Silicon Graphics and the End of Beautiful Computing

I sort of grew up with SGI (Silicon Graphics) computers during my university years and beyond. There was a time, for a span of some 12 years in my academic life, when I had a SGI machine on my desk. Most of my research was done on SGI machines, and data visualized on its fabulous graphics system.

So, a few years back, it was a sad day when this once mighty Silicon Valley company, with peak sales around 4 billion US dollars, got sold for a paltry $25 million to Rackable Systems. This was the end of "beautiful computing" as I knew it.

Silicon Graphics machines were as much works of art as what they helped produce. For, do you know, there was a time when the Hollywood dream machine rode fanciful on the able shoulders of SGI. But that was then. Cheap and plentiful hardware and "utility computing" has taken its toll. The sheer power of combined masses of the Intel, AMD and NVidia, has steamrolled past the fragile beauty of SGI.

I am sure the management of SGI was to be blamed aptly. But I will leave it to others to do that job.

I will only bemoan the beautiful computing machines that had once graced my desktop, and computer rooms, and provided number crunching and graphics horsepower. But, most of all I remember being ecstatic the day I got my brand new SGI Indigo. No, I haven't felt quite that way with my MacBook Pro, though it comes close at times.

And, no, please don't even talk to me about the PC.



Bill said…
It has been a long time, but I once worked at SGI. It was a magical time. I still look back to those days with fondness.

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