Home > Linux > Sony Adds PS3 Support to Linux Kernel Sony Adds PS3 Support to Linux Kernel Submitted by diegocg 2006-12-06 Linux 52 Comments As part of the 2.6.20 development process, patches adding support for the ‘PS3 game console and other devices‘ (built on top of the IBM Cell) have been merged. The code has been written by Sony. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 52 Comments 2006-12-06 8:13 pm MattPie Come on, no jokes about a root kit yet? 2006-12-06 8:17 pm Ford Prefect Their support for Linux sucks. The graphics are crippled down to a simple framebuffer. No 2D or 3D hardware graphics acceleration. You move a Window? CPU has to move every f*cking pixel in the framebuffer itself! (They could use the alternative cores of the Cell, heh) This seems to be a political decision. Without at least 2D graphics acceleration, games will get into trouble under Linux soon. So for gaming, you have to buy PS3 games… and for linux … it’s nearly useless. Edited 2006-12-06 20:18 2006-12-06 8:24 pm JonathanBThompson You know what? You’re absolutely right! They shouldn’t have released *ANYTHING* to the world at large, since it’s all political! That way, nobody would be complaining “But they limited us by only supporting the simplest possible, but most resource-wasteful way of doing things!” Well, hey: if you’re so intent on actually *DOING* anything with the PS3, grab one, grab the little code that Sony provided, and reverse engineer what you don’t have documentation on, just like so much other hardware in the computer world has done for it, because little or no vendor documentation or external support exists. Keep in mind Sony isn’t making money off of selling either the Linux code or any systems sold purely for use by Linux geeks: they currently only make money on selling enough games via licensing. Sooner or later their costs may be lower than the sales price, but that’ll be awhile, and what’s the probability that a Linux user will pay for anything they can avoid paying for? 2006-12-06 8:58 pm Ford Prefect Well, SONY actively promotes the PS3 as a “personal computer” and actively promotes its Linux support. I don’t complain, I just point out, that in my opinion, their linux support sucks, contrary to what they tell the press. Surely an opinion to be modded down! 2006-12-06 9:22 pm AdamW “what’s the probability that a Linux user will pay for anything they can avoid paying for?” Rather high, actually. I don’t get the “Linux users are cheapskates” meme at all. If it were actually true, tons of companies would never have survived – Mandriva, Linspire, Xandros, SUSE before they were bought out. We all live on the revenue produced by perfectly normal Linux users who choose to buy something they could avoid buying – a Linux distribution. 2006-12-06 9:27 pm Redeeman arent you being a little stupid? you think anybody will pay for something they can avoid paying for? you seem to think linux users are all a bunch of people that simply wont pay for anything. 2006-12-06 9:46 pm tbcpp [quote]arent you being a little stupid? you think anybody will pay for something they can avoid paying for? you seem to think linux users are all a bunch of people that simply wont pay for anything.[/quote] Yes. Maybe not Linux users at large but at least the zelots would. [quote]I find it rather amusing that you went to edit your post and failed to make the only one sensible change: deletion.[/quote] Perfect comeback. 2006-12-06 10:47 pm Redeeman so they didnt pay for their hardware? their house? their car? their electricity? their cellphone? 2006-12-06 11:00 pm WereCatf Maybe not Linux users at large but at least the zelots would. I don’t see the logic behind this. I’d imagine especially zealots want to support Linux in any way they can, and as such, paying for their distro of choice and any useful apps. Sure, almost everything is available for free but how can you explain that pay-for distros like Mandriva/Fedora/SuSE/etc continue to thrive? Because, although almost everything is free, the companies behind those distros bundle everything together in a nice, pretty, useable package worth paying for. Also individual apps, like Pixel, seem to be doing perfectly fine. I wish you’d explain your comments, or shut up about things you don’t know about. EDIT: just thought to add that although I’ll never own a PS3 myself, it’s pretty nice from Sony to add support in Linux kernel for PS3. Atleast it doesn’t hurt anyone. Edited 2006-12-06 23:02 2006-12-06 11:36 pm tbcpp Sure, let me explain. My view on linux is, I don’t care if it has binary blobs in it or not, as long as it works. But there are some who are never happy unless the whole OS is 100% open. These are the people who don’t like nvidia’s stance of only releasing binary drivers. These are trying to update the GPL to make it so nvidia can’t do this. And this is the reason I’m thinking of moving to BSD. All that aside, I’m in support for this, but what I’m reacting to is the notion of “they didn’t give us everything, so we won’t take anything” view that many have about the PS3 2006-12-06 11:54 pm WereCatf 100% open-source zealots are a completely different thing than Linux zealots. Besides, those who want everything to be 100% open can still pay for their distro of choice etc. It doesn’t mean they want everything for free. So I kind of missed the point. Anyway, as for me, I don’t care if it is all open or not, as long as it is quality. 2006-12-07 2:58 am cyclops “100% open-source zealots are a completely different thing than Linux zealots. Besides, those who want everything to be 100% open can still pay for their distro of choice etc. It doesn’t mean they want everything for free. So I kind of missed the point.” Please don’t use the word zealot. Its not appropriate. It is true that there are two different “opinions” on binary code, and most of the reasons are not “political”, but are about long-term support, bug-fixing, new features, and security. A good example would be the r200 based ati cards under linux, which have had support “dropped” by ati, and yet the open-source drivers will run AIGLX/Beryl which the binary drivers will not run even on there newest cards. 