Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming PlayStation (Games) Software IT Technology Linux

Installing Yellow Dog Linux on the PS3 90

Posted by Zonk
from the puppy-for-playstation dept.
johnnyb writes "A new series of articles is out on IBM DeveloperWorks on programming the PS3. The first article is up, discussing the installation of Yellow Dog Linux and first steps in programming the Cell BE Processor on this platform. From the article: ' It is unusual for gaming consoles to allow foreign operating systems to be installed on them. Since consoles are usually sold at a loss, they are usually locked down to prevent games from running on them without the publisher paying royalties to the console developer. Sony decided to open up the PS3 console a little bit, and allow third-party operating systems to be installed, with the caveat that they do not get accelerated graphics. Because of this, you can now install Linux on the PS3. You have to jump through a few hoops, but it definitely works.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Installing Yellow Dog Linux on the PS3

Comments Filter:
  • No, I have not read TFA all the way through (sorry, I have to work), but just how are the graphics capabilities "locked down"? I have a PS3 and I am waiting for a bigger drive to come in (just ordered) before installing YDL as I don;t want to do it twice. I have not yet heard about the graphics lock down though- just how bad is it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jrwr00 (1035020)
      There are no drivers from nvidia, is uses a VERY new core, so your stuck with a Framebuffer
      • Thanks.

        So, I take it drivers may be developed- either by Nvidia or OS (i.e. SourceForge)? I guess what I am really asking is - there is no hardware "lock", right? Drivers "can" be developed for the GPU?
        • by jrwr00 (1035020)
          as far as i know, there is no "lock" on the GPU, just there are no drivers for the GPU "yet"
        • by ArcherB (796902) *
          So, I take it drivers may be developed- either by Nvidia or OS (i.e. SourceForge)? I guess what I am really asking is - there is no hardware "lock", right? Drivers "can" be developed for the GPU?

          I see no reason why they can't be. Still the only thing you are missing at this point is 3D acceleration, much like using the nv driver on a PC based Linux distro.

          • by FunkyELF (609131)
            Actually, you're missing 2d acceleration also. Everything is being done w/ a framebuffer. So every single pixel you see is being maintained by the CPU in memory. Very inefficient. I don't own a PS3, but that is all my understanding.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by FunkyELF (609131)
          I heard that it is purposely locked down with a hypervisor....whatever that means. You will have no access to the graphics with or without drivers.
        • by Junta (36770)
          The only lock that *probably* exists is that Sony probably contractually has nVidia bound to 'not do such a thing', and the open source world.... well, we see how far nVidia drivers haven't gotten in the open source drivers (thanks to nVidia closed specs).
        • Re:Question... (Score:5, Informative)

          by bucky0 (229117) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:38PM (#17464192)
          From what I understand, the PS3 hypervisor actually blocks calls to the GPU, outside of framebuffer calls. Sony did this with the PS2 linux kit as well, and said it was to prevent piracy, and to keep people from just running free linux games on the console (because they sell the consoles at a loss, if a bunch of people buy them up and then play free games, it would be a money losing venture for sony)

          That said, I think it's kinda dumb, especially since microsoft provides an extremely low cost way to develop Xbox360 games that use all the bells and whistles.
          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by Greyfox (87712)
            Is the framebuffer fast enough to play emulated PS1 and MAME games? Maybe I should dust off my old copy of StarOcean II...
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Osty (16825)

            especially since microsoft provides an extremely low cost way to develop Xbox360 games that use all the bells and whistles.

            Or most of the bells and whistles, anyway. Graphically, XNA gives you nearly as much power as a full dev kit since the graphical horsepower is harnessed via shaders. However you currently can't do any networking, nor do you have support for some peripherals like the Vision camera. All of that (and a way to properly distribute your games) should come along eventually, but it's a m

    • Question for you (and all other PS3 owners who are/want to install YDL on their PS3): why? This isn't a troll, just something I don't understand. So you spend $600+ (that's the cost of a PS3 near me) and instead of using it play games (it's intended function) you install YDL which removes your ability to play PS3 games (if I understand everything correctly). So, why go to all that effort? Why not simply use it for playing games or go out and buy another computer if you wish to run Linux?
      • From what I gather, the PS3 natively functions on a dual-boot system. Which means once you install yellowdog linux, you can then choose to boot into it whenever you want, but if you instead opt to boot from the PS3's primary OS, you can do so, and you change no part of the base functionality of the system whatsoever.

        It's kinda like how if you have a Windows machine, and install linux on a separate partition. Having the linux partition there doesnt hurt the running of your primary windows partition. Gener
      • Firstly, it dual-boots between PPC Linux and PS3's internal OS Secondly, PowerPC MacOS can be virtualised on PPC Linux using MacOnLinux [maconlinux.org] so this console can be an (dubious legal status) PowerMac too..
      • Re:Question... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Xymor (943922) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:30PM (#17464068)
        Installing YDL doesn't remove your ablility to play games. PS3 uses dual-boot, original proprieraty OS for games, blu-rays and dvds movies and "Other OS" for whatever you feel like.

        There's no modding involved. There's even instructions on how to install your 2nd OS of choice on your PS3.
        • by Lally Singh (3427)
          Gotta give them props for that. Also, one VERY good reason to try your own OS on the PS3: the Cell CPU.
      • by ArcherB (796902) *
        Question for you (and all other PS3 owners who are/want to install YDL on their PS3): why? This isn't a troll, just something I don't understand. So you spend $600+ (that's the cost of a PS3 near me) and instead of using it play games (it's intended function) you install YDL which removes your ability to play PS3 games (if I understand everything correctly). So, why go to all that effort? Why not simply use it for playing games or go out and buy another computer if you wish to run Linux?

        The first and simple
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The Cell's PowerPC core is massively dumbed down from its Mac namesake. It is not even the Celeron of its family. Running Linux, the PS3 is the equivalent of about a 1.1Ghz PPC Mac with no graphics acceleration. You can buy a Mac Mini that would kill by almost an order of magnitude any Linux benchmark running under Linux on the Cell. "Once they compile YDL for the Cell..." You really don't have a clue. That's like saying "Once the recompile Windows XP for my ATI Radeon, Excel will run much faster". T
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Mongoose (8480)
            Actually you can write video decoding/encoding and even OpenGL on the SPEs. It wouldn't be a "fun" project for the average person, but it's possible. I'm considering doing an SPE implementation of OpenGL ES, but I don't have much free time for anything as it is... FYI we had OpenGL implementations for PS2Linux as well using the VUs. I got my OpenGL TombRaider reimplementation running good enough (29FPS) at the time. As for GLSL, you can port the reference compiler... I doubt it'll be as useful as a 'fi
        • To be clear, YDL is compiled for the Cell, but it does not take advantage of the SPEs. Because they lack direct access to main memory, it would be difficult to integrate them into an OS. Also, you want to save that power for apps right? You are free to write your own software that takes full advantage of the Cell, and TFA has instructions for doing so, or you could wait for someone else to do so. Only certain types of apps will benefit in any case from the parallel processing power, and clearly games ar
      • by FunkyELF (609131)
        1. It doesn't remove your ability to play ps3 games at all. 2. It would make an excellent MythTV frontend. (Not sure if it can be done w/ the framebuffer since there is no 3d support)
        • by ArcherB (796902) *
          It would make an excellent MythTV frontend.

          I don't know how well this would work unless the PS3 contains a video input. Although Myth could be used to view DVD's and such, but watching TV could prove to be impossible.
        • The 3d support might be nice for some widgets and stuff but pretty useless for viewing a video stream unless you want to view in wrapped around a cube.
          The 256 megs of ram might be an issue but other than that it could make a great MythTV front end.
          Now the big question is will people convert some of the codecs that Myth uses to use the SPEs? If so then you are all set. Frankly if you can get a USB tuner working with it then it might make a GREAT MythTV box for recording and transcoding video.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mandelbr0t (1015855)

        It's mostly for developers right now (hey, it's even in the correct Slashdot category!).

        Personally, I think Japan is building a gigantic supercomputer out of PS3s ;) When Linux got onto PS2, the most common usage for them were clusters. Here's a picture. [uiuc.edu] I can only imagine what a rack full of PS3s can do. Of course, like the PS2, the PS3 is subject to restrictions. From the PS3 EULA:

        The PS3 system may contain technology that is subject to certain restrictions under the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, and may not be exported or re-exported to U.S. embargoed destinations. In addition, the PS3 system may not be exported or re-exported to persons and entities prohibited by the U.S. Export Administration Regulations.

        Have to make sure those Albanians aren't cracking RSA or some such thing.

        mandelbr0t

        • Re:Question... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Otter (3800) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:59PM (#17464540) Journal
          Personally, I think Japan is building a gigantic supercomputer out of PS3s ;)

          That's precisely [hpcwire.com] what this YDL distribution is aimed at. (I submitted this story here multiple times back when it happened, figuring that eventually it would take priority over the day's Jack Thompson story, but no dice.)

          • by Scott7477 (785439) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:52PM (#17465334) Homepage Journal
            I would mod you up if I could :)...I'm posting the text from your link.

            Terra Soft to Build World's First Cell-Based Supercomputer

            Tomorrow, Terra Soft will officially announce the construction of the world's first Cell-based supercomputing cluster.

            In the fall of '05, Terra Soft was contacted by Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI) to develop and manage a supercomputing cluster built upon the IBM Cell Broadband Engine and the Linux OS. This spring, Terra Soft was contracted by Sony and in August completed the construction of a 3000 sq-ft supercomputing facility capable of housing 2400 1U systems. In this remodeled extension to the Loveland, Colorado headquarters, Terra Soft will construct a test cluster and a substantially larger production cluster, dubbed "E.coli" and "Amoeba" respectively.

            Terra Soft will use the test cluster "E.coli" to conduct advanced software development, optimization, and testing with emphasis on Y-HPC and Y-Bio applied to the Cell Broadband Engine. The production cluster "Amoeba" will be made available to select University and Department of Energy laboratories to further life sciences research.

            The clusters will incorporate, in part, Cell-based PS3 systems. The Cell Broadband Engine provides a "1 + 8" multi-core processing environment, enabling optimized code to function at a superior level of performance over traditional single or dual core CPUs. With all 8 cores on a single chip, the code processes do not lose performance by dropping down to the memory bus as with historic, multiple CPU configurations.

            Glen Otero, Director of Life Sciences Research for Terra Soft Solutions explains, "This cluster represents a two-fold opportunity: to optimize a suite of open-source life science applications for the Cell processor; to develop a hands-on community around this world-first cluster whereby researchers and life science studies at all levels may benefit. Once up and running with our first labs engaged, we will expand the community through invitations and referrals, supporting a growing knowledge base and library of Cell optimized code, open and available to life science researchers everywhere."

            Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is working with Terra Soft to optimize a suite of life science applications. Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Labs are also engaged, with select universities coming on-board early in 2007. Terra Soft is working to optimize the entire Y-Bio bioinformatics suite.

            Thomas Swidler, Sr. Director of Research & Development at SCEI states, "This cluster is for Sony a means of demonstrating the diversity of the PS3, taking it well beyond the traditional role of a game box. While we are not in the business of competing for the Top500.org nor building cluster components, this creative use of the PS3 beta systems enables Sony to support a level of real world research that may produce very positive, beneficial results."

            Regarding Terra Soft's contribution to the project, Swidler continued, "In working with Terra Soft, we found a single source for the operating system, cluster construction tools, and bioinformatics software suite. Again, their dedication to detail and professional results has surpassed our expectations. We are very eager for the completion of this initial phase in order that the research may begin."

            Both clusters will run the new Yellow Dog Linux v5.0 operating system; a beta version of Y-HPC v2.0, the first commercial, cross-architecture Linux cluster construction suite; the Moab cluster management suite by Cluster Resources; and Y-Bio v1.1, a suite of gene sequence analysis tools soon to be optimized for the Cell processor.

            Kai Staats, CEO of Terra Soft offers, "Working to complete the cluster facility has been the highlight of my time in this industry, a truly gratifying experience. What we have accomplished this spring and summer showcases the peak of our design, coordination, and engineering effort ... from facility design and construction in Jul
      • by dahl_ag (415660)
        Well, I have eyeballed the PS3 as a number crunching machine. The total power of a Cell is 218 GFLOPS. (assuming no disabled cores) This is at least an order of magnitude more than your average P4 at just $600. Of course, it remains to be seen how hard it will be for someone like me to port over my code AND see 10X performance increases. But yeah, I don't see this as something that I would replace my desktop box with.
      • Re:Question... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by johnnyb (4816) <jonathan@bartlettpublishing.com> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:00PM (#17464550) Homepage
        This is actually the cheapest (by far) way to get access to IBM's new Cell BE processor. It also doesn't trash the gameplaying aspect of the PS3 -- PS3s actually come with dual-boot capability built-in.

        So, if you're interested in learning to program IBM's new chip design, this is the best way to do it. It not only has a dual-core PowerPC element, but eight independent vector processors attached, with a radical new architecture (because of manufacturing decisions by Sony as well as implementation decisions, you may have access to as few as 6, but in any case, there's lots of processing elements in there).

        Then there is always the Geek factor, which can never be underestimated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Total_Wimp (564548)

        Question for you (and all other PS3 owners who are/want to install YDL on their PS3): why?

        I see a bunch of people have already pointed out that it's a dual-boot arrangement and you don't have to give up your nifty PS3 gaming capability. With that in mind, there are a few really good reasons to have Linux on your PS3.

        - Firefox is much better than the PS3 web browser.

        - You have many choices of players when you want to play MP3s and videos, or look at pictures with your family.

