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IRIX in virtual machines

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:58 pm
by matt123b
I was wondering if any of you have had success in running any version of IRIX in a virtual machine. SGI hardware is getting old now and I'm worried that some time in the future I won't be able to use it at all when good parts become too expensive or hard to find. So what are our emulation options? I know that QEMU has MIPS support so I guess that would be a start. Does anyone know if those processors are the kind that are in any SGI machines? I've searched around for information on this and I can't get a clear answer on it, and a lot of the posts are like 10-20 years old. I don't want to be stuck with only MaXX Interactive on Fedora in the case of what I mentioned above. If emulation of SGI hardware isn't at a point where we could boot IRIX, what stops people from developing software to let people do it? It would be a great service to future generations that might also enjoy using this cool OS and all of the programs out there for it. What stops people from making something like SheepShaver?

And yes, I know that the whole SGI experience is hardware AND software, but I don't want to throw both away because I can't have one.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Re: IRIX in virtual machines

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:48 pm
by uunix
Yes, there is a product called madrone.

Re: IRIX in virtual machines

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:55 pm
by Raion-Fox
A large portion of SGI hardware is poorly documented and nobody wants to sacrifice hardware for destructive analysis methods. It isn't like an Amiga, amigas are well understood and twice as simple as it. The processor isn't the hard part. It is all the little custom chips and pieces, especially the graphics hardware, and the fact that just in the last 10 or so years have computers begun to significantly surpass the technical capabilities of the SGIs that this could potentially happen.

There's another hurdle. The other platforms have a benefit of having a gaming community behind them. On SGI we dont have that luxury.

If you want to try and make an emulator start with something easy like an Indy or Indigo1

Re: IRIX in virtual machines

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:08 pm
by dexter1
Raion-Fox wrote:If you want to try and make an emulator start with something easy like an Indy or Indigo1

Correct, and there are currently efforts underway to emulate an Indy, see viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16730487
When successful, this should be able to run IRIX emulated: In that thread there is mention of a qemu user development which can partly boot IRIX in a headless Indy emulation.

Re: IRIX in virtual machines

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:59 pm
by nyef
My own interest begins at Octane, and moves quickly to Origin. Unfortunately, last I checked, QEMU doesn't support any specific MIPS IV CPU, which basically leaves me at somewhat of a loss (CPU emulators are a pain to get right). Even simulating a headless Octane would be a win as far as I'm concerned.

Really, the bits that I'm actually worried about being able to emulate are the CPU and the SCSI controller. What I've seen of HEART, XBow, BRIDGE, and IOC3 seem quite doable, especially after getting Linux running on my O350. And AIUI MAD is more or less a DMA engine and some externals.