Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

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electrithm
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Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby electrithm » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:05 pm

Hello everyone, I am thinking about buying an SGI Indy or Indigo2 for programming with. I will likely use C with SDL and some Mono and Ruby. I'm probably going to dual boot it with Gentoo or Debian and Irix because I would like to use Linux for programming and Irix for 3D modelling and using other Irix apps. Would this be a good idea or would the SGI be too slow/old?

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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby foetz » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:05 am

that totally depends on your expectations and/or needs but given the prices these days make sure you get an indigo2 because the indy really is slow :P
anyhow keep in mind that as far as linux goes you cannot compare that to linux x86 in any way. neither in terms of compatibility nor when it comes to available software.

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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby dexter1 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:11 am

Well, it is always good to buy or get your hands on an SGI, full stop. :)

But seriously, the question is what do you expect from such a system with respect to learning code or modelling? The C language with SDL should be fine to get you started, but modelling depends on what you want and if the hardware and software supports it.

Other good languages to learn on an SGI IRIX system are Python (there is a python3 port) and Fortran. But for C++ we increasingly depend on GNU since the MIPSPro compilers do not support newer language features, like C++11. In that respect, Linux wil more likely be your first choice, since it supports many modern languages.

If you get an Indigo2 like Foetz suggested, get a fairly decent system with at least an R10K and Solid impact GFX. That doesn't have texture support, but should be good for programming and modelling. But if you want to run Debian and Gentoo i am not sure if there is graphic driver support for Impact systems, and getting an old XL24 to get Debian and Gentoo running with X kind of defeats the point of having such a system...
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby rosmaniac » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:17 am

Linux GUI support is pretty broken on SGI, from what I remember from my research a while back. Linux is basically completely broken on R10K on O2 and not especially well-supported at all, at least the last I looked. OpenBSD is a better non-IRIX choice on that hardware (and I am primarily a CentOS Linux user, with a grand total of one BSD machine around.....), although O2 is better supported on the GUI.

But it has been quite a while since I looked; YMMV and all that, plus people do change things and ports come and they go. The core of the Linux MIPS stuff has been for non-SGI MIPS stuff, especially routers. But there is some good info, if you're into Linux on MIPS or want to be into Linux on an I2, at https://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/IP28

Part of the fun of retrocomputing (and SGI computing is at the point of retro, now) is getting the hardware to do things it was never originally designed to do, or in my case of getting to play with hardware on the cheap that used to cost kilobucks (kindof like getting to play with a VAXstation 4000/96; at one time that box was the bomb). So if you're able to get a usable GUI (or CLI if that's your thing) Linux of BSD working like you want, kudos.

dexter1 wrote:...
If you get an Indigo2 like Foetz suggested, get a fairly decent system with at least an R10K and Solid impact GFX. That doesn't have texture support, but should be good for programming and modelling. But if you want to run Debian and Gentoo i am not sure if there is graphic driver support for Impact systems, ...


The Octane port supports Impact; the I2 port may or may not at this point (the online docs are pretty old in this area). This is for console framebuffer; X support is (or at least was) either experimental or nonexistant.

I had looked into running a Linux on some Teal Indigo2 Extreme's here, but then I found the stash of IRIX 5.3 CD's that came with the machines, and that might be a better choice for them; there are better Linux machines out there, and IRIX is a far better choice on R4K hardware, IMO. My R10K Indigo2 with SolidIMPACT is running IRIX 6.5.22m, and performances is pretty good (I have 512MB of RAM in it, and a relatively fast hard drive).
Last edited by foetz on Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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electrithm
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby electrithm » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:12 pm

rosmaniac wrote:Linux GUI support is pretty broken on SGI, from what I remember from my research a while back. Linux is basically completely broken on R10K on O2 and not especially well-supported at all, at least the last I looked. OpenBSD is a better non-IRIX choice on that hardware (and I am primarily a CentOS Linux user, with a grand total of one BSD machine around.....), although O2 is better supported on the GUI.

But it has been quite a while since I looked; YMMV and all that, plus people do change things and ports come and they go. The core of the Linux MIPS stuff has been for non-SGI MIPS stuff, especially routers. But there is some good info, if you're into Linux on MIPS or want to be into Linux on an I2, at https://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/IP28

Part of the fun of retrocomputing (and SGI computing is at the point of retro, now) is getting the hardware to do things it was never originally designed to do, or in my case of getting to play with hardware on the cheap that used to cost kilobucks (kindof like getting to play with a VAXstation 4000/96; at one time that box was the bomb). So if you're able to get a usable GUI (or CLI if that's your thing) Linux of BSD working like you want, kudos.

dexter1 wrote:...
If you get an Indigo2 like Foetz suggested, get a fairly decent system with at least an R10K and Solid impact GFX. That doesn't have texture support, but should be good for programming and modelling. But if you want to run Debian and Gentoo i am not sure if there is graphic driver support for Impact systems, ...


The Octane port supports Impact; the I2 port may or may not at this point (the online docs are pretty old in this area). This is for console framebuffer; X support is (or at least was) either experimental or nonexistant.

