Page 1 of 1

New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:49 pm
by fatalhalt
I have recently obtained O2, it is my first SGI workstation. I chose it because it is affordable, not too big, and doesn't consume too much power. I'm already liking how every hardware is a module and how things are accessible/replaceable, how they're intelligently laid out, how featureful the PROM is, I can see some parallel to the OpenBoot PROM used in SPARC servers. I was impressed that the PROM can read EFS file system directly, something that PC only recently could do with UEFI having ability to read FAT32 partitions. These machines were way ahead of their times: early OpenGL, XFS, SCSI, MIPS arch, solid UNIX OS, etc.

System: IP32 | Processor: 200 Mhz R5000, with FPU | Memory size: 64 Mbytes | Graphics: CRM, Rev C
o2.jpg


The top of the case has been damaged in the shipping unfortunately. Today I performed a voltage mod to the PSU's fan, I used LM317 voltage regulator and a 0~1000ohm trimmer and dialed the fan to 6.6v which felt like a sweet spot, it was pushing good air and stayed relatively quiet. It is missing a HDD but I have a Fujitsu MAS3367NC 36GB 15K on the way, should arrive next week. I have bunch of spare CRTs for the system to go with, currently I have been playing with O2 only via serial cable.

Next step that I'm planning is installing IRIX 6.2.26 base OS from CDs. I'm also planning to cross-compile gentoo to MIPS on my more powerful x86_64 host system and see how well it runs. I'm also interested in the state of graphics stack under GNU/Linux.

Nice to meet you and thanks for hosting such great site/forum!

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:34 am
by robespierre
fatalhalt wrote:I was impressed that the PROM can read EFS file system directly

It can't do that on its own; it needs sash to read EFS or XFS. This is similar to second-stage boot loaders for SunOS and other unix systems.

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:28 am
by Trippynet
If you're going to install IRIX 6.5 on it, I would *highly* recommend 128MB of RAM as an absolute minimum, with 256MB preferred. 64MB will run IRIX 6.5 pretty painfully. 128MB will run it OK, but it will start to page if you open more than 1 or 2 light apps.

Other than that, nice little starting system! My second SGI was a 200MHz R5000 O2, and it was a nice little system. Not the fastest, but a good little starting system.

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:52 am
by Hombre71
Be careful, it’s a gateway drug to more powerful things :)

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:07 pm
by fatalhalt
robespierre wrote:It can't do that on its own; it needs sash to read EFS or XFS. This is similar to second-stage boot loaders for SunOS and other unix systems.
Interesting. The command that I was using is now making more sense:

Code: Select all

boot -f dksc(0,4,8)sashARCS dksc(0,4,7)stand/fx.ARCS --x

So the SASH is sitting somewhere in the ARCS firmware then. Edit: I just read that SASH is sitting in partition 8 of the CD-ROM's Volume Header filesystem, hence the "dksc(0,4,8)sashARCS".

Trippynet wrote:If you're going to install IRIX 6.5 on it, I would *highly* recommend 128MB of RAM as an absolute minimum, with 256MB preferred. 64MB will run IRIX 6.5 pretty painfully. 128MB will run it OK, but it will start to page if you open more than 1 or 2 light apps.
Thanks for pointing this out, I will look into getting more RAM.

Hombre71 wrote:Be careful, it’s a gateway drug to more powerful things :)
:mrgreen:

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:44 pm
by duck
fatalhalt wrote:
robespierre wrote:It can't do that on its own; it needs sash to read EFS or XFS. This is similar to second-stage boot loaders for SunOS and other unix systems.
Interesting. The command that I was using is now making more sense:

Code: Select all

boot -f dksc(0,4,8)sashARCS dksc(0,4,7)stand/fx.ARCS --x

So the SASH is sitting somewhere in the ARCS firmware then.


No, look again. You're telling the firmware to read the file sashARCS from dksc(0,4,8) which means a disk at the first scsi bus on id 4, partition 8. Partition 8 indicates the volume header of the drive. The volume header is a special partition with a simple file system that the firmware knows how to load files from.

The above command additionally tells sash to load and run the fx program from partition 7. The convention on IRIX is that no. 7 is a partition that spans the entire disk.

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:23 pm
by josehill
fatalhalt wrote:
Trippynet wrote:If you're going to install IRIX 6.5 on it, I would *highly* recommend 128MB of RAM as an absolute minimum, with 256MB preferred. 64MB will run IRIX 6.5 pretty painfully. 128MB will run it OK, but it will start to page if you open more than 1 or 2 light apps.
Thanks for pointing this out, I will look into getting more RAM.


As Trippynet said, 64 MB of RAM is not really enough to run IRIX 6.5 on an O2, at least not happily. Depending on what you have laying around or can find easily, though, 64 MB is okay for running IRIX 6.3 as a light duty workstation operating system. On balance, IRIX 6.5 is a better OS than 6.3, so I'd try to go with 6.5 and more RAM, but 6.3 is fine if you just want to learn a little bit about IRIX. The main advantage of 6.3 is that it has a lighter footprint than 6.5. The main disadvantages (IMHO) are that it can be a little harder to find patches to bring 6.3 up to its "final" version and that it doesn't work with the Nekoware freeware collection.

Re: New O2 owner. It is so cute!

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:38 pm
by robespierre
Partition number 7 is conventionally an option (non-bootable) partition. The "partition" that spans the disk is number 10, also known as /dev/dsk/dks0d4vol once Irix is running ("vol" stands for "the whole volume"). Trying to use the whole disk as if it were a filesystem will only produce errors.

The "boot" command in the PROM has surprising semantics: it is really a shorthand for "sash"! That is, boot always invokes a loader program (usually sash) to bring the desired program (unix kernel, diagnostics, etc) into memory and start it. This is precisely because it cannot read filesystems itself without help! The loader is normally implicit, taken from the "OSLoader" and "SystemPartition" NVRAM variables. When you use the "-f" that default is overridden by the location you specify (such as the installation CD). The remaining arguments are passed to sash, because that is how programs get loaded from filesystems. Without arguments, "boot" just leaves you at the sash: prompt.