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Silicon Graphics

SGI Release Iris 2.3 for Linux 74

Thanks to Allan over at SGI for letting me know that SGI has just released IRIS Performer for Linux. It's version 2.3 and it's free for download. If you want the program or more information, they've IRIS page for Linux up and running.
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SGI Release Iris 2.3 for Linux

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  • I remember playing with earlier versions of this software under IRIX a couple of years ago, and it was pretty impressive. I will definitely have to download a copy of this to play with under Linux.

  • That visual databases are all the rage? Does that imply visual interactive porn archives? Call me cray but something that needs an SGI machine's version of graphics will cost a mint and also necessitate a lower graphics resoluton. What makes this better than say some simple thing like php, or mySQL or the like?
  • Although many of us may be somewhat underwhelmed by the utility of Iris Performer (don't get me wrong, its a nice application - it just isn't at all useful for my purposes!), we have to recognize this as an awesome sign because of the trends it fortells. This is further evidence that SGI is truly committed to the Linux platform. This gives me greater hope that things like the SGI Journalled FS, etc will make it into Linux soon.

    This really has much significance that trancends the simple release of a niche application.

  • Well, of interest to me, anyway. :)

    • The Linux version is 2.3, the SGI commercial release is 2.2
    • The registration pages aren't secure, so why do they bother?
    • The requirements are actually almost up-to-date. Commercial releases are improving, but it's still wonderful to see companies making a genuine effort!
    • This could spell the start of SGI doing some serious porting work, if this proves popular.
    • Now they've a development tool, they might be able to get XFS to work.
  • They (SGI) went out of their NT business since they cannot diferentiate themselves against other NT vendors. In which way SGI plans to diferentiate within Linux community? Their IRIX applications flood will stop one day or another.
  • by balneary ( 56298 ) on Monday November 29, 1999 @10:56AM (#1495891)

    ** Disk Space Requirements for IRIS Performer: Nearly 125 MB of disk space is required (30 MB temporarily and 95 MB permanently).
    ** Other Product Dependencies for IRIS Performer: To be functional, IRIS PerformerTM 2.3 requires that you have the following items installed on your Linux system:
    * glibc 2.1.1
    * XFree86
    * Mesa
    * Motif® installed

    I wonder if there is any chance it will work with Lesstif.

  • they're trying to cature the lower cost market and provide a divided pricing scheme; linux (and intel, til they killed their intel boxes) for customers with less $$$, irix for customers with more $$$. the recent interview in which that guy from sgi (sorry, i forgot his name and position) said, to paraphrase, "irix is up here, linux is down there" is trying to make sure they still have high $$$ customers.

    not that i care; they're doing some useful kernel stuff that helps us.

    *rant* it says linux, not linux/x86, again!! though i noticed x86 only was made clear in the "staroffice ported to mac os" article. */rant*
  • Basically I think that SGI looks at releasing Linux versions of their apps as a way to create interest in their products, and then hopes that people who like stuff like Iris Performer on Linux will buy SGI hardware or other software in the future.

  • In which way SGI plans to diferentiate within Linux community?

    I wonder if they need to. Most people coming from some sort of a *NIX background tend to know who SGI is.

    They can't compete with Dell without building a serious image as a PC company, but they've already got a great image as a killer graphics company. Stupid financials, but killer graphics. :-)

    Even if they just became an Ultra-High-End WS and Linux Software company they could still be very well off (although at a size much smaller than the current company, but I wouldn't trust any job at SGI long right now).

    Just some mindless ramblings. :-)
  • Never used an IRIX box... so how is the X-server on those things! I mean i like XFree a lot and I think that they are doing a great job with it. And i cant wait till 4.0 comes out! My question is that isthere a way that SGI could bring their "knowledge" i.e. code for an X-server to help us to ? ?

    Hmmm this looks cool!!!! two years back I was hunting about for stuff that would be cool to run on my puny box!!! Now i am trying to weed out the
    GOOD software that I can run!!!

    SGI if only someone there would realize that Silicon Graphics was a cooler name!!

    OpenSource is the way to go SGI... charge for Support.
    Training. !!!
    Consulting (MONEY ppl)
    And ohhh.... clothing! :)

    And i think that the current direction that SGI has taken is going good. Just hope they can keep it up!!!!!
  • by BacOs ( 33082 ) on Monday November 29, 1999 @11:11AM (#1495896) Homepage
    If you do not have Motif already installed on your system, Lesstif will work just fine with IRIS Performer.

    From performer/linux-faq.html#7 []
  • See the FAQ [].

  • Yep. Look here [].

