Home > Linux > YellowDog Linux 5 for the PS3 Released YellowDog Linux 5 for the PS3 Released Eugenia Loli 2006-11-27 Linux 54 Comments Six months of design, engineering, integration, and testing has culminated in the finest release from Terra Soft to date. Designed, not just assembled, Yellow Dog Linux v5.0 featuring E17 is immediately available for your Sony PlayStation 3. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 54 Comments 2006-11-27 11:11 pm evert E17 is a good choice for a console. The typical user won’t spend hours behind an E17 screen – if she would, she would install E17 on a desktop PC. But she likes the show, the looks, the geek factor of having linux on the console, and E17 is just the most geeky desktop environment and kind of workable, too. 2006-11-28 12:39 am Sphinx E17 being the ultimate linux desktop should be a perfect match for the ultimate console device. 2006-11-28 6:17 pm hohlraum Elightenment is the desktop of the future!!! and it always will be … 2006-11-27 11:19 pm drewunwired Anyone had a chance to test this yet? 2006-11-27 11:27 pm Michael Anyone read the marketing yet? It’s brilliant! If YDL v5.0 were a wine, it might be described as “… exciting, dynamic, but not too bold. A hint of fruit, but not too sweet.” Wow, just what I want in an OS – “A hint of fruit, but not too sweet.” See also: if YDL v5.0 were a piece of art,… (it’s not btw) and If YDL v5.0 were a race car,… I’m getting an impulse to do something –dangerous. 2006-11-28 9:51 am Flatland_Spider Dangerous, like drop $600+ on a console around December? The first one is how I describe Tanqueray 10, and the rest are ripe for spoofing. If YDL v5.0 were a piece of art… you would wonder what to do with it, and maybe hide it in the closet until your relatives came to visit. If YDL v5.0 were a race car… it would be unsuitable for regular street use. Well, ripe for spoofing by someone who has a better sense of humor then I do. 2006-11-27 11:28 pm DrillSgt Why spend the money on a game console and no longer be able to use it for games? Just curious… 2006-11-27 11:30 pm Hawley installing linux on the PS3 wont prevent it from playing PS3 games. 2006-11-27 11:38 pm DrillSgt “installing linux on the PS3 wont prevent it from playing PS3 games.” Interesting. That I did not know, as the Sony System Software is always mentioned as being required to read the discs. So of course it made me think that by wiping it and installing linux on it would make it incapable of playing the games. 2006-11-27 11:49 pm smitty The Sony OS is left alone on a different partition of the PS3 hdd, so it just requires a reboot to play games. 2006-11-28 12:02 am judgen This is really cool, i would prefer an dpkg distro over and rpm since ive become so accustomed to it. I will try this on my ps3 though when i get it. But i stil wait for Feisty fawn for ps3 with anticipation. 2006-11-29 10:34 am h3rman This is really cool, i would prefer an dpkg distro over and rpm since ive become so accustomed to it. I will try this on my ps3 though when i get it. But i stil wait for Feisty fawn for ps3 with anticipation. For the end user, there’s not much more than a cosmetic difference between dpkg and rpm. Is apt-get install progX easier than yum install progY? Also the Synaptic or Yum(ex) interfaces are hardly different, essentially. Granted, rpm is slower, afaik (having used FC, Suse, and a couple Deb-style distros). Don’t get me wrong, it’s up to you what you install on your PS3. Just don’t let trivial considerations hold you back. 2006-11-28 12:26 am TommyD …what kind of support Yellow Dog has for the video card? Articles I’ve read about other installs such as fedora state that only frame-buffer support is present. Does YD have a special X-driver? This is the most important question, but I do not see it addressed at the sight. 2006-11-28 12:41 am roguelazer From http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/support/hardware/breakdown/index…. “With YDL v5.0, the PS3 is fully supported with the exception of the NVIDIA graphics card (see note on Graphics). You will require a USB keyboard, USB mouse, and USB drive (‘thumb’, ‘jump’, or drive) or memory stick (Sony, SD, Compact Flash) in addition to a PC or Mac from which you will download and transfer the bootloader and bootloader installer to the PS3. Details of this process are given in the YDL v5.0 Guide to Installation. The Nvidia graphics card is not supported beyond framebuffer mode. This does does not reduce the quality of the image, but does not provide accelerated video nor OpenGL support. At this time, system sound and .ogg files are fully functional. However, neither playing nor ripping audio CDs functions. Stay tuned for updates …” 2006-11-28 1:55 am miscz Soooo… it’s no different from other PPC distros? 2006-11-28 12:43 pm brewmastre No offense to YDL, but every time I have ever installed it on my Macs, it was just broken. I use Ubuntu on 4 machines and it too has some drawbacks and limitations but nothing that prevents me using it. I cannot say the same for YDL. There was always something that was, in my mind, critical enough for me to wipe it back out and reload OS X. In all fairness to Terrasoft though…this would probably be taken care of if Apple would be a little less restrictive with its hardware designs. As for the Sony PS3; if YDL has been working with them so long to get this working, then I don’t see any reason for things like framebuffer-only video mode and the inability to play or rip CD’s. 2006-11-28 12:41 am Alleister According to german Computer Magazin c’t (which i would range very high on an list of the worlds most competent mags) Linux on PS3 runs through a hipervisor and kernel patches directly from sony. This virtualization strategy is to protect the ps3s copy protection. They said pretty much everything works: BlueRay Data Access (though probably not Video) sound, wlan, lan, usb-ports, using usb devices like DVD-RW drives, printers etc. What does NOT work is hardwareaccelerated graphics and that even includes 2d acceleration. There is only an plain, old framebufferdevice available through the hypervisor. So Homebrew games will suck *bad* and we will not see Quake 3 for PS3 (at least it won’t be prettier than Quake 1). On a brighter note, the Yellowdog distro is said to come with the Cell SDK (according to the distributor) so it *might* be at least an interessting toy if you are interested in Cell Programming. I yet have to see prices for Mercury Cell-Daughterboards, but it might probably even be a cheaper way of getting into a Cells pants then buying an Daughterboard for your Win/Lin/Mac PC. So it could be fun to toy around with Linux on PS3 but don’t just yet give away your desktop PCs… while Firefox works, Flash and most Win32 Video-Codecs don’t work because there are no Cell versions. Plus it only has tiny 256 Megs of Ram which will garantee you much more loading times. 2006-11-28 10:00 am viton but it might probably even be a cheaper way of getting into a Cells pants then buying an Daughterboard for your Win/Lin/Mac PC. CELL Daughterboard cost $8000. The price of 13 x PS3. 2006-11-28 10:35 am Alleister Ouch! Thanks for the info, i guess that is a little more than i was prepared to pay 2006-11-28 1:02 am diegoviola I like the idea of running Linux on the Playstation 3 as much as the next guy but I would like to have the NVIDIA driver ported to the Cell architecture, so we can run on the PS3, I would also like to use my distro of choice and run Beryl on it instead of E17, that would amazing. Edited 2006-11-28 01:03 2006-11-28 1:09 am Alleister You can already run Fedora Core as well, so at least there are two choices so far. Hardware accelerated 3d is unlikely to happen. The fact that the Hypervisor only grants very limited access to the GPU implies that Sony just doesn’t want that to happen (for the same reasons that they try to prevent homebrew games on PSP, i would guess. Not that homebrew games would be a threat to PS3 games but they could be a threat to the legacy games which sony wants to sell online). 2006-11-28 1:42 am jonsmirl I think it is more likely that Nvidia hasn’t done an OpenGL implementation that will run behind the hypervisor. So the question is, will they spend the engineering effort needed to do so? Without OpenGL support I won’t be buying one. 2006-11-28 6:21 pm hohlraum The PS3 isn’t for Linux first and PS3 games second. I’m sure sony appreciates you not buying their console if you don’t plan on buying any games. At least until they don’t lose money on the consoles anymore. 2006-11-29 12:40 am timbobsteve At least until they don’t lose money on the consoles anymore. That is incorrect. Sony is losing out BIG on every console sold. They are losing deliberately so they can get blu-ray into homes. 