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Sony Adds PS3 Support to Linux Kernel

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the tux-i-want-you-to-meet-your-new-friend dept.

Sony 181

mu22le writes "A few Sony patches to the Linux kernel have just been merged in the mainline tree, to be included in the 2.6.20 release. The patches add 'core platform support for the PS3 game console and other devices using the PS3 hypervisor.'" From the Linux Devices article: "Linux gained generic support for the Cell processor, on which the PS3 is based, with the 2.6.13 release in June of 2005. The new Sony-contributed patches to the 2.6.20 kernel appear to add machine-specific support for technology such as the PS3's memory architecture, DMA (direct memory access) model, and SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) model. A Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) distribution has been available for the PS3 since October, thanks to a development deal between Sony and YDL publisher TerraSoft. However, YDL so far has not been bundled with early PS3 shipments, despite earlier indications from Sony Entertainment's CEO, Ken Kuturagi."

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At the moment (4, Interesting)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155078)

At the moment this is the only reason I would even consider buying a PS3 sometime in the future. It is really great to see them supporting the Linux community by making porting to their console much easier...

Re:At the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155118)

This and Metal Gear Solid 4. :-)

Re:At the moment (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155222)

And what exactly are you going to do with Linux on a PS3? You might as well run Linux on an obsolete Intel processor, which is much cheaper and better supported. You don't think you're going to be able to fully use the hardware on the PS3 without an official dev kit, do you?

Glass

Re:At the moment (1)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155250)

Actually, from the rumors I have heard, you're supposed to be able to do quite a bit in terms of development with the PS3 off the shelf. I think that was one of the more radical improvements this time around, but I could be wrong of course.

Re:At the moment (4, Informative)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155926)

On top of this, IGN did a review of the Linux rollout [ign.com] Main takeaways:

  • The graphics chip is not supported at the moment, and neither is 3D graphics. IGN reports that one half of the system's memory isn't visible. This makes sense since the 512MB is split between the video and the processor.
  • The system runs pretty smoothly. Startup for Firefox was about 5 seconds, which sounds normal to me on my P4 3ghz running E17.
  • Screenshots include the E17 desktop, which looks fairly complete. No word on what modules are supported for E17, but remember it's in active development and just recently overhauled the entire module system, including adding the shelf.
  • You can only install Linux in one of two configurations - a 50/10 split on the 60gb drive. So you either give most of your space to linux or to the PS3 for games and media, but you can't split it 30/30 or any other way.
  • Unlike a comment below, IGN reports that the Wireless card is supported, but not automatically detected. You'll have to choose the driver manually apparently.
  • Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, the GIMP, and OO.o are included. Flash is not since it doesn't exist for the Cell processor yet.
  • Titan, which I've never heard of, is the default media player but has no plugins available. You have to download them on your own.


    Seems like a nice rollout, but I don't like the hard drive allocation. It'd be nice if you could just install the OS's side by side and let them share media across. I hope you can do that.

Re:At the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17159506)

Seems like a nice rollout, but I don't like the hard drive allocation. It'd be nice if you could just install the OS's side by side and let them share media across. I hope you can do that.


Are you kidding? The PS3 Gaming OS will never touch anything from the icky 'other-os'. Maybe if you wanted to be able to play your own MP3s for your favorite racing game, there will be a mechanism to upload those to your other partition... but a game will never ever read it directly.

And anyway, you can upgrade to whatever size hard drive you want if the partition size is a problem.

Re:At the moment (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156780)

You don't think you're going to be able to fully use the hardware on the PS3 without an official dev kit, do you?

It's not a question of fully using the hardware but a question of having any hardware to use at all. Which other platform allows independent game developers to develop and distribute games designed for use with a large (25" and up) screen and two to four controllers? HTPC?

Re:At the moment (2, Insightful)

brenddie (897982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155246)

Lets just hope that it doesnt go the way of the PS2 and once they get done evading whatever taxes game consoles have over PCs and abandon support for linux. At least this time the hardware is interesting enough to keep people working/hacking the console.

Re:At the moment (2, Informative)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157320)

It was YABASIC in Europe that was included with PS2s to evade the tax, which doesn't exist anymore. The Linux kit for the PS2 or Linux for the PS3 have nothing to do with that. I don't know why that urban legend keeps showing up.

You did know that the official PS2 Linux sit is still up and running, they didn't abandon support, they just sold all the kits.

Thumbs up (1)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155094)

Big thumbs up for Sony on this one.

What is the point (5, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155168)

Beyond the geek factor, what is the point of Linux on the PS3?

Does it do anything that you couldn't do with a much less expensive PC that you can install Linux on? I just don't get it ...

Re:What is the point (4, Informative)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155216)

Doesn't the Cell perform some scientific calculations very well? Sounds like a motivation to me. Also, for those so inclined you could theoretically utilize the extra processing power of your PS3 from your Linux box through clustering.