  • by Anonymous Coward
    RTFFAQ: Where can I get Motif® or Lesstif? If you do not have Motif already installed on your system, Lesstif will work just fine with IRIS Performer. For general information about Lesstif please refer to the Lesstif web site, Links to pre-compiled binaries of Lesstif can be found at or one of the many Red Hat contrib mirror sites, typically under contrib/libc6/i386/. For your convenience links are provided below: lesstif-current-1999.01.28-1.i386.rpm (Required DSOs) lesstif-current-devel-1999.01.28-1.i386.rpm (Optional)
  • Remember when MS released Office 97 for the Macintosh? They called it Office 98, even though the functionality and the file formats were the same. I don't see much difference here.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • One single remark to SGI:

    Get a clue, or else,
    find a company to take you over, before your market cap has become negative.

    Any Chapter eleven consultants for a job at SGI?

    Making a product open source does not mean that the host company will shrivel up and die.
  • Definite Kudos to the SGI people for the support pages for IRIS! It is the kind of thing that the LSM blerbs used to be helpful with, but it is orders of magnitude better!

    Now I *have* to get a hardware accellerated 3d graphics card....

  • " *rant* it says linux, not linux/x86, again!! though i noticed x86 only was made clear in the "staroffice ported to mac os" article. */rant* " former_2.3/


    IRIS PerformerTM 2.3 is only available for Pentium-based Linux systems.

    System/Hardware Requirements:
    CPU 200 MHz Pentium class or better
  • Anyone got a mirror?

    I get a blank page when I hit the download link []. It does not seem slashdotted, just that link won't work.

    There aren't even screenshots, though I did find a gallery of images made with it here [].

    There are some tutorials with some partial shots, (like this one []) they are here [].

  • You are probably referring to the perfly utility, which is "just" a viewer app.

    Performer is not an application, its an API. A library. An API that sits on top of OpenGL (which is very very low-level) and allows you to do scene graph visualisation. It is not a 3D modeller or whatever. It is an API to do scene graph visualisation and it's the best API to do scene graph visualisation.

    If you need this (simulate new builings, towns, interactive walk-thru, ...) you will find Performer useful. If you are not in the visualisation business you won't find it useful. (E.g. I don't find MS Word useful - I'm not a secretary)
  • Correct me if I'm all washed up, but from the white papers [] it looks more like a math-like OpenGL renderer, maybe with some modeling capabilities? Where did you get the idea that it was a visual database?
  • In the screenshots gallery it says that the city scape in one of the screenshots was done with a database program. I admit I don't know much about Iris but "database" has a very broad term. I database containing a graphical city is just as possible as a database containing slashdot comments.
    There was also a racing game demo and quite frankly I don't care if the graphics are drawn from a database or the same team of Uber Ninjas that draws the Slashdot main page for me. (Yes I know the Uber Ninjas are really a MySQL database and my whole sentence is redundant but leave me alone, I'm trying to be symbolic here. Gees why do you have to be so literal all the time) All I care about is the end result, and if the end result is me being able to scream down the mean streets of (enter name of mean city here) running from the fuz in my vintage american v8, then I'm all for it.

  • I continually laugh every time I hear these people talking about how whether this is useful or not, it fortells linux's rise to power... all of us dedicated linux guys have stopped fortelling it because it's already happening. Linux is set to become the dominant OS, or if nothing else than prepare us for the influx of *nix os's. If Linux doesn't become #1, then some other nix will. There are far too many nix os's for that not to happen. Anyone interested in counting all the distributions / full-blown OS's of unix and unix-like operating systems? That oughtta be a fun and time consuming project. Anyway i'm drifting... my point was that ported software isn't really news, it's expected that this will happen... it's more of gratification for all of us linux guys :-) we were RIGHT all along, hehe.

  • Never used an IRIX box... so how is the X-server on those things! I mean i like XFree a lot and I think that they are doing a great job with it. And i cant wait till 4.0 comes out! My question is that isthere a way that SGI could bring their "knowledge" i.e. code for an X-server to help us to ? ?

    SGI's X server is a thing of beauty, but this is largely because SGI's graphics hardware is leaps and bounds better than anything you'll see on a PC.

  • No, it doesn't come with source; rather, it's distributed under a standard binary-only freeware EULA []:

    1. Grant Of Limited License; Software Use Restrictions In consideration for your acceptance of the terms and conditions of this Agreement, SGI will grant to you a personal, non-transferable and non-exclusive right to use and execute the Software, without right to sublicense the Software. You agree that you will not modify, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble any portion of the Software.

