Running Linux On The PlayStation3

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This is a presentation I gave to our local Linux Users Group a while ago on how to run Linux on the Sony PlayStation3. Unfortunately Sony has removed this feature in the latest iteration of their console (the Slim PS3); however the feature is still present (for now at least) on older (non-slim) PlayStation3's, which are still pretty easy to find in used shops, eBay, etc.

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Running Linux On The PlayStation3

  1. 1. PlayStation 3 • Released November 2006 • Successor to the highly popular PlayStation 2 • Arguably one of the most powerful Gen.7 gaming consoles on the market • Sales as of 1/08: 3.25M (USA), 10.49M (worldwide)
  2. 2. PS3 Hardware • CPU: Cell Broadband Engine (IBM POWER-based) @ 3.2 GHz, 7 SPE cores (6 user-accessible) • Graphics: NVIDIA G70 (NV47)-based “RSX” engine, 550 MHz. • RAM: 256 MB main, 256 MB graphics
  3. 3. More hardware • Disk: 20-80 GB (3.5” SATA) • Optical disk: BD-ROM (BluRay); can also read DVD/DVD+/-R/CD. • Bluetooth 2.0 • 802.11b/g WiFi (not all models) • USB 2.0 (2-4 ports) • HDMI, component, composite video
  4. 4. Performance • Total floating point: 2 TFLOPS • CPU only: 204 GFLOPS single precision float, 15 GFLOPS double precision float
  5. 5. Standards Based! • HD is standard SATA, easily user upgradable • Bluetooth 2.0 - headsets, keyboards/mice • USB 2.0 - webcams, keyboards/mice
  6. 6. Linux on the PS3 • “It was fully intended that you, a PS3 owner, could play games, watch movies, view photos, listen to music, and run a full- featured Linux operating system that transforms your PS3 into a home computer." • Was to be pre-installed with Linux
  7. 7. Linux on the PS3 • Officially supported as of kernel 2.6.21 • Yellow Dog 5.0 - official PS3 distro • PSUbuntu • Fedora • others...
  8. 8. What You’ll Need • PS3 (duh) • TV or monitor (HDMI, DVI work. For HDMI/DVI, must support HDCP.) • USB memory stick • Linux distro burned to CD • Optional: larger USB stick or hard drive (if you want to back up your PS3)
  9. 9. How to install Linux • (Optional) Back up your PS3 • Partition it (dual boot or single boot) • (Optional) Restore your PS3 backup • Boot from USB stick containing OTHEROS.BLD file • Install Linux as per your distro’s installer
  10. 10. It’s Demo Time!
  11. 11. So why would you want to do this?
  12. 12. A supercomputer in your living room
  13. 13. or... a superCLUSTER in your living room!!!
  14. 14. Who’s using these? • Astrophysicist Dr. Gaurav Khanna replaced time used on supercomputers with a cluster of eight PlayStation 3s. • http://tinyurl.com/28wv44
  15. 15. Who’s using these? • Computational Biochemistry and Biophysics lab, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, “PS3GRID” for collaborative computing based on the CellMD software, the first one designed specifically for the Cell processor. • http://www.ps3grid.net/
  16. 16. Folding@Home • Distributed Computing to calculate protein folding • Over 1 PFLOPS from PS3 owners alone • Compare that to BlueGene/L @ 280.6 TFLOPS • Takes my PS3 about 3 hours Takes my desktop over 1 day
  17. 17. PS3 Homebrew • Make your own games • Access to (almost) all PS3 hardware • Networking • Controllers • Audio • Graphics (sorta)
  18. 18. Caveats • No access to graphics • Everything runs in a hypervisor • There is experimental graphics access; don’t upgrade past firmware 2.10
  19. 19. LINKS
  20. 20. For More Information • Wikipedia has great entries on: • PlayStation 3 • PlayStation 3 hardware • Cell (microprocessor) • RSX ‘Reality Synthesizer’ • Linux for PlayStation 3
  21. 21. PS3 Linux Distributions • http://psubuntu.com/ • http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/products • Fedora Core 5 on PS3: http://tinyurl.com/yknkfp
  22. 22. Programming the Cell • Georgia Tech workshop (with slides and video): http://tinyurl.com/2wkllf • More links on Cell and PS3 Linux entries at Wikipedia • http://tinyurl.com/23auvg • http://tinyurl.com/qvn4h
  23. 23. The End

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