Introduction

IRIX (IRIS UNIX) was a variant of the UNIX operating system developed by Silicon Graphics for its MIPS-based workstations, servers, and visualization systems.

History


IRIS GL

Silicon Graphics was founded in 1982 and introduced their first system, the IRIS 1000 terminal, in November of 1983. The IRIS 1000 (followed later by the IRIS 1200 terminal) was a disk-less terminal featuring a Motorola 68000 series CPU at 8MHz. The IRIS terminal was designed to be connected to an existing UNIX or VMS host for the purpose of rendering raster graphics using the terminal's proprietary "Geometry Engine" hardware and complimenting IRIS GL (also written as IrisGL) API. The name IRIS itself is an acronym for Integrated Raster Imaging System. IRIS GL was installed from 1600 bpi magnetic tape on to a UNIX or VMS host, with the preferred install directory being /usr/iris/. The IRIS terminal would bootstrap and obtain IRIS GL from the UNIX or VMS host over either Ethernet or a serial connection.

Details:
  • Hardware:
    PM1 board with Motorola 68000 CPU

  • Systems:
    IRIS 1000 Series
    IRIS 1200 Series

  • Installation media:
    9-track 1600 bpi magnetic tape

  • File system:
    N/A

  • Window system:
    N/A

  • Window manager:
    N/A

  • Desktop environment:
    N/A

  • Milestones:
    XXX 1982 - Silicon Graphics, Inc. founded
    November 1983 - IRIS 1000 Series terminal introduced
    XXX 198X - IRIS 1200 Series terminal introduced

Of additional note, by the late 1980s Silicon Graphics ported IRIS GL to two other UNIX Operating Systems, AIX and NeXTSTEP. In 1992 Silicon Graphics released IRIS GL as the industry standard graphics API, OpenGL.





IRIS Workstation Software Distribution

In April of 1984 Silicon Graphics introduced its first workstation, the IRIS 1400 (also known as the "IRIS Workstation"). The IRIS 1XXXX series of workstations featured a Motorola 68010 series CPU. Silicon Graphics also introduced its own variant of UNIX for the IRIS workstations named IRIS Workstation Software Distribution. IRIS Workstation Software Distribution was a UniSoft port of AT&T UNIX System V Release 0 with 4.2BSD UNIX enhancements.

IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, 1.x

IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, 1.x; later, retroactively re-named IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL1-W2.x, was With the update of IRIS GL to version 2, the first version of IRIS GL was retroactively named GL1.

Details:
  • Hardware:
    PM2 board with Motorola 68010 CPU

  • Systems:
    IRIS 1400 Series
    IRIS 1500 Series

  • Installation media:
    QIC tape

  • File system:
    Bell file system

  • Window system:
    GL windows

  • Window manager:
    Mex - The IRIS Window Manager

  • Desktop environment:
    N/A

  • Milestones:
    April 1984 - IRIS 1400 Series workstation introduced

IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL2-T2.x
IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL2-W2.x

With the introduction of the IRIS 2000 Series, an option for Enchanced IRIS Graphics, and a newer second release of IRIS GL, the nomenclature for Silicon Graphics' UNIX variant would be changed from

IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, 1.x
to
IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL2-X2.x

To decipher the above:

GL2- - represents the second release of IRIS GL.

T - indicates the use only with an IRIS XXXX Series terminal.

W - indicates the use only with an IRIS XXXX Series workstation.

2. - represents the Motorola 68010 CPU (PM2 board and IP2 board)

x - version number of the OS

Example: IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL2-W2.4 would be version 4 of the OS, for an IRIS XXXX Series Workstation, with a Motorola 68010 CPU, and the 2nd version of IRIS GL
Note: with the new naming convention for the OS, either tacitly or for brevity, later documentation deprecates the "IRIS Software Distribution" prefix in favor of using only GL2-Xx.x to identify the version of the OS and its compatible hardware.

Details:
  • Hardware:
    PM2 board with Motorola 68010 CPU
    IP2 board with Motorola 68010 CPU

  • Systems:
    IRIS 2000 Series terminal
    IRIS 2200 Series terminal
    IRIS 2300 Series workstation
    IRIS 2400 Series workstation
    IRIS 2500 Series workstation

  • Installation media:
    QIC tape

  • File system:
    Bell file system
    EFS (Extent File System) introduced in GL2-W2.4

  • Window system:
    GL windows

  • Window manager:
    Mex - The IRIS Window Manager

  • Desktop environment:
    N/A

  • Milestones:
    XXX 198X - EFS (Extent File System) introduced in GL2-W2.4.
    XXX 1985 - Alias Research ports its 3D CGI software ALIAS/1 to IRIS workstations


IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL2-T3.x
IRIS Workstation Software Distribution, GL2-W3.x

Details:
  • Hardware:
    IP2 board with Motorola 68020 CPU

  • Systems:
    IRIS 2300T Series workstation
    IRIS 2400T Series workstation
    IRIS 2500T Series workstation
    IRIS 3010 Series terminal
    IRIS 3020 Series workstation
    IRIS 3030 Series workstation
    IRIS 3110 Series workstation
    IRIS 3115 Series workstation
    IRIS 3120 Series workstation
    IRIS 3130 Series workstation

  • Installation media:
    QIC tape

  • File system:
    EFS

  • Window system:
    GL windows

  • Window manager:
    Mex - The IRIS Window Manager

  • Desktop environment:
    N/A

  • Milestones:
    XXX 1986 - Alias Research releases its 3D CGI software ALIAS/2 for IRIS workstation



4D1-1.x - 4D1-2.x

In March of 1986 Silicon Graphics announced its intention to migrate from Motorola CPUs to MIPS CPUs. In March of 1987 the Professional Iris 4D/60 (also known as the "IRIS Superworkstation") was introduced. The 4D/60 was Silicon Graphics first MIPS-based system and also the first member of the IRIS-4D family of workstations and visualizations systems. Unlike the IRIS 2000 and 3000 series the 4D/60 did not use an "IP board" (Silicon Graphics convention for a motherboard). The 4D/60 featured a MIPS R2300 board manufactured by MIPS Computer Systems. MIPS also had their own variant of Unix called UMIPS. Originally
BSD-based (UMIPS-BSD), with the release UMIPS 3.0 MIPS Computer Systems changed their Unix base to System V with the release of AT&T UNIX System V Release 3 in the first quarter of 1987 (January of February). After switching to System V MIPS renamed their Unix RISC/os quote from author dominic Sweetman in RISC/os (UMIPS), fully known as "MIPS System VR3, RISC/os" was, according to page 456 of the See MIPS Run glossary, "a derivative of UNIX System V Release 3," and "also one of the roots of IRIX."

Notes:
  • Hardware:
    MIPS R2300 board with MIPS R2000 CPU
    IP4 board with MIPS R2000 CPU

  • Systems:
    Professional Iris 4D/60
    Professional Iris 4D/50
    Professional Iris 4D/70

  • Installation media:
    QIC tape

  • File system:
    EFS

  • Window system:
    GL windows

  • Window manager:
    Mex - The IRIS Window Manager

  • Desktop environment:
    N/A

  • Milestones:
    March 1987 - Professional Iris 4D/60 ("IRIS Superworkstation") introduced.
    March 1987 - 4D1-1.0 introduced for IRIS-4D series of workstations.
    September 1987 - 4D1-2.0 introduced for IRIS-4D series of workstations.

Silicon Graphics adapted UMIPS 3.xx IRIS GL & Graphics Options



4D1-3.x

4D1-3.0 was released in either May or June of 1988 for the IRIS-4D series of systems. It featured an entirely new GUI known as the 4Sight Window System. Based on Sun Microsystems NeWS. In addition to NeWS, 4Sight supported Silicon Graphics older Mex window manager and included an optional install of X11 for programs requiring X Window System compatibility.

Details:
  • Hardware:
    IP6 board with MIPS R2000 CPU
    IP10 board with MIPS R3000 CPU

  • Systems:
    Professional Iris 4D/
    Personal Iris 4D/
    IRIS PowerSeries 4D/

  • Installation media:
    QIC tape

  • File system:
    EFS

  • Window system:
    4Sight Window System

    • Window servers:
      SGINeWS - PostScript
      Max/MEXWindow subclass - DGL and GL windows
      xSGI - X11R3

  • Window manager:
    N/A

  • Desktop environment:
    IRIS WorkSpace

  • Milestones:
    May 1988 - 4D1-3.0 introduced.
    May 1988 - Personal Iris 4D/20 introduced.
    October 1988 - IRIS PowerSeries introduced.
    XXX 198X - Name "IRIX" used Silicon Graphics documentation.
    XXX 198X - Name "IRIX" used by operating system itself: "IRIX System V Release 4D1-3.1D"





IRIX 4.0.x (4D1-4.0.x)

IRIX 4.0, introduced in September of 1991 with the IRIS Indigo workstation was the first version of IRIX to be officially named "IRIX." From the IRIS Indigo press release:

