See login account.

active window

The only window that recognizes input (activity) from the keyboard and mouse; only one window is active at a time.

address dial

See SCSI address dial.


See system administrator and network administrator.

back up

To copy a certain set of files and directories from your hard disk to a tape.

backup tape

A tape that contains a copy of the files and directories that are on your hard disk. A full backup tape contains a copy of all files and directories, including IRIX, that are on your hard disk.

baud rate

The speed (calculated as bits per second) at which the computer sends information to a serial device, such as a modem or terminal.

blanking panel

A piece of black plastic attached to the front plastic panel of the Indigo chassis that covers either the top or middle drive slot. You remove a blanking panel after you install a drive in the slot that it was covering.


To start up the system by turning on the workstation and monitor; the system is fully booted when you see the console login: prompt or the login screen.


On a mouse, a button is a switch that you press with a finger. In a window on your screen, a button is a labelled rectangle that you click using the cursor and mouse.

CD-ROM disc (CD)

A flat metallic disk that contains information that you can view and copy onto your own hard disk; you cannot change or add to its information. CD-ROM is short for compact-disc: read-only memory.

CPU board

The printed circuit board within your workstation chassis that contains the central processing unit(s). When you open the front metal panel of the Indigo chassis, it is the board on the left.

card guides

Narrow metal tracks at the top and bottom of the chassis into which you slide printed circuit boards.


To press the left mouse button to bring up a pop-up menu, move the cursor to highlight the command that you want to run, then release the button.


To hold the mouse still, then press and immediately release a mouse button.

configuration file

A system file that you change to customize the way your system behaves. Such files are sometimes referred to as customization files.

confidence test

A test that you run to make sure a particular device (such as the keyboard, mouse, or a drive) is set up and working properly.


Hardware at the end of a cable that lets you fasten the cable to an outlet, port, or other connector.

console window

The window that appears as a stowed icon each time you log in; IRIX reports all status and error messages to this window.

current working directory

The directory within the file system in which you are currently located when you are working in a shell window.


The small red arrow or other shape on the screen that follows the movements of the mouse. It may change shape depending on its location on the screen.


Digital Audio Tape. The Silicon Graphics DAT drive can be used with both audio and digital media.

default printer

The printer to which the system directs a print request if you do not specify a printer when you make the request. You set the default printer using the Print Manager.


A set of behaviors that Silicon Graphics specifies on every system. You can later change these specifications, which range from how your screen looks to what type of drive you want to use to install new software.


A series of tests that check the hardware components of your system.


A special file in the file system in which you store other directories and files.

disk use

The percentage of space on your disk that contains information.

disk resource

Any disk (hard, CD-ROM, or floppy) that you can access either because it is physically attached to your workstation with a cable, or because it is available over the network using NFS.


To hold the mouse still, then press and release it twice, very rapidly. When you double-click an icon, it opens into a window; when you double-click the Window menu button, the window closes.


To press and hold down a mouse button, then move the mouse. This drags the cursor to move icons or to highlight menu items.


A hardware device that lets you access information on various forms of media, such as hard and floppy disks, CD-ROM discs, and magnetic tapes.

drive address

See SCSI address.

external device

Any piece of hardware that is attached to the workstation with a cable.


To use NFS software to make all or part of your file system available to other users and systems on the network.

female connector

A connector that has indentations or holes into which you plug a male connector. An example of a female connector is an electrical wall outlet that accepts an electrical plug.


An area in a window in which you can type text.


A set of disk blocks in which you store information such as text, programs, or images that you created using an application.

file system

A hierarchy of directories and files. Directories contain other directories and files; files cannot contain directories. The root (/) directory is at the top of the hierarchy.


A window containing buttons that you must click and/or editable fields that you must fill in.

graphics board

The printed circuit board within your workstation that contains the graphics processors. When you open the front metal panel of the Indigo chassis, it is the board on the right.

grounded electrical outlet

An electrical wall outlet that accepts a plug with a grounding prong. In the U.S.A., all three-prong outlets are grounded.


The protocol that controls the flow of information between a workstation and a printer.


To change the color of an item on the screen by positioning the cursor over it (locate-highlight), or by positioning the cursor over it and pressing a mouse button.

home directory

The directory into which IRIX places you each time you log in. It is specified in your login account; you own this directory and, typically, all its contents.


Any system connected to the network.


The name that uniquely identifies each host (system) on the network.

Human Factors guidelines

A set of standards and suggestions for making your working environment more comfortable and healthy.


A small picture that represents a stowed or closed file, directory, application, or IRIX process.

internal drive

A drive that fits inside the workstation and connects to an internal port; it is never connected with a cable to a visible external port. An internal drive is occasionally referred to as a front-loading drive.