    Maybe we'll get some source in the future, but the clauses about reverse-engineering, modifying, decompiling and disassembling would seem to say, "Don't hope for it" :(
  • I'm still waiting for them to bring over their window manager and desktop from IRIX. That was my favorite part of workingon an SGI. If I could get the full IRIX feel out of my linux box I'd be in heaven! Of course then there'd be less reason to get IRIX instead of Linux so I doubt they'll do it.

  • Well, actually it might help SGI. As someone said in another post, by getting us Linux users used to the SGI product line they could pave the way for those of use looking at buying a high end computer to buy a Silicon Graphics Machine. I would personally love to have a big powerhouse of a computer if I had the money, if I was already familiar with the SGI interface, then I might just make that computer an SGI brand.

  • Well it's great to have some development libraries for the SGI video hardware without having to pay for them, now that SGI no longer makes video hardware. Sort of like getting to look at the source code to Mozilla after Netscape folded up, getting to look at the source code to Hexen after Quake III came out. They're consistantly products that the developers gave up on because the users didn't care about them anymore. And so I don't really care about IRIS performer even though it's still nice to not have to pay for something.
  • are more likely. Those rocks would have to be very hot (maybe even red) for third degree burns. First degree burns are just a reddening of the skin (still hurts:), second is blistering and third is where the skin breaks and bleeding occurs (I think the underlying flesh starts to be burnt).

    Hmm, thinking about it, if you leave the rocks there long enough, they probably don't really have to be all that hot, but I can't imagine them staying in anyones pants for very long:).

  • You can't go fortelling the downfall of Microsoft just yet, and even if they do, *nix based OSs might not cause it. There are many places where MS has the lead on Linux, even technically.
    A. MS has a larger and much better library of apps. Even the best Linux apps are no match for their Windows counterparts. Netspace vs. IE, IE is faster, lighter weight, and even the Win32 Netspace is better in terms of speed, looks, and fonts. Truespace or 3DMax vs. ??? Blender? Blender has the worst interface I have ever seen in a 3D app, and still can't match the ease and power of Truespace or MAX. Office vs. 'nuff said.
    Also, the general quality and polish of windows apps is better. Sure there are a lot of apps for Linux, but name more than a handfull that are really commercial DESKTOP (not server) quality? This is majorly dependant on interface rather than anything else. KDE still doesn't have a decent all in one media player, GIMP still relys too much on menus, GNOME and its whole tree paradigm is really annoying, etc.
    B. Windows is technically superior in a lot of ways. It has much better media handling. Videos play more smoothly, sound jerks less, and even WGL is faster than Mesa. DirectX is without equal, OSSFree doesn't have the acceleration and features of DirectSounds, Mesa can't match OpenGL (which integrates pretty well into DirectX,) DirectDraw might or might not be on par with GGI (I doubt it, most drivers are heavily DDraw tuned.) And DirectInput can support a huge amount of devices. Sure it is a bitch to program, but Linux can't top it. And it still has a better driver model (although its pretty close these days.) and better threading (NT at least)
    C. Windows is a moving target. If MS can successfully meld NT and 98 in Millenium, then Linux might have another mile to go.
    D. The API is easier to learn. Win32 might be convultulated, but it is cohesive. To write a windowed program in Linux with the features I have in Windows (in C), I have to learn X, GNOME, and OSS. If I want DirectX like features, then I have to learn ALSA, the Input API or GameSDK, GGI, and make different drivers for network play over TCPIP, IPX, modem, etc. With Windows its Win32, DirectX, and mabye OpenGL. The are much bigger topics, but one you learn one, it is easy to learn them all. (Aside from GL)
    4. Windows is still easier, although it has givin up that crown to BeOS. Even with RedHat 6.1 I had to type Xconfigurator in the command prompt becuase the install program didn't work right. To install GL in windows, I download, click, and type in the folder name. In Linux, I had to download, unpack, patch in the Riva GLX code, and compile, then install. To change network parameters, you can't use Linuxconf only, you have to change hosts in /etc or else GNOME complains.
    So although Linux is doing better everyday, don't get ahead of ourself. In the desktop market, real people are going to use it. Even somthing as simple as make install will deter them. And why would you have to anyway? Who is more of a man? The one who types "make install-linux-i386-..." or the one who clicks on the *.exe The both get the same end result.
  • Loose cannon? SGI has some of the coolest hardware I've ever seen! I'd love to have 512 Gigabytes of ram! Fact is, most people just don't want to shell out all that money. They used to offer NT boxes for the low-end stuff, and I'm not at all surprised that that fell through.

    The fact that they've decided to officially support Linux for the low-end products is a great boon to the OS! Everybody has benefitted from OpenGL, havn't they? What would PC games be like without it? We'd probably all be using DirectX (ack!).

