Rare graphic station SGI Indy. 20 years later. Part three. IRIX for user

    In a previous post, I stopped at the login screen. And finally, it's time to log in and explore the OS, which, before Mac OS X, was secretly considered the most friendly UNIX system.
    Forgive me hardcore system programmers, but I will write a review from the point of view of the designer, and I will pay more attention to user experience, and not to the internals of the OS.


    The default desktop is typical of earlier UNIXs with graphical window managers based on Motif libraries. On IRIX, this is the Interactive Desktop environment running on top of the X Window System R4, which has been used since version 4 instead of the proprietary XNeWS. By default, the 4DWM manager and Toolchest launcher are launched.

    The video card installed in my SGI displays only 256 colors, but it doesn’t interfere with work in the graphical environment, since it seems to be designed just 16.
    The system itself works with honest True Color. The colors that dither on the screen are still stored in 24 bits.

    System Palette

    In general, the interface is quite responsive and it is rare to watch the watch.

    At the top left, the main Toolchest toolbar, with which you can quickly go to the main folders of the file system, configure the user environment and system, open a terminal window, search and shut down the computer. This panel is not hidden, its only setting is switching from vertical to horizontal display of the menu.

    Icon Catalog is a quick launch window. In it, you can create new tabs and drag application and document icons there for quick launch. Analogous ways to organize applications were on Windows before Win95 and on classic Mac OS.

    Under the Icon Catalog is the standard file manager window. The toolbar is unusually on the left. The large wheel smoothly resizes icons. Apple only implemented this feature on Mac OS X 10.6.

    On the right is an IRIS Capture. This is a utility for capturing images (unfortunately, I have not yet found a way to remove it from the screen while taking screenshots). In the lower right corner is a basket, or rather a whole trash can. Also, attentive readers will see the Camera icon. This is an application working with IndyCam . To start without this camera, it turned out to be oktaz.

    File preview

    In the file manager, images are displayed with a preview instead of icons. And this is back in 1993!

    All three mouse buttons + modifier keys are used to manage windows. There were no problems with connecting and assigning keys to standard PC keyboards and mice. Even the Win key has been assigned to Meta.

    The graphical utilities for setting up the desktop environment are rather scarce. From the corresponding settings panel, you can only change the color scheme, and notification sounds. I really wanted to disable the opening of new windows for folders, but obviously all the other settings are hidden somewhere in text configs. Something similar I saw a file in ~ / .desktop-IRIS, but so far there was no time to deal with them.

    System Settings
    System settings

    Package Manager
    Packet manager

    Installing packages on IRIX is done from the repository, which can be any folder on a local or network drive. It is enough to specify the path to it in Software Manager and click Lookup. The installer scans it for installation files, monitors versions and dependencies. On my SGI, it takes about a minute. As a result, the window displays a list of programs available for installation from this folder. It seems that IRIX 5.3 does not save any metadata about the repository after closing the Software Manager neither in the system nor in the package folder, because the next time it starts, the scanning process repeats. After that, the evolution of Linux package management systems becomes clear.

    And this is what the package folder looks like:
    Folder with packages

    Network support.

    The OS does not have a web browser, which is not surprising for 1993.
    There is TCP support, but the configuration of the connection to the local network is carried out by editing configs. Only in IRIX 6.5 did a graphical utility appear. In 5.3, you need to edit as many as 3 configuration files, and an error in the configuration (for example, an incorrectly specified hostname in one of the config files or a mismatch of IP in the Firmware and file) can lead to the inability to load normally.

    A standard set of network utilities is present out of the box. However, after free UNIX systems, it’s very unusual not to find familiar GNU programs on IRIX. Particularly saddened by the lack of SSH server and client.

    Despite the fact that the system contains a Russian locale and the ability to configure switching layouts, it was not possible to immediately force IRIX to work with the Cyrillic alphabet. All system fonts out of the box are only Latin.

    Application software.

    Along with the OS, a rather impressive set of application programs is delivered. All of them are in / usr / sbin /.


    Of interesting things you can find here:

    Sound editor
    Sound editor

    Video montage
    Video editing

    Simple image editor with filters
    image editor

    In addition, from the Demos package you can install a set of demo programs, among which there are quite interesting samples


    Demo collision calculation of elastic body in real time. ( Video on Youtube )



    Surprisingly, the SGI Indy graphics station out of the box does not have tools for working with jpg. The built-in viewer works only with the formats rgb, sgi, tiff, gif.

    It is possible to deliver a set of Open-Source applications to IRIX from online binary package repositories, or install Developer Tools from a separate CD and compile software from sources (I guess how many days it would take to build the same Firefox).
    Unfortunately, on the official freeware.sgi.com they already managed to cut out all the packages for IRIX, except for the latest version 6.5.31.

    The only current repository for older systems found on the network is maintained by the TGCWare enthusiast .

    In general, I wanted to complete the series of articles on SGI Indy by installing authentic commercial graphic packages, after which the blue box would take its place on the museum shelf. Unfortunately, over the past summer I could not find anything that started on my configuration either on torrent trackers or on the English-language forums of retrocomputers, where I was banned as a malicious copyright infringer for asking to share the Photoshop or Softimage distribution.

    Therefore, wait for the continuation. It will definitely be.

    Shutdown Indy

    Also popular now: