Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Jan 2017 23:47 UTC
Linux

Marcan42 of Fail0verflow fame was at the CCC33 event this year, to explain how Fail0verflow exploited the PS4 hardware in order to run Linux on the PS4.

The presentation goes back to all the pain the hackers had to go through in order to make Linux compatible with the PS4 architecture, which Marcan42 described several times throughout the presentation as "not being a PC" as it lacks lots of the legacy architecture bits required for a computer to constitute what is known today as an IBM compatible PC.

Be sure to watch the actual presentation. It's quite informative and detailed.

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v Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 06:10 UTC
RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by benoitb on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 06:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
benoitb Member since:
2010-06-29

There's more: "I installed Linux to my PS4 ... and you can't."

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by leech on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 08:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I guess technically isn't useless if they can run Steam on it.

PS4 would be an awesome form factor for a Steam Machine.

Reply Score: 4

v RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Kochise on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 10:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 15:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Or if you want a pc just buy a pc instead of trying to molest a ps4 into one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by darknexus on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 18:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

PS4 would be an awesome form factor for a Steam Machine.

Too bad it's as limited as the SteamBox.
For me, my reaction is more like "now what?" You've made a PS4 with tons of games into a steam machine that can't even run most Steam games. Okay... what happens when Sony requires a firmware upgrade to use it as they did with the PS3? All that work undone. It's a cool hacking job and interesting in and of itself in that way, but it's not really practical. If you want a Steam machine, there are much easier ways to accomplish that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by chithanh on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 21:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

steam machine that can't even run most Steam games.

While technically true, the situation is not as bad as this comment seems to suggest.
Out of the Steam top 100 grossing games for 2016, 42 are available for Linux.

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/articles/the-top-100-best-sellers-on-s...
http://store.steampowered.com/sale/2016_top_sellers

I expect this situation to further improve in 2017.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by tylerdurden on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 17:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Wow, someone is jealous and threatened...

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Wed 4th Jan 2017 03:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Jealous and threatened of what? By all means please explain how you came up with that nonsense considering I don't give 2 shits about a PS4 and there's no wow/cool factor for me when someone hacks Linux onto something. Maybe you're offended that I couldn't be any less impressed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by tylerdurden on Wed 4th Jan 2017 20:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Hint: people don't get their panties all in a wad about something they don't actually care about.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Wed 4th Jan 2017 21:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

So what you're saying is yes you are butthurt because some people aren't impressed in the least... Got it.

Reply Score: 1

hmm
by delta0.delta0 on Wed 4th Jan 2017 13:41 UTC
delta0.delta0
Member since:
2010-06-01

Ive gotta say full credits to the guy(s) that did this and got it working, but I don't really get the point.

The performance was woeful (portal 2 ran terrible) ive got a steamos box, much beefier hardware, but portal2 runs really well.

You cant play any of the psn exclusives, which lets face it, is one of the main reasons for buying a ps4, it doesnt have any of the benefits its a pita to install and its not like your dealing with some exotic hardware to do crazy compute tasks with, like the ps3.

What I did find interesting is the hardware setup, the engineering in the ps4, especially the hdmi connection. Its very interesting that hdmi is disabled and they pass it through to display port then use another programmable hdmi chip to display out to hdmi, for 2 reasons.

1. the ps4 can disable hdcp for game recording, obviously this is a setting they can change using the programmable hdmi chip. (you can enable / disable hdcp in the settings)

2. all ps4's got hdr support, which requires a lot more bandwidth which if they were using hdmi directly from the gpu out, would have probably been impossible.

All the challenges and all the WTF's the guy faced, probably have some clever decisions behind them, it may not be obvious to the hacker as he is trying to reverse engineer a black box, but by looking at whats going on. I was actually really impressed.

Another example the southbridge is actually an arm co-processor that not only handles all of the bus allocations, but also runs a cut down freebsd thats used when the ps4 is in rest mode to auto-update and download updates to the system, that is imho very smart. They mentioned this when they released the ps4 but I had no idea it was the southbridge handling it.

The hdd running on usb is just dumb, dont understand why they did this, but I dont think the pro does this this as its sata3.

When you look at the overall hardware though, its nothing special. Im surprised they have only targetted the ps4, it would be interesting to see what failoverflow could do with the xbox one and to see what challenges they would face with that.

Reply Score: 3

RE: hmm
by chithanh on Wed 4th Jan 2017 15:47 UTC in reply to "hmm"
chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

Ive gotta say full credits to the guy(s) that did this and got it working, but I don't really get the point.

The performance was woeful (portal 2 ran terrible) ive got a steamos box, much beefier hardware, but portal2 runs really well.


There are several uses hacking PS4 to run Linux.
One is, to continue to use it after Sony decides that it is no longer worthy of their attention.
The other is to repurpose it for things that Sony did not have in mind when designing it.

Performance was not a priority it seems, also the workaround via the CPU that is still necessary for submitting certain register commands probably slows things down.

1. the ps4 can disable hdcp for game recording, obviously this is a setting they can change using the programmable hdmi chip. (you can enable / disable hdcp in the settings)

2. all ps4's got hdr support, which requires a lot more bandwidth which if they were using hdmi directly from the gpu out, would have probably been impossible.


None of these reasons would survive scrutiny. HDCP can be turned on or off by the GPU too. HDR is supported by all AMD GCN graphics products already. (And not only the HDMI encoder, but the whole graphics pipeline has to support HDR.)

The best possible explanations for the external HDMI encoder I have read so far:
1. Some hardware bug related to the HDMI output was encountered late in the PS4 development
2. Sony wanted to have the flexibility to make changes to the PS4 output configuration, without having to redesign the APU (such as adding HDMI 2.0 support)
3. AMD consumer graphics products lack support for HDMI CEC, and Sony could not reach an agreement with AMD about changing this.

Reply Score: 2

pfgbsd
Member since:
2011-03-12

The presentation is not really about exploitation but on getting linux ported to an alien architecture. The guy just replaced a FreeBSD-derivative with Gentoo.

It is not really effective from a practical point of view: a PS4 is not cheap and linux will not run efficiently on it. So ... it's not a terribly relevant talk for anyone else than the guy that did it, but it is amazing what people can do with some technical expertise and a lot of spare time (and money).

What will be interesting is what SONY will do in the future. FreeBSD 9 has been EOL'd, will they update and try to work the security with the community or will they continue their fork in innovative ways.

Reply Score: 1

Weird claim
by JLF65 on Fri 6th Jan 2017 21:41 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

The presentation goes back to all the pain the hackers had to go through in order to make Linux compatible with the PS4 architecture, which Marcan42 described several times throughout the presentation as "not being a PC" as it lacks lots of the legacy architecture bits required for a computer to constitute what is known today as an IBM compatible PC.


Actually, if you can run linux and SteamOS on it, it's a PC. Just because it's missing some of the old backwards compatibility hardware doesn't mean it's no longer a PC. Hell, every new generation of x86_64 processor and MOBO chipset removes a bit more of that old BC hardware. Most new MOBOs don't even have IDE ports anymore, and most don't have parallel or serial ports.

Reply Score: 2