Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

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chicaneuk
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Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby chicaneuk » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:03 pm

Wasn't entirely sure where to post this - hope here is ok!

http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/Microsp ... t-Archives

Saw this linked from another tech forum today and whilst the video is reasonably interesting, it's a bit too light on details or not in depth enough to be well worth a watch. It's a small video about the Microsoft archives, where they keep historically significant items such as furniture, promotional material, software, hardware, etc.

However I linked it here as at 2:09 and for about the next 15 seconds you might recognise quite prominently a teal Indigo 2 sitting on the shelf just above them. Love to know what Microsoft used it for and why it was important enough to want to keep it :) Wonder if they ever compiled Windows NT for it? ;)

Apologies in advance if there isn't a suitable video format for you to watch it.
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robespierre
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby robespierre » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:04 pm

NT did run on ARC machines like the MIPS Magnum 4000, and was experimental on ARCS boxes. The support code for NT on SGI machines was internal to Microsoft (or SGI) and never released.

Subject: -20- Can I run Windows NT on my Indigo or Indy?
Date: 18 Jan 1994 00:00:01 EST

No. SGI can, but only on Indigos with special hardware and software
modifications and only for demos and porting. There are no known
plans to provide NT on SGI workstations.


Subject: Re: SGI slipping
From: mash@mash.engr.sgi.com (John R. Mashey)
Date: Nov 17 1995
Newsgroups: misc.invest.stocks,comp.graphics

Short version:
(Note: for context, while at MIPS, I was one of the people who helped sell
Microsoft on doing an NT port, I worked with them at various times,
spoke at Microsoft sales meetings, have demoed NT on MIPS-based hardware,
etc... I have even played with an SGI Indigo running NT, and at least
know one of the engineers SGI sent up to Redmond to help get OpenGL into NT.
I.e., while an old UNIX guy, I am not an anti-NT bigot.
Most SGI machines have the necessary machinery to support Little Endian
byte order needed for NT. )
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Adrenaline
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby Adrenaline » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:01 pm

robespierre wrote:NT did run on ARC machines like the MIPS Magnum 4000, and was experimental on ARCS boxes. The support code for NT on SGI machines was internal to Microsoft (or SGI) and never released.

Subject: -20- Can I run Windows NT on my Indigo or Indy?
Date: 18 Jan 1994 00:00:01 EST

No. SGI can, but only on Indigos with special hardware and software
modifications and only for demos and porting. There are no known
plans to provide NT on SGI workstations.


Subject: Re: SGI slipping
From: mash@mash.engr.sgi.com (John R. Mashey)
Date: Nov 17 1995
Newsgroups: misc.invest.stocks,comp.graphics

Short version:
(Note: for context, while at MIPS, I was one of the people who helped sell
Microsoft on doing an NT port, I worked with them at various times,
spoke at Microsoft sales meetings, have demoed NT on MIPS-based hardware,
etc... I have even played with an SGI Indigo running NT, and at least
know one of the engineers SGI sent up to Redmond to help get OpenGL into NT.
I.e., while an old UNIX guy, I am not an anti-NT bigot.
Most SGI machines have the necessary machinery to support Little Endian
byte order needed for NT. )


That would have been neat to see - dual boot between IRIX/NT
:Indigo: 33mhz R3k/48mb/XS24 :Indy: 150mhz R4400/256mb/XL24 :Fuel: 600mhz R14kA/2gb/V10 Image 8x1.4ghz Itanium 2/8GB :O3x08R: 32x600mhz R14kA/24GB :Tezro: 4x700mhz R16k/8GB/V12/DCD/SAS/FC/DM5 (2x) :O3x0: 4x700mhz R16k/4GB :PrismDT: 2x1.6ghz 8mb/12gb/SAS/2xFGL

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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby jan-jaap » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:42 pm

robespierre wrote:NT did run on ARC machines like the MIPS Magnum 4000, and was experimental on ARCS boxes. The support code for NT on SGI machines was internal to Microsoft (or SGI) and never released.

Is Windows on MIPS big endian or little endian?

See, most SGI PROMs identify themselves like this:

Code: Select all

SGI Version 6.2 Rev A IP28 Jun 10, 1996

Only the Indigo2 R4000 is subtly different:

Code: Select all

SGI Version 5.1 Rev B IP22 Sep 16, 1993 (BE)

This implies there's an LE (little endian) PROM as well.
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mia
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby mia » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:53 pm

Please allow me to schred some light on this fateful Indigo 2.

I have emailed Amy, and this is her reply regarding this piece of history.

