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Hardware-Accelerated Graphics On SGI O2 Under NetBSD

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the progress-in-unexpected-places dept.

GUI 75

Zadok_Allan writes "It's a bit late, but since many readers will remember the SGI O2 fondly, this might interest a few. The gist of the story is this: NetBSD now supports hardware accelerated graphics on the O2 both in X and in the kernel. We didn't get any help from SGI, and the documentation available doesn't go beyond a general description and a little theory of operation, which is why it took so long to figure it out. The X driver still has a few rough edges (all the acceleration frameworks pretty much expect a mappable linear framebuffer, if you don't have one — like on most SGI hardware — you'll have to jump through a lot of hoops and make sure there's no falling back to cfb and friends) but it supports XRENDER well enough to run KDE 3.5. Yes, it's usable on a 200MHz R5k O2. Not quite as snappy as any modern hardware but nowhere near as sluggish as you'd expect, and since Xsgi doesn't support any kind of XRENDER support, let alone hardware acceleration, pretty much anything using anti-aliased fonts gets a huge performance boost out of this compared to IRIX."

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Related news (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981099)

I finaly replaced the carb on '84 accord, and now the engine doesn't stall. Too bad, it's all rusted and missing a wheel.

Re:Related news (1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981329)

Boo! This has the potential to devalue my Irix 6.5 System Administration certification.

Re:Related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27984261)


Elegy For *BSD


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

UC BERKELEY - NACHOS? (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984629)

When are those idiots at berkeley gonna stop teaching their os class using NACHOS, and move back to writing BSD? Thats whats killing it in my opinion.

Fuel Injection (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984615)

In searching the internet you can add fuel injection to an 84 accord if you'd like. I'd put a thicker jet if i were you. Does it have a roter or a coil pack?

No kidding (0)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984791)

This seems really, really pointless. I mean yes, I understand these were high end graphics workstations. Ok, fine, but it has been so long, and consumer technology has progressed so much that now regular consumer graphics cards run circles around them. I can understand interest in them even some time after their prime, since their high end hardware had support for things that much consumer hardware didn't, even if the consumer hardware was pushing triangles faster, but that's not the case any longer. A GeForce GTX 280, or hell a cheap GeForce 9600GT, will annihilate the graphics hardware in one of these in every way.

Hi I'm a 40y/old virgin, married twice. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27985201)

We licked eachother alot, but didn't bust my hymen so that makes me still a virgin according to the Cathaholic Chruch. Maybe we can start dating and if it leads to a better relationship we can take it to the next level. Must be clean with no STD's, though I take a shower and am "clean" every day and that gets rid of this horrible rash of oozing pustules that form maybe 1 out of 4 months.

Cal me, lover...

X0x0>O

Re:Related news (1)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985837)

The computer equivalent of that would be a Dell 486. The O2's would be at least a Corvette.

Hmmm... (3, Funny)

crumbz (41803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981133)

Weird. Yesterday I was just perusing the SGI discard bin on eBay to see if I could pickup (another!) workstation for under $200 or so. I love those machines, despite IRIX, for surfing the web, e-mail, etc. Now if only Valve would release TF2 for IRIX 6.3 so I can play the sniper update....

Re:Hmmm... (0, Redundant)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981289)

(another!) workstation for under $200 or so.

Does it support Xinerama with hardware acceleration? If not, there's no possible selling point compared to my $500 Dell laptop whatsoever (Intel video card).

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981407)

Oh dear.

Why do you even bother commenting if that is all you can say.

SGI? IRIS? RISC? MIPS?

Please go back to your i386 Ubuntu.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981731)

Well, yeah, SGI, RISC, MIPS, are nice things in general. But IRIX!? That took all credibility out of your post. I think it's *you* who never used this pile of...well...anal excretion.

IRIS != IRIX (2, Informative)

Hazelesque (1423711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982417)

IRIS is not the same thing as IRIX.

