SGI Indy

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Required software for net installation:

  • Installation overlay (no install tools CD neccessary)
  • dhcpd configured for bootp
  • tftpd for supplying sash and miniroot
  • rshd for supplying the packages, because the miniroot lacks NFS support
  • NFS server for supplying the rest of the packages


Finally got hold of a few old SCSI disks to try out. rsh is a no-go because of the idiotic login from the IRIX installer. root-something. Where's a documentation of the protocol?

Target SCSI disk jumper settings


Installation Tools CDR -> 1GB HDD Played a lot with SCSI IDs: Install tools disk -> ID 2, target disk -> ID 1, ID 0 is the controller Booting from there works, but loading unix.IP22 doesn't because disk isn't formatted. Start fx first:

boot -f dksc(0,2,8)sashARCS dksc(0,2,7)stand/fx.ARCS --x

Boot command from ARCS boot menu:

boot -f dksc(0,2,8)sashARCS dksc(0,2,7)dist/miniroot/unix.IP22

Formatted disk via netboot, then loaded unix.IP22 from 1GB HDD -> works! Lots of missing base packages, could only install a few. System not bootable. Tried mounting NFS via installer shell. Problem: no portmapper. Mounting Install tools HDD from installer shell:

mkdir /cdrom
mount /dev/dsk/dks0d2r7 /cdrom

Then use /cdrom/dist as package source.


After installing from the two Foundation CDs (had to boot installer via network), there was no sash in the root drive volume header. There is a tool called dvhtool to edit it.

How to copy sash from one volume header to another and the whole documentation @ Silicon Graphics.

Documentation about the nvram settings can be found here.


Finally found a SCSI CD-ROM drive that works!

Booted installer, wiped first 10MB of disk, booted fx (as above), then installed IRIX according to these instructions.

Here's information on what to do in fx, section XFS (IRIX 6.5). They suggested to use EFS, so I did. No option partition/drive with XFS.



This setup won't work on an Indy if the disk label is created using IRIX 6.5 (even from the installation CD). The label first has to be created using a 5.3 fx, then updated to XFS using the fx from IRIX 6.5.


Big problem: Almost everything on the overlay CDs won't install because of missing prerequisites. Guess I still need all the other IRIX 6.5 installation discs. Installer CD, Foundation 1 and 2 are enough for a basic system with X11. But they don't even contain a desktop environment. All you get is a terminal window.

Found a Wiki with lots of info on configuration.


Finally found out the correct procedure to make a bootable system on the Indy!

XFS is no option. Even though the filesystem is mounted by sash, for some reason, the Indy only boots from an EFS.

To format a disk with EFS, an older IRIX installation CD is needed. Fortunately, the Indy came with a 5.3 CD (not the whole set, only the install disk).

Use the following procedure to prepare the hard disk for IRIX 6.5:

  • Turn on the system and fire up the boot command line
  • Insert the 5.3 installation disk
  • Start fx and create a new disk label using the commands listed above
  • Make sure the root partition is not larger than 8GB (the limit for EFS)
  • Reboot and start installation from the IRIX boot menu
  • The installer will be copied to the hard disk and launched, but it can't mount the root partition yet, as it has no filesystem
  • Enter 'yes' when it asks if you want to format the disk
  • Wait until inst has launched, then reboot
  • Insert the 6.5 installation CD and start 6.5 installation from the boot menu
  • It should detect the EFS formatted disk now and mount it for installation
  • Install like described in the documents linked above

Some packages on my installation media weren't installable due to the wrong architecture (MIPS4 instead of MIPS3). Notably no Java and no Mozilla. Also, the Artifex fonts package is missing, which is required for ghostscript and other software.


Finished basic system configuration. The EZsetup login is handy for initial configuration, but the same things can also be done from the System Configuration tool (login as root and look for it in the System toolchest), so I disabled everything except for the root and guest account. For some reason, login window suddenly started showing some system user accounts, but this can also be changed from SysConf.

Now, the system is up and running (thanks to the Nekochan wiki) and I set up an NFS share with the IRIX 6.5.22 update. I also downloaded nekoware-mips3 and nekosync-1.2 (see here). Updating and testing is postponed until next week.

I'm still looking for a disk with the Artifex fonts. It's required for certain software (xpdf, ghostscript) but I can't find it on any installation disk.

The 6.5.22 update resolved some of the missing prerequisites, but I'm not sure if I did get everything now.


Set up nekosync, but made the mistake to synchronize with a mips4 mirror. Thanks to

inst -f none

I could get rid of the wrong nekoware packages. Now back to installing all nekosync dependencies again... perl from the sgi and gnu packs are too old, unfortunately. Apparently, there is some opensource software repository on sgi's servers, but I couldn't get it to work. Might come in handy (mozilla.sw32 etc.). The website and its mirrors are still up and can be found here.


Tried out a few games, but only with limited success. The Indy's 100MHz CPU is just too slow. Found an IRIX-mips3 build of scummvm 0.3.0b and a few other games on [1]. Now where is my LucasArts CD-ROM collection, hmmm.