[rescue] SGI Indigo2 & IRIX 6.5

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Sun Nov 30 04:01:34 CST 2008

On Sun, 30 Nov 2008, Patrick Finnegan wrote:

>> Anyone thinking of running a common, hackish, OS instead of the
>> amazingly wonderful, snappy, well-optimized and all-around cool
> Yeah, why would anyone want to run Irix instead of Linux?

Superior native hardware support, better interactive performance, an X
server that actually works (with hardware-acceleration), one
well-integrated journaled FS with GRIO instead of 20-something
bag-on-the-side filesystems with patented "LOL, WTF, whenever" IO
scheduling, context-sensitive help facilities that are actually relevant,
accurate man pages, support for possibly the best optimizing compiler ever
written, ONE snappy interactive desktop environment instead of eleventy
competing ones that share neither config data nor system resources very
well, solid System V and UNIX 95 API support, and I/O throughput Linux
could only dream of?

Plenty of performance-enhancing features that other OSes are just
-finally- starting to implement were in IRIX years ago; "quickstarting"
comes to mind.  OS X does it, and I seem to recall that AIX does it in v6.
Whatever the current ld.so that Linux uses might finally have support for
it; who knows?

>> Irix on a vintage SGI deserves to be drawn and quartered.
> Oh, wait, you're trying to say that _Irix_ isn't the "hack".

One could ask for no better example of "more is less" than your typical
Linux distribution.  Want 17 different print-queue managers?  There you
go!  Want -one- that does what you need and is well-supported by the
entire rest of the system?  Well, err....you can't have -everything-, but
there's probably a tarball of shell scripts on some web forum that will
fake out your system into printing consistently using an unholy toolchain
made of ghostscript, netpbm, groff, and transfig.

Linux will always be a hack.  It's always been one, and it used to be
content with being a hack.  Nowadays, it goes around in a sandwich board
reading "I am not a hack" passing out business cards saying "Linux, like
Windows, only better!" on one side and "2005^W2006^W2007^W2008^W2009 will
be the year of Linux on the desktop!" on the back.

It's really quite sad, because, as hacks go, it's a good one.  But, don't
try to confuse it with a coherent operating system product.

Jonathan Patschke < "There is great satisfaction in building good tools
Elgin, TX          > for other people to use."
USA               <                                     --Freeman Dyson

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