    It's allways a good thing for a big-time company to enter the OSS arena. They've merely come to the realization that not everybody has the money to purchase farms of machines like Pixar did for Toy Story, so they're supporting Linux in an effort to make the company accessible to the lower-end market.

  • An article on SGI been posted for over 3 hours and the AC ranting about the GCC and IDO package hasn't posted yet. Must have taken a long weekend.
  • The 2.2 vs 2.3 naming decision was one of simple convenience -- we needed to be able to split our Linux development off from the "baseline" 2.2 versions so as to avoid the approval processes required (since changes to the 2.2.x versions go directly into IRIX, with certain deadlines & procedures). By creating a new development tree ("2.3") we were able to go willy-nilly on the code. Rest assured, changes we make to 2.2.x are (automatically) brought into 2.3 as well. We considered just naming the Linux version "2.2" also but that would have confused _us_. :-) Glad that you found the various documentation & requirements pages useful. If you have any suggestions for improvement feel free to contact me.
  • I can only agree that the term "databases" is an overloaded one. In the context of IRIS Performer it refers to the data structure (in memory, a file, whatever) containing the geometry and visual state [texture, material, lighting, etc] of the scene to be viewed. In many cases the "database" refers to the in-a-file version of that data, and the "scene graph" refers to the in-memory representation. Most data of this type is created using sophisticated 3D modelling tools such as MultiGen, Maya, etc., or is gathered from sensors and/or satellites. IRIS Performer's job is to render it all REALLY FAST. Sorry that the 'screenshots' area is sooooo out of date, most of those images date back from the first versions of Performer circa 1992. There's some much better stuff now :-) for example see one of our partners
  • Dude, A few months ago, I built 3.9.15, and it rocks, it has never crashed on me, like 3.3.x allways did. I have been able to leave 3.9.15 running for days, and somtimes weeks, and I come back to it still running, just as i left it, my only problem is it eats a little to much memory, and without playing with the config file, its a processor hog. Now, I think it would be cool if they were to also help out the XFree86 project, maybe make their XServer have a smaller memory foot print!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I recognize that you're just venting but the implication is far off from the mark. SGI has quite a number of new workstations, new servers, new CPUs, and new graphics in the works and not very far off at all, with IRIX driving the MIPS-based systems and Linux for the future Intel-based systems. IRIS Performer is a big part of that, a segment of our strategy is to focus on the "hot spots" in the marketplace where SGI commands an advantage, and SGI & IRIS Performer are the undisputed kings of vis-sim with far more revenue & marketshare than any other vendor. SGI has had a lot of problems recently but vis-sim has always been home turf, and one that we have no problem defending competitively.
  • Just out of interest, what's your opinion of Maverik []
  • Check it out: Microsoft quietly dumps Windows OpenGL support [].
  • I've used SGI's for 10 yrs starting with a Personal Iris up to an Octane. I also remember when I first saw the Performer demo (driving around the town), flight/dog (that was fun), and other demos. Your point is a good one.

    I used to go the SGI Magic Bus and other demos to check out the improvements in the hardware and software (wow, flight has much more texture mapping!) and have been "disappointed" in recent yrs. In the past, the capabilities of the SGI that was reflected in the demos/rendering was truly impressive. However, the current stuff does seem rather dated. Unfortunately, SGI raised expectations too high with their earlier computers.

    OTOH, it is difficult for them to truly represent the compute speed of their computers. Additionally, the rest of the industry has made great improvements in both hardware and software.

    I must say that I d/l the Linux version of Performer and ran the town demo on a Linux box with dual 400 MHz Celeron CPU's and an antiquated graphics board. It was incredibly slow. I'm going to try another linux box tomorrow, one that has P3's and a good TNT.

  • by Doctor Bob ( 83606 ) on Monday November 29, 1999 @05:06PM (#1495935)

    I've seen quite a bit of confusion on /. about Performer, why it's a good thing, why is SGI so stupid / brilliant, etc. so I figured that I'd summarize some of the key points that are most important to me as a graphics guy who does a lot of graphics-newbie indoctrination. For true Performer-heads reading, remember that I'm being purposely "high level", so feel free to add detail that I'm glossing over.

    Background: I'm an SGI hack from way back (not all the way back, but close) with lots of hours logged on everything except their most recent Origins and Onyx2's. I was migrating my IrisGL (OpenGL hadn't been invented yet) code from C to C++ when the original Performer 1.0 framework starting wandering out of the labs. Since then, it's much more OOD - OpenGL and C++ have greatly increased its usefulness without over "object"ing it.

