The collected works of sgifanatic - Page 1

TypeZero wrote:
Did you by any chance buy your adapter from this guy? If so, I'd be curious to know how it works out for you, and if not, I'd like to know your source.


I did buy an adapter from this guy. The description on the item was, "13W3 to PC/VGA/HD15 cable adapter SGI Indy workstation" and it worked fine. I have tried it with an Indy, 3 Indigos and an Octane and it worked ok on all of them. No green tint or anything.

Now, that said, I think $30 for an adaptor which doesn't have any logic circuitry and is simply routing cables is a bit ridiculous; at the time I didn't feel like acquiring 13w3 connectors, 15-pin vga connectors and building a cable myself since I thought I only needed one. However, now that I've got several new SGI boxen and will probably require 4 or 5 of these, I'll be ordering the components to build these myself.
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I recently came across this post which details how the author was able to get the MIPS version of NT running on QEMU via the MIPS64 emulation implemented by QEMU.

http://virtuallyfun.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... -past.html

This got me wondering whether it would be possible to run IRIX in a similar way, on a VM on an Intel box. Has anyone tried to do this? Is it possible?
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I did some further searching and found that there is actually an emulator for x86 that IRIX has been ported to and runs on.

Here's some more info:

http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/Emulators

Look under the "SimOS" section. The link appears dead so I'll search some more and try and figure out where the project ended up.

Update: Nevermind! The SimOS project was the academic precursor to VMware. There is currently no SimOS support and the project hasn't been worked on for a decade. Moreover, the IRIX kernel it used was modified and was available for download under restrictions from Stanford... unfortunately that is no longer the case. Well, we know it's technically possible, but apparently there's no easy way to accomplish this feat today.
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Welcome to the board! I experimented with Xenix back in '90. I had just entered my teens and was fascinated with Un*x systems. Had a SCO server running on an 80386 box and a Xenix system. I eventually got a hold of some Maxterms and was actually able to get a 3-user setup going via a serial network. It was magical :-)
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I think a lot of people are discovering that the iPad replaces neither a phone, nor a laptop, nor a desktop. And with the neverending distractions we all have in our busy, modern lives, is there really enough time to spend on *yet* another device?

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/6f638e54-db10 ... l?hpt=Sbin

Netbooks stole the Laptop market's thunder 3-4 years ago and grew really fast. But today, that segment is shrinking. Laptops have not been replaced. They are very much around. I think Tablets will certainly be a popular form factor, but the overall penetration potential is limited. I don't think the tablet will in any event become the new de-facto client, as many analysts are/were projecting.

Zooming in from the macro view, I do own an iPad. It's fun to use, but I keep running into limitations. As Skywriter mentioned, since you can't scroll HTML textareas, using any kind of web based app that requires significant text entry (Forums, email apps, newgroups, CRM etc.) is painful if not impossible. The lack of state-preservation across open tabs in the browser means that often, as you switch from tab to tab, the entire page reloads. If you've typed content in one of these pages, too bad. It's all gone. I still don't enjoy typing on the iPad one bit. I've owned it pretty much since it came out and have never gotten used to the widely spaced keyboard which is not fit for one-handed typing ala iPhone, and nor is it fit for netbook style two-handed typing. Also, I think I've had too much of Apple's controlling approach to everything from storage expansion, to batteries, to choice of carrier to how apps get approved and installed. Once you've had enough of the kool-aid and the initial excitement starts to wane, you do tend to find these aspects more than a bit irritating.

Who has the most fun with the iPad? Probably my kids, who play games on it. But even they spend more time with their netbook since the bulk of the websites they visit are Flash based (educational content, flash games etc.) and none of those work on the iPad.

I would wait for the next round of Windows based tablets before making up my mind on which device to go with.
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I'm a software entrepreneur.
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ramq wrote: Systems consultant in IT - mainly in storage, hardware and virtualization.


