SGI Indy

From: Netdiablo <>
Date: Wed Jun 20 21:53:16 2001

>> I've acquired a SGI Indy system complete with 21" monitor, keyboard and
>> mouse (no IndyCam) but the hard drive has been wiped. Does anyone know
>> where I might get a copy of the IRIX media or what are the licensing
>> terms. Does the hardware come with the right to the OS like NeXT?
>> Looks like a cool system if I can get it up and running. Also are
>> flopptical disks still available?

Congrats on the find! They're wonderful machines. I've got a number of
machines including the Indigo, the Indy, and the Indigo2. SGI systems
by far my favourite desktop UNIX workstations.

In regard to finding the operating system, eBay is really your best bet.
You can find a copy of IRIX 5.3 for probably less than $25. IRIX 5.3
really doesn't get many bids anymore. Note two things, though:

* Make sure that it includes support for the Indy (older distributions
didn't). This is often labeled "IRIX 5.3 for Indy R4400" or something
like that.

* Note that because it uses an older binary format, IRIX 5.3 often
will not be able to run binaries of software that are available out
there on the Internet. SGI does offer the IDO (development environment)
for free for download from their website, though.

IRIX 6.x is definitely the preferred operating environment, but its
more difficult to find, and a bit more expensive too. Depending on
how much RAM and hard disk space the machine has, its a bit more
resource intensive as well.

Resellers are VERY hesitant (if not totally unwilling) to sell you
IRIX media without purchase of a system. Supposedly it has something
to do with SGI licensing terms. If they sell it to you at all, it
will probably be at or near list price (around $300-600, depending
on their persuasion).

I wouldn't waste much time with the floptical drive. You can find
them on eBay relatively often, but I don't think they're useful for
much outside of being a novelty item. The original floptical media
are probably pretty near impossible to find now, and even though
they will read and write standard 1.44 meg disks, its debatable
how necessary this is on a UNIX workstation anyway. As someone
else mentioned, they're probably not super duper reliable, either.

Contrary to popular belief, you can use a standard 2048 byte sector
CD-ROM drive to install IRIX on the Indy, and also the R4000 Indigo,
the Indigo2, and newer machines such as the O2 and Octane. They're
intelligent enough to change the blocksize to 512 bytes before
attempting to use the CD-ROM. They 512 byte sector CD-ROMS are only
necessary on older systems such as the 4D series, Personal IRIS,
Indigo R3000, Crimson (?), etc.

Hope this helps!

--Sean Caron ( |
Received on Wed Jun 20 2001 - 21:53:16 BST

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