2006-11-28 2:11 am abraxas I like the idea of running Linux on the Playstation 3 as much as the next guy but I would like to have the NVIDIA driver ported to the Cell architecture, so we can run on the PS3, I would also like to use my distro of choice and run Beryl on it instead of E17, that would amazing. E17 is a much better choice for the PS3 than beryl. There is no hardware acceleration for Linux on the PS3. Beryl is pretty useless without it. E17 on the other hand does all kinds of nifty tricks without the need for hardware accelerated graphics. 2006-11-28 5:54 am diegoviola I said it would be nice to have NVIDIA for the CELL architecture so we can run Beryl instead of E17 and some other OpenGL applications. Sure E17 does a lot of nifty tricks, but it doesn’t use the GPU, with the PS3 you have a real powerful GPU sitting there and doing nothing, what’s the point? I think a composited WM rendered trough OpenGL is a better choice but sure, we can’t go that route with the PS3. Edited 2006-11-28 05:56 2006-11-28 1:07 am mahasamatman One of the OLUG members worked on this release. If you’re interested, check out their archive. There are two threads there relating to his work on this. 2006-11-28 1:26 am MikeekiM – Will I need Linux to run Folding@Home on the PS3? – If you install Linux will you be able to still play Blue-Ray HD movies? 2006-11-28 6:24 pm hohlraum There is going to be a Game OS native Folding client available here shortly. Running it under linux would add unnecessary overhead. http://folding.stanford.edu/FAQ-PS3.html 2006-11-28 6:25 pm hohlraum Sorry missed your other question. No you will probably not be able to play Blu-Ray movies under linux. But a quick 30 second reboot gets you into the Game OS where you can. 2006-11-28 5:14 am Wes Felter Anything from Mercury is over $5,000, so the PS3 is the cheapest Cell system by far (and will probably remain so, since it is sold below cost). 2006-11-28 5:17 am Wes Felter Will I need Linux to run Folding@Home on the PS3? Probably not; installing Linux is too much of a burden for Folding score whores. If you install Linux will you be able to still play Blue-Ray HD movies? Yes; installing Linux doesn’t break your PS3. 2006-11-28 7:04 am timbobsteve E17 is probably the best GFX we will see on PS3 Linux. Like someone said before me, Sony have run Linux in such a way that it does not have complete access to the 3D Hardware. On top of that, I doubt NVIDIA will put any effort into making PPC Linux Drivers for their card, binary or otherwise. Us PPC Linux users have been up s**t creek since day one. At least the ATI OSS Drivers are working OK (I can run Beryl with them on the ibook G3). Unless someone is willing to write a graphics library that uses some spare SPE’s for FP-Calculations for rendering/rasterization you won’t see anything above Quake one graphics under PS3 Linux. Its sad too… if they had the RSX Graphics chip working under Linux, PS3 would be a hackers haven. People would be making games left and write and drawing more sales for Sony. But we all know the money is in the Game Sales not in Console Sales… so they don’t want the competition. Unfortunate…. unless someone is willing to redo OpenGL for Cell (using SPE’s) ???? 2006-11-28 12:12 pm miscz E17 is probably the best GFX we will see on PS3 Linux. Like someone said before me, Sony have run Linux in such a way that it does not have complete access to the 3D Hardware. On top of that, I doubt NVIDIA will put any effort into making PPC Linux Drivers for their card, binary or otherwise. I think that making PPC Linux drivers wouldn’t be that hard, Macs could use nVidia cards before the switch too. NVidia seems to have a lot experience with porting drivers to niche OS (Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris) and would probably support PS3 if it was possible. Sony is the only one to blame. 