this knfsd patch? If it improves Linux's NFS system, then we want it! (and we want it Open Source) Lack of a journalling filesystem and weak NFS are among the few large deficiencies that still hold Linux back technically. SGI is already helping Linux out in the filesystem department. Perhaps they are going to contribute to NFS development as well. That would be a big win for open source.

    The last major problem AFAIK is Linux's scalability to 4 proc and up. And we all know that this is a priority within the kernel bunch right now. By the time Linux 3.0 rolls around, we may have a very serious kernel on our hands.

    --Lenny
  • look sgi should _not_ try to out-sun sun or out-ibm ibm. they have great technology in an area that could represent high growth in the next 5-10 years. they should move into consumer video cards and propogate technology through set-top and otherlike markets. don't be a follower, be a leader!!!
    p.s. the linux strategy is really nice however...
  • Yes, SGI makes great hardware and great software, the problem is that they make bad decisions. They had the niche for ultra powerful graphics stations, and for ultra high end systems. They relied on the MIPS processors to be the next level, being that it does everything graphical on a purely vector based environment. They also relied on the IRIX basically being custom built for each high end machine. They think that those markets are dissappearing, and maybe they are going to.

    As the power of the PC increases, not just processor wise but graphically, the price for performance may be such that in a couple of years the SGI MIPS Graphical Workstation may not be worth the price.

    Also, they are competing directly with IBM and now Intel for the high end server market, don't forget that one of the top ten most powerful machines out there is an Intel machine.

    But instead of fighting tooth and nail for markets that they percieve as going dissapearing they are heading into markets that are already, not just occupied but fortified by major companies.
    As someone mentioned Sun already occupies the Web Server market, and sense SGI has already anounced that they are planning on killing IRIX and the MIPS line it leaves them with two options:
    1: Intel with Linux or NT
    2: Sparc with Linux or Solaris
    Either way, they lose. In both cases they are depending on other companies to deliver so that they can survive, and with option 2 they are depending on the competition to deliver in order to survive.

    SGI made a "surprise" profit off of a product line that they have basically anounce that they will remove in a couple of years.

    It is gloom and doom because SGI is pulling out of where they are dominate to compete head on with entrenched opponents and depending on other allies to support them.
  • In case anyone cares, http://oss.sgi.com/ [sgi.com] is SGI's Open Source web page.

    Their project list on http://oss.sgi.com/projects/ [sgi.com] lists the following ongoing projects:
    SGI Linux® (for Intel ® based servers)

    Linux/MIPS (Indy etc.)
    Linux on the SGI Visual Workstations
    SGI kdb (Linux kernel debugger)
    XFS (high perf journalling file system)
    Bigmem (Big Memory support for Linux)
    lcrash (Linux post crash analyzer)
    CRCalc (Constructive Reals Calculator, Java Applet)
    OpenVault (mass storage management and framework)
    STL (C++ standard template library)
    GLX (OpenGL extensions to X)


    --
  • None of the vendors you mention offer what SGI does.

    I suggest you examine SGI's website and consider the Infinite Reality Monster and the future potential of scaling to 512+ processors reason enough.

    On this end, there are those of us who like running Alias (Maya), Lightwave, and Softimage: apps which don't run on SGI's ersatz competition.

  • I assume you're referring to the SGI Visual Workstation 320 [sgi.com] which is priced from $3,399 US. That price includes an Intel Pentium III 450MHz, SGI's Cobalt graphics system, video i/o, audio i/o, Firewire (not supported by NT4, blame M$) and a very high bandwidth memory and i/o system. Their innovative chipset drops a lot of cruft from the legacy PC - no ISA, no BIOS (they use an ARCS PROM instead. You could boot over the network if NT allowed it).

    The only way you can beat that system for 3D graphics performance is to spend $2000+ on a high-end graphics card such as the Intergraph Wildcard 4105. Of course you still have to buy a well configured PC to stick that card in. As far as 2D graphics goes the SGI VW 320/540 is unbeatable. Check out the review [lumis3d.com] at Lumis3D.

    If you're not doing highend 2D/3D graphics then don't buy the SGI VW320.

