SGI to Emphasize Linux over Irix

SINGAPORE (03/23/2000) - Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) will put more effort into Linux-based developments and consequently less into its proprietary Irix OS over the next few years, according to Jansen Ek, vice president SGI Asia-Pacific.

SGI is strongly focused on developing for Intel Corp.'s IA-32 and IA-64 processors and the open-source Linux OS, with a key initiative being SGI's XFS file system, which can enable Linux to scale to very large systems, Ek said in a keynote speech at LinuxWorld 2000 here today.

"XFS will substantially improve Linux," he said. "It has 64-bit addressing and is well-tested since we introduced it on our own systems back in 1994."

Crucially, XFS has file journaling, a feature that the Linux community has until now been unable to deliver and one that prevents Linux being used for mission-critical and high-availability applications.

Journaled file systems speed recovery from system failures because they do not need to scan the file structures for errors and make corrections during the reboot. On a system with terabytes of data, this can take several hours. XFS can recover from most unexpected interruptions in a few seconds, independent of the overall file system size, SGI said.

XFS provides a guaranteed-rate I/O system, which allows applications to reserve specific bandwidth to or from the file system so that a requested level of performance is met for a given time. This frees programmers from having to predict performance, which can be difficult on complex systems, SGI said.

SGI will offer XFS freely in the public domain, under the Free Software Foundation's GPL (general public license), as part of an initiative to strengthen core Linux capabilities, Ek said.

"Linux is the future -- it is growing rapidly and improving rapidly," he said.

"SGI will not support anything that leads to fragmentation of Linux."

Silicon Graphics, based in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1980, or at http://www.sgi.com/.

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