IRIS[1] stands for "Integrated Raster Imaging System", and was the name of a series of SGI hardware.

1. See http://www.irisindigo.com/index.php/Main_Page [irisindigo.com]

Re:IRIS != IRIX (0)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983537)

IRIS[1] stands for "Integrated Raster Imaging System", and was the name of a series of SGI hardware.

So, how does that help in the real world?

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981749)

Didn't SGI initially develop Xinermama? It should be conceivable under IRIX.

An SGI Altix would make a fine replacement for a Dell laptop, for those who can live with a little less portability and battery life.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982787)

I have a dual head Octane which supported Xinerama under IRIX... It worked quite smoothly and had acceleration on both heads.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985481)

Dual display, or real SGI dual head? (Back in the day, dual head capability on SGI workstations was having 2 physical users able to use the same machine simultaneously, with one display, one keyboard+mouse each. It was a major feature for Octane's and Onyx's)

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983241)

No. It was DEC.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984375)

No.

It was Rasterman and Mandrake.

Thanks, Enlightenment core team! If nothing else were widely adopted, we owe 'em Xinerama - which got a big boost while both were lads, and picked up by RedHat.

We also owe them for MUCH of the Linux/BSD/Xorg eye-candy. Their implementations may not have been the very best - certainly not the ones that went mainstream. But the blandness of FLTK, Motif, FVWM, etc. suffered in comparison to their freshman efforts at visual pop and sizzle. The direct challenge presented by the Enlightenment visual presentation set a bar and a challenge that the toolkits, window managers and render engines of that time were pressed to meet. More so than OS X or any other contemporary. If you 'Nix looks hotter than Vista or Mac today, then you have these longhaired guys, who didn't sit still when told what was impossible or necessary to thank for it.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27988555)

No. It was DEC [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27990683)

I guess Wikipedia always trumps? If there is code ancestry, I think Geoff Harrison and team made it go into XFree86.
http://www.opensubscriber.com/message/enlightenment-users@lists.sourceforge.net/2875733.html [opensubscriber.com]

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27995677)

Wikipedia is just a reference. I remember that it was DEC. The question wasn't who did work on it in XFree86. It was where did it originate. It originated at DEC.

Re:Hmmm... (-1, Troll)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982089)

Please go back to your i386 Ubuntu.

You mean my amd64 Gentoo? Gladly.

I miss the good old days, too. I liked BeOS. But not that much.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982471)

(another!) workstation for under $200 or so.

Does it support Xinerama with hardware acceleration? If not, there's no possible selling point compared to my $500 Dell laptop whatsoever (Intel video card).

An X driver with lots of rough edges and lots of hoops to jump through? This is different than my Dell laptop with Intel graphics running Linux how, exactly?

Re:Hmmm... (0, Flamebait)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983081)

This is different than my Dell laptop with Intel graphics running Linux how, exactly?

It's not. Learn to read. That was exactly my point.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28027205)

An X driver with lots of rough edges and lots of hoops to jump through?

You may want to read the article again, it said nothing like that. There are no hoops to jump through for the user and you invented the 'lots' of rough edges. The hoops mentioned in the article are about the driver having to keep the Xserver from trying to scribble into video memory.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984825)

there's no possible selling point compared to my $500 Dell laptop whatsoever (Intel video card).

Let's see:

Price: $300 less.
Historical significance: Infinitely higher
Styling: Undeniably better
Architecture: MIPS
Reliability: Vastly more error-resilient hardware

So, those would in fact all be selling points. The fact that they aren't important enough factors for YOU is about as interesting as knowing what computer a single random person someone in the world prefers... In fact, it's EXACTLY the same! So why would you bother to post this banality, or do you in fact believe someone reading slashdot may possibly care?

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981649)

I've been also meaning to buy one. See, missed the opportunity in the 1990s and now regret it.

The problem is that people realize the value of those. There is the additional "classical computing" price sticker, unlike with the x86-crap you can practically get paid to carry out.