"From 1994 to 1998 we owned Softimage, a 3D animation software that originally only really ran on the SGI hardware. Movies with special effects produced with Softimage products during Microsoft's ownership included Titanic, Starship Troopers and Men in Black. Games included Resident Evil, Tekken 2 and Super Mario 64. (Jurassic Park was before we bought them)

Here are the specs from the machine in our collection (as cataloged):

MIPS R4400 IP22 Processor - 200 Mhz ; 64 MB : 384 MB 19.5 x 19.5 x 5.25 in. + 1 keyboard, 1 mouse.
Summary: Drive: Tape drive - 8mm cartridge
Card: Graphics board - GU1-Extreme
Card: Galileo video - ev1 video
Software: IRIX 6.5 operating system (?)
Special Collections -- Hardware.
Other Author: Silicon Graphics Computer Systems.
Model Number: CMNB007Y100
Extreme = 64-bit workstation
Data cache size -16 Kb
Instruction cache size - 16 Kb
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size - 1 Mb

During our ownership of Softimage, the software was ported to the NT platform--so not to SGI, but from :-)

Softimage was purchased by Avid in 1998, who later sold the brand to Autodesk.

I should also say that this specific machine was probably not purchased by Microsoft--it came from an employee that had it as part of his "past life" not related to Microsoft. But the machine fits our collection because of the Softimage connection."
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby jpstewart » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:13 pm

Neat story! Thanks for taking the time to do the research, mia. And thanks again for sharing the info here.
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hamei
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby hamei » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:28 pm

mia wrote:During our ownership of Softimage, the software was ported to the NT platform--so not to SGI, but from :-)

There were many unkind people who claimed at the time that the entire reason for Mickeysoft to purchase Softimage was to damage SGI and Alias | Wavefront / Maya. When they had achieved that laudable goal, they dumped Softimage into the garbage.

I don't know why anyone would impart such underhanded motives to Mickeysoft, they are such an upstanding company and pillar of the community, but you know how people behave when they are envious of success :(
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robespierre
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby robespierre » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:50 pm

jan-jaap wrote:Is Windows on MIPS big endian or little endian?

See, most SGI PROMs identify themselves like this:

Code: Select all

SGI Version 6.2 Rev A IP28 Jun 10, 1996

Only the Indigo2 R4000 is subtly different:

Code: Select all

SGI Version 5.1 Rev B IP22 Sep 16, 1993 (BE)

This implies there's an LE (little endian) PROM as well.


There was a whole generation of PROMs that stated their endianness:

Code: Select all

PROM Monitor SGI Version 4.0.5G Rev B IP20,  Nov 10, 1992 (BE)
PROM Monitor SGI Version 5.1 Rev B3 IP24 Sep 17, 1993 (BE)


NT on MIPS is little-endian, the same as x86, Alpha, and PowerPC. But I don't know that the PROM is closely linked to that, in fact PROM monitors in general have fairly few connections to an OS, since they pass control to a boot loader and (with the exception of Digital's SRM) aren't re-entered while the OS is loaded.
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chicaneuk
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby chicaneuk » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:20 pm

Thanks for taking the time to contact the archivist and answer this mystery so quickly, mia! I did Google for contact details but could only find a phone number and didn't think that would be a good way to go! :-)
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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby foetz » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:08 am

nice find and even nicer info. thanks to all of you :)

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Re: Microsoft archive video - Indigo2 spotted!

Unread postby SPSDOD » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:15 am

robespierre wrote:NT did run on ARC machines like the MIPS Magnum 4000, and was experimental on ARCS boxes.

Talk about serendipity,
I am ¾ through reading Showstopper! In the book, Dave Cutler (Microsoft lead architect of NT) was a huge proponent of MIPS processors and a tyrant in regards to keeping both the x86 and MIPS versions of NT as closely aligned as possible by limiting the use of x86 assembly code in NT's builds (unless absolutely necessary) -- advocating C for everything as he considered C++ too messy. Although, some programmers slipped x86 assembly in when they could get away with it.

Cutler was also one of the few programmers that had a MIPS workstation available to develop NT on. As such he would go out of his way to help junior programmers working on NT builds for MIPS. A large portion of the MIPS workstations at Microsoft (82 or 84) during NT's development were used by QA to test NT's performance.

Another concept I gleaned from Showstopper! was the idea of NT as an operating system with Windows as its personality. Given the stereotype of Microsoft's corporate culture and business practices I had never really thought of Windows NT in this fashion: "Windows/NT," like BSD/Mach or GNU/Linux.

Showstopper! is an excellent read and I feel most members of the message board would enjoy it.
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