2006-11-28 1:44 pm timbobsteve NVidia seems to have a lot experience with porting drivers to niche OS (Linux….) If that statement was true, then why is there no PowerPC Linux drivers for NVidia Cards? I use Linux on PowerPC architecture and their are no good (nvidia or ati) graphics drivers for the platform. Also, your statement about good support makes no sense. Nvidia still hasn’t opened up the specs for any of their cards to aid in proper OSS Linux drivers, but that is another topic altogether. I am focusing on PowerPC architecture because the PS3 is a modified powerpc platform. The reason YellowDog is the ‘main’ PS3 linux distro at the moment is because they are the ‘main’ PowerPC Linux vendor (although alot of other distro’s are taking over PPC now… not Ubuntu.. they are talking about dropping PPC soon). Basically look at what is available in terms of supported software/hardware on the PowerPC Linux side of things and you will get a good grasp of what will/won’t work on the PS3. Don’t get me wrong, myself and many other PPC Linux users are quite happy with the attention the PS3 is bringing towards Linux on PowerPC, I am just trying to be realistic. There is NO working 3D graphics drivers for Nvidia/ATI on PowerPC linux…. and neither ATI or Nvidia have any plans of porting their drivers to the platform (unless the PS3 gets enough Linux users). So… in a round about way… I am back to my original point. E17 is probably the best graphics we will see on the PS3… unless NVIDIA writes RSX drivers or opens up the specifications for the chip so we can write our own (not gonna happen). This is also why re-writting a CELL-Optimised OpenGL implementation would be great. Instead of the GFX card processing geometry, why not assign one of the 6(?) SPU’s for the job… it would act as a make-shift graphics card. Of course retooling OpenGL is quite some work, but it is probably the only way we can get working 3D on the PS3 without some serious vendor support (specs/driver) or a good batch of dedicated souls to reverse engineer the RSX chip. 2006-11-28 2:31 pm Alleister It is not an option to just write a driver to use an SPU as a makeshift GPU, because SPUs by them self aren’t powerfull enough (from the functions, not from the raw speed) to do that without help from the main core. Also it would not get anywhere near the performance or the possebilitys of an real GPU. Memory bandwith constraints to the framebuffer also will likely be a pain in the coconut as from what i have heard memory transfer from the Cell to framebuffer suffers some serious shortcommings (which isn’t relevant for native PS3 games since they don’t do that anyway). So yes, the answer could be to port Mesa to Cell, but that is *not* going to get you more than a faster version of software quality rendering, plus your beuatifull Cell then is occupied and you gain no advantage over using an generic (and rather old) PC or Mac. On the other hand, i have seen some impressive raytracing on Cells. I don’t believe the graphics issues will be solved, but hey, getting to play with Cell SDK is a nice feature anyway, wouldn’t you agree? 2006-11-28 4:52 pm miscz PPC Macs running Linux were a bit too niche, from what I see ATi cards are more popular with Apple computers. PS3 will probably be more widespread IMO. I’m not sure about PS3 with Linux though but my point is that Sony didn’t even give a chance for that. 2006-11-28 6:39 pm jonsmirl On top of that, I doubt NVIDIA will put any effort into making PPC Linux Drivers for their card, binary or otherwise. Us PPC Linux users have been up s**t creek since day one. At least the ATI OSS Drivers are working OK (I can run Beryl with them on the ibook G3). NVidia has obviously already written OpenGL|ES drivers for the PPC since that’s what the PS3 is using. They just aren’t letting you have access to them on the PS3 or any other PPC machine. 2006-11-29 12:41 am timbobsteve NVidia has obviously already written OpenGL|ES drivers for the PPC since that’s what the PS3 is using. They just aren’t letting you have access to them on the PS3 or any other PPC machine. I was talking about releasing it to the public/linux community…. GOD… way to read into things too literally dude! 2006-11-28 7:32 am danboid Oh dear oh dear! After all the hype about YDL 5 being the first custom PS3 distro, it cant even play back a video file smoothly! I’m certainly disappointed. The least Sony and Nvidia could do is help xorg add 2D acceleration to their nvidia driver so at least it would be useable as a media centre. True, nvidia have entirely neglected PPC Linux up until now but now, for the first time ever, PPC Linux has become a mass market computing platform available in the high street as compared to its previous status of being a niche OS on niche hardware. Pretty soon there should be ample demand to convince them PPC is worth supporting- they already release drivers for Solaris and FreeBSD. Surely Sonys Hypervisor will allow for 2D acceleration? 