But oh, O2 is still such a beauty!

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984385)

I have a few Indigo & Indigo2 machines BEGGING for someone to match this effort for the SGI, "Elan" framebuffer.

Oh, what's five or seven more years of hardware obsolescence to the inspired hacker?

thanx 4 the memories;-) (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981681)

next to vax/vms, irix was my fave dev. platform;-)

Re:Hmmm... (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981875)

At work we were going through our storeroom and came across three SGI O2's, 4 Octanes, 2 indigos and an Onyx (Ok, it's a big storeroom). The boss wanted them to be thrown out. I managed to convince him not too. That these are the sort of machines that may start to increase in price.

I used the Onyx 6 years ago when I first started as a remote X display (or was it an Indigo)? But that's about it. All of them still work.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985405)

I doubt they'll increase in price fast enough to justify storing them. The octanes alone would be worth a mint melted down, as there's an unnatural amount of metal in those things.

The difference between archeology and necrophilia? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981167)

It was a pretty box, with a software stack that was pretty solid. Prodev, Inventor and Performer, in particular, were pretty cool.

Sometimes, though, you just have to let the sleeping dead lie. This box symbolized exactly why SGI ran itself into the ground. Perfect being the enemy of good, and all.

A marriage made on the river Styx (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981413)

BSD is dead. As is SGI.

Re:A marriage made on the river Styx (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983387)

It's totally unfair to rate this as flamebait. If any BSD user feels baited by the millionth "BSD is dead" post, he well deserves it.

And, frankly, I guess everybody saw this coming.

I could rate it as redundant, perhaps, but funny fits better.

no one left at SGI who understands old graphics hw (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981509)

There is no one left at SGI who understands how to get X11 to talk to this old hardware. Those people were layed off back during the dot.com bust in early 2000's when SGI shifted focus from Irix to WinNT. Since then Irix has been on absolute minimum life support until it was EOL'ed in 2006.

Therefor it is nearly impossible to get any programming or hardware documentation even if the current SGI wanted to co-operate. It's all been shredded long ago and the people who wrote it are gone, gone, gone!

Re:no one left at SGI who understands old graphics (1)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981601)

That's probably exactly what happened. Too bad we won't be able to support any of their newer graphics hardware for that reason.

Re:no one left at SGI who understands old graphics (1)

trutative (1556051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981667)

There is no one left at SGI who understands how to get X11 to talk to this old hardware. Those people were layed off back during the dot.com bust in early 2000's when SGI shifted focus from Irix to WinNT. Since then Irix has been on absolute minimum life support until it was EOL'ed in 2006.

Therefor it is nearly impossible to get any programming or hardware documentation even if the current SGI wanted to co-operate. It's all been shredded long ago and the people who wrote it are gone, gone, gone!

In fact that shift from hardware that ran Irix to WinNT could have happened well before the dot.com bust in 2001. It might have been as early as 1999.

Re:no one left at SGI who understands old graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27984179)

Well, I don't know ... even if there's no expertise and IRIX is EOLed -- all of this is still somewhere in cvs. Old timers from sgi would understand what I mean -- got 2 words -- make that 3 -- {bonnie,clyde}.engr -- all the good stuff was in there. Open source it -- they did it to xfs.

What a waste of time (-1, Troll)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981533)

Why on earth would you invest time on such a project? Why not start with a more modern platform and work to improve something more than a handful of novelty SGI enthusiasts will use? Even with the hardware acceleration working, it is a dog compared to a 3 year old PC motherboard with onboard graphics. Linux could still use a lot of help getting hardware graphics working well.

Or maybe you could join the 2 or 3 people that have a penchant for reviewing Linux kernel code and finding all those huge gaping bugs? See CVE-2009-1265 for a great example of why Linux needs better code review (and that bug has been there for how many years?).