That's interesting. I'm involved pretty heavily in virtualization also. Are you focused more on the server side or desktops (VDI)? Which Hypervisors do you typically employ?
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I found this article about video conferencing systems in my old BYTE collection. The two pages below discuss SGI's InPerson video conferencing system. Has anyone used this? Any references or pointers on how to get it going on a LAN with Indy(s)?
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Thanks, Recondas! Once I am done with the current set of projects, getting InPerson running on a couple of my Indys would be a nice experiment to do...
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Good to know, Jose. My primary motivation would be to relive the thrill... Hardly anything is a big deal nowadays and that, perhaps, has robbed us of a lot of fun and excitement.
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Very cool Pentium! I have seen couple of Wiki postings on this, but not based on the numbered pins on the Indy's mainboard. If you don't mind, could you please post the wiring diagram you used to get this to work?
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Thank you very much!
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Wonderful pictures! I've got a couple of O2s which I haven't really done much work on yet. A 200Mhz R5K and a 195Mhz R10K.

You've configured your desktop to look real spiffy... if you don't mind, I have a few questions:

1) Where did you find that nice sgi background? It's really cool. I've had a lot of trouble getting image backgrounds to show up in IRIX without dithering or other weirdness with colours. How did you get it to show up? Did you edit the bg config or did you use a tool?

2) Can't quite tell, but it seems you have updated, nicer looking app icons than what I got with a stock 6.5.30 install. Did you install new icons? If yes, would love to know where you got the set from.

3) What is your FF browsing experience like? Do you have JS turned off?

4) I see a repaint issue on my Octane and Indigo shown in this video: http://tinypic.com/r/6501sx/7 . Whenever I move my windows on top of icons and then move them away to expose the icons again, there's this desktop repaint which happens that bugs the heck out of me. Also, every time I move windows the background area that was previously covered flashes for a fraction of a second with a weird colour and then goes back to being normal. Does this happen with you on your O2?
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Thanks for that info. I've tried it. But the image still doesn't appear to be "true colour". The funny thing is that it shows up in xv looking a lot nicer than when it is rendered as a background.
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^^ Will do as soon as I get home. On the road for a couple of weeks :-(
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[[C|-|E]] wrote: 1) I made the background with Photoshop in my PC :D . I used a free blue abstract background as a template and I added some lights and shadows to it. Then, I took a black and white SGI logo and I put it into the image adding the glow effect. If you like it, I can upload the background, as well as some other backgrounds I made that are similar to this one. To display the background I just followed this Nekochan tuto: http://www.nekochan.net/wiki/index.php/Use_Custom_Background_on_Irix

2) Nope, I did not install new icons. They are the default ones.

3) FF in my O2 is sloooow. I mean, you can use it for normal web browsing, but you have to be a bit patient. I still have to configure it properly, but it seems that it will not improve a lot. It is the same for all the 02 and low-end MIPS machines.

4) No... I do not have the repaint problem on my O2. In fact, I am a bit surprised because it really moves all the application windows really really fast :) .


Thanks! Yeah, if you wouldn't mind sharing that wonderful background, I would appreciate it! And I'm sure so would other nekochan'ers.

Bummer re browsing, but that's kind of what I expected since FF is pretty slow on my Octane too.

Once I get back home I'll try to sort out the mysterious Octane repaint issue. It's been bugging the crap out of me.

And if I haven't said it before, your machine looks beautiful. Good job on the setup! Cheers!
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In http://forums.nekochan.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16725178 , I shared news of my recent (substantial!) acquisition of SGI stuff. In order to get some of these machines operational, I am looking for a rapid and somewhat automated means of installing IRIX. I have done quite a few IRIX installations with CDs (5.3 and 6.2.30) but the process can take hours per system if done the "hard" way. Is there a better way? Can an NFS installation just proceed from disk source to disk source without requiring any manual interaction? What about the other stuff, like SGI freeware and Nekoware installations... any way to automate those?
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I've got an Ubuntu box exporting an NFS share to my O2. I use the Ubuntu box to snag YouTube videos I like (music videos etc.) and save them on the exported NFS share. I use keepvid.com to download the streams and store them as MPEG4 movies. These play back great on PCs but when I use mplayer (neko/mips4) to play them back all I get is audio. The video shows nothing - mainly a black screen and sometimes a static frame of noise. I do get the audio fine.