"IRIS Indigo runs IRIXTM 4, Silicon Graphics' enhanced version of the UNIX® operating system. IRIX is POSIX, X/OpenTM XPG3 and FIPS 151-1 compliant. In IRIX 4.0, the X Window SystemTM (X11/R4) is merged with the IRIS GL interface and Adobe's Display PostScript® for flexible rendering.
The system is intuitive and easy to use, incorporating both IRIS WorkSpaceTM and IRIS System ManagerTM. IRIS WorkSpace, the graphical user interface built into the IRIX operating software, allows easy desktop and file management. IRIS System Manager is a graphical tool in IRIX that manages local and networked resources and configurations."
In addition to the new window system (X11/R4) IRIX 4.0 featured a new Motif-based window manger named 4Dwm. IRIX 4.0.x was the first version of IRIX to be distributed on CD-ROM in addition to QIC tape. Prior to IRIX 4.0, IRIX had been distributed on QIC tape exclusively as far back as GL2. Details:
  • Installation media:
    CD-ROM
    QIC tape

  • File system:
    EFS

  • Window system:
    X11 Release 4

  • Window Manager:
    4Dwm - The IRIS Extended Motif Window Manager

  • Desktop environment:
    IRIS WorkSpace

  • Dates:
    September 1991 - IRIS Indigo
    September 1991 - Personal Iris 4D/35
    September 1991 - IRIX 4.0.0
    December 1991 - First Trusted IRIX: IRIX 4.0.1T

IRIX 5.x

Notes:
  • File system:
    EFS
    XFS (IRIX 5.3 XFS)

  • Desktop environment:
    IRIS WorkSpace
    Indigo Magic Desktop [IRIX 5.1 (Indy)]

  • Dates:
    September 1993 - Indy
    September 1993 - Indigo2

  • Change from COFF-type executables to EFF-type executables

IRIX 6.x.x

Features:
  • 64-bit
  • X11 Release 6 (IRIX 6.2)

IRIX 6.5.x

Details:
  • Hardware:

  • Systems:

  • Installation media:
    CD-ROM

  • File system:
    XFS

  • Window system:
    X11R6

  • Window manager:
    4Dwm -

  • Desktop environment:
    IRIX Interactive Desktop

  • Milestones:
    December 2006 - Silicon Graphics ends development work on IRIX.
    December 2013 - Silicon Graphics ends support for IRIX and MIPS-based systems.

  • Tutor

    Tutor is a glossary of Silicon Graphics terminology

    4Dwm -

    4Sight Window System -

    EFS (Extent File System) - a file system created by Silicon Graphics

    GL windows - general term that refers to any graphical windows managed by the mex window manager and created using IRIS GL.

    IMD (Indigo Magic Desktop) - desktop environment for IRIX from

    IID (IRIX Interactive Desktop) - desktop environment for IRIX from IRIX 6.4-IRIX 6.5.30

    IP (In-house Processor) board - Silicon Graphics convention for a motherboard and its complimenting CPU. This is analogus to the logic board of a Mac or the motherboard of a PC.

    IRIS (Integrated Raster Imaging System) - series of terminals and workstations produced by Silicon Graphics in the early-to-mid 1980s that specialized in the creation and manipulation of raster (bitmap) graphics.

    IRIS-4D - series of workstations produced by Silicon Graphics from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Iris Crimson, Iris Indigo, IRIS PowerSeries 4D/*, Personal Iris 4D/*, Professional Iris 4D/,

    Iris - any computer system produced by Silicon Graphics that runs IRIX. This is analogous to how any computer system produced by Apple that runs macOS is a Macintosh or "Mac."

    IRIS GL / IrisGL (Graphics Library) -

    IRIX (IRIS UNIX) - a variant of UNIX created by Silicon Graphics for its servers, workstations, and visualization systems.

    IWS (IRIS WorkSpace) - desktop environment for IRIX from 4D1-3. through IRIX 5.

    Mex (Multiple exposure) - window manager for

    OpenGL -

    PM1 (Processor Module 1) board -

    SGINeWS - an implementation of Sun Microsystems' NeWS window server for Silicon Graphics' 4Sight Window System.

    XFS (eXtents File System) - a file system created by Silicon Graphics

    800 x 600
    Left & right columns: 162 pixels
    Center page: 357 pixels
    1024 x 768
    Left & right columns: 210 pixels
    Center page: 459 pixels

    The nested div structure

    I've colour coded each div so it's easy to see:

    Three column layout nested div structure

    The header, colmask and footer divs are 100% wide and stacked vertically one after the other. Colmid is inside colmask and colleft is inside colmid. The three column content divs (col1, col2 & col3) are inside colleft. Notice that the main content column (col1) comes before the other columns.