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Old 08-10-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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is there any point in installing linux on a PS3?

The reason why I ask, is that a the Linux distro (yellow dog i think) canít access the GPU so the play back of 1080p might be crappy??
It takes me 3 hours to convert and burn subs from an MKV file in 720p to mpeg without losing too much quality and it pissssess me off.
Has anyone here installed Linux on their PS3 and is it worth it, is it fine with a 1080p telly?
Old 08-10-2009, 09:07 PM   #2
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If the only reason you are thinking of installing it is to play videos, then yes, it would probably be a waste for you.
Old 08-10-2009, 09:26 PM   #3
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Makes an awesome folding box
Old 08-10-2009, 09:29 PM   #4
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The only reason I know people install linux on the PS3 is to have a functioning home entertainment system for music, movies, games, web, etc... but other than that, I don't know. I would install linux on a PS3 so I could make a computer home entertainment system.
Old 08-10-2009, 09:38 PM   #5
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The PS3 is already a home entertainment system. Installing Linux seems mote.

It seems to me that there actually no need to install Linux on it unless you need a server with crazy specs. I remember reading somewhere that a weird dude clustered 300 lol.

Last edited by Tinkster; 08-11-2009 at 04:08 AM. Reason: [mod_edit]language cleanup[/mod_edit]
Old 08-10-2009, 10:42 PM   #6
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From what I have read it runs under some sort of hypervisor with a lot of restrictions on graphics and processors, to the point where for entertainment purposes it's not even worth it. I only wish sony would enable proper access to the hardware, but it seems it's not entirely there fault since some of has to do with the licensing terms from IBM on the cell processors.

Last edited by samnjugu; 08-10-2009 at 10:52 PM.
Old 08-10-2009, 11:10 PM   #7
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I have it installed on mine. It's kind of handy just to have the capability - when my motherboard on my main computer died, the PS3 was a preferable alternative to having to park my laptop. Works fairly well, though note that this is no supercomputer - it has about 220 MB of RAM, which means you're an idiot if you try to run GNOME, and if you want more than 10 GB of storage, you need to use something external (assuming you don't partition 10 for PS3, rest for Linux, which is also dumb). Additionally, except for software that has been written to use the SPEs (read: practically nothing), you're running on a single-core, 2x-SMT capable 3.2 GHz PPC something or other (improved POWER5, I want to say), which is not amazing.

Addendum: Yes, it runs under a hypervisor. The effect of that is that you can only access six SPEs (same as for PS3 games), you can't use the graphics card at all (though I hear you can use the VRAM as swap), and you only see the part of the hard drive that the PS3 set aside for the other OS. I am not 100% sure the last part is the hypervisor and not the driver, but it seems likely - this arrangement prevents the other OS from messing up the PS3 itself, which is probably something Sony wanted for all the kids out there who installed Ubuntu, never having used Linux before, and then cried about not being able to get back to the PS3 OS (it's really easy).

I doubt that the presence of the hypervisor has anything to do with IBM, though. Sony's concern is that giving unrestricted hardware access could create a market where people buy games that run on a PS3 but don't go through Sony's software, pay the associated licensing costs, or adhere to Sony's requirements for PS3 games. It kinda sucks, but it's an intelligent move to protect their business.

Last edited by karamarisan; 08-10-2009 at 11:15 PM.
Old 08-10-2009, 11:45 PM   #8
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Hers is some specs of the PS3

System Bandwidth
Main RAM 25.6 GB/s
VRAM 22.4 GB/s
RSX 20 GB/s write / 15 GB/s read
SB< 2.5 GB/s write / 2.5 GB/s read

System Floating Point Performance

CPU (Central Processing Unit)
Cell Processor
PowerPC-base Core @ 3.2 GHz
1 x VMX vector unit per core
512KB L2 cache
7 x SPE @ 3.2 GHz
7 x 128b 128 SIMD GPRs
7 x 256KB SRAM for SPE

Total floating point performance: 218 GFLOPS

GPU (Graphical Processing Unit)
RSX @ 500MHz
1.8 TFLOPS floating point performance
Full HiDef (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
Multi way programmable parallel floating point shader pipelines

To get a PC upto this spects would be impossibile under £300. So it sorta makes sense that sony restricted crap, but why havent no one tried cracking it apart?
Old 08-11-2009, 12:51 AM   #9
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Those are just numbers. By the same metrics, you might think a modern graphis card would do a great job of running your OS. You'd be very wrong.

As for why they haven't tried, it's not that easy. The PS3 as a platform is quite locked down, and it's only in this controlled environment that one can run arbitrary code.
Old 08-11-2009, 06:22 AM   #10
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They are awesome for password cracking with jtr and etc. benchmarks are nice, but only for some algorithms ..

Installing Ubuntu or similar to the PS3 is really idiotic if you ask me, why install such a big distribution to a PS3? You should run something much lighter like Openbox.

Other than that, you can use Java Media Server for the PS3 to share files to it in different codecs, that includes DivX/XviD, H.264/x264 (*.avi, *.mkv etc.) so it isn't all useless ..

And if you do your folding, do it with the official app ..

Check my PS3 links for more info:


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