Re:What a waste of time (0, Flamebait)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981587)

People like you kept me from getting involved with Linux.
A few points for you to consider:
- you want to tell me what to do for fun in my Copious Spare Time? Get lost.
- please learn to read - what makes you think this has anything to do with Linux at all?
- Linux needs help? Well, go help them instead of wasting time here.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27981975)

i don't know why you were modded flamebait, this has nothing to do with linux.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985867)

i don't know why you were modded flamebait, this has nothing to do with linux.

Linux is mentioned but not praised.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27983515)

Strung a little too tight? The fluffy guy has a point. Given the limit audience of this code, I'd call it "hobby" too. As such it isn't particularly newsworthy. The only reason this made it on slashdot is because it mentioned bsd. Had the article been about getting WindowsXP to run on a 386, it would have been promptly ignored.

Re:What a waste of time (3, Informative)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985313)

well, it's about using a computer some of us grew up dreaming about in freedom with a modern software stack. i think the correct tag for this story would be 'insanely cool'.

Re:What a waste of time (4, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981611)

I hope that, someday, you have a hobby that leads you to excitedly give away for free something that you had the time of your life creating and put all your pride into. Then, I hope that someone tells you what a waste of time it was and insists that you do something less enjoyable for yourself to satisfy his own selfish needs.

I brew my own beer, build my own guitar amplifiers, and write code for projects that have been ongoing for a decade with fewer than a dozen users. To many people, every one of these activities is an utter waste of time. Some of those people get in my face and tell me to spend my time doing something more useful. To that group, I say this: Screw you, I'm having fun.

Re:What a waste of time (-1, Troll)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982009)

I'm not against a hobby, just pointing out that he could have had just as much fun and produced something more useful to others. Just don't expect a world of praise for laboring (even if you like it) on something rather esoteric.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982357)

I hope that, someday, you have a hobby that leads you to excitedly give away for free something that you had the time of your life creating and put all your pride into.

I think, somewhere along the line there, the topic changed from his open source work to your virginity ;)

Re:What a waste of time (4, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983775)

Virginity is underrated. What's really bad is getting laid once and never again! Or, at least, so I've been told. ;)

Re:What a waste of time (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28013853)

First time I got laid I was so nervous I messed it all up. I got her hair caught in my zipper, rolled over and broke her glasses, and then came in her ear. Then she went and told all her friends, who told all their friends, and so... like... it's only been once because I've been blackballed from female companionship. Sigh.

Thank you. (4, Insightful)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982725)

That was beautiful. Thank you.

If the developer in question was doing this commercially, then points about priorities might stand. But it was done solely for fun, for love of an interesting project. To demand that people stop having fun [tvtropes.org] is just... sad.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983735)

...build my own guitar amplifiers...

You too, huh?

Hmmm..Ari..might you be "iamtheari" from the Weber forums by any chance?

Just curious...I'm a frequent poster there and your slashname is somewhat similar to the name in quotes who is an amp builder and poster there that I've recently replied to/helped.

Strat

Re:What a waste of time (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983765)

You caught me! I didn't figure there'd be much overlap between this world and that one. You may have more amps behind your belt, but at least I have a lower slashdot ID than you do! Which volume of the Real Book is "It's a Small World" in, anyhow?

Re:What a waste of time (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984331)

Hehehe! Busted!

Yeah, how many *nix-using geek guitar amp builders can there be, right?

Well, good to see you here. BTW, I use a number of different OS's...Linux, Free/Net/OpenBSD, A little Solaris, and even IRIX Unix in my SGI Octane R12000 workstation. I've even gone as far as playing with Plan9 from Bell Labs.

Good luck with the amp(s)! See you around the Weber forum.

Strat

Re:What a waste of time (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984655)

My only SGI is an Indigo2 I picked up around '98 or '99. It was my main workstation until it got completely and thoroughly rooted a couple years later. I dug it out of storage last fall and got it up and running with a fresh install of Irix 6.2. Just for kicks. These days I'm all Mac at home, Debian on my server, and the lovely world of XP at my day job. I swear, I do have one of those that I occasionally make time for.