Re:What is the point (4, Funny)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155306)

Are you imploring us to imagine a Beowulf cluster of PS3s? Intriguing...

Re:What is the point (2, Insightful)

Oddscurity (1035974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155536)

Indeed, theoretically it's a more than decent platform for F@H, et al.

Re:What is the point (1)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156292)

The multiple cores of the cell processor seem like a good place for stuff like video/audio encoding/decoding. Hehe...how about throw some good speech recognition engine in there just for kicks to see how good it is at making subtitles from your home video camera? :) Heck, go even one step further and throw in some face recognition on each frame...ok i'm dreaming...time to get back to work.

Re:What is the point (4, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155252)

$600 isnt a bad price for a high end media PC.

Plus it can play games and bluray media.

In a way I agree with you though, if I wound up buying one itd probably be after the cost goes down a bit..

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155350)

Even the best high-end media PC is useless without proper graphics drivers. There's no sign that nvidia puts out some drivers for the RSX in the PS3, yet.

Re:What is the point (2, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155398)

Even the best high-end media PC is useless without proper graphics drivers. There's no sign that nvidia puts out some drivers for the RSX in the PS3, yet.

Thats a really good point. Sony supporting PS3 could push nvidia to develop drivers for it which might wind up benefiting even us non-ps3 linux users.

Re:What is the point (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155644)

Of course, unless those drivers are Free Software nobody (including Yellow Dog or even Sony itself) will be allowed to distribute them with the kernel. You'd have to install Linux first and then go download the drivers from nVidia.

Re:What is the point (1)

GrizlyAdams (999280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157222)

AFAIK, the restriction on distribution comes from nvidia's camp, not from the GPL. Since the nvidia modules are linked against the installed kernel at install, the end-user is the only one with binaries linked against stubs for GPL code.

Re:What is the point (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17158254)

IANAL, but I've read about this a lot and I think I understand it well.

The software in question is divided into three parts: the Linux kernel itself, the open-source stub written by nvidia, and the binary nvidia driver. The first is licensed under the GPL, and the other two are licensed under the nvidia software license [nvidia.com] . However, there is one part of that license that only applies to the stub, not the binary:

2.1.2 Linux/FreeBSD Exception. Notwithstanding the foregoing terms of Section 2.1.1, SOFTWARE designed exclusively for use on the Linux or FreeBSD operating systems, or other operating systems derived from the source code to these operating systems, may be copied and redistributed, provided that the binary files thereof are not modified in any way (except for unzipping of compressed files).

So, here's the theory (from nvidia's perspective): the binary part is not a derivative work of the Linux kernel; it's a derivative work of the Windows nvidia driver. The open-source stub is a derivative work of the kernel, but that's okay because it's redistributable (again, according to nvidia). In other words, only distributing the stub as open source satisfies the GPL.

Now, here's the catch: once you compile the kernel and the stub together the end result is a derivative work of the kernel, but not entirely GPL, so you're not allowed to redistribute it (does it seem like I contradicted myself? It should...). And the binary part still isn't a derivative work of the kernel because it's linked in at runtime in a similar way that a userspace program would link in to make system calls.

Now, here's the other perspective: some people say that having redistribution rights to that stub isn't good enough, that it must be GPL (or better*). This makes perfect sense to me, because the clause I quoted obviously fails to preserve the "four freedoms" that the GPL requires. So, let's imagine that nvidia distributed the stub as GPL, to make it legal. Then what? Well, since the stub is also part of the nvidia driver, it would then have to be GPL too because otherwise you'd have GPL code being a derivative work of non-GPL code, which the GPL doesn't allow. In other words -- unless I'm mistaken -- you can't make a closed-source extension to GPL code (which is obvious) but you also can't make a GPL'd extension to closed code unless you write an exception to the license. And nvidia can't write an exception because the Linux kernel doesn't have one. Therefore, distribution of the nvidia driver by anyone whatsoever (including nvidia) violates the GPL, even if the kernel itself isn't distributed along with it (because of the definition of "derivative work").

So, here's the bottom line: it may or may not be illegal to distribute the nvidia code by itself, and it's certainly illegal to distribute it linked with the kernel. Either way, though, it's the GPL (and/or copyright law) that causes it to be so, regardless of nvidia's license (unless it were to become genuinely GPL-compatible).

Hmm... you know what? After writing that, I'm less certain that I understand it. Oh well... : \

(*i.e., less restrictive -- like the BSD or MIT license)

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155824)

If you're talking about that nvidia might release a free driver, I don't think so. Even though the nvidia linux support is the best of all the graphic chip makers they always said that's impossible for them to make any free drivers because of different reason (most, I think, are bogus). Somebody else has to step up and either provide free drivers and/or the specs of their cards. It doesn't look AMD is going this route and Intel doesn't make high-end gfx chips (..yet. There were some "rumors".).
Also afaik the BR drive didn't work on Fedora (at least), the hardrive is kind of small for multimedia stuff (but it's dead easy to replace it with a bigger, let's say 500gig, one) and there just isn't enough RAM.
If they'd have put at least a gig of RAM in the PS3 and had support for every piece of hardware in their console I gladly would have shelled out a 600+ bucks for one and be using it as a computer right now.
Maybe it'll be like that with the next Playstation.