        - When

        • by XMultiply (947654)
          Not too familiar with this OS, so forgive the question, but does this mean, eventually, we may be able to see linux-based game emulators running on PS3?
          • by Thraxen (455388)
            Yes, I've already read about people installing MAME on the PS3. This is one feature I'm interested in as well. MAME doesn't even use hardware accelerated graphics, so the fact that the graphics hardware is locked down shouldn't affect it. I did read that currently, due to how the memory is set up, YDL can only access half of the PS3's RAM, but that problem is being worked on. Other than emulators I'd also like to try and use Linux to install MUGEN and make use of media streaming (from my PC).
            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              Yes, I've already read about people installing MAME on the PS3. This is one feature I'm interested in as well. MAME doesn't even use hardware accelerated graphics, so the fact that the graphics hardware is locked down shouldn't affect it. I did read that currently, due to how the memory is set up, YDL can only access half of the PS3's RAM, but that problem is being worked on. Other than emulators I'd also like to try and use Linux to install MUGEN and make use of media streaming (from my PC).

              Well, the PS3 o

              • I'm curious what the OS memory footprint is for the PS3 vs the 360.

                I know MS can make a small footprint if they have to (Pocket PC), but if they feel they have the room, they'll use as much as they think they can get away with. Unfortunately that usually works out to about 25% to 50% more than or I would like.

                On the other hand, Sony's OS looks nice and lite, but you never know how much they might be front loading to increase responsiveness.

                I guess you can file this under "just curious."

                TW
          • Yes. Here are some links to videos of a fighting game and some Nintendo games.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsQOr-vNDsg&mode=re lated&search= [youtube.com]
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIWwcGCI_nY [youtube.com]

            They're all 2D, but they seem quite responsive.

            TW

      • by Hadlock (143607)
        ...because you have a PC hardware platform that won't be changed significantly for about 8 years, raising it to the level of Ubuntu-like support, plus it plays all your PS1/2/3 games (1/2 that are supported at least), plus emulators for nes/snes/genesis buys you a great system. Now all you need is a Apple LCD monitor that supports HDMI when they come out at macworld...
    • by forkazoo (138186)

      No, I have not read TFA all the way through (sorry, I have to work), but just how are the graphics capabilities "locked down"? I have a PS3 and I am waiting for a bigger drive to come in (just ordered) before installing YDL as I don;t want to do it twice. I have not yet heard about the graphics lock down though- just how bad is it?

      From everything I have read, it's pretty much exactly what the article said in the summary. No accelerated graphics. You also don't get full access to the hard drive, or direct

    • I'm going to point you to a comment I made [slashdot.org] on an article on Slashdot Games about Linux on the PS3 [slashdot.org].

      Most importantly, the graphics chip isn't available at all and at this point it looks as though you might not be able to access it ever, as a responding commenter to my comment points out [slashdot.org] here. It also hides the memory attached to that card so you only have about 256MB of RAM available to Linux.

      Also, I wouldn't get super eager about that hard drive size. According to the IGN article I was sourcing you can onl
      • by johnnyb (4816)
        Basically, Sony's system allows you the following partition options:

        1) Give it all to the game os
        2) Give 10G to the game os and the rest to the other os
        3) Give 10G to the other os and the rest to the game os

        I believe those are the same options no matter what size drive you have.
    • by jbiesi (1047002)
      I just installed YDL on my PS3 last night, and you should know about one big caveat: The PS3 OS only gives you the choice to install linux on a 10GB partition or on a partition that is 10GB smaller than your entire disk. I was hoping to do a 20/40 split of the 60GB drive... no dice :(
    • Unless nVidia never release this new graphics core on normal PC hardware, surely it will eventually get the attention of the Nouveau [freedesktop.org] project and 3D+2D drivers will get developed.

      Actually, I just checked and the Nouveau driver should work but Sony have hidden the interface through something called hypervisor.
    • If I remember right, PS3 Linux (or any other OS) runs in a hypervisor. That means virtualization -- it means that they actually can prevent Linux from gaining access to the hardware, just as I can run Windows safely inside qemu on my Linux and deny it access to my hardware.

      So, it's not just that there are no drivers, and that you can hope someday someone will reverse-engineer it enough -- no. They'd have to crack it and reverse-engineer it -- basically like any kind of Xbox Linux.

      As far as whether HD video
  • by bcmm (768152) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:16PM (#17463788)
    How much graphics functionality is left out?

    Enough to prevent HD videos playing smoothly? Enough to prevent smooth scrolling looking nice?
    • by seebs (15766) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:24PM (#17463936) Homepage
      No access to GPU at all; all you get is a framebuffer.
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      How much graphics functionality is left out?