    Here are some of the things that Performer can give you quickly (i.e., not much more complex than Performer "Hello World"):

    1. A shallow learning curve: from "Hello World" to something that looks impressive is a very quick process. For example, somebody hands you an arbitrary ".obj" (or whatever) object file and says "I want this in the virtual environment." You write less than ten lines of code to create a new object, point its geometry descriptor at the model (i.e., type in the filename) and recompile. Done. Of course, you haven't made it move yet; that's another line of code.
    2. A framework for quickly assembling a visual simulation / application. Example: somebody hands you some 3D models and you want to make them fly around each other. Instantiate some objects, point their geometry descriptors at the model files, write some simple "move me around" code and you're done. No OpenGL, no worrying about clipping at the edge of the screen - it's already taken care of.
    3. A platform independent framework - your Linux Performer code will compile on my Irix machine and, assuming 2.3 and 2.2 aren't too diverse, vice versa. Even more interesting, within the Irix world, a Performer app scales across the hardware spectrum. If there's a bunch of processors, it becomes a multiprocessor app at runtime. No recompiles between O2, Octane, IR, etc. Obviously, if your simulation includes big number crunching or huge graphics loads, it will have trouble fitting in a small box but at least it will run at all. I don't know how this translates to the Linux world - I don't have the hardware suite to do a good test....

    [This is getting long so I'll wrap up.]

    Why does Slashdot and the rest of the Linux crowd care? Well, the premier all-around computer graphics company is handing you their flagship visual simulation framework and saying, "we hope you have a good time." The marketability of Linux just went up by orders of magnitude - simple example in my field, it counters HP's arguments that they're a better buy for military simulations. "Gosh, you're more expensive than Linux / IRIX and not as powerful. Why exactly are you better?"

    Why does SGI care? The one place they've always lost is marketing - in a word, they stink at it. They need the groundswell from the popular marketplace. So, be loud. If you try it and like it, say so. If you find things that you need or don't work, complain loudly and constructively.

    Also: be quotable. Make sure that it's very obvious that you're a *nix-head running SGI software. Give them the ammunition and SGI will produce high-coolness useful power for all of us.

  • Well I just spent hours downloading the demos and runtime environment. And even more hours getting Mesa 3.1 to run on my computer without breaking every other GL program I have and guess what? A VoodooII isn't a powerful enought chipset. That's right my VoodooII only runs at 800x600 resolution and for some reason they REQUIRE 1024X768
    Come on, what is this SGI? We are running Intels, not Silicon Graphics Workstations. Give me a break here!

  • As to the slowness first: you're probably running your performer app with being the one from MESA, instead of using an accelerated from your board vendor. The performer docs are pretty centered around getting up & running with Mesa (since it's available to everyone) and there isn't too much there about making use of accelerated drivers (for boards that have them) since they're all different. I truly look forward to some standardization in this area! But in the meantime if you're using a TNT2 check our FAQ [] as there are some instructions there. You should get around 30Hz (textured) in the Town with a TNT2.

    As for demos & the magic bus.. I am posting this from the I/ITSEC tradeshow in Orlando, FL this week (a military & industry show for training & simulation systems) and not to be too shy the demos we're showing here are friggin' AWESOME. But these aren't the sort of things you can typically see on the Magic Bus -- SGI doesn't make most of the demos we show (we make the boxes they come in!) and for the grand majority of the very cool ones, we only have permission to "show" them at particular tradeshows and/or in the presence of their owners.

    The "old" (and now familiar) demos that you saw were from an era when SGI did many of its own demos, so we were allowed to distribute them. Another issue now is the size of the datasets -- I'd say 90% of our "modern" demos are interesting primarily because of the size (and therefore the detail) of their datasets. As an example IRIS Performer 2.2 (on IRIX) ships with a "Yosemite Demo" on a separate CD, roughly 1GB of data if extracted. This is (obviously) far too much to distribute in a web-based package, and to make it smaller would make it unimpressive -- "what, that's the edge of the dataset?". That 1GB is texture & terrain for only a 16 sq. km area.

    Those of you who went to SIGGRAPH this year might have seen a demo of an F-117 stealth bomber flying around the Tonopah Test range in Nevada -- this demo is indicative of the capabilities today and is (honestly) far beyond the sort of fruity VRML & arcade-quality nonsense that gets shown in the Magic Bus. In this particular one the data from a 400x400 kilometer region in nevada -- that's 160,000 square kilometers -- in taken from satellite data & with texture sampled at varying resolutions, down to 0.5 meters per texel in the area right around the firing/target range. The simulation dynamics of the stealth bomber are recorded from actual missions. The texture, terrain, and cultural features (fancy term for trees & buildings) are paged into memory in real time by IRIS Performer, hundreds of megabytes per second flowing around in the system; the whole thing runs at a rock-solid 60Hz, which means you're golden in the world of vis-sim.