Re:What is the point (1, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155658)

$600 isnt a bad price for a high end media PC.

Plus it can play games and bluray media.

In a way I agree with you though, if I wound up buying one itd probably be after the cost goes down a bit..


But can it burn CDs/DVDs?
Can you install any OS besides linux on it?
Does it have a PS/2 Keybord/mouse port or a printer port?

These may not seem like big things, but they're just to demonstrate that you're probably going to spend more money on a PS3 and (as a PC) it will function on a much worse level.

Re:What is the point (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155812)

Does it have a PS/2 Keybord/mouse port or a printer port?

Did it become 1998 again when I wasn't looking?

Here in the futuristic year of 2006, we use USB to attach keyboards, mouses, and printers to our computers.

Re:What is the point (5, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156012)

You do. I'm not wasteful like that. USB is a high overhead protocol thats wasteful of CPU time for something as straightforward as a mouse or keyboard. Why spend 4 times the time you have to in a USB interrupt instead of a quick PS/2 one? On top of that, it causes 2 single points of failure (USB circuit shorts? Now everything is broken, its a shared bus. With PS/2, only your printer breaks)- the hardware and the drivers. I prefer having my mouse and keyboard use an easier to code, unchanging, decade old interface so that if something goes wrong with USB my computer is usable.

Re:What is the point (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156404)

Get a life.

Re:What is the point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156776)

Jesus, by your reasoning we should go back to punch cards, as it's a completely mechanical storage system that isn't affected by magnetic fields. God knows we have tons of those around us, just waiting to pounce on our precious information. Yes sir, by going with punch cards, we can sleep easy knowing that our data is safe. Of course, we'd have to make them out of polymer sheets, as the paper ones were prone to tearing.

On a more serious note, when's the last time you had a USB bus failure? I've had processor, motherboard and hard disk failures, but never the USB bus _alone_.

Re:What is the point (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156806)

So do you really work out a monthly budget for your computer time? Is everyone in the house timesharing it at their own dumb-terminals? What if someone wants to run a GUI, are the cycles just not there for something else?

And you know you don't code at the hardware level for your PS/2 ports. Stop lying.

Re:What is the point (2, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156920)

I'll bet you ran and stuck your head in the sand when it came time to learn protected mode x86, too.

If your PS2 port breaks, you're fucked (no keyboard). If your USB port breaks, you've got another one.

The cpu usage is a non-issue. It may be "wasteful" but seriously, there's far more serious problems to solve than cutting down your keyboard's utilisation down from 0.01% of a single cpu - you can cut that time down by 99% and its still no real gain.

I'm all for optimisation, but seriously...

Re:What is the point (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17159514)

If your PS2 port breaks, you're fucked (no keyboard). If your USB port breaks, you've got another one.

Well, If "you've got another USB port in the case your other port breaks", then you could buy a USB keyboard in the (unlikely, IMHO) case your PS2 port broke, and attach the keyboard.

Waste (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157042)

What is wasteful is having a billion ports on the back of something when just a few would do.

Besides, you can also use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse with it as well (assuming those drivers work, have not heard if they do or not).

Re:What is the point (2, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157044)

I prefer having my mouse and keyboard use an easier to code, unchanging, decade old interface

Ah, so you do like to use USB, which was first released in Jan of 1996. PS/2 ports, on the other hand, have been around since the PS/2 computer was introduced--circa 1987 or so.

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155822)

modern USB keyboard/mouse/printer/external burner ftw.

usb mice and keyboards aren't any more expensive than ps/2 verions, and are far easier to find now. I think it's almost impossible to buy a new printer that doesn't have either usb or networking support. The only thing that would really take a hit is the external burner, but they aren't THAT slow or expensive.

And no, you can't install windows or macOS on it, but why would you want to? The main markets for the linux support are poor reasearch labs, tinkerers, and people who want a computer controlled media center. Linux works fine for all 3.

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155850)

> But can it burn CDs/DVDs?
If you have an external USB CD/DVD burner, then probbably yes.

> Can you install any OS besides linux on it?
Well you could install any OS you want on it, as long as it supports the PS3. So far only Linux does. I wouldn't be surprised if a BSD did soon too.

> Does it have a PS/2 Keybord/mouse port or a printer port?
Again, it has USB. Most keybords, mice and priters use that now.

Re:What is the point (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156554)


No but you can backup to any USB, bluetooth or wifi device be it a hard drive or CD/DVD/Bluray burner. can't see HD-DVD supported but it is feasable.

At the moment no, but I think we will see a BSD port, however I cannot see this happening with any proprietary OS. Still Microsoft and Apple may allow this, after all you do have to pay them for this proposed port, but I would not hold my breath.

