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Old 10-04-2009, 09:50 PM   #1
random guy
Registered: Oct 2005
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why linux on PS3

i just ordered a used ps3 off ebay (the old model that had linux compatibility). i know that the processor in the ps3 is actually really fast; cell processors are a very interesting technology and can be especially useful for highly parallel computing.

I do hear a lot of reports about linux on ps3 being really slow because it runs in an emulated environment that also restricts access to the GPU (essentially completely right?)

although IBM made a cell SDK so that developers can utilize the cell processor to its full (?) capacity.

i dont know then if linux on the ps3 is reported as slow by people because they were using old versions of linux (fedora 5 for example), or because they cant access the GPU, or because linux distributions werent compiled to take advantage of the cell processor, or if the emulated environment is slowing things down.

and if it is the emulated environment that is the real issue then why is there no projects for true native linux on a ps3. it is a really low cost pc with a crazy amount of processing power. i bought mine for $165 + shipping; i cant build a machine with that much processing power for nearly that much money.

i would like to use my ps3 as a pc if i can get better speeds than my home built pc (E8400 processor -> 3ghz X 2 cores, nvidia 8600gt gpu).

has anyone found a use for linux of a ps3 or is it just not useful because of one of the aforementioned issues.

thanks for the advice and insight.
Old 10-04-2009, 10:07 PM   #2
Simon Bridge
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I do hear a lot of reports about linux on ps3 being really slow because it runs in an emulated environment that also restricts access to the GPU (essentially completely right?)
Access to the RSX is restricted by hypervisor, the firmware restricts access to some gpu functions. basically, sony expect you to use linux for work and it's own os for console games. They don't want non- sony games to play on it. IIRC: you still cannot play bluray either.

Yellowdog is supposed to be OK to use as a network appliance.
Low speed reports of linux on PS3 and others is usually from gamers who are attempting to run games under linux. These will be slow due to gpu access restrictions.

Consoles usually expect software to live mainly on optical media, so HDD space and RAM tend to be limiting factors.

The main reason for running linux on a ps3 is, as you have noticed, to get basic computing resources at low cost where your main interest is gaming. You may aso want to experiment with cell broadband. Otherwise you are probably better off with a netbook.

Last edited by Simon Bridge; 10-04-2009 at 10:09 PM.


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