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Location: GUIs > Linux / Unix > IRIX Interactive Desktop 6.5

IRIX 6.5
IRIX Interactive Desktop Screen shots.

Thanks to Ian Chapman for these screen shots!

IRIX is a UNIX based OS written by SGI for their workstation computers. SGI workstations are extremely high end graphics processing machines commonly used for 3D animation, visual simulations, and many scientific applications.

IRIX Desktop

This is the default IRIX desktop.

The menu in the upper left is the Toolchest. This menu is normally present on the desktop and provides a list of the applications and utilities that are installed on the system.

The camera and mic icons launch applications used for video and audio capture. Most Silicon Graphics workstations come with a video capture device, generally a camera.

The personal data folder (or "home" folder) for the current user also displays on the desktop. In this case the user is "root".

The dumpster is used to delete files by dragging and dropping their icons to it. This is basically the same as the Windows "Recycle Bin" and the Macintosh "Trash" icon.

CDROM - A starting point for browsing the files on the CD-Rom media. Other attached media drives will also appear on the desktop when

Netscape icon
Minimized applications appear as a square icon on the screen such as this Netscape icon. The application running in the above screen shot (and shown in the other screen shots) is The Gimp, a popular graphics program used to make these screen shots.

IRIX About
This screen shot shows System Manager, the central system configuration utility / control panel. It provides for easy configuration of hardware devices, user accounts, and networking.

Directory Viewer

This screen shot shows a Directory View window which is used for managing files. The pain at the bottom is the Content Viewer pane that can preview different file types. This screen shots shows the Content Viewer previewing a graphic.

In the File View window the roller on the left side of the window is used to change the size of the icons.

big iconmedium iconsmall icon
One of the most unique features about the IRIX desktop is that its icons are vector images instead of bit-mapped images. This means they can scale to any size in real-time without losing any quality.

IRIX Browser

Like many other Unix desktops IRIX has the ability to work with multiple desktops at once. Switching and managing these desktops is accomplished through the Desktop Overview

This screen shots also shows the audio panel and the included SGI branded version of Netscape Navigator.

Help viewer

The SGI help viewer is the standard application for viewing IRIX help files and documentation.

The Confidence Tests utility is an interesting program that can not only detect hardware but also perform diagnostics on the hardware. This is possible because IRIX is designed specifically for SGI hardware.


Like many modern GUIs IRIX has a number of accessibility options to aid movement-impared users.  This screen shot shows the Accessibility Settings control panel.

Desktop Env. SetupCustomizations

These screen shots show a number of the desktop customizations available in the IRIX desktop.

The Desktop Environment Setup is somewhat unique for a Unix system in that it gives the user the option to have the same desktop environment across multiple machines on a network or choose to use a new environment for a machine.

These screen shots also show the Background Setting, Color Scheme Browser, Desktop Settings, Window Settings, and System & Desktop Sounds.


These screen shots show the Screen Saver settings, Mouse Settings, Keyboard settings, Default Viewer & Editor Utilities, Default Layout For Icon Views, and Alert Settings.

An interesting thing to notice is the use of "Thumbwheel" widgets in the Desktop Settings, Default Layout for Icon View and in other places.

Graphics settingsGraphics settings
These screen shots show the Graphics Back End Controller that lets the user set the video configuration.

Because SGI workstations are used for high end video processing the Graphics Back End Controller allows more detailed advanced control over video options than typical computer systems.

International settings

The IRIX desktop has built in support for time zones, country currency / date formatting, language settings, and keyboards for other languages. These can be set in the International Control Panel shown here.

File system manager

The File system manager is a graphical utility that mounts and unmounts local and remote file systems.

This screen shot also shows the Process Manager that lists all running tasks on the computer, and the Printer Manager. (Note: the Printer Manager window is supposed to be white, not blue).

Software manager

Lastly, this screen shot shows the Software Manager. This utility is the standard way of adding and removing software packages under IRIX.