No but you can use a USB or even bluetooth keyboard and mouse or a printer. In fact having a wireless keyboard/mouse plus printer would make this a very functional living room computer. The biggest problem is going to be your screen which should be a minimum of 720p (of course 1080p is much better but more expensive).

Of course if you want to use your old PC equipment then you may be disappointed.

Re:What is the point (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156778)

On the other hand, your new Linux box can function as a full-featured PS3.

You can go back and forth, but the bottom line is that some of the core PS3 funtionality should have some value to you if you want to get your money's worth out of it. If you don't care about BluRay or games, then you're 100% correct, you should look elseware for your next Linux box. But if you really want to play Motor Storm, getting a "free" Linux box with the deal could be a nice bonus.

TW

Burner, keyboard, mouse, printer (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156894)

But can it burn CDs/DVDs?

The PLAYSTATION 3 game console running Linux might be able to use an optical disc recorder connected to one of its USB 2.0 ports.

Can you install any OS besides linux on it?

Any operating system vendor is welcome to make a boot loader module for PS3 Other OS Installer [playstation.com] . But in general, only Free operating systems are going to be worth anybody's time.

Does it have a PS/2 Keybord/mouse port

The keyboard and mouse used with the PlayStation 2 game console (PS2) were a standard USB keyboard and a standard USB mouse. Yes, these devices also work with PS3 consoles.

or a printer port?

Sony left off a dedicated printer port probably because it saw that Nintendo's Game Boy Printer was a flop. But you can still attach any USB or network printer that has a CUPS driver.

Re:What is the point (0, Flamebait)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157068)

Why would you want to install another OS? It's kind of wasteful to run BSD on it. You don't need 380 watts to run a firewall.

Re:What is the point (1)

Shai-kun (728212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155708)

...and bluray media.


At first I read that as a misspelling of 'blurry media'. Ha!

Re:What is the point (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156800)

That was the N64.

Re:What is the point (2, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155798)

$600 isnt a bad price for a high end media PC.

What "high end" media PC has 256MB of shared memory? Low-end non-media PCs have 512MB of RAM (shared with the video card) these days. Even the Xbox 360 has 512MB of shared memory. A high-end media PC is more likely to have 1GB+ of system RAM and a video card with its own dedicated RAM. Multi-purpose machines need more RAM. Game consoles don't need as much because they have control over what they do with the RAM (few or no other processes running, access to the underlying hardware, etc).

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156052)

As soon as nvidia releases their PS3 drivers the RSX probably get its dedicated xdr dram or they share it all like the xbox360 does.. wait.. you can't install any OS on the xbox360.. no reason to bring up the xbox360 then..

Re:What is the point (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156578)

you can't install any OS on the xbox360.. no reason to bring up the xbox360 then..

I mentioned the Xbox 360 simply because it's PS3's console competitor and to illuminate how much 256MB of RAM sucks. The PS3 has the convoluted-but-apparently-powerful Cell, nVidia's powerful RSX chip, a built-in hard drive, etc but it's hamstrung by its lack of RAM. We'll have to see how it plays out, but I suspect that it will take developers quite a bit longer to really leverage the PS3's power due to that single limitation.

Oh, yeah, though you can't install other operating systems on an Xbox 360, it works as a functional media PC by itself, and is a near-perfect front-end for a separate media center PC (if only it could play DivX/Xvid natively ...). So it does somewhat fit into the category of "inexpensive high-end media PC", if only tangentially.

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156952)

But you are aware that the PS3 has a total of 512MB RAM (256MB XDR Main RAM + 256MB GDDR3 VRAM ), yes?
Maybe Linux will be able to access all of the RAM somehow soon (nvidia drivers?!)...

I'm posting this from a 1.3ghz debian unstable box (running the latest KDE) with 256MB of RAM. It certainly does not suck. It's enough for MOST things.

:-)

Re:What is the point (2, Insightful)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157368)

Your RAM would go even further using fluxbox, XFCE or even the e17 Yellow Dog 5.0 uses. :-)

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17157556)

After boot-up I end up in KDE with a memory consumption of ~65MB. That's just good enough for me. Also I'm doing some KDE/Qt development, so it's just more convenient for me to run KDE. :-)

But I'm setting up an old comp with a 400Mhz celeron and 64MB RAM (its main purpose will be web browsing). I installed e17 and firefox and it actually works pretty well so far.

Re:What is the point (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157346)

No no no, it's 256 main RAM, 256 graphics RAM.

main RAM isn't shared.

Re:What is the point (1)

Extremist (4666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155272)

It's small, it's sexy looking, all ready to hook up to your TV, and has ethernet for doing networking (LAN and broadband). That's much better for a family PC in the living room than the standard LCD/desktop eyesore. Don't get me wrong, I prefer good, powerful workstations, but I have to admit my wife is right here... they look ugly amidst the living room furniture.

We only run linux in our house, though, so YMMV on the usefulness of linux on a Playstation.

