SGI Launches Initiative to Dramatically Improve Linux Visualization Capabilities

SGI Driving Faster Innovation and Opening New Markets for Graphics Applications Developers

NEW YORK, NY, LinuxWorld Booth 459, Jan. 20, 2004 -- Silicon Graphics (NYSE: SGI) today launched an initiative that will bring the world's most advanced graphics technology to computers running the Linux(R) operating system. The initiative comprises two elements: SGI's collaboration with various open source graphics projects, including Chromium, and delivery of a comprehensive developer tool kit.

The initiative enables developers to create new advanced visualization applications for Linux, opening new market opportunities that meet the needs of technical, large data, high-performance computing users. This new initiative answers the need for a commercial Linux visualization solution on par with high-end UNIX(R) visualization systems. Developers for early Linux centric technical markets, such as bio-informatics and university research, will have access to highly affordable, scalable technologies that will enable them to leverage these opportunities.

The SGI(R) Visualization Developer Tool Kit for Linux, available immediately, includes a full suite of tools and technologies that accelerate the pace of innovation for visualization on Linux. At the center of the Tool Kit is early access to a scalable, multi-CPU, multi-GPU Silicon Graphics(R) visualization system for Linux built around the SGI(R) NUMAflex(TM) shared memory architecture, using Intel(R) Itanium(R) 2 processors. Compared with typical clustered systems, in which code is broken up over multiple nodes, the NUMAflex architecture enables greater ease of development because all code is stored in a single shared memory system. The tool kit also includes porting guides, APIs and SDKs (software development kits).

This initiative, launched at the LinuxWorld trade show in New York, allows Linux application developers to create new software for a coming era of advanced, scalable visualization on Linux. To date, visualization on Linux has been constrained by PC-class system performance. Soon, however, SGI will remove these limitations by introducing a scalable Linux visualization system based on the Intel Itanium 2 microprocessor. This will enable independent software developers to support customers' needs to visualize large data sets on the same Linux operating system on which the data is generated.

"Silicon Graphics sees the convergence of advanced visualization with Linux on Intel Itanium 2 as a powerful, strategic trend," said Paul McNamara, senior vice president and general manager, Visual Systems Group, SGI. "The Developer Tool Kit that we are announcing today is a resource for application developers and will help to accelerate the development of advanced graphics capabilities for large, complex data sets in Linux. Furthermore, SGI's support of the Chromium Project, and the contributions of code that we will be making to this project, again demonstrates SGI's long-standing commitment to the Open Source movement."

The Chromium Project was begun more than a decade ago as a Stanford University project doing advanced development for Linux clusters. It has evolved in part into a collection of initiatives to enhance the performance of visualization systems for Linux. SGI's contributions to the project will focus on pushing graphics on Linux to far higher levels of performance. SGI will also take an active role in key open source projects that establish the high performance underpinnings of future scalable visualization solutions.

"We're excited to be increasing our activity in the Linux community," said Kevin McLaughlin, vice president of Engineering, Visual Systems Group, SGI. "We have been involved in key projects in the past, such as DMX for scalable windowing systems, and are looking forward to delivering our new developer kit and expanding our role into more Open Source projects."

"Silicon Graphics has long been known for its excellence in computer graphics and high-performance computing. To see them combine these and bring that power to the Linux community is very exciting," said Jon "maddog" Hall, president and executive director, Linux International.

Silicon Graphics has been a long-time contributor to the Linux community. Over the past five years, SGI has offered many key graphics technologies to the open source community, including Open Inventor(TM), an industry leading visualization scene graph, an OpenGL(R) sample implementation, and the key components for the OpenML(R) standard. In addition, SGI has provided many core server and system technologies to the Linux community for high-performance computing and storage, such as the highly valued XFS(R) journaled file system.

The Developer Tool Kit for Linux also includes a developer's guide for porting up from single GPU, single CPU PCs to this new scalable environment, and for porting advanced code on the Silicon Graphics(R) Onyx4(TM) and workstations across to the new Linux 64-bit environment. Other tools include tips on optimization, code examples for advanced techniques, key Open Source project pointers, and early access to the full complement of Silicon Graphics world leading graphics software tools, such as OpenGL Performer(TM), OpenGL Volumizer(TM) and OpenGL Vizserver(TM). Early users of the toolkit report excellent results.

"We have seen a strong customer demand for scalable visualization using Itanium 2 and Linux. We're excited by the scalability we've seen when running Open Inventor and Amira on an early access system," said Steve Lutz, vice president, Sales and Marketing, TGS. "We believe that the Linux Developer Kit will be an extremely useful tool to developers writing advanced visualization applications."

SGI's drive to enhance Linux visualization is a natural outgrowth of the company's lead position in delivering high-performance Linux OS-based systems, as well as its leadership in enabling scientists and engineers to visualize the most demanding and data-intensive problems. With its Altix(TM) product line, SGI offers the most powerful and scalable Itanium 2-based systems running on Linux. The Altix family also includes a departmental server product line that represents a price/performance breakthrough in midrange technical computing. SGI advanced visualization technology is used by energy companies to locate new sources of oil and gas, by design engineers to build safer automobiles and more effective Navy ships and military vehicles, by intelligence analysts to identify new threats to national security and by scientists searching for the cause of disease.

This release contains forward-looking statements regarding SGI(R) technologies and third-party technologies that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The viewer is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future or current performance. Such risks and uncertainties include long-term program commitments, the performance of third parties, the sustained performance of current and future products, financing risks, the impact of competitive markets, the ability to integrate and support a complex technology solution involving multiple providers and users, the acceptance of applicable technologies by markets and customers, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's most recent SEC reports, including its reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

SILICON GRAPHICS | The Source of Innovation and Discovery(TM)

SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is the world's leader in high-performance computing, visualization and storage. SGI's vision is to provide technology that enables the most significant scientific and creative breakthroughs of the 21st century. Whether it's sharing images to aid in brain surgery, finding oil more efficiently, studying global climate or enabling the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for scientific, engineering and creative users. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and can be found on the Web at

NOTE: Silicon Graphics, SGI, InfiniteReality, OpenGL, OpenML, Onyx, XFS, the SGI cube and the SGI logo are registered trademarks and Altix, NUMAflex, Open Inventor, OpenGL Performer, OpenGL Volumizer, OpenGL Vizserver, Onyx4 and The Source of Innovation and Discovery are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Intel and Itanium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

     Theresa Campbell