Notes on building Open Source software on IRIX
Ariel Faigon

This is a document I wrote to help people build open source software on IRIX. It may be missing some items but as someone who has built literally hundreds of packages on IRIX over the years I'm pretty confident that most pitfalls are covered here.

Note: I no longer work for SGI and am no longer using IRIX. I regret that I am not able to help anymore with building free software for IRIX. In case you're curious: I'm using Linux and FreeBSD almost exclusively these days. [K]ubuntu Linux is my favorite distribution and desktop environment. I do have very fond memories of the good old SGI days.


IRIX has a very comprehensive Unix API. Not only it is POSIX and POSIX-2 compliant, it is also compliant with XOPEN XPG/4, SVID (SystemV R4), BSD extensions, Unix 95 (Spec 1170) and more.

Software that compiles on other Unix'es (notably those with a smaller API, like Linux and Free/Open/Net BSD), should, almost with no exceptions, compile and run smoothly on IRIX (but read on).

Still: there's way too much software out there that makes non-portable assumptions or written improperly, which may cause problems.

Here's an item list to save you time porting open source software to IRIX.

Additions and contributions to this list will be gratefully accepted.
Thanks to David Kaelbling for maintaining the list after I left SGI.
Since he's no longer with SGI either, I revived the list here.