Re:What is the point or shiny PS3 clusters! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155402)

Well, it gives you something to do when you're not having fun playing games on your Wii - that's why you put Linux on your PS3!

Besides, after the rabbits take over, all your PS3 are belong to Rayman ...

Re:What is the point (2, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155490)

A cell procesor computer for a grand with a decent GPU and insane memory bandwidth. It's got a few niches (poverty stricken research labs comes ot mind).

Can't take full advantage. (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155732)

Except that I believe that you can't use many of the advanced features of the GPU because it currently lacks Linux drivers.

Also, at least as of a while ago, Linux didn't take advantage of all the SPUs within Cell; I'd hope that the Sony kernel modules mentioned in this article solve that problem, but I'm not sure.

Re:What is the point (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17159094)

Actually (ignoring current ebay-price-gouging), a grand will get you two of the 20GB models.

Re:What is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155524)

you mean like read blu-ray disks and output in HD? Plus it's got a small form factor

Re:What is the point (2, Interesting)

xero314 (722674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155678)

As I software developer with out a license to an existing Dev Kit or The money to set up a Cell Based server (the only other Cell development options) I could see the use in it as a learning tool. Oh plus it plays 3 generation on Console games, DVDs, CDs and BluRay disks, etc...

Re:What is the point (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157646)

Oh plus it plays 3 generation on Console games, DVDs, CDs and BluRay disks, etc...

But can it play those games while you're using it as a "Cell Based server"? Dual-boot seems cool... until you want to run a server.

Re:What is the point (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17158550)

But can it play those games while you're using it as a "Cell Based server"?
Probably not, but you can get a couple of them for less than a Cell based server setup (and all it requires) so I still think it's a decent idea.

Processing Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155972)

I've been waiting for the PS3 for quite a while. Heavy duty image processing (real-time 3D reconstruction from video, image coregistration, mosaicing, ...) may be possible at a VERY reasonable price. The SMP programming model looks very much simpler than I'd anticipated.

Where can I buy one?

Re:What is the point (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157568)

The point is that if they can claim that it is a "computer", there are much lower import taxes for selling it in Europe. That's why they had a PS2 Linux too, and I think I can vaguely recall hearing about some sort of BASIC for the PS1. The difference is that this one doesn't seem to require a disk that can go out of print on Sony's whim.

Re:What is the point (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17158644)

Again with the tax myth. Linux for the PS2 or PS3 had nothing to do with that tax, which was a Europe only thing. The tax doesn't exist anymore.

SCEfoo is supporting Linux because they want to.

Rootkit (5, Funny)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155264)

Does it include the 'CD copy protection' loadable module?

We are winning. (5, Funny)

gunny01 (1022579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155318)

Put that up your pipe and smoke it NetBSD! You don't support Cell! So much for 'Of Course it Supports NetBSD!'

Win Win scenario (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155378)

I just hope Sony understands just what a winning scenario this could be for everyone.

Imagine. Play this right, let the bugs settle out for a few months and then start passing out ready to go DVDs on gaming mag covers. Sell a ready to rock kit with a preloaded memory key, DVD, keyboard and mouse. Instantly a PS3 is a gaming rig, BlueRay player AND a fully functional PC, ready for web browsing, OO.o, etc. Given just a small push and penetration could easilly hit 50% of an installed base likely to number in the tens of millions within two to three years.

For Sony the upside is realizing the sales pitch that a PS3 is more than a console, being able to make the pitch that a PS3 purchase for the kids is ALSO a PC purchase. Plus if it kills a few PC sales why should Sony care? Their desktop PC division is all but dead (laptops are of course another story, they make some cool lappies) and every Windows PC sale is money in their enemy's hand.

For us penguinheads we have to grit our teeth a bit at the idea of Sony succeeding but they ARE doing it the right way in this case so we have to be ready to give em props. Just imagine millions of DESKTOP LINUX installs. Millions! If PS3 ends up selling well and that penetration percentage goes much over 50% Linux could be the #2 desktop OS, pushing Apple to #3. Talk about irony, if Apple abandoned PPC for Intel and a PPC platform ended up defeating them. Balmer wouldn't be the only Steve hurling furniture. :)

Re:Win Win scenario (2, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155778)

Instantly a PS3 is a gaming rig, BlueRay player AND a fully functional PC, ready for web browsing, OO.o, etc.

Yes, a box with only 256MB of general-purpose RAM is IDEAL for web browsing, Open Office, etc.....

Given just a small push and penetration could easilly hit 50% of an installed base likely to number in the tens of millions within two to three years.

I don't know which claim is more unlikely... that PS3 Linux would be of interest to anywhere near 50% of PS3 owners, or that Sony will be able to sell tens of millions of PS3s in the next couple of years.

Re:Win Win scenario (4, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156168)

> that PS3 Linux would be of interest to anywhere near 50% of PS3 owners

And why not? What do most people use a PC for?