I used mencoder lavl to convert the video to mpeg4, but that didn't help either. After 1 minute of audio playing I got one video frame and that's it. Nothing further, no other motion or changes in the video at all. I have played around with the video output driver (X, SGI, gl2, gl etc.) and that doesn't make any difference.

Any clues?
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Update: ffplay works, but performance is really bad. Frame rate is maybe 3-5fps and audio keeps stuttering. Interesting thing is that mplayer uses ffmpeg also, so I don't know what that doesn't work.

Are there any noteworthy mplayer switches to make it run faster? I tried dropframes and all the other switches that logically seemed like they would make a difference, but no joy thus far. Also use libmpeg2 and that only outputs sound with no video window even showing up.
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jimmer, where could one find this specially coded xvid player?
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Thanks jimmer and mmk, I did download irixdivx and tried that too. It didn't play the MP4 files. Here is what is working, though this is far from perfect:

1. Download video from keepvid as MP4
2. Transfer over to O2 over NFS
3. ffmpeg -i <videofile.mp4> <newvideofile.mpg>
4. mediaplayer <newvideofile.mpg>

Operation #3 reduced the size of a 26MB video to about 10.5MB which means there is some downsampling going on. The quality isn't all that great. Pixellates the moment you make the video big. BUT the good news is that it plays without missing frames, at native speed, and is perfectly in synch with the audio. There is definitely a difference between mediaplayer performance when compared to both ffplay and irixdivx.

I just wanted to document the above so that others who might be trying to play youtube videos on IRIX might find these steps when they search the forum.
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Just to demonstrate the somewhat happy ending, here's Aqua, my O2 R10K 195Mhz 128MB happily running:

Dillo
Gimp
Xmms
Mplayer with YouTube video
Clock
aterm
winterm

At the time I took this snapshot I was running a video I downloaded from YouTube, and had a 1920x1080 image open in YouTube. Probably also had 4-5 Dillo windows going. Thanks to [C-E] for the background! I'm using it!
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Congrats... sounds like a nice buy. I recently picked up a boat load of I2s and have been working on resurrecting them. That project is only partially complete: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16725178

There are a lot of good apps that are part of nekoware. I've recently been experimenting with ffplay, ffpmeg and mplayer. My O2 is now playing (low quality) videos, and I've got xmms playing out some period-appropriate 90s era rock too :-)

Since you're wondering about disk performance, Ian Mapleson has published disk performance numbers for an extensive set of SCSI drives. Check his page out here and you might find the drives you are trying to compare: http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/diskdata.html

Do you plan on using your system for programming or just general pottering around? Re your comment about upgrading Netscape, you'll get Firefox with nekoware, but I also find Dillo very handy. Yes, it won't do any complex websites, but if you're just running google queries and looking up mostly text based websites, most news sites, wikipedia etc. it is very, very fast and works without consuming much RAM. Instead of opening up multiple FF tabs, you might be better off using FF only for the more "modern" websites that absolutely need it.
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Thanks SAQ and deBug, that's useful. uridium's approach also seems appealing to a lazy guy like me :-)

deBug, if you ever do write that guide or get the awesome installation system you describe up and running, please be sure to let me know! I'd love to use it.
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vishnu wrote: BTW, for those who may be wondering, the video sgifanatic is playing is Roxette's "Listen to Your Heart," featuring the ├╝ber-fantabulous Marie Fredriksson... :mrgreen:


Hell yes. I'm planning a vacation with the family to Stockholm and Halmstad so we can be in the same neighbourhood as Marie and Per. Even if for a while. They are simply too darn cool.
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Completely understand and can relate to what you said... SGI *was*, somehow, oddly inspirational. There was something about their systems and their image which went beyond polygon numbers and SPEC benchmarks. I posted the story behind my own introduction to SGI ( viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16724795&hilit=iris+indigo+reborn ) and I think you'll probably find many people here that feel the same way you do. I have a lot of trouble coming to grips with the fact that the SGI workstation line will never grow, there won't even be another IRIX release, when support ends for the Fuel in a couple of years, there probably won't ever even be a patch released, and slowly, any mention of these amazing machines will be erased from sgi.com. Depressing, to say the least.