    Admittedly, if you needed to do graphics work on the 320 today, you'd have to run WinNT, but it looks like SGI is committed [sgi.com] to making Linux do 3D graphics well, in the very near future. There's gonna be some serious Linux goings on at SI99RAPH [siggraph.org]

  • I think that the graphics are coming. There have got to be lots of legal issues regarding how they do graphics, and what they can or cannot release openly. The open source methodology may also slow them a bit. They just cannot rewrite what is there. That would not be good for those who have worked hard over the years. They are having to intergrate what they know, and sell it to those who are helping. If you have ever sat down at one of their workstations, it would become obvious that they know how to do X + OpenGL. The problem is that not everyone has been able to check out their technology. The only reason that NT happened so quickly is that they only had to Tweak OpenGL, and the underling HAL. Linux needs more work than this.

    I hope they will be OK as well.
  • for years they were the cream of the crop in servers and high speed workstations. Intel was never a match for them, but now with the PII/III and Xeon chips, Intel has found a way into the high-end computing market. I don't think SGI euipped itself to deal with this. They embraced Intel with the Visual Workstations, which are great pieces of hardware, but are too expensive for some, and can be seen as entering their dotage as even faster bus speeds are reached with non-SGI chipsets, 3.6 gig memory bandwidth isn't as fast as it was a year ago. It's good that they've embraced OSS because they've done some really great things that it would be nice to have open sourced but I think it's the beginning of the end of SGI unless they come up with the next Big Thing before someone else does.
  • I agree with the person who said SGI should extend into the consumer graphics hardware business. I can only imagine how fast Diamond Mm et al. would fall to the might of SGI hardware.
    In my opinion, that would be suicide. SGI are not cut out to be 'graphics board' manufacturers. They build complete systems.

    I think SGI's best hope for survival would have been for them to have expanded into the PC graphics board business in 1993 or 1994. They should have been 3DFx -- instead, 3DFx was founded by SGIers who jumped ship. It's far too late for that now.

    I remember being stunned at the marketing campaign for the Indy -- they had an ad where someone was saying, ``finally, SGI is making a computer that's just like everyone else's!'' Yeah, except that it cost 3x as much! They got the idea that they should be building these low-end general-purpose Unix workstations, and were actually downplaying the fact that these machines all came with kick-ass graphics as a standard feature.

    It's hard to tell what business SGI is actually in these days, after all of these reorgs. They seem to have sold off the part of the company that does graphics hardware. What's left? Has SGI turned into a VA Research clone?

    This is all very sad, because SGI has done some amazing things.

    And you know, Sun can't build graphics hardware or software to save their life. Never have. It's sad to see that some people think that Sun is actually competition to SGI. Well, they are competition, but they're just not in the same league, dammit.

    This means I'm never going to be able to get spare parts or bug fixes for my O2, doesn't it? Sigh.


  • If they "give away the store" before going belly up, creditors might then take after Linux, one would think. One would think that anything that SGI GPLs will be credited to them, and creditors might justifiably claim it was a fire-sale move and get the technology transfer declared illegal.

    Don't be stupid. If they GPL the source, then it's GPL'd and that's it. Unless they use a different licence which allows for them to revoke it whenever they want, source code which has been released under GPL can't be snatched back.

    Anyway how can they brand the disposal a "fire-sale" if no money changed hands?

    D.
    ..is for 'Dangerous'.


  • I just don't get it. How can companies such as SGI and HP bank on Intel chips for their future servers?

    FYI: IA-64 was a joint development between Intel and HP.

    Without control over such a key piece of technology,

    Control has little to do with it. If Intel stopped supplying SGI with hardware, the DoJ would stomp all over them.

    these companies will have little to distinguish themselves from the competition.

    SGI's Intel machines have a heck of a lot to distinguish them from the Dells, HPs and Compaqs... See this interesting and informative article at Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] for details.

    Sun made the right decision to not embrace their technologies as Sun's core future direction.

    Note, however, that they intend to port and support Solaris on IA-64.

    D.
    ..is for Deadly.

  • At first when I read this and especially the rumor
    that they are "downsizing" the team working on
    a replacement for Infinite Reality graphics (now 4 years old) I thought that's it, the end for sgi.
    -
    But maybe now the whole thing makes sense. SGI had already lost a whole bunch of their hotshot
    graphics engineers to Nvidia. So now they give the rest of their graphics engineers to Nvidia and outsource future graphics pipe development to them. Arguably, SGI hasn't been able to compete on graphics chip development for several years now anyway.