2006-11-28 8:00 am Kantian but why? the PS3 OS already can play movies and such?? 2006-11-28 10:49 am Alleister Because you have to keep booting from PS3OS to Linux for everything… that sucks bad and booting Linux on PS3 isn’t the fastest thing to do either. 2006-11-28 9:13 am moondevil I am a happy PS2 Linux owner but this one just fails short on its promises. At least in PS2 there is some possibility to explore the graphics hardware. If Sony decides not to support Linux at 100% in PS3, I’ll just get a Xbox 360, at least with XNA I can have some fun. 2006-11-28 6:27 pm hohlraum Yeah give microsoft your money. Thats a great idea /slap 2006-11-28 10:16 am REMF if the lack of 3D issue is sorted out I would love to get a PS3. 2006-11-28 1:41 pm Rasmus http://www.powerdeveloper.org/news.php?id=274 2006-11-28 2:03 pm sadangel The PS3 is, in many respects, the last bastion for PPC Linux. I wondered what PPC distros would do when Apple got in bed with Intel. It’s exciting in a way too. With Yellow Dog not having to split its attention, maybe the PS3 will get better Linux support than the PS2 did, which kind of tapered off after some initial interest. 2006-11-28 2:51 pm peskanov Few time ago I read that some of the mebers of IBM’s Cell software team (I think Barry Minor was one of them) were already working on a software rendering version of OpenGL. Certainly, the machine has potential for software rendering. The rasterizer should be designed to enhance locality in order to be efficient in an SPE, but this has been done in the past. PowerVR, for example, rendered in 32×32 pixels tiles. 2006-11-28 6:45 pm viton People have used computers without any 3D for years. So why do you need 3D acceleration in linux? Because Vista does this? Leave 3D to games. In case if you need one of these hyper bloated 3D modelling applications, PS3 is not your best choice. Edited 2006-11-28 18:45 2006-11-28 8:05 pm Alleister Yes indeed, but i can vividly remember just how *intensly* much Suse sucked without 2d acceleration (i had an unsupported Graphics card and had to use Vesa… not easy to convince your friends to switch to Linux if it can’t even move a Window smoothly) and PS3 won’t even have 2d acceleration, which might be ok for resolutions like 800*600 but who wants to use an Computer at that res. People obviously want 3D for hombrew games and GPld games like Quake 3, which is not going to happen as well. As for “bloatet” 3D apps… even the not the slightest bit bloatet Wings3D is very slow without 3D acceleration and the bloat-free and georgus 3d app Blender is unbearable without it either. But i agree: if you want an decent Linux Box, get an cheap old PC instead of an expensive new PS3. And who cares about overpriced and hardly existing BlueRay movies? Not to forget that almost all console games suck bad. 2006-11-28 10:59 pm viton S3 won’t even have 2d acceleration, which might be ok for resolutions like 800*600 CELL has 4GB/s pipe to framebuffer, or 480 fps with fullscreen 1920×1080@32 blit. This is only a fraction of bandwidth. So 1 SPE can easily replace the 2d accelerator (in case if backbuffer is in Main RAM) if you want an decent Linux Box, get an cheap old PC instead of an expensive new PS3 True, but with one little exception: i don’t think PS3 is expensive. It is very cheap for the hardware it provides. I’m interested in CELL programming, so it is my platform of choice anyway. Not to forget that almost all console games suck bad. I have the opposite feelings Edited 2006-11-28 23:00 2006-11-28 7:53 pm setuid_w00t YellowDog Linux for the PS3 includes a development snapshot of what may eventually become E17, but E17 is not released. That would be like calling saying that a Windows Vista beta is the same thing as Windows Vista. The major difference being that Vista will actually be released soon. 2006-11-28 8:06 pm Alleister I don’t think that is going to matter much since E17 and enlightenment are … well… let’s call them experimental. 2006-11-29 9:13 am fithisux is the 256M of RAM. They did not give 2d/3d acceleration out of the box because it has to be done on SPEs. This is the fun with CELL and we have to do it, this is the purpose of CELL. If only RAM was upgradeable. We need 1GB.