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PS3 Linux: Dual Boot Instructions & Blu-ray disc mounting supported!


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A day after the PS3 Japan launch madness, all of us here at QJ had a chance to look back and see exactly what info we had missed. I had the responsibility of checking out the Linux side of things. And while the article which I wrote yesterday was pretty much spot on, there's a few more things which I could get out of the documents released.

So without further ado, I'll make a list of things which I've learned today:

How Linux will work: The PS3 will use kboot as its Linux bootloader. The way this works, you'll first have to download OtherOS installer (not released, yet) from Sony's official site. The next thing you'll need is a customised kboot "image". In case anyone's wondering, no, it isn't a picture. It's a single archive that will contain all the stuff needed to boot Linux.

The important thing to note here is that kboot, in itself, is nothing more than a sort of a loader which will use Lilo or GRUB to load the Linux kernel. I've noticed that neither kboot or GRUB are released for the PPC architecture. I don't know about GRUB, but I'll hazard a guess that Sony have ported kboot to the PPC arch, and since it's released under the GPL license, Sony will have to release its source code.

Moving on to the installation part, it seems that it will be pretty easy. I'll write up a small how-to here. Please refer to the already-released documents for the full instructions:

  • Format your PS3's HDD into 2 partitions. The Format utility seems to be very intuitive and easy-to-use.
  • Download the OtherOS Installer from Sony's Open Platform for PS3 site.
  • Download the customised kboot image for your specific distro (Will be supplied with the distro?)
  • Put both of them on an external USB device in a special folder structure using your PC.
  • Plug it into the PS3 and select the "Install Other OS" in the PS3 menu.
  • It will scan the external storage device and list the Other OS installer.
  • At this point, going ahead and selecting the install option will install kboot (the bootloader) to your PS3's HDD.
  • Bear in mind that kboot is almost like a secondary bootloader. kboot will be initialised by the PS3's own bootloader, which will be protected, to say the least.
  • Once kboot is installed to your PS3's HDD, it's time to install the actual distro itself. Since the guide itself explains with the example of Fedora Core 5, I will be following it. The main reason is that I still don't know where the customised kboot image comes from. Will the distributions officially release them? Or will we have to go around looking for them on unofficial sites? We'll know more as time goes on...
  • Anyways, once you've installed kboot, just go to the System Settings in the PS3's menu and select the default system as Other OS.
  • Once you reboot your PS3, you will now be booted into kboot. You're almost there! All that's left is installing Fedora Core 5 after following the instructions on screen.

Once into Linux, you will be able to use it like any other computer. You will be able to fire up Firefox and browse the intarwebs, or load MythTV and convert your PS3 into a true-blue media center. It's as good as a shiny new PC once you're into Linux.

But wait! That's not all. After checking out the documents, I did find a few small bits of info which are big news in itself:

  • You will be able to switch to the PS3's game OS from Linux.
  • You will be able to use the Blu-ray drive to mount all types of discs including Blu-ray discs!

Looking at the fact that we will be able to mount Blu-ray discs in Linux, my mind wanders around to the fact that it could be possible to dump the PS3's game discs, and it might be easier than Sony would think. Currently, I can hazard a guess that their special Blu-ray drivers for Linux will not allow you to do so, but give it a few weeks and the hackers can easily come out with modified drivers to make the drive work according to their fancies. That's all speculation though, I won't go into much detail.

The only thing which I really want to get cleared is the situation with the kboot images. Knowing the Linux community, I can safely take it for granted that someone somewhere will create a special kboot image for your favorite distro. It's just a matter of time before the PS3 is released in the US and embraced by the modding and Linux communities. At QJ, we'll be making sure that all you Linux users can use it on your PS3. We will be covering everything in the PS3 scene as and when it happens.

viewpo0.gifCorresponding documents for Linux on the PS3

viewpo0.gifPS3 Linux Forums

viewpo0.gif View: Original Article

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PS3 does support/can run Linux.

One can Boot any PPC linux distro on your PS3!

Some sites might list the PPC builds as "Apple Macintosh" versions.

Power Developer has already released kernel patches and a bootloader so that you can try out Linux on your PS3.

Apparently, you can install ANY linux distro on your PS3 as long as it has a PowerPC build available - and that includes just about every popular distribution of Linux out there.

    Here's a small list of the Linux distros which run on PowerPC (PPC)
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora Core
  • SUSE (Paid) / openSUSE (Free)
  • Gentoo

Terra Soft, creator of the Yellow Dog Linux, said that the latest version (v5) of their distribution will support the PS3.

Would love to see this happen... :P

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Any alternative to Monstrasoft would be nice and to have it comming with popular product its something to cheer about :P

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