I had looked into running a Linux on some Teal Indigo2 Extreme's here, but then I found the stash of IRIX 5.3 CD's that came with the machines, and that might be a better choice for them; there are better Linux machines out there, and IRIX is a far better choice on R4K hardware, IMO. My R10K Indigo2 with SolidIMPACT is running IRIX 6.5.22m, and performances is pretty good (I have 512MB of RAM in it, and a relatively fast hard drive).


Wait so you're saying I wouldn't be able to run Gentoo with the MATE gui on the Indigo? That sucks because I was gonna use it for playing around with SDL. I'm not gonna do very heavy modelling on IRIX, just some small little animations and making 3d models so I probably wouldn't need a very heavy duty SGI.

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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby uunix » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:53 pm

x86 runs loonix very well.
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby nyef » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:35 pm

Honestly, if you're looking to run Linux on SGI hardware, particularly if you want graphics support, you can expect to be doing at least some hacking to get it to work. Possibly a lot of hacking. Admittedly, my experience thus far has been Octane and Origin hardware, not O2 or Indigo2, but there it is. And, IIRC, there's some issue with R10k Indigo2 and non-coherent DMA and speculative execution and cache pre-fetch, and I have no idea what the status on that is.

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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby jimmer » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:57 pm

electrithm wrote:Hello everyone, I am thinking about buying an SGI Indy or Indigo2 for programming with. I will likely use C with SDL and some Mono and Ruby. I'm probably going to dual boot it with Gentoo or Debian and Irix because I would like to use Linux for programming and Irix for 3D modelling and using other Irix apps. Would this be a good idea or would the SGI be too slow/old?

Good grief, I havent seen a troll this obvious in a while. In short: Yes, the SGI will be too old and too slow. Now go away and play with your ipad.
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electrithm
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby electrithm » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:19 pm

jimmer wrote:
electrithm wrote:Hello everyone, I am thinking about buying an SGI Indy or Indigo2 for programming with. I will likely use C with SDL and some Mono and Ruby. I'm probably going to dual boot it with Gentoo or Debian and Irix because I would like to use Linux for programming and Irix for 3D modelling and using other Irix apps. Would this be a good idea or would the SGI be too slow/old?

Good grief, I havent seen a troll this obvious in a while. In short: Yes, the SGI will be too old and too slow. Now go away and play with your ipad.


OK friendo :-)

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rosmaniac
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby rosmaniac » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:30 pm

electrithm wrote:Wait so you're saying I wouldn't be able to run Gentoo with the MATE gui on the Indigo?


To the best of my knowledge, and I always reserve the right to be wrong, no, you would not be able to do this. Linux is not NetBSD, which really does run on everything (command line, at least). Gentoo's MIPS hardware requirements page is at https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/MIPS/Hardware_Requirements Indigo2 R10K IMPACT is listed as very experimental (italics is on their page.....). O2 R10K is unsupported entirely. Graphics support is minimal at best, inoperative at worst. Serial console recommended for anything other than Newport (XL) framebuffers.

That sucks because I was gonna use it for playing around with SDL. I'm not gonna do very heavy modelling on IRIX, just some small little animations and making 3d models so I probably wouldn't need a very heavy duty SGI.


Use IRIX if you're doing SGI. It was built for these systems, and it runs well on them. SGI didn't open up any of the documentation on how to program the various 3D graphics pipes (there is documentation on Indy, and that's pretty much it), and so without the hardware acceleration, yes, things aren't going to be fast. With IRX, things are usable.
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby armanox » Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:34 pm

As someone who used to run Gentoo on an Octane (back 2007-2009), I wouldn't bother. For graphically related work, there is no point in running Linux on MIPS, it just lacks the horsepower to handle the bloatware that is MATE. If you have the modeling software for IRIX, then it's worth getting for doing that, but even then it's a stretch. The main reason to deal with IRIX these days is the retro factor, and for stupid fun (can I get libReSSL to run on IRIX? Can I use it to host Drupal? Build a cloud storage network? Etc).
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby R-ten-K » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:06 pm

electrithm wrote:I will likely use C with SDL and some Mono and Ruby.


SDL is not supported on SGI, and neither is Mono. There's the answer to your question.
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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby necron2600 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:06 pm

Modern (v2.0.0) Ruby works well on IRIX. I had that built last year.
Dont forget PHP runs well in IRIX too.
Tcl/Tk (i know its out of vogue but its still an awesome language).

Java 1.4 for some retro coding.

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Re: Would it be a good idea to pick up an SGI for programming?

Unread postby SAQ » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:42 am

One thing that SGI with MIPSpro (or some other commercial UNIXes with mfr's compiler, say XLc or Sun Studio) will do is make sure you learn how to do things right (for the time period of the compilers, though). Linux/GCC lets you get away with much that IRIX/MIPSpro will flag as a warning or error out on.

That said, things are old enough to where you'll be a bit of a curio if that's your main platform. The latest OpenGL on IRIX is 1.4, for instance (and depends on your graphics option, so Express and IMPACT will be even older).
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