IP address

A number that uniquely identifies each host (system) on a TCP/IP network.


A graphics workstation manufactured by Silicon Graphics, Inc.


The Silicon Graphics version of the UNIX operating system. See also system software.


A mouse and window based text editor that is included as part of the IRIX operating system.

KB (kilobyte)

A standard unit for measuring the information storage capacity of disks and memory (RAM and ROM); 1024 bytes make one kilobyte, in most uses.


Light Emitting Diode. A light on a piece of hardware that indicates status or error conditions.


To start up an application, often by double-clicking an icon.

local workstation

The physical workstation whose keyboard and mouse you are using, all hardware that is connected to that workstation, and all software that resides on that hardware or its removable media.


A long piece of metal with a lock icon on the end that you attach to the chassis. It allows you to secure the workstation with a lock and locking cable.

log in

To give the system your login name so you can start a session on the workstation.

log out

To end a session on the workstation.

login account

A database of information about each user that, at the minimum, consists of the login name, user ID, and home directory.

login name

A name that uniquely identifies a user to the system.

login screen

The window that you see after powering on the system, before you can access files and directories. The window contains one icon for each login account on the system.

MB (megabyte)

A standard unit for measuring the information storage capacity of disks and memory (RAM and ROM); 1024 kilobytes make one megabyte, in most uses.

male connector

A connector that has raised edges, pins, or other protruding parts that you plug into a female connector. An example of a male connector is an electrical plug that you plug into a wall outlet.

man page

An online document that describes how to use a particular IRIX command.


A list of operations or commands that the workstation can carry out on various objects on the screen.


A hardware device that displays the images, windows, and text with which you interact to use the system. It is also called a video display terminal (VDT).

monitor video cable

The cable that connects the monitor to the workstation to transmit video signals. It is thick and beige, with large connectors on both ends.

monitor power cable

The cable that connects the monitor to the workstation to provide power to the monitor. It is thick and beige, with a male connector on one end and a female connector on the other.

mount point

The directory on your workstation from which you access information that is stored on a local or remote disk resource.


To make a file system that is stored on a local or remote disk resource accessible from a specific directory on your workstation.


A hardware device that you use to communicate with windows and icons. You move the mouse to move the cursor on the screen, and you press its buttons to initiate operations.

mouse pad

For an optical mouse, this is the rectangular, metallic surface that reads the movements of the mouse. For a mechanical mouse, this is a clean, soft, rectangular surface that makes the mouse's track ball roll efficiently.


A group of computers and other devices (such as printers) that can all communicate with each other electronically to transfer and share information.

network administrator

The individual(s) responsible for setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting the network, and for supplying setup information to system administrators of each system.


A form that appears when the system requires you to confirm an operation that you just requested, or when an error occurs.


To double-click an icon, or to select an icon, then choose “Open” from a menu in order to display a window that contains the information that the icon represents.

option drive

Any internal drive other than the system disk. Option drives include floppy disk drives, secondary hard disk drives, or DAT drives.


Openings in the hardware to which you attach connectors to make an electrical connection.

PROM monitor

The interface that you use to communicate with the system after it is powered up, but before it is booted up and running IRIX.

Printer Manager

A tool that you access through either the System toolchest or the System Manager. You use it to set up printer software and monitor jobs that you send to the printer.

parallel port

An outlet on the workstation to which you connect external printers and similar devices.


A combination of letters and/or numbers that only you know; it is an optional element of your login account. If you specify a password for your account, you must type it after you type your login name before the system will let you access files and directories.


The list of directories that leads you from the root (/) directory to a specific file or directory in the file system.


A hardware device that adds more functionality to the basic workstation, such as a tape drive. See also external devices and internal drives.


An outlet to which you attach cable connectors.

power-on diagnostics

A series of tests that automatically check the hardware components of your system each time you turn it on.

power cable

The cable that connects the workstation to a grounded electrical outlet.

power down

To turn off the power switches on the workstation chassis and the monitor.

power supply

The piece of hardware within the Indigo chassis that directs power from an electrical outlet to the chassis, the monitor, and internal SCSI devices. It also contains the power switch, reset button, and fan.

power up

To turn on the workstation and monitor by pressing their power switches.


A character or word that the system displays in an IRIX shell; it indicates that the system is ready to accept commands. The default prompt for regular user accounts is %; the default prompt for the root account is #.


