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4Sight Window System

From Higher Intellect Vintage Wiki

The 4Sight Window System (IRIS Window System) was the window system used by Silicon Graphics for its IRIS 4D series of workstations from 4D1-3.0 through IRIX System V Release 4D1-3.3.3L. Operating off the client–server model, 4Sight provides three distinct window servers, a DGL server, NeWS server, and optional X11R3 server. This enables 4Sight to support the graphics of client programs written for DGL, GL, PostScript, and X11.



Silicon Graphics first ported an early pre-release version of NeWS (directly from the Sun development source) to an IRIS 3030 workstation running GL2-W3 (SGI's implementation of UNIX System V Release 0). In order to focus its efforts, SGI split the 4Sight team into two groups: one group to study the graphics abilities of NeWS, and a second group to deal with compilation issues. After resolving input issues between NeWS and the IRIS keyboard, mouse, and serial ports, the team proceeded to rework Sun's pixrect library to take advantage of the graphics hardware of the IRIS by using GL.
According to 4Sight team lead Mark Callow, the port of 4Sight to the IRIS series "was never completed to product quality; in particular no documentation was ever done." Additionally, SGI "determined that it needed to put its resources into other things that had higher priority than finishing the port" : the completion of 4Sight for the IRIS-4D series, etc. As such, due to "the lack of documentation and consequent support issues" SGI chose not to "release this version of NeWS to anyone."


With a stable version of NeWS running on the IRIS series, the effort began on a port to the IRIS-4D/70G and GT, both running UNIX System V Release 3.


  • To bypass the 4Sight Window System at login a user may append " NOGRAPHICS" to their user name. The user will then be logged in to a textport console.

Example: root NOGRAPHICS


  • Amy Smith (1988). Personal Iris Owner's Guide. Version 1.0. Silicon Graphics, Inc. g. G-1. Document Number: 007-9000-010
  • James Gosling, David S. H. Rosenthal, Michelle J. Arden (1989). The NeWS Book. Springer Verlag. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-387-969152
  • Robert Reimann, Claudia Lohnes, Kevin Walsh (1990). 4Sight Programmer's Guide. Version 3.1. Silicon Graphics, Inc. i. 1-1 - g. G2-1. Document Number: 007-2001-030

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