1. Internet: Web, IM, etc. PS3 running Linux can do that. Especially once the installed base gets big enough to ensure things like a current Flash and other needed bits are ported in a timely manner.

2. Games. Everyone always rips linux gaming with wiseass cracks like, yea, assuming you think Tux Racer is state of the art, etc. Duh, reboot and it is a Playstation 3 again, bet that can satisfy most people's gamer cravings. Remember, this is oficially supported Linux, no modchips and no worries about being locked out of playing games.

3. Basic productivity. OO.o can do that. Running a hog like OO.o in 256M will be a bit of bother but not insurmountable if you are only doing a bit of that stuff and on small home size documents.

4. Multimedia. The thing already supports direct YUV video modes in all of the HD, ED and SD resolutions under Linux. A Media player setup is a no brainer even if you have to download the packages from Europe. MythTV's frontend will love running on one.

Given that can't you see smart parents buying the kids a PS3 instead of an Xbox360 and a PC? Or that many owners will take advantage of the ability to have a spare PC when they aren't gaming?

> or that Sony will be able to sell tens of millions of PS3s in the next couple of years

Do you think it will still be $599 by next xmas? And that the supply issues with blue lasers will still limit supply of consoles? Ok.

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156480)

1. Already in the PS3 OS.
2. Already in the PS3 OS.
3. Yes, you'd need Linux for this one.
4. Already in the PS3 OS.

The point is, no where near 50% of the people buying a PS3 are going to care about Linux. Most of the stuff they would want to use a full OS for can be done directly from the PS3 without installing Linux. With advancements being made in web apps to provide basic productivity, and a built-in web browser, there's suddenly no need for a 'Other OS' on the PS3, and so no one but hardcore geeks who want to program the hardware will ever use it.

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156706)

Do you think it will still be $599 by next xmas?

Yes. What console in the last five years had a price drop in its first year? The only reason they'd drop the price is if it was an utter failure, but they're already losing too much money per unit. Just like the XBox 360, the price isn't coming down anytime soon.

And as far as "millions" of people wanting a box they can use as a PC... 1) It doesn't run windows, therefore no one will want it. 2) Most people already don't use 90% of the features of the devices they own. Even technophiles don't use all the features of their equipment. (My DVD player supports DivX on Demand, for instance, and I've never bothered with it.) So no, no one is going to think "Gee, let me buy this expensive black box so my kid can play games AND use it as an underpowered PC!" You can get a new PC off the shelf w/ 1GB of RAM and a 200GB HD for ~$400-$500 if you want a PC, and you don't have to learn some arcane operating system to use it. 3) See 1).

And that the supply issues with blue lasers will still limit supply of consoles? Ok

Not just blue lasers. Last I checked the Cell yields weren't very high, either.

Wait a minute... Did I honestly see you claim that the PS3 will push Apple out of the desktop market? With Linux? This is just flamebait, right?

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157490)

With the same argument 50% of computer users would use Linux everyday.

The question is not how PS3 Linux could fill in the computer needs but rather why would 50% of the PS3 owners feel a sudden need to run Linux / solve their computer problem on the PS3.
Especially since
      - They bought a gaming machine, or maybe a Media player.
      - Probably the vast majority of user buying a PS3 already have a computer. ( and probably running Windows )
      - Those who don't have a computer have probably no need of a computer and therefore much less of PS3 running Linux.
      - Sony is still selling the PS3 as a gaming console (duh!) that plays blue ray, not a PC running Linux.

If 1% of PS3 owner even bother to use Linux on their PS3 that would be a victory.

Of course, Sony could start a massive campain of Linux promotion:

Instead of having gaming by default on the machine, the PS3 would start in Linux mode, startup firefox, openoffice, your mail application and display a RSS feed of your meeting of the day. They could also implement a feature that disable gaming to be more corporate friendly and maybe start developing a server version ?

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17158676)

I see Linux on the PS3 as trying to get an edge into the "second household PC" market. Lots of people own PC's and some own two (or three) because people get tired of waiting to use the one. But with the PS3 there's no need to buy another Wintel box, thereby also reducing Microsofts OEM Windows sales.

Re:Win Win scenario (3, Insightful)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156700)

Yes, a box with only 256MB of general-purpose RAM is IDEAL for web browsing, Open Office, etc.....
Actually, it's not so bad. You would likely be surprised.

Depends on the WM (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157018)

Yes, a box with only 256MB of general-purpose RAM is IDEAL for web browsing, Open Office, etc.....

Hasn't anyone ever run a slimmed down WM like TWM?

With a smaller screen and simpler uses, you don't need a fancy WM that takes up a great deal of memory - and Mozilla should run just fine in that little memory with most of the OS and WM not hogging memory.

Re:Depends on the WM (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17159560)

Hasn't anyone ever run a slimmed down WM like TWM?

Yea, Blackbox and its ilk.