    Here at I/ITSEC this week we're showing a few similar demos (but here the dataset spans ALL OF SPAIN) and a bunch of show-specific stuff like the DART. So I guess the best answer available for those of you seeking incredible demos is to come see us at a show, or visit one of the SGI RealityCenter facilities -- it's too hard to lug these big disk arrays around otherwise. :-)

  • Far as I know 800x600 should be fine, I'll correct that. What we should _really_ say there is that we require at least 16-bit color depth.
  • by Allan_Schaffer ( 69923 ) on Monday November 29, 1999 @06:56PM (#1495939) Homepage
    (One more comment re: Mesa w.r.t Voodoo)

    As it sometimes turns out when trying to make documentation simple (and so that it ALWAYS works) some "clever exceptions" are left out figuring people who know about such things will just go do them....

    So more specifically Performer doesn't actually REQUIRE Mesa, it just requires something called and in your LD path that implements an API reasonably similar to that of OpenGL. If you have a sitting around somewhere that implements an accelerated OpenGL binding for Voodoo, by all means just create some symbolic links (from to it, and force the install. That, in a similar nutshell, is how we get the accelerated TNT2 libs to work along with it too..

  • The program will start in a 800x600 mode, but the whole thing doesn't fit on the screen. It looks just like Quake III does if I set it for 1024x768. The mouse doesn't work either, but that might have something to do with the wrong video mode settings as the mouse works fine in Unreal.

  • I'll have to wait until we're back in CA next week to test on a voodoo2 @ 800x600 to see what's up. But in the meantime if you're using perfly you can specify the window size on the command line -- "perfly -W800,600 file.ext"

    (No idea about the mouse problem -- worked fine in our testing; it's all regular X input stuff)

  • So then, with 10 lines of code, I could create Mr. Singing-dancing Paperclip, the last remaining "Killer App" that the pundits say we need in order to become a viable force on the desktop? Apparently, this is much needed.

    Actually, I love the commitment from SGI, I just wish it was all GPL. Then we could have some fun with embedding parts of the source in applications.

    I think it's just a matter of time before about 5 products show up that use the API. Then I get to have some fun.

  • Yeah, I was actually just going to check the docs and reply to my own message if I could do that. I just realized what you meant when you said 1024x768 was a mistake on the webpage, sorry I wasn't really paying attention to what I was reading.
    Still don't you think 1024X768 is a bit large for a default?
    Mouse still doesn't work I guess I'll look at some of the command line arguments (maybe one of them will fix it?)

  • Well it's not as much SGI as the industry they're in. There simply isn't the market for visualization technology there was 5 years ago. Avid laid off 300 engineers in November to redirect its efforts towards e-commerce. Microsoft sold off its Softimage unit last year. SGI laid off 1500 engineers in August and announced a shift from visualization workstations to internet servers. It may be the best visualization software in the world, you can make very good arguments for it, but the one or two people still doing that kind of thing aren't enough to sustain a company. The future of every company right now is not in visualization but strictly in e-commerce and I would certainly be sending out resumes if I was in SGI's visualization unit.
  • Good reply. However, SGI does not do a very good job anymore of showing off their good stuff to the general public (perhaps this will changeO. I started off when the demos were shown on a PI. Then it jumped to a Reality Engine. Then it jumped to a....(you fill in the answer).

    The original post asked, "what do you show in the magic bus?" You show stuff, but some of the answers that we hear concerning hardware, software, and licences do not make us happy.

    In the past, SGI could sell me a fine unix box (well, IRIX had major problems, althouht 6.5 is okay), that was a fine workstation. This is no longer the case. The O2 is nice at it's base price. Tack on the licence fees for the compilers, development licences, NFS, etc... and you get an expensive box.

    SGI makes state of the art massive number crunching machinces. SGI make awesome graphic machines. Running performer on my linux box reminds me of this. But ultimately, I feel that SGI survives because of the high-end users.

    I like SGI. I hate the cost. If I don't serioiuse number crunching, nor do seriouse 3-D graphics, then why should I go to SGI?

  • Ah I see some of the source of confusion. IRIS Performer is targeted to the real-time first-person "out-the-window" type of visualization, a common use being that of flight/mission simulation or training. These sorts of programs make full use of the SGI hardware, from I/O to CPU to the graphics subsystems, and tend to have requirements in the following order:

    • High Frame Rate.
    • Deterministic Frame Rate.
    • Image Quality.
    • Price.

