SGI Logo
How to Buy | Resellers | Company Info | CareersSearchHome
[Products][Industries][Developers][Services and Support][Serious Fun]
IRIX® 6.5.21 Release

As of August 6, 2003, IRIX 6.5.21 is releasing with all new systems shipping from SGI worldwide manufacturing centers.

The IRIX 6.5.21 release contains both maintenance and feature updates. This release continues the focus on stability, reliability, security, and compatibility required in the IRIX® 6.5.XX quarterly release process.

Approximately 99 customer-reported incidents are fixed in this release. In addition to bug fixes, the IRIX 6.5.21 maintenance path delivers several software enhancements and additional installation improvements. Since a major goal of the IRIX 6.5 release process is to provide a feature path as stable as the maintenance path, the same bug fixes and software enhancements are applied to both paths.

The general distribution process is through the online ordering system. IRIX 6.5.21m and 6.5.21f images also can be downloaded from Supportfolio™.

New Hardware Platforms

SGI® Origin® 350
Support for the SGI Origin 350 server, an upgrade to the SGI® Origin® 300 series, is included in IRIX 6.5.21. This includes support for the Origin 350 Base Module in 2, 4, and 8 processor sizes. With the addition of a NUMAlink Module the Origin 350 scales up to 32 processors.

Silicon Graphics® Onyx4™ UltimateVision™
The IRIX 6.5.21 release supports the Silicon Graphics Onyx4 UltimateVision visualization system. Onyx4 supports the following features:

  • Floating-point pixel precision in the shading engine
  • Programmable vertex and fragment engines
  • Hardware acceleration for up to eight lights
  • 256MB DDR SDRAM on-board graphics memory
  • 2D engine with 128-bit data path
  • Up to 2.4GB bilinear filtered pixels per second
  • Up to 300 million transformed, clipped, and lit triangles per second (peak rate)
  • Up to eight pipes
  • A frame-buffer interface providing memory bandwidth of 20GB per second
  • Acceleration for 16-bit and 32-bit RGBA modes
  • 2D display lists and local memory vertex list execution
  • Bilinear, trilinear, and anisotropic texturing
  • Projective texture, 3D texture, and video texture support
  • Dual channel
  • Quad-buffered stereo
  • Full-scene anti-aliasing
  • Overlay visuals

IRIX 6.5.21 Feature Stream Enhancements


XVM show command output improved
The output to the XVM show command now indicates whether an XVM physical volume (physvol) has no physical connection to the system. This indicates that an I/O error would be returned when trying to read or write anywhere on the volume.

IRIX 6.5.21 Maintenance and Feature Stream Enhancements

Resource management

cpuset support for memory-only nodes
In an SGI® Origin® 3900 system, a Cx-brick contains node boards without CPU packages or cache; these are referred to as a memory-only nodes. The Cx-brick is a "super" CPU brick. It contains multiple node cards. One of those node cards must be a CPU node, but any of the other nodes can be memory-only nodes. Memory-only nodes, sometimes called headless nodes, allow you to expand the memory capabilities of your system without the cost or overhead of adding unnecessary additional processors.

Kernel threads run in the boot cpuset by default
Boot cpusets are used to constrain regular system activities to a subset of the available CPUs. In IRIX 6.5.21, kernel threads not forced to run on specific CPUs run within the boot cpuset if one exists. Boot cpusets are used to constrain regular system activities to a subset of the available CPUs.

Network programming

Support for tcp_wrappers package
The tcp_wrappers package is available in the eoe.sw.base IRIX subsystem.
It consists of the following components:
  • A library in /usr/lib/
  • A header file in /usr/include/tcpd.h
  • A suite of programs to verify tcp_wrappers operation: tcpdchk, tcpdmatch, and try-from

In IRIX 6.5.21, inetd(1m) is built with tcp_wrappers by default.

Checkpoint and restart

New PLACEMENT policy for checkpoint and restart processes
The IRIX 6.5.21 release provides a new PLACEMENT policy keyword for checkpoint and restart processes. Action keywords will restore the memory of process(es) according to the placement policies saved at the time of checkpoint or attempt to place process memory according to a basic memory placement algorithm.

Digital media

Support for M-Audio Revolution on Silicon Graphics® Octane® and Silicon Graphics® Octane2™

IRIX 6.5.21 includes support for the M-Audio Revolution PCI audio card on Octane and Octane2 systems.

OS maintainability

New sysdump command functionality
The sysdump command, first added in IRIX 6.5.19, has been enhanced to generate level 1 system crash dump files of a running system. The sysdump command is used by system administrators to generate a crash dump file of the operating system without the need to reboot the system.

System performance and tuning

New low overhead pthread mutex protocol
IRIX 6.5.21 provides support for the thread and system nonpreemption pthread mutex protocols that let real-time pthreads avoid being preempted while in critical sections. Real-time developers would use this feature when the priority inheritance and priority ceiling mutexes incur too much overhead.


OpenLDAP upgraded to version 2.1.17.
For information on OpenLDAP, see

OpenSSH upgraded to version 3.6.1p2.
For information on OpenSSH, see

OpenSSL upgraded to version 0.9.7b.
For information on OpenSSL, see

USB peripherals

IRIX 6.5.21 includes support for USB tablets.


NFS Access control enhancements
The NFS Access control mechanism has been updated to support new access control list elements such as IP netmasks, domain name suffixes, and explicit exclusion of a host or group of hosts.

Trusted IRIX

Updates to Trusted IRIX administration
A user must have the same or a subset of the Mandatory Integrity (MINT) divisions of an object. The integrity divisions of the user must be the same or a subset of the integrity divisions of the object (or file).


Write-capable UDF filesystem format
Universal Disk Format (UDF) is the filesystem used on DVDs. The UDF specifications are produced by OSTA, and are based on the ECMA-167 specification. A read-only implementation of UDF was added to IRIX® 6.5.18, and a write-capable version was added for IRIX® 6.5.20.

SGI® Software Product Life-Cycle Management

IRIX support policy In accordance with the SGI software product life-cycle management strategy announced in November 2000, SGI will announce support mode changes for various software products on a quarterly basis. To view customer letters containing support mode changes announced since November 2000, as well as the latest IRIX Support Policy documents, visit the IRIX Support Policy Web page located at:

IRIX® 6.5 Application Compatibility Mandate

For those providers asking about quarterly recertification of applications, please take a moment and become acquainted with the application compatibility protections offered by IRIX 6.5. This is a very powerful mandate that allows an application to be developed under IRIX 6.5.X and be run on any IRIX 6.5.Y, regardless of whether Y > X, Y == X, or Y < x.

The Mandate of Application Compatibility in SGI IRIX 6.5 is at:

Caveats to Read Before You Upgrade

Users are reminded to review the special "Caveats to Read Before You Upgrade" section of the online Welcome document. Visit the "Caveat and Release Note Updates" link at: for any late-breaking information.

Important Note if You Do Live Installs of the IRIX Quarterly Releases

You must install a patch to inst before doing a live install of IRIX 6.5.21 on systems prior to IRIX 6.5.20! For full instructions, select the "Before Installing" link in the "Installing IRIX 6.5" section of the IRIX 6.5.21 Customer Welcome document or refer to the "IRIX 6.5.21 Late-Breaking Caveats and Release Notes" page on Supportfolio™.

IRIX 6.5.XX Lookahead

IRIX® 6.5.22 is in development and is planned to release mid-November, 2003.


Products Industries Developers Support Serious Fun