      I could be wrong, but I think you just lose hardware 3D acceleration. It would be like having onboard video on your PC; Windows work fine, but you are not going to play Doom3 on it.

      • by bcmm (768152)
        I've seen Linux machines using the nv (rather than the binary nVidia) driver where smooth scrolling, etc. is very jerky and torn. I don't know exactly why that is, but cards do 2D acceleration as well you know.
    • by Slashcrap (869349)
      Enough to prevent HD videos playing smoothly? Enough to prevent smooth scrolling looking nice?

      As someone eles has already replied - Framebuffer only. So no 3D acceleration and, maybe if you're really lucky, very basic 2D acceleration (BitBLT). So to answer your question, any graphically intensive task will suck. And in the case of a framebuffer we can define intensive as "scrolling, solid window dragging, playing video, moving a mouse pointer smoothly, highlighting text etc, etc..."

      It just so happens that I
  • I remember that a while ago some PS2s with Linux were used in some scientific settings [uiuc.edu] for certain vector calculations, I believe (I only skimmed the linked article...I saw this on The Screen Savers a while back). Would the PS3/Linux combo be an even better replacement? They're expensive as hell, but I would imagine much faster.
  • No graphics drivers yet? Ah, well, it can make an awesome BBS or MUD server, anyway.

    I love putting Linux on things, especially when it isn't destructive in any way. Even with XBox the only problem was that you can't use XBL anymore...and it required you to find and reload the original dashboard.

    If I were ever to buy a PS3 it would be for this...and Guitar Hero III.
  • I don't understand why people would run a distribution like Yellow Dog on hardware supported by a mainstream distribution. Historically, all Yellow Dog brought to the table was support for platforms not supported by RedHat, like PowerMacs. When all the mainstream distributions started to support PPC as well, Yellow Dog remained the Slashdot headliner distribution even though it was always behind the times. Now that Yellow Dog was first on the PS3 but the platform was later supported by Fedora, I have to won
  • I have done this and it's pretty cool. It works great and it's just as easy as installing OS X and must simpler then installing Winblows. The only thing that's annoying is that since this is PPC64, everything is out of date. Only Firefox 1.5 works on it, etc. But I assume this will get better as time goes on.
  • Ok, here is what you get with both on the PS3 (I've installed both on separate occaisions). YDL installs EXTREMELY fast (in relation to other operating systems). I can't remember what the screen resolution is but it's decent and looks very good on an HDTV. As far as their new gui....I give it a big MEH. It looks pretty and it sparkles when you click on a window but I prefer gnome over it any day. Internet browsing, office apps, and other basic stuff you expect to see on linux are there. The thing that
  • Disclaimer: I haven't read-up on Cell BE systems, nor the PS3, so I have no clue at all as to how their computing power compares to desktop PC's.

    Would PS3's be useful as a "low power" platform to run distributed computing apps like SETI@home (or insert your favorite)? Is there ever likely to be a BOINC client available to run under Yellow Dog on the PS3?

    • Each cell is quite powerfull, its not a dumb DSP. Its actually as good as a Pent Pro.

      With heaps of movs/adds/mults and 30+ branch types, the assembly is quite powerfull enough that even the most demanding C++ wouldnt use 10% of it.

      Any way, download the specs and cpu docs

      http://cell.scei.co.jp/e_download.html [scei.co.jp]
    • by Monsuco (998964)
      Would PS3's be useful as a "low power" platform to run distributed computing apps like SETI@home (or insert your favorite)? Is there ever likely to be a BOINC client available to run under Yellow Dog on the PS3?
      I think I read somewhere that both the GPU and CPU do Folding@Home work while idle.
  • http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=5 75582&st=0 [xbox-scene.com]

    Oh is it possible.

    Why is slash not covering the 23C3
  • I still maintain that the primary reason Sony is allowing Linux to be installed on the PS3 is to get the unit classified as a Computer and not a game console to dodge the higher European import tax imposed on gaming consoles. Having had there status as a computer for the PS2 revoked, they're making headway to assure that Europe will see it as a computer (protein folding, etc.). This is still good for us, as we get linux on a powerful machine with a high MIPS/$$$ ratio. I just don't think sonys motives are
  • Speaking of Yellow Dog, does anyone have a copy of that hilarious Yellow Dog ad video that came out a few years back, with the young attractive college girl lounging around on the lawn of her campus talking about why she uses Yellow Dog Linux? That cracked me up....
  • I wonder if something like xbox media center would be practical under linux ? If it is I would buy a ps3 just for this

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

Working...