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IRIX Operating System

In this article, you will learn about the IRIX operating system with its history and features.

What is IRIX Operating System?

IRIX Operating System

IRIX is a defunct OS. It was mainly designed by Silicon Graphics (SGI) to operate on the organizations proprietary MIPS servers and workstations. It is built on UNIX System V and includes BSD extensions. SGI created the XFS file system and the organization-standard OpenGL graphics system for IRIX operating system.

SGI's IRIX operating system is based on the industry standard UNIX. As a result, a foundation for high-tech and visual computing was established. It is compatible with the UNIX system V version 4 and regular UNIX 95. As a result, it supports POSIX and is the year 2000 compliant, among other things. IRIX is utilized on sgi's unique workstations such as the Octane, Onyx, Iris, etc.

History of IRIX Operating System

SGI developed the term "IRIX". in 1988 for version 3.0 of the OS for the SGI IRIS 4D series of servers and workstations. Previous releases are only known by a release number prefixed with "4D1-1", such as 4D1-2.2. In the official documentation, the "4D1-" prefix was still used to prefix IRIX release numbers. SGI originally packaged the GL2 OS based on UniSoft UniPlus Technology V Unix and used the proprietary MEX (Multiple EXposure) windowing technologies.

IRIX OS 3.x is based on UNIX System V Release 3 with 4.3BSD enhancements, and it includes the 4Sight windowing system, which is based on NeWS and IRIS GL. The System V filesystem is replaced by SGI;'s Extent File System (EFS). IRIX version 4.0 was released in 1991. It was used to replace 4Sight with the X Window System (X11R4), which contains the 4Dwm window manager and looks identical to 4Sight. IRIX 5.0, introduced in 1993, has several UNIX System V Release 4 technologies, such as ELF executables. The XFS journaling file system was introduced in IRIX 5.3.

IRIX 6.0, released in 1994, included support for the 64-bit MIPS R8000 CPU but otherwise resembled IRIX 5.2. The IRIX OS version 6.x releases support more MIPS processor family members in 64-bit mode, and IRIX OS version 6.3 was available only for the SGI O2 workstation. For the Octane, Origin 2000, and Onyx2 platforms, IRIX 6.4 increased multiprocessor scalability. However, it only incorporates a subset of the original Cellular IRIX distributed OS idea, and the Origin 2000 and Onyx2 IRIX OS version 6.4 were marketed as "Cellular IRIX".

IRIX version 6.5 was launched in May 1998 and was the last major version. IRIX 6.5 has four minor releases after being updated every three months up to 2005. Each IRIX OS release up to version 6.5.22 has two branches: a maintenance release (denoted by an "m" suffix), which only provides fixes to the original IRIX 6.5 code, and a feature release (denoted by an "f" suffix), which also contains upgrades and enhancements. Versions 6.5.23 and higher needed an active Silicon Graphics support contract, but an overlay update from 6.5.x to the 6.5.22 maintenance release was free to download.

IRIX was considered to be in a "critical" state by Computerworld in 2001. SGI had been focusing its efforts on Linux OS and the Windows-based SGI Visual Workstation, but users persuaded SGI to continue supporting MIPS and IRIX systems until 2006. SGI published a press statement on September 6, 2006, announcing the conclusion of the MIPS and IRIX product lines. Unless by special arrangement, final deliveries were made in March 2007 after production ceased on December 29, 2006. These items no longer get updates and support, which terminated in December 2013.

SGI declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was bought out by Rackable Systems, which Hewlett-Packard Enterprise bought out in 2016. After 2007, all SGI hardware was based on either IA-64 or x86-64 architecture, rendering it incompatible with IRIX and built for Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. HPE has made no intentions to develop or release the IRIX source code.

Features of IRIX Operating System

There are various features of the IRIX operating system. Some features of the IRIX operating system are as follows:

  1. IRIX OS version 6.5 supports 1e/2c draught 15 ACLs, UNIX 95, and POSIX compliant.
  2. IRIX has extensive support for real-time disc and graphics I/O. IRIX OS was one of the first widely deployed UNIX versions to offer a graphical user interface for the primary desktop. Long after other rivals have overtaken its capabilities, IRIX continues to fulfil specialized functions in some media production firms and scientific modelling.
  3. It was the first OS to enable system-wide OpenGL for desktop apps, games, and rendering tools like Alias Power Animator.
  4. IRIX OS utilized the IRIX Interactive Desktop, which had a unique style based on the Motif Window Manager and used the 4Dwm X window manager. IRIX is well known for its Performance Co-Pilot device.
  5. The MIPSPro compiler formed the foundation for the Open64 compile, which was the main compiler for SGI IRIX.
  6. IRIX's front and back end both use the MIPSPro Compiler. The compiler, also known as IDO (IRIS Development Option) in previous versions, was published in several versions, many of which are tied to the OS version. The most recent version was 7.4.4m, which was developed for 6.5.19 or later. The compiler supports parallel POSIX programming in Fortran 77/90, C/C++, and Ada. For development, the Workshop GUI IDE is utilized. Speedshop for performance tweaking and Performance Co-Pilot are two more tools.

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