2006-12-07 8:24 pm SEJeff Open Source and Free Software are NOT the same thing… Richard Stallman himself states that he is in no way connected to “The Open Source Movement”. When you say 100% open-source zealots, you are actually meaning the free software zealots. Please get the terms correct. I am an “open source zealot” and could care less if my workstation runs flash or acrobat reader. The same goes for the non-free broadcomm firmware I load for one of my laptop’s wireless cards to work. Open source is a superior development model which often results in incredible code. Free software is a philosophy. OSS and free software have similar goals, and different means of reaching those goals. Please do not confuse them if you don’t fully understand them. 2006-12-07 3:28 am cyclops “Sure, let me explain. My view on linux is, I don’t care if it has binary blobs in it or not, as long as it works. But there are some who are never happy unless the whole OS is 100% open. These are the people who don’t like nvidia’s stance of only releasing binary drivers. These are trying to update the GPL to make it so nvidia can’t do this. And this is the reason I’m thinking of moving to BSD.” Reasons to care. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/17/nvidia_linux_graphics_bug/ 2006-12-07 7:47 am WereCatf Reasons to care. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/17/nvidia_linux_graphics_bug/ Wow. One bad bug. Like 100% open software never has bugs? Come up with some actually compelling reason..Btw, having open-source drivers doesn’t mean they’ll be perfect either. Like for example my Radeon 9100 doesn’t have TV-out or pixel shader support when using the open r200 driver. 2006-12-07 8:13 am Almindor The point wasn’t that there’s a bug, but that there are security holes in binary blobs which cannot get detected and thus fixed fast enough. This simply couldn’t happen on a well known (and nvidia’s drivers are well known) driver if it was OSS. That’s the point. Binary blobs suck. They might have the quality, but they suck. 2006-12-07 8:14 am cyclops “Wow. One bad bug. Like 100% open software never has bugs? Come up with some actually compelling reason..Btw, having open-source drivers doesn’t mean they’ll be perfect either. Like for example my Radeon 9100 doesn’t have TV-out or pixel shader support when using the open r200 driver.” I read this and…I’m going to absolutely honest here. If a 5 month known exploit in the kernel that allows you to inject hostile code as root, and can be activated remotely is not a compelling reason…you’ve got me. BTW your Radeon 9100, its a r200 based card…welcome to open-source support under Linux or *BSD. ATI cut your support back in Linux 2.6.18, we are now on Linux 2.6.19. Airled does a nice blog I suggest stongly you read it. http://airlied.livejournal.com/ Edited 2006-12-07 08:27 2006-12-07 10:08 am Redeeman if you are referring to the nvidia bug, it has been apparently in the nvidia drivers for years, but whats even more ugly is that when it was announced, nvidia basically said: “well, screw you, if you want a version without security flaw, use beta drivers, or turn off your computer untill we decide to release stable…” 2006-12-07 10:13 am Johann Chua Um, Fedora is a free distro. I guess you meant Red Hat. 2006-12-07 4:03 am Soulbender “what’s the probability that a Linux user will pay for anything they can avoid paying for?” Good thing Windows users don’t rampantly pirate software because they all love to pay for their stuff. Right? Right? 2006-12-07 4:14 am cyclops “what’s the probability that a Linux user will pay for anything they can avoid paying for?” “Good thing Windows users don’t rampantly pirate software because they all love to pay for their stuff. Right? Right? ” I don’t like this kink of blatant mud-slinging. I think you miss the point. Linux has not got a lot of games; Windows does not have a lot of games; Consoles have the games. The reality is this device fulfills a niche for those, who run linux; want a powerful machine cheap; want to play the latest games. For the first time *ever* linux users have the best of both worlds, and a combination that Microsoft users can only dream about. People forget that when the original xbox was launched there was much discussion about xbox compatible motherboards. 2006-12-06 8:43 pm Michael You move a Window? CPU has to move every f*cking pixel in the framebuffer itself! Well, my Athlon 64 3000+ has had to do that on occasion and it ain’t so painful. I’ll wait for complaints from people who’ve actually _used_ Linux on the PS3 thanks. This seems to be a political decision. You seem to have confused business with politics. I can’t believe I have to say this to someone, but there’s more to Linux than games! 2006-12-06 8:53 pm somebody Their support for Linux sucks. The graphics are crippled down to a simple framebuffer. [sarcasm] Yeah, you’re right. It’s been almost two weeks from the PS3 launch already and still no gfx drivers. [/sarcasm] 2006-12-06 8:56 pm Ford Prefect If you would have done some research on this topic you would know that the GPU is hidden deliberately. There is already a nvidia driver out there for this chipset. 2006-12-06 10:43 pm zdzichu There is no driver for this chipset, only some binary blob for x86. Cell BE beeing PowerPC chip has no way to run this thing. 2006-12-06 9:28 pm zetsurin “Their support for Linux sucks… SNIP … it’s nearly useless. ” You know what? I can’t be alone in feeling sick to death of these instant negative rants which appear in response to ANYTHING Sony does right now. Generally they also come from people who have no real 1st hand experience with the subject matter and add nothing whatsoever to the discussion at all. I find it rather amusing that you went to edit your post and failed to make the only one sensible change: deletion. I have Linux running on my PS3 right now. It’s far from useless. 2006-12-07 4:14 am Soulbender “I can’t be alone in feeling sick to death of these instant negative rants which appear in response to ANYTHING Sony does right now.” Geee, that couldn’t possