6 thoughts on “Silicon Graphics… Chapter 11”

  1. It’s a real tradgedy. SGI’s Irix Operating System was one of the first Unix operating systems that accomplished a level of plug and play capabilities combined with a user-friendly intuitive user interface (which, for Unix, is saying something!) Years later, the only other company to accomplish anything like that is Apple when they went to OSX. (some would argue that Linux did as well, but it’s not a company, so don’t aruge. 🙂

    I think that SGI made a number of bad moves. Back in the day, they relied on processors from MIPS, but as MIPS began to have problems keeping up performance wise with other RISC processors such as the ultraSPARC, SGI failed to adapt quickly enough to keep its machine on the top of the performance heap. Then they bought Cray, perhaps to try and maintain their image of being the fastest, but failed to take into account the shifting of processing power from super-computers to massively multiprocessor systems and grid computing.

    One of the main things that kept SGI in the graphics space was that the best software was available for it, and it ran the best on SGI. When they lost top seat in the performance space, the door was opened other platforms to become the preferred platforms for developers, and that was the beginning of the end.

    It’s just one more example in a long line of examples of “adapt or die.”

  2. It is a shame. SGI was founded on the GL – then they started building hardware to make their software go faster. My early exposure was to their early 68K based IRIS systems – funny, I think they were built on ‘commodity’ Multibus 68K CPU and memory with SGI’s own graphics engines. Then they went MIPS and started to get too enamoured with the hardware, Reality Engines, Onyx’s, etc. Hindsight of the 00’s might tell us that they missed the boat on trying to build volume on their software leadership with GL/OpenGL that the likes of Alias, MultiGen, SoftImage, etc, exploited for the niches.

  3. IBM ? Do they even make computers any more ? As for SGI — great machines in the day — but their “high end” machines were niche.

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