Only took 9 years (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981561)

According to http://bsd.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/06/30/087234 [slashdot.org] , BSD was ported to the O2 in 2000.

Re:Only took 9 years (2, Insightful)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27981623)

So what? Nobody else has been able to do it.

Re:Only took 9 years (1, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982125)

Nobody else wanted to bother. They all moved on to better platforms.

Octane / Onyx (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27982803)

I don't have an O2, but i have a couple of Octanes and an Onyx, both of which should run rings around an O2... Is there any way to get acceleration working on these, or is IRIX the best that's available?
I seem to remember IRIX having an xrender library available, possibly from sgifreeware or nekochan, or does it just do software rendering? IRIX used to make a very fast X terminal, but modern apps always seemed very sluggish on it and perhaps that's why..

Re:Octane / Onyx (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983425)

Well... Just don't hold your breath.

Re:Octane / Onyx (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984305)

I haven't had too much luck with the Octane I've been playing with (ok, it's been like a year now). Gentoo is fun on it, but, I can't seem to even get X working with it (X DOES work from the old live cd though, so I know it can be done).

Re:Octane / Onyx (2, Informative)

Zadok_Allan (158400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27988771)

I seem to remember IRIX having an xrender library available, possibly from sgifreeware or nekochan, or does it just do software rendering? IRIX used to make a very fast X terminal, but modern apps always seemed very sluggish on it and perhaps that's why..

That's the client library, as far as I know there is no Xrender extension for Xsgi so all anti-aliased text is rendered client-side, by software, which burns lots of CPU cycles. On slow CPUs like the R5k that really, really hurts.

About Onyx and Octane - there's linux code available to make IMPACT-based boards do tricks but nothing for vPro, let alone Reality Engine or Infinite Reality. IIRC all these graphics options understand OpenGL opcodes more or less directly so once someone finds out how to feed them commands the rest should be easy.
( btw. the O2's rendering engine is nothing like that, you program it like most other graphics chips, by hammering data into registers or feeding register write commands into a ring buffer )

Get Rid of Patents (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27983379)

Patents need to be done away with. They do nothing but serve to make someone rich off of coming up with an idea. Anybody can sit around all day and come up with ideas.

If a person is to make money off of a good idea, they need to put that idea into motion and produce a viable product. Basically, they need to work to earn their money.

The same thing goes for musicians and film producers. They think they are special, and all they have to do is work one time, record their efforts, and then they think they can charge people like they are actually performing real labor when they sell them a recording of their efforts. Musicians and actors should only be paid when they are actually working, like at a live performance. Get rid of copyrights.

Re:Get Rid of Patents (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984509)

Anybody can sit around all day and come up with ideas.

It ain't always that easy. Some ideas take years to get to the point that they can be made into a saleable product, yet they can be ripped off with a few days of effort. Without protection, why develop the idea in the first place?

Desktop (2, Funny)

Vinegaroon (1166281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983701)

Could this mean we are nearing the year of NetBSD on the desktop?

Why run BSD on old SGI hardware? (2, Interesting)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983751)

This is an honest question. Aside from the hobbyist and novelty aspect, why would you want to run BSD on old SGI hardware?

The O2 was a low end SGI workstation that marginally outperformed the x86 platform when it was introduced. Unless you have a reason like hardware or system specific coding, why not move to BSD on a cheap x86 platform?

Yeah, I know about big endian versus little endian - had to rewrite a bunch of code when we dumped the Sun E3500s in favor of running Solaris x86.

Re:Why run BSD on old SGI hardware? (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984313)

Whatever else, they were pretty.

byte order is not the only reason to like a CPU (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985695)

bohemian.

