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  1. #1

    Silicon Graphics Iris Indigo!

    I was fortunate to come across one of these and couldn't resist purchasing it. It is an SGI Iris Indigo. CPU is a MIPS R4000 or R4400, at I think 100MHz. RAM appears to be 160MB, though I may have some more memory to put in. The unit came with no hard drive, but I have a 2GB and 6GB drive that will work. I have old 5.25" external SCSI devices, and an internal SCSI CD-ROM, so I believe I have what I need to attach an external CDROM. The graphics board is the massive Elan board, alone the size of an ATX motherboard.

    Now, I need suggestions on what to install as an OS. Problem is, Id really like to put that graphics board to use. So unless I can somehow find a driver for Linux or BSD, it seems as though my only option may be to find a copy of Irix.

    Thoughts? Please include any OS, not just Linux. I am very familiar with Debian. Net-BSD seems to be relatively compatible with this machine. Gentoo would work but Ive never tried it. Irix is unfortunately not ideal in that it is not free or open source, but if that's what it will take to take advantage of the graphics board, that will probably be the option I pursue.

    Actually, I was also curious about finding a copy of Irix, and maybe just somehow finding the driver for the graphics board and using that in a BSD or Linux install.

    Thanks for any suggestions

    -Chris P

  2. #2
    I’m currently resurrecting an Indigo (50MHz R4000 with GR2-XZ graphics), used for the past 10 years as a footrest by a colleague (and, long before, as a CAD workstation).

    Some sources I have used in a (successful) attempt to get it working with modern hardware:

    * 13W3 M - HD15 F SGI, 1395-SGI video adapter $25.00 from www<dot>ultraspec<dot>com (also got one from deepspacecables<dot>com, but only after repeated emails & a phone message)
    * HPLINK AUI to 10Base-T Ethernet Transceiver, HP-853 $17.95 from www<dot>cablesandkits<dot>com
    * PS/2 adapter for SGI Indigo/Onyx systems $37.50 from www<dot>ckcomputersystems<dot>com
    * CPU NVRAM battery: Tadiran TL-5186, Digikey 439-1025-ND $5.04 from www<dot>digikey<dot>com

    I got some good information about installing from a network drive here: www<dot>unix-tutorials<dot>com/go<dot>php?id=309

    I was able to locate a torrent containing images of the Irix 6.5 install media. Haven't tried it yet, as the system I got has a working install of Irix 6.2.
    All I need is the root password, but if I can't get it, my alternatives are:
    - mount the system drive on a Linux system and reset the root PW in /etc/passwd
    - get a used SCSI drive and do a network install of Irix 6.5 from my bootleg media, mounted on my Linux system

    Why? I have no valid answer. Perhaps "because it was there" is good enough. It's a real trip booting back into 1996.
    Good luck!


  3. #3
    Currently the Iris Indigo has been sitting on a shelf with no attempt at getting it running. I have however started to put together the external CDROM drive, which is a logical first step.

    As for an explanation as to why; dont worry about it! I have been spending a lot of time and effort on a Sun Ultra 2 lately, and I even spent $85 upgrading the CPUs to dual 300MHz and the RAM to 2GB (in addition to the $35 I put in a year ago for the Creator 3D video card). The money could have been much better spent on some newer hardware.

    But I used TWM and FVWM for basically the first time. Not to mention IceWM, BlackBox, FluxBox, OpenBox, and a few others. Thats just the WMs, Ive also never used Links2 or w3m for browsers. Oh and xfm for a file manager! And the programs xfm wants to work with by default are great too.

    Its a great backup computer, not all that slow at all, and it was a superb learning experience. Ive never used a straight WM until recently, having used Gnome, then XFCE. Now on my main machine (much more modern/powerful) I plan on replacing XFCE and just using a WM.

    But as for the SGI machine, I may just wind up trying out Linux first since why not. But I really want to take advantage of the 3D capabilities of the machine. It can actually do wire frame as fast as any modern machine, it just cant keep up when textures are involved. But personally, I think wire frame has potential to very enjoyable. Ive been told I should use the SGI to code OpenGL; unfortunately Im not much of a programmer.

    -Chris P

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  5. #4

    Cracked the root password on my Indigo -- here's how

    Well, I broke into my Indigo running Irix 6.2. It had been sitting on my desk for a week, and I had just ordered a $30 SCSI drive and a $20 PCI SCSI adapter for my PC, so that I could mount the system drive on my Linux system and try to zero the root password. This pretty much guaranteed that I would figure out a way to get into it without needing the stuff I'd just purchased.

    If you have an SGI system and don't know the root password, try the following steps:

    1. I found a listing of an SGI /etc/passwd file online
    2. I noticed that there was a "demo" user with no PW
    3. tried it, got logged in
    4. was able to list /etc/passwd
    5. transcribed the line for "root" into a text file on my Linux system
    6. used "john", a password cracker that comes with Ubuntu on it
    7. 5 minutes later, john produces:


    8. logged in as root, using the "smaat1" as the password.
    9. the above took about 15 minutes.

    So, if you have acquired an old SGI machine and are missing the root password, apparently the "demo" user is a bigtime security hole! Either that, or it's your ticket to a usable system without having to jump through a bunch of hoops involving mounting the system drive on a Linux system, finding an install CD, unsoldering the PROM, etc.

    Obviously, your mileage may vary considerably, depending on how good a password your original system manager chose (and whether he was smart enough to delete the "demo" user Irix installed by default or turn on shadow passwords). And hopefully, the above posting doesn't contravene the rule about no discussion of cracking and warez -- it should fall under "elementary security for classic UNIX systems"!

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