Years Late: Linux 5.5 To Offer Mainline Support For SGI's Octane MIPS Workstations
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 5 November 2019 at 04:20 AM EST. 25 Comments
HARDWARE --
The Linux 5.5 kernel due out as stable in early 2020 will finally have mainline support for the MIPS-powered SGI Octane and Octane II workstations that originally ran with SGI's IRIX operating system about two decades ago.

There have been out-of-tree patches for running Linux on the SGI Octane MIPS-based systems while Linux 5.5 is set to finally have this support mainlined for these two decade old workstations should you still be running the hardware and looking for something else besides IRIX or support in other platforms like OpenBSD. Mind you, these workstations were already succeeded by the SGI Octane III a decade ago with Intel x86.

To much amusement, the SGI IP30 Octane/Octane2 support sent in via SUSE's Thomas Bogendoerfer did land in the MIPS tree ahead of the Linux 5.5 merge window opening up around the end of November.

Octane has been out of production for 19 years already and the updated Octane II's run ended some 15 years ago. Support for Linux on these MIPS graphics workstations have been available for years albeit relying upon third-party kernels/patches -- and most of those patches for older Linux 2.6 era kernels.


The original SGI Octane.


Just under one thousand five hundred lines of code was needed for getting the Octane / Octane 2 workstations to work on the modern mainline Linux kernel and complement the other existing SGI MIPS support in the tree.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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