Re:Why run BSD on old SGI hardware? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985725)

Testing your code on two very different architectures is a good way of making sure that it doesn't make any invalid assumptions. Things like structure alignment and padding (e.g. glibc), endians (anyone who casts from int* to char* to truncate), and so on. For a long while, a good rule of thumb was to test on x86 BSD and SPARC64 SysV (typically Solaris), and if it worked then your code would run anywhere. With old SGI machines so cheap, they are a very easy way of getting hold of a machine that is very different from x86.

Also, they're pretty.

*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27984163)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

How about GPU-based calculations? (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984383)

We've seen plenty about projects to use modern GPUs for heavy-duty calculations. These old SGI's were roughly 50% GPU by volume, energy, and cost. Has anyone found a way to use the SGI GPU for computations?

NetBSD is cool. Quit whining. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27984861)

I want to chime in here to answer back to all the "Why? WHY?!!" posts...

I used NetBSD on an old PC I got for free. I like Linux and have had good experiences, but there was something in this PCs hardware the linux kernel didn't like, and NetBSD installed just fine. The man pages for NetBSD were very good, as was the FAQ, and I was able to get everything working just by reading the directions that came with it. I didn't have to scour the web for some obscure web page for the memoirs of some hacker overseas recalling the steps he took to get X11 working.

NetBSD is a fine OS. It very minimal. So, yes, it's missing a lot. But I found it pretty workable without that "you're lost in a maze of configuration files all alike" feeling.

On the environmental side, we should support ALL efforts to get old hardware working. OSS/GNU/BSD should actively support older hardware out-of-the-box. Broke students, the poor in 3rd world countries, kids who get hand-me-down computers that are older than they are... if free software would agressively support old hardware, these machines could be used. I mean, many MacOS ports of free software only run on 10.4 and 10.5, some won't even compile on 10.2 or 10.3 without major source changes...

But it's easier to compile OpenOffice so that you need 512 MB of RAM to get it load in a reasonable time. Firefox is one of the few that works well on old hardware, but it's an exception.

Also, working NetBSD accelerated video may mean a Linux equivalent is in the works. And that other SGI cards will become easier to finish drivers for (people will read the O2 source and realize oh, maybe the Onyx is programmed in a similar way...).

More working open source Operating Systems are better for everybody all around. Every time you use MacOS X, realize that a lot of what you're using was ported from FreeBSD and NetBSD. Yes, OS X is based on NextStep, but 4.2 lack drivers for modern hardware and modern GNU/BSD-style tools. Apple got what it needed from the BSDs and ran with it. And the finished product is worth it.

Sooo..... (2, Interesting)

KnowledgeKeeper (1026242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985817)

is information about hardware interfaces in NetBSD enough to reverse-engineer most of the O2 machine so it could run IRIX natively?

If so, it would be very cool to make a clone of old SGI workstations like O2, but with faster CPU, better OpenGL pipeline, more RAM, USB ports, solid state drives while still being able to run software like original IRIX, Maya, Photoshop, etc. Wouldn't be too bad for the design of the case to stay the same :)

O2 - RGBA anyone? (1)

abs0 (61652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28023803)

One interesting O2 oddity is that the native pixel format is RGBA rather than ARGB (the alpha channel is at the other end of each 32 bit word).

Fixing that flushed out a whole bunch of assumptions in X driver and application code, which helps keep non SGI specific X and application code portable. Interesting to think that a user who only runs x86_64/Linux may be running an app with slightly cleaner code thanks to Michael's work on an ol' SGI O2...

(He has also fixed up and extended the accelerated driver for SGI Indy machines with newport graphics, and written drivers for a bunch of other graphics hardware on sparc, macppc and arm)

Most of the focus in NetBSD is on x86_64/i386 and embedded arm/mips/ppc boxes nowdays, but if you squint a little a small enough embedded box looks *really* similar to an older desktop/server box :)
so if people want to maintain support, why not?

Anyway, if you want a *really* slow older box you should be looking at an Atari TT or Vax (and lets just say we're not seeing any burst of new graphics drivers for them :)

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