SGI Software Usability II (IRIX 5.1 memo)

Jose R. Valverde jrvalverde at
Sat Oct 14 01:59:55 AEST 2017

Talking out of memory, but I still remember hacking the system to make
it work.

We had bought two SGI systems, a large one (a Power Challenge) with
16 CPUs and 768MB and an Indy with 16MB. Each had its own version
of the system. We also had several Indigos to which I had access.

The Indy wouldn't boot correctly or fail miserably very soon after
booting after I had installed a number of FLOSS software packages 
on it. I don't remember what triggered the problem, some kind of
interaction with the hardware. So I took to the header files and
assembler code that came with the system, deduced what each parameter
meant and, from that what the original code should have looked like to
explain the behaviour, then compared with the (meager) code for the
other systems, and came up with a patch that would ensure that the
system would boot and run without crashing.

So, yes, as shipped 5.1 was unusable on an Indy. I have looked to see
if I still keep the patches around, but it was so long ago that I can't
find anything from the date (and besides, I've switched through many
other systems since).


It allowed me to work fairly well until 5.3. 

On Thu, 12 Oct 2017 07:00:21 -0700
Larry McVoy <lm at> wrote:
> I strongly suspect it was true, Tom Davis was an SGI employee as
> were the other people mentioned.  
> On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 02:04:43PM +0100, Michael-John Turner wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I came across this on Lobsters[1] today and thought it may be of
> > interest to the list:
> >
> > 
> > It appears to be an internal SGI memo that's rather critical of
> > IRIX 5.1. Does anyone know if it's true?
> > 
> > [1]
> > 
> > Cheers, MJ
> > -- 
> > Michael-John Turner * mj at *  
> -- 
> ---
> Larry McVoy            	     lm at

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