    Avid and SoftImage are wildly different beasts in a completely different market space -- they are used to render animations "off-line", with image quality being paramount and frame rate an absolute non-issue. They're also more geared towards the user interface (for the animator) than towards the run-time visuals (for the pilot). The finished animations go into movie F/X and TV commercials.

    This is all a long-winded way of saying, whatever is going on with animation packages like Avid & Maya & SoftImage & etc. is occuring in an area totally unrelated to IRIS Performer & the Modelling, Simulation, and Imaging (MS&I) industry.

    It's not a world that's had much exposure in Linux yet though (before today! :-) but with IRIS Performer being released for Linux now, other MS&I kits like MPI's Vega just having been announced as coming soon, and SGI's general impetus towards bringing its graphics firepower into the Linux space, I think we'll see a lot more in this area in the times to come.

    Regarding "a shift from visualization workstations to internet servers": this isn't the case, there's been no such shift. Many of the same capabilities of our systems that make graphics work well (bandwidth, I/O, and the myriad features in IRIX) are also very well suited for servers & the internet, so we're nailing all three birds here with the same basic R&D stones.

    More specifically, SGI is focusing its efforts on three business areas, which you're free to abbreviate as S, G, and I ... :-)

    • High Performance Systems: (aka: SERVERS)
      Scalable, high-performance servers for HPC, technical computing, and Business Intelligence Applications.

    • Visual Computing Solutions (aka: GRAPHICS)
      Solutions for collaboration, visualization of complex data and media-rich content creation. This is where IRIS Performer and our high-end graphics systems fit in.

    • Broadband Systems (aka: INTERNET)
      Internet infrastructure products with "appliance-like" features for broadband content, applications, and services.

    You're welcome to read more about this (informally) in the Friends of Performer Meeting Summary [] that I posted after SIGGRAPH last August. There's also quite a lot of official information about our strategy linked off the front page of [].
  • I like SGI. I hate the cost. If I don't serioiuse number crunching, nor do seriouse 3-D graphics, then why should I go to SGI?
    The straight answer to this is that SGI makes its living by offering differentiated solutions for particular targeted markets. You seem most interested in the desktop systems so I'll defer discussion of the high-end boxes (Onyx2, etc) for now. In our desktop MIPS-based IRIX systems our differentiation primarily comes from the graphics feature set and performance, the digital media features & capabilities included with the system, the overall architecture (UMA on the O2, for example) making certain Very High Bandwidth operations possible, and from the features and bundled software set of IRIX itself.

    I bear no illusions that each & every user out there has a requirement for these capabilities; but there are a significant amount who do, especially in the technical computing, MCAD/MCAE, visualization, medical imaging, post production, animation, and broadcast markets. There are many other markets served by our low-end IRIX boxes of course :-), these are just the common ones that came to mind.

    A quick note about costs for development, as of IRIX 6.2 we've restructured what used to be called the "IRIS Development Option" (IDO). In a nutshell what's happened is that much of the development software that used to be available only at extra cost -- like the Inventor libraries, Motif/X/Xt libraries, Digital Media & Audio libraries, etc., are now bundled free with the OS. More specifically, all the header files & development libraries that used to be on the IDO, and a few more that were separate, are now (as of IRIX 6.2) available for free and/or bundled with IRIX; and the only extra-cost item left from IDO are the compilers themselves. But, if you don't want to buy SGI's compiler you can just use gcc.

    This is now bearing towards off-topic technical details though so if you're curious feel free to contact me privately. Or hop over to another forum like comp.sys.sgi.misc

  • by Steeltoe ( 98226 )
    I haven't coded for Direct3D or OpenGL myself. But from what I hear from dozens of colleagues and friends who have, OpenGL is a superior industry standard. The game community with its consumers would be best served to turn away from Microsoft in this matter. As Microsoft's only goal is to dominate the market, at all costs. And it's just too bad they're much better at marketing and buying, than they are at programming. And lying to their customers.

    From my perspective, companies like IBM and SGI are great examples to the rest of the computer industry. They have rock-solid integrity and are willing to follow the winds of change in the industry. These are the companies that are going to prevail in the long run.

    Good job!

    - Steeltoe
  • No way - there has never been a desktop more intuitive to use than Iris Desktop. GNOME and KDE are like kid's toys in comparison! I use everything from Windows - blerrk - and Linux to Solaris and Irix and nothing has the fully integrated and organised feel of Iris/4Dwm. Everything just does what you want - no faffing about with apps; it just works
    Don't get me wrong, I am the biggest force pushing for Linux throughout my company and I love it - it will get there, but just not yet.
  • You talk from fear-based logic. Every huge success in business is based on bold actions.