Mozilla should run just fine in that little memory

No, if I had now a computer with 256 MB of RAM (I have a 64 MB one I use as a server, though), I probably wouldn't use Mozilla on it (nor Firefox) alongside TWM. Why would I go to the trouble of avoiding "heavy" libraries (GTK) if I was going to install a feature-laden browser on it? Worse, the broser is going to require them, or their own separate attempt (yes, I use Epiphany on GNOME for, mostly, this reason).

Re:Win Win scenario (2, Insightful)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157288)

Doesn't WinXP run on boxes with only 256MB. Last I checked at my local Wal-mart they had a WinXP box for sale with only 256. The Windows machine I have had 256MB as the base RAM and Gateway was advertising them as being good general sue computers.

Personally, I've been running Linux on a PS2 for over 4 years. The 32MB is a limitation yes, but not as much as you might think and the PS3 has 8x as much. It'll be enough for general uses.

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156070)

For us penguinheads we have to grit our teeth a bit at the idea of Sony succeeding but they ARE doing it the right way in this case so we have to be ready to give em props.

It sure seems like a good thing, but we still need to be cautious -- I fully expect Sony to try to slip some DRM or closed-source "extensions" or something in with it sooner or later.

Re:Win Win scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156276)

"I just hope Sony understands just what a winning scenario this could be for everyone."

I have to agree. As I said to someone months before launch, "If, and only if, Sony does it right it will be an amazing machine". The potential upside is amazing, but only if they do it right.

Sitting here I can think of a handful of things it needs in order to better realize its Linux/PC potential:

[X] Support to better utilize the Cell
[_] GPU drivers for accelerated graphics
[_] WiFi drivers
[_] Fix the system boot*

* As of right now, if you install GNU/Linux as an "Other OS" the PS3 boots into it by default. In order to boot into the "Game OS" and play a game, you must hold the power switch for 5 seconds. This boots into the "Game OS" but also has the effect of resetting certain system settings such as video output. The first thing dual-boot users should see is a choice to boot the "Game OS" or the "Other OS".

One down, at least three to go.

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

tonyhill (590105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156874)

Agreed. Throw in a USB TV tuner and either external storage or increased internal storage, and you've got a nice PVR box. MythTV/PS3, anyone?

The thing is, as long it's running Linux well, Sony doesn't have to do squat to make the PS3 a PVR box. That's already a solved problem under Linux.

Re:Win Win scenario (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156940)

Sony won't push Linux on the PS3 until it starts selling it at a profit. People buying PS3s to install Linux and never buying a game is Sony's worst nightmare.

Re:Win Win scenario (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17159582)

Anyone who is not interested in playing games or Blu Ray movies (what Sony uses to recoup their losses) will probably be wise enough to spend their six hundred dollars on a box more suited to their needs. I don't see anyone dropping 600 to run linux on a box with no burner, 256mb of ram, no gpu drivers, and a processor that is going to have a bunch of compatibility issues for the foreseeable future. In other words, it is not Sony's worst nightmare because it is never going to happen.

Now all it needs is Wireless support... (5, Informative)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155690)

As an owner of a PS3 with Linux installed, the only thing that's missing is wireless support. Wired Ethernet works flawlessly, now lets see some wireless drivers!

Re:Now all it needs is Wireless support... (2, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156710)

Screw the wireless, give us hardware accelerated 3D.

RSX unlocking and its strategic market effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155998)

Maybe small-game developers could (spontaneusly, ofcourse) start an avalanche of open-source & closed-source console games compatible with PS3 & Linux? Keep in mind that having a game/engine on "THE PS3" is quite cool in various ways for them..

I wonder if this could give linux/SONY competitive edge over Microsoft et al. in both long and short runs? I can't see it could cause harm to the mainstream AAA-game sales nor the console sales, on the contrary...

The fourth console? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156966)

Maybe small-game developers could (spontaneusly, ofcourse) start an avalanche of open-source & closed-source console games compatible with PS3 & Linux?

Quoted for truth. Either that, or they could target the emerging fourth console known as home theater PC.

Re:The fourth console? (1)

Hitto (913085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17158318)

Has it been five years, already? Is "convergence" a buzzword again?
No disrespect meant, but, seriously... As long as we don't see standardized "simple" tech like cell phones, don't hope for standardized HTPCs Joe Sixpack can configure and customize on his own.

Or maybe you were talking abour windows media center edition? It runs MAME, I've heard.

Re:RSX unlocking and its strategic market effect (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157140)

The PS3/Linux market is extremely small; indie game developers would be much better off developing for OS X.

Re:RSX unlocking and its strategic market effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17157226)

Haha! Good one.

You can win a PS3 with Linux by hacking it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156046)

A PS3 Hacking challenge [shimpinomori.net] runs during december : if you want a PS3 with a 160 GB hard disk and Linux pre-installed, it is yours for free if you can hack it!

