Indigo Magic Desktop

Pioneering Desktop Environment for UNIX

From 1993-1996, I was a software engineer at Silicon Graphics (SGI) working on the Indigo Magic Desktop team under the management of Betsy Zeller.

The Indigo Magic Desktop (Figure 1) was the default desktop environment for IRIX, SGI’s variant of UNIX. The product’s focus was on making an otherwise cumbersome operating system easier for novices while increasing the productivity of experienced users. The Indigo Magic Desktop was one of the very first comprehensive desktop environments to be deployed on UNIX.

 Figure 1: Indigo Magic Desktop.

Figure 1: Indigo Magic Desktop.

The system was written in C++ on IRIX using the X11/Motif toolkit as well as SGI toolkits such as IRIS ViewKit, an application framework, and portions of the IRIS Media Libraries, for digital audio and video.

I specialized in user interface design and application development, and honed these skills through multiple development cycles of product. I wore many hats during my tenure; an abbreviated list of my responsibilities included:

  • Developed Web Jumper, a framework for integrating web bookmarks into the desktop environment;
  • Enhanced Icon Catalog (Figure 2), an application for logically grouping similar icons for easy access, regardless of where they reside on the filesystem;
  • Redesigned the Search tool (Figure 3), an application for finding system resources — e.g., files, printers, peripherals, systems, people — either locally or on other systems on the network;
  • Maintained a large suite of control panels (e.g., Figure 4 and Figure 5) for customizing various user and system settings; and
  • Reorganized and managed the team’s source tree.
 Figure 2: Icon Catalog.

Figure 2: Icon Catalog.

 
 Figure 3: Search tool.

Figure 3: Search tool.

 
 Figure 4: Color Scheme control panel.

Figure 4: Color Scheme control panel.

 
 Figure 5: Desktop control panel.

Figure 5: Desktop control panel.

All images on this page © Silicon Graphics, Inc (SGI).