    For the past 10 years unprofessional marketing has proven superior in winning a consumer base. Just hype your product, announce releases prematurely, invade public boards with anonymous infiltrators, support computer magazine reporters with products and money, fake scandals, spread FUD, etc.. etc. It's a loong story, and you've probably heard it all before.

    With these tactics, you may get an edge over competitors. Even those with superior products. You generate a contagious wave of people willing to buy your products. The problem is just that not every business in the industry has been willing to go to such lows as some companies have. In fact, due to their high profile, they couldn't afford such a thing! These companies has been suffering under the general ignorance of the public.

    Luckily for these high profile companies, low tactics always backfires someday. People are waking up recognizing themselves as victims. Ultimately they will retake responsibility, not letting business giants rule their lives anymore.

    The future of computing lie in increased openness, collaboration, interoperability, quality and providing services. Because this is what consumers will want. Also, types of applications that has proven their worth will be cheaper as it is with every established technology. Maybe even gratis in many circumstances, certainly in Open Source projects.

    If you still wonder why giving out free downloads, think of it as an investment in the future. The future for companies will not be delivering products, but leading the development. As it should have been from the start.

    - Steeltoe
  • Ok, it's kind of fruity VRML & arcade-quality, but still...

    You know whenever you see the "cool computer bit" on a TV show, it's always some guy sitting in front of a big screen, and he's got a model of a doo-dad, and he's twisting it around and spinning it, and stuff? I just got all the IRIS stuff, and lo and behold, my workstation now looks like the "cool computer bit" on all those TV shows.

    So, it's kinda lame, comparatively, but I love it anyway. :-)

    BTW, it's a Dell Precision 410 (dual P3), with a TNT2, and once I linked the hardware driver correctly, it runs like a charm. Thanks for making my day a little cooler.

    Morning gray ignites a twisted mass of foreign shapes and sounds

  • Avid laid off 300 engineers in November to redirect its efforts towards e-commerce

    That's rubbish.

    a) Avid did not layoff 300 engineers. I don't think any engineers were laid off (it was other people).

    b) They are not moving towards 'e-commerce' but have laid plans to do internet content creation (I suspect web/internet video etc.).

    What this has to do with SGI, I don't know. The market for viz-sim is not the same as Soft, Avid,Discreet etc. - it's the scientific/engineering end of things.

  • More specifically they want to gain mind share of developers, as well as adding to the total pool of OGL, IRIS developers so that companies will have people to hire, so they(SGI), can sell more hardware and software.

    Supposedly if you know IRIS Performer on linux, you know it on SGI.
  • Well this is a great step in the right direction, but what I would realy like to see is some of those powerful 3D tools ported to linux. Currently we have POVRAY, [] and Blender 3D [] as free, or virtualy free full fledged packages. There are some comercial packages that most of us can not afford like Houdini (sorry I dont know the url, I cant afford it so I dont keep it handy), but a good package in the smae price range is an absolute necesity. Blender 3D is nice, but it's modeler is not as easy to use as such *indo*s packages as Lightwave and 3D Studio Max. We have GIMP, now we need LinuxWave or 3D Studio Linux, and maybe this is a step in the right direction. Unfortunatly I doubt Maya will be affordable either and it's unfortunate, as it is an awsome program. If anyone with any pull is reading this or if someone wants to send me some other options I would be most happy to finaly dismiss windows as only needed to play Asheron's Call. What a wonderful day that will be and the masses shall rejoice and the evil giant will feel yet another foot being slamed into a most uncomfortable place!
  • Since I helped start this thread I'll throw in another 2 cents.

    I've got both KDE and Gnome on my system but I'd ditch both in an instant for 4Dwm/IRIX (Whatever they call the package now..I haven't touched that SGI in two years). Personally I use KDE on my linux box and don't much care fur Gnome.

    After my first week of working on an SGI though I fell in love. I told everyone I knew that IMHO the major GUI's compared thusly:

    Windows: A shell for DOS. (98 and NT4 have helped but still pretty weak...and crash way too much)

    Mac OS: Nice idea but takes too much power away from the system. That's why Mac are always such burly boxes but run so slow and crash so often!

    IRIX: Everything Mac OS wants to be and should be. Plus hardware that's so incredibly burly you don't care if it sucks away some performance!

    Of course now that SGI is almost 5 years old and I doubt you could pay me to do any "real work" on it. But then again it was their cheapest INDY when we got it and it still hosts a couple of websites without even breaking a sweat. And the only upgrade we ever did to it was add more HD space!

Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which otherwise require harder thinking. -- Jerome Lettvin