    But their's one thing that noone else can do like them: Massive internal bandwidth. So they concentrate on developing radical new bus architectures and massive scalability (their core strength) and leave cpu development to intel (merced) and graphics chip development to Nvidia. SGI's almost certainly getting royalities from Nvidia anyway now that the patent swap thing has happened.


    Not such a bad plan really.
  • Bus, bus, bus.

    There's your reason. But, really, if you can build your own computer, why don't you just go and do it instead of whining about not being able to afford an SGI prebuild and warrantied for you?

    Personally, I dislike building computers from scratch. But you don't see me whining about how much more I'd spend if only someone would od it for me, do you?


  • Bus, bus, bus.

    There's your reason. But, really, if you can build your own computer, why don't you just go and do it instead of whining about not being able to afford an SGI prebuilt and warrantied for you?

    Personally, I dislike building computers from scratch. But you don't see me whining about how much more I'd spend if only someone would do it for me, do you?

  • It's so sad to see SGI falling apart like this. They had a unique concept to make them successful (hardware accellerated 3D graphics - and the machines look pretty cool, too!). They were kind of slow to react to the competition, lost direction, and IMHO didn't find the right direction yet - but try to jump on any bandwagon which passes by {sigh}.

    I really hope they get their act together, find the right direction and make it happen. Otherwise, they might face a similar fate like Digital, who also had great technology (Alpha chip) but no direction, and is now going down together with Compaq.

  • Nonsense. Anyone who has used IRIX knows how horrible it is at multi-tasking (I recall compiling on an O2 or an Octane and witnessing other processes grind to a halt) and other functionality that we take for granted under other operating systems. SGI doesn't make money selling an OS; it makes money on hardware. IMHO, opting for Linux instead of IRIX is probably one of the better software ideas SGI has had.

    Normally I try not to respond to unbelievably unqualified commentary, but in your case, I'll make an exception.

    I use IRIX daily, and despite doing multiple renders with Lightwave, BMRT, Povray, and a number of other CPU-hogging resources, I've never had any problems with speed or responsiveness, despite working with huge files and GIMP. Of course, my systems have a decent amounts of RAM and disk-space, and I actually know what I'm doing.

    You may not. I'm just saying I have no evidence of your competence, other than 'you saw an SGI once.'

    Anyway, next time, try and get some details about the system in case someone likes me insists you put your money where your mouth is.
  • I suspect those of us (including me) who love their traditional product line are bitter about their attempted conversion to NT.

    SGI *added* NT to its line-up, it never tried to *convert* to it, any more than it tried to 'convert' anyone to UNICOS when they bought Cray.

  • > Anyone who has used IRIX knows how horrible it
    > is at multi-tasking (I recall compiling on an O2
    > or an Octane and witnessing other proesses grind
    > to a halt) and other functionality that we take
    > for granted under other operating systems.

    Wow, that really hasn't been my experience with IRIX, although I am unable to speak for versions earlier than 6.5. Were you running 6.3 or something? Compiles making my machine sluggish has always been my beef with Linux...

    As for "functionality we take for granted in other operating systems," from a purely functional perspective, I can't think of a single advantage Linux has on IRIX. It's not easy to make a uniprocessor, virtual memory OS, but it's not terribly hard, either. People do it in undergrauate classes [brown.edu] every year. So far, all of the problems that Linux has successfully addressed were addressed a decade ago by some commercial OS. Anything newer, Linux struggles with. Linux's filesystem, real-time, and SMP are crude caricatures of the state of the art, and these are areas which are hugely important to large segments of SGI's customer base.

    I love SGI's products. Hell, I'm typing this wearing my "Silicon Graphics: World's Greatest Computer Company" T-shirt, and I think there was a time when it was. It saddens me to see IRIX go, not just because I worked on it, but also because I think it's bad for SGI. From SGI's point of view, Linux has all the problems NT has (it requires ISV's to port, it isn't as technically mature as SGI needs it to be, it doesn't currently run well on SGI hardware). As gratifying as Linux folks might find the pats on the head from SGI, this Linux hoo-haa is a panicky, desperate move. Not a good sign.
  • Remember their road map from a year or so back? It was pretty clear that their then-plans were to eliminate Irix and MIPS, replacing them with Wintel.

    Now they have abruptly "discovered" Linux, and hopefully they can build some nice hardware around it, but their clumsy embrace of NT still rankles.

    D

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