To stop running an application.

remote workstation, drive, disk, file system, or printer

A hardware device, or the information or media it contains, that you can access across the network; they are not physically connected to your workstation.

reset button

A physical button on the workstation that you can press, which cuts off power to the workstation, and then immediately restores it. You should never press this button while IRIX is running, unless all attempts fail to shut down the system using software. See also shut down.

restore (files)

To copy files that once resided on your hard disk from another disk or a tape back onto your hard disk.


The standard IRIX login account reserved for use by the system administrator. This account's home directory is the root (/) directory of the filesystem; the user of the root account has full access to the entire filesystem (that is, can change and delete any file or directory). The user of this account is sometimes referred to as the superuser.

root (/) directory

The directory at the top of the file system hierarchy.


Small Computer System Interface (pronounced “scuzzy”). SCSI is a high speed input/output specification for small computers. Indigo2 is SCSI-2 compliant and supports two fast/narrow/single-ended SCSI buses, each capable of transforming data at 10 MB per second.

SCSI address

A number from one to seven that uniquely identifies a SCSI device to a system. No two SCSI devices that are physically connected to the same SCSI bus can have the same SCSI address.

SCSI address dial

A small plastic dial connected to some Silicon Graphics external SCSI devices You click on its small buttons to select a SCSI address for a new SCSI device.

SCSI bus length

The combined length of all internal and external SCSI cables in a system for each SCSI bus.

SCSI cable

A cable that connects a SCSI device to a SCSI port on a workstation.

SCSI device

A hardware device that uses the SCSI protocol to communicate with the system. Hard disk and floppy disks, CD-ROM discs, and tape drives are all SCSI devices. See also SCSI.

SCSI terminator

An electronics device, often an external plug, that is required at the end of each SCSI bus. Indigo2 uses active terminators.


A small printed circuit board with DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) chips.

SIMM removal tool

An L-shaped metal tool that you use to loosen SIMMs installed in the SIMM sockets.

SIMM socket

A long, thin, female connector located on the CPU board into which you insert a SIMM.

System Manager

A set of tools that the administrator uses to set up and manage the Silicon Graphics workstation. You access the System Manager through the System toolchest.

System toolchest

The toolchest in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, labelled “System.” You start system tools, such as System Manager, using this menu.


The portion of the monitor that displays information.


To position the cursor over an icon, then click the (left) mouse button. Once an icon is selected, it is the object of whatever operation you select from a menu.

serial device

Any hardware device that requires a serial cable connection to communicate with the workstation.

serial port

An outlet on the workstation to which you connect external serial devices.


A system that other systems on the network access to use its disk space, software, or services.


A window into which you type IRIX commands.

shielded cable

A cable with a protective covering that reduces the possibility of interference with radio, television, and other devices.

shut down

To safely close all files, log out, and bring the workstation to a state where you can safely power it down. You choose “System Shutdown” from the System toolchest menu to do this.

software option

Any software product that you buy from Silicon Graphics other than the standard system software that comes on your system disk.

stand-alone workstation

A workstation that is not connected to a network.

static electricity

Whenever your body comes in physical contact with metal parts (including printed circuit boards) of computer equipment there is the potential for you to feel an electrical shock (electro-static discharge, or ESD) which could damage the equipment. To prevent this, you must always wear a wrist strap when working with internal parts of a workstation.


A user with root privileges. You become a superuser by logging in as root, by typing su at the shell prompt, or by running programs set up to run as root. See also system administrator.


All the hardware and software that makes up the workstation.

system administration

The tasks associated with setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting a networked or stand-alone system.

system administrator

The individual responsible for setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting a system. The system administrator uses the root login account to perform most administrative tasks.

system crash

When the IRIX operating system fails and the system will not accept any keyboard or mouse input.

system disk

The physical disk that contains the standard IRIX operating system software (the software that makes your workstation run).

system software

The standard IRIX operating system software and Silicon Graphics tools. These come on the system disk and on the CD that you use in the event of a system crash.


The standard networking software that is included in the system software.


The ridged knob attached to a screw in a cable connector. You turn it to secure the connector to an outlet.


Hardware that you add to the basic workstation to increase performance, such as additional memory (SIMMs) or faster graphics boards.


To make a file system that is accessible from a specific directory on your workstation temporarily unaccessible.

user ID (UID)

A number that uniquely identifies a user to the system.


A portion of the screen that you can manipulate that contains text or graphics.


The physical hardware that contains the CPU and graphics boards, a system disk, and a power supply. You connect it to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to configure a working system. The workstation is also sometimes referred to as the chassis.

wrist strap

A coiled cable with a loop at one end and an alligator clip at the other. You place the loop around your wrist and fasten the clip to a metal part of the workstation whenever you work with internal components of the workstation. This prevents electrical shocks to yourself and the components. See also static electricity.