IRIX 6.5 Desktop
|Working state||Retired (supported until December 2013)|
|Source model||Closed source|
|Final release||6.5.30 / August 16, 2006|
|Marketing target||Workstations, servers|
|Kernel type||Monolithic kernel|
|Default user interface||IRIX Interactive Desktop|
IRIX is a discontinued operating system developed by Silicon Graphics (SGI) to run natively on their MIPS workstations and servers. It is based on UNIX System V with BSD extensions. IRIX was the first operating system to include the XFS file system.
The last major version of IRIX was IRIX 6.5, which was released in May 1998. New minor versions of IRIX 6.5 were released every quarter until 2005; since then there have been four further minor releases. Through version 6.5.22, there were two branches of each release: a maintenance release (identified by an m suffix to the version number) that included only fixes to the original IRIX 6.5 code, and a feature release (with an f suffix) that included improvements and enhancements. An overlay upgrade from 6.5.x to the 6.5.22 maintenance release is available as a free download, whereas versions 6.5.23 and higher require an active Silicon Graphics support contract, despite only running on Silicon Graphics hardware.
The IRIX name was first used around the time of release 3.0 of the operating system for SGI's IRIS 4D series of workstations and servers, in 1988. Previous releases were identified only by the release number prefixed by "4D1-", e.g. "4D1-2.2". The 4D1- prefix continued to be used in official documentation to prefix IRIX release numbers.
IRIX 3.x was based on UNIX System V Release 3 with 4.3BSD enhancements, and incorporated the 4Sight windowing system, based on NeWS and IRIS GL. SGI's own Extent File System (EFS) replaced the System V filesystem.
In 1994, IRIX 6.0 added support for the 64-bit MIPS R8000 processor, but was otherwise similar to IRIX 5.2. Later 6.x releases supported other members of the MIPS processor family in 64-bit mode. IRIX 6.3 was released for the SGI O2 workstation only. IRIX 6.4 improved multiprocessor scalability for the Octane, Origin 2000, and Onyx2 systems. The Origin 2000 and Onyx2 IRIX 6.4 was marketed as "Cellular IRIX", although it only incorporated some features from the original Cellular IRIX distributed operating system project. IRIX development stabilized with IRIX 6.5, released in 1998. The last version of IRIX was 6.5.30, released in August 2006.
A 2001 Computerworld review found IRIX in a "critical" state. SGI had been moving its efforts to Linux and Windows,[a] but MIPS/IRIX customers had forced it to continue to support that platform through 2006. On September 6 of that year, an SGI press release heralded the end of the MIPS/IRIX product line. Production ended on December 29, 2006, with last deliveries in March 2007, except by special arrangement. Support for these products ended in December 2013 and they will receive no further updates.
Due to the bankruptcy of Silicon Graphics and its subsequent purchase by Rackable Systems, all current 'SGI' hardware is x86-64-based, incapable of running MIPS code, and shipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
IRIX had strong support for real-time disk and graphics I/O. IRIX was one of the first Unix versions to feature a graphical user interface for the main desktop environment. IRIX was widely used in the computer animation industry and for scientific visualization due to its once-large application base.
IRIX was a leader in Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP), scalable from 1 to greater than 1024 processors with a single system image.
IRIX used the MIPSPro 7.4 Compiler for both its front end and back end. The compiler was designed to support parallel POSIX programming in C/C++, Fortran 77/90, and Ada. The Workshop GUI IDE was used for development. Other tools include Speedshop for performance tuning, and Performance Co-Pilot.
IRIX also supported OpenGL for graphics chips and Image processing libraries.
- SGI Support of MIPS IRIX Products Continues to December 2013 SGI Services & Support
- "History of IRIX". 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- Tracy Perkins (1993-05-25). "Silicon Graphics announces compliance of MIPS ABI". Newsgroup: comp.sys.sgi.announce. Usenet: firstname.lastname@example.org. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- "SGIstuff : Software : Irix Versions". Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- Dave Olson (1999-11-04). "Re: Blue Mountain / Origin 2000". Newsgroup: comp.sys.super. Usenet: JQbU3.135$PR.email@example.com. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- Tom Yager (November 19, 2001). "Vital Signs for Unix". Computerworld. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- "SGI - Services & Support: End of General Availability for MIPS IRIX Products". Archived from the original on 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- "SGI Support of MIPS® IRIX® Products Changes December 2013". Retrieved 2014-03-03.
- www.operating-system.org, IRIX 6.1
- docs.cray.com, SGI IRIX 6.x MIPS