Who needs video? (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156170)

I see a lot of people here complaining that it is worthless without video drivers. I disagree. Granted, you won't be playing Quake on it, but that does not make it worthless. The first thing I will do when I get one is to have it take over the function of my current Linux box and run my web page off of it. Apache doesn't care what video card you have. This will allow me to dump my space-heater Athlon XP in favor of something a bit more AC friendly. Unfortunately, I won't be able to play a game and run my web page at the same time, but that's why I need to buy 2!!! :-)

Next, this machine will work just fine for checking email, typing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, browsing the web, downloading porn or whatever else you use a PC for. The only downside I see is the lack of storage space. Let's hope it takes external USB drives.

Re:Who needs video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156458)

The only downside I see is the lack of storage space. Let's hope it takes external USB drives.

I don't own one, but it I've read it does. Perhaps somoneone who has one could confirm this here.

In any event, depending on which one you get it comes with a 20gig or 60gig 2.5" SATA drive. You can upgrade to any 2.5" SATA drive you want (doing so does not void the warranty).

Re:Who needs video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17157030)

You'd be a fool to buy a PS3 as a general purpose PC. If you have a specific interest or application for the SPUs, cool. Otherwise buy the PS3 for the games and treat the fact you can boot linux (albeit under a hypervisor) as a bonus.

Re:Who needs video? (1)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157212)

you don't need to buy two ps3's. You could just buy the cheapest celeron or sempron pc available and it will still be faster than your athlon xp, plus tons cheaper than having two ps3's. And I highly doubt the ps3 is any more AC friendly than an athlon xp, have you seen that fan on that thing?

Re:Who needs video? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157392)

you don't need to buy two ps3's. You could just buy the cheapest celeron or sempron pc available and it will still be faster than your athlon xp, plus tons cheaper than having two ps3's. And I highly doubt the ps3 is any more AC friendly than an athlon xp, have you seen that fan on that thing?

You are correct, but who wants a crappy celeron when they could have two PS3's? Of course, with the second PS3, I need another HDTV. That means another cable box for the bedroom... You see where I'm going with this? If I don't spend the money, we'll end up with another baker's rack, vanity, or some other worthless piece of furniture!

Re:Who needs video? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157798)

The first thing I will do when I get one is to have it take over the function of my current Linux box and run my web page off of it.

So what happens to your web page when you want to play GTA4 or FFXVIII? Or were you planning to play nothing but nethack, Tux Racer, and sokoban?

Once you get past the geek factor, there's really no point in using a PS3 as a server when you could use a cheap PC with a fanless CPU instead. If your web page really NEEDS that space-heater Athlon XP, then it probably uses enough bandwidth to a hosting facility too. Plus, you could put in more than 256M RAM, which Apache would appreciate much more than a Cell CPU. My own web site runs just fine on a 7 year old 350MHz G3 with 1G RAM. About $100-$150 including RAM is a lot cheaper than an almost unobtainable (and should remain so at least until March) $500+ PS3. You could also get a used G4 Mac mini cheaper than a PS3, and it's smaller, too. And whatever form of "real" computer you get, you can still run games while it's doing something else.

PS3 is not so bad (5, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156214)

The PS3 is actually shaping up to be a pretty nice console. Blu-Ray, Linux support, HDMI, nice CPU/GPU, USB/Bluetooth for controllers. It also seems to be pretty quiet, more so than the 360.

If Sony had released the high-end system at $500 (low end at $400), and hadn't made so many stupid blunders (no resolution scaling, lack of an online plan, limited availability), I think that the PS3 would be creaming the 360 right now.

There's nothing wrong with the PS3 that software patches and price cuts can't help. Unfortunately, as soon as Sony actually gets availability (early next year?), you can bet that MS will be ready with a $300 die-shrunk, cooler, and quieter Premium 360.

Re:PS3 is not so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17159018)

I actually thought you said Pentium 360. I had to read it a few times to make sure... Why would they put in a Pentium? haha

Re:PS3 is not so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17159184)

There's nothing wrong with the PS3 that software patches and price cuts can't help. Unfortunately, as soon as Sony actually gets availability (early next year?), you can bet that MS will be ready with a $300 die-shrunk, cooler, and quieter Premium 360.

But unless you're a Sony exec or rampant fanboy, why is that unfortunate ? If Sony and MS are both racing to produce cheaper and better versions of their consoles first, then it seems like a win-win for consumers to me.

Did they just kill the mod chip industry? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156630)

By supporting Linux did Sony just ruin any chance for mod chips to be successful with the ps3? The ability to run linux and homebrew apps supported by sony, plus the inability to actually burn a Bluray disc means that a modchip won't likely succeed on this platform.

hopefully (4, Funny)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156816)

hopefully the code will be audited to make sure there arent any backdoors, trojans or DRM schemes snuck into the kernel

Re:hopefully (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156964)

I was thinking the same thing... maybe it comes with a preinstalled rootkit like their music CD's :)

Re:hopefully (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17157552)

If I lost my games saves I don't know what I'd do!

Re:hopefully (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17158094)

your sony game saves are already DRMed with magic gate
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