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    There’s a follow-up from memo author Tom Davis here.

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      I remember both installing – and then, in a panic, uninstalling – 5.1, while the VMS users quietly gloated. That was almost 25 years ago. My god, I’ve been doing this for a long time.

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        Have VMS users always been condescendingly smug? Sad thing is, they’re often justified…

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          These physicists were mostly just interested in getting their work done, while those of us on the Unix side spent a lot of time rebooting.

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        Does anyone know the longish term ramifications? I realize the SGI we knew back then is dead but did releases after 5.1 improve in quality?

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          Obviously I wasn’t there, but - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRIX seems to indicate that there wasn’t much “long term” beyond IRIX 5. If you look at the timelines given, IRIX 6 was only about adding new MIPS processor support, SGI’s downfall was not long to follow.

          Right there with ya - I was a sysadmin back in the IRIX 4->5 days and I remember it being slow and bloaty as well and having folks whine about their workstations after we updated.

          SGI made some crazy cool mechanical designs though :)

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            IRIX 5.3 was essentially solid. You have to put that note in context. To me as a user, an Indy seemed insanely fast at that time - not even vaguely in the same league as a Macintosh of that era.

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              IMHO, IRIX definitely got better after 5.1. I’ve only used 5.3 and various 6.x releases and thought they were all pretty decent as 90s/early 2000 commercial UNIX goes. I still have very fond memories of my R10K O2 (sadly traded with a friend for some Sun machines)…