Also, I don't know if there will be another computer company - an honest to goodness *computer* company - that will be as inspirational as SGI or NeXT. Some of the greatest software work ever was done on these machines specifically because they *were* inspirational. Mosaic was developed on SGI systems and the very first web server was built on NeXT. Berners-Lee even said he did it because the shiny new NeXT inspired him to start coding. The value of inspiration cannot be underestimated...

Meanwhile the future for UNIX continues to look incredibly bleak. Oracle has consumed Sun and I think that situation will continue to get worse. Ultimately, the SPARC line - which really is what makes Sun unique - will go away. I just feel that coming... IBM is doing well with POWER, but then again, as you said, IBM is not particularly exciting or inspirational. At the heart of it, I think the problem is that the lowest-common denominator (the PC architecture) has come so far along that no task/application that's worth addressing today is beyond its capabilities. Ultimately, SGI had a good 2 decade run because they could do something the PC just simply couldn't. Ditto for Sun. In a very specific way (i.e. dev environment) for NeXT too. Now, all that's changed. In fact, the irony is that today you can probably do stuff on PCs (GPGPU computing) that you can't do on a POWER AIX workstation! Sad but true. The workstation companies couldn't keep up and now we're all left reading about odd looking commoditized gaming systems in Maximum PC and CPU magazine where once we had glorious (and truly unique) Unix systems grace the cover of BYTE.
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vishnu wrote: Jim Clark rang the warning bell in 1993 but the fat cats on SGI's board wouldn't listen.


Re. Jim Clark's views at the time, is there any recommended reading you can point us to? I've read The New New Thing and Netscape Time and both those have some references to Clark's SGI days, but if there is something beyond this that you've seen/read, please do share.
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smj wrote: You already know lots of people have gronked up things to find the lowest loaded host in a set and launch apps accordingly - from very simplistic to baroque. Have you considered something like (Open)MOSIX, that would give you behavior like a single system image? That's consistent with SGIs history on the Onyx/high-end side and lets you focus on the ideas you mentioned about evolving 4Dwm. SSI may get you the display redirection for "free."


OpenMOSIX is a good thought, though I am not sure about ARM support. I need to look that up... thanks for the tip. SSI would be awesome as it would be consistent with SGI's modern architectural evolution!


smj wrote: More interesting question - you have molds for casting the front panel bits, and measurements/plans for the sheetmetal. Any thought of taking orders...?


Sure, why not. The casting doesn't capture all the minute details to the point (e.g. the plastic catches on the top rear of the Indigo front panel) where you could just replace an Indigo faceplate with an aluminum one without some grinding and customization. However, I can definitely do the entire case and make everything fit perfectly together in an all metal version. Since the production would be low volume, there will be some cost involved obviously. Depending on interest, I would love to do something like this. What do you think a reasonable price would be for an entire case with faceplate, backplate and the body? Or do you think there would be interest in a completely finished quad-board ARM system like I've built?
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Hmm, I just saw they have a Pandaboard version for RISC OS. Yes, this could be interesting to try out. I'll try to find some time to give it a whirl.
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mopar5150, would you consider signing me up for one (or two) also in case you win? I won't bid... and since all the SGI folks are pretty much here on nekochan, I think this will come through for you :-)
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Thanks so much!
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Theodric, Thank you for your interest. I will do a little back of the envelope cost calculation and get back to you very soon.
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theinonen wrote: Looking good.

Now all you need to do is install RISC OS for it. Linux is too boring for a system like that.


What an absolute pain RISC OS is being... tried it on a Pandaboard and there's something seriously broken. More than an hour to boot, 45 minutes just to log in. Doesn't work right. Will start from scratch and try to figure out what the heck is going on.

In the meanwhile, can someone tell me where I can get 5DWM for Ubuntu? maxxdesktop.com seems to be down.
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pierocks wrote:
sgifanatic wrote: The software load balancer I outlined in my initial concept posts about this project has not been done yet. That will probably take a while to do and is a project in its own right. However, once that is done, I should have the ability to run any Linux app and have it automatically distributed to the least loaded node, with display redirection to the "master" Pandaboard connected to the console.


https://computing.llnl.gov/linux/slurm/

I used to manage some compute clusters and I still use this software for a few projects at my current job. It's quite handy and easy to manage. Perhaps it could do what you want without reinventing the wheel?


Thanks for the tip. But based on what I see in the docs ( https://computing.llnl.gov/linux/slurm/faq.html ) I don't think slurm supports X display redirection for interactive apps, does it? Seems to be more of a job scheduler/dispatcher.
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For those interested, here is what the back of the case looks like. The four uniform cut-outs are for the Pandaboard HDMI connectors - they appear to be large gaping holes in this pic, but they are not. They are in fact recessed, with a metal sleeve that reaches in and makes contact with the HDMI connectors on the boards, the recessed part that touches the connectors is laser cut to only reveal the connector face, and not expose the rest of the board.

Notice also the single RJ-45 uplink coming out at lower left. That's the uplink from the internal switch.
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How cool are these images :-) Credit to my friend [[C-E]] - I am using the desktop background he did for his beloved O2.

Ubuntu showing nekochan and an "indigo" theme. The second image shows two displays connected to the system. With Synergy I can span kb/mouse across all 8 displays. With X redir I can run apps on all 8 screens from a single master system. I am going to add some shared storage via NFS. Need to think of some uber cool applications for the 4 wifi NICs I have in this box... streaming, security... something!

By the way, 5dwm is completely off the radar. The maxxdesktop website is down, archive.org hasn't cached the installable bits and I can't find it ANYWHERE else. If anyone knows where I can get it, please let me know.

Meanwhile, enjoy the pics - these are video screen grabs. I am going to clean up the video some and post it later.
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The fastest system I have is a Fuel. I would be willing to connect it up and provide NCommander access also. I have emailed him to offer assistance... let's see.

_________________
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Sent you a PM.
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Good luck and best wishes, Pentium. I hope whatever you're dealing with is over soon and balance is restored to your universe.
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smj wrote:
Alver wrote:
ZFS is cool, and yet it doesn't offer anything at all that I can't do with other tools and solutions, even if they're less of a masturbatory buzzword than ZFS.

Would you mind going into a little more detail about other solutions that meet/exceed the hype ZFS has around ensuring data integrity? That was one of the reasons I went with it... Thanks.


I've been using ZFS myself, both at home and for "enterprise" purposes. As a virt store, it's simply the most convenient, self-contained way to do things. Usually when you're doing virt deployments, you don't always have the luxury of handing over to storage experts who will be in perpetual attendance. ZFS taking care of things is a blessing in many ways. Soft raid, SSD-aware placement, built-in snapshotting, integrity, performance, relatively simple management etc. are all good fits for our use case(s). There's also the added benefit that ZFS implementations are available for Solaris and derivatives (most solid, imho), FreeBSD (next best - and free!) as well as Linux. So there's choice as far as the underlying OS is concerned.

BTW, I spent *weeks* with IBM GPFS. Obviously, like most IBM products, it's "well engineered", but what a pain in the *rear* to get up and running. Just an absolute nightmare. No way a medium sized IT dept. familiar with run of the mill v12n systems would be able to deploy or maintain the beast. That's why the v12n storage backends are migrating towards appliance stories. Look at nexenta, pivot3, nutanix, v3 and others. It's all about integrated simplicity. No one wants to jack with 5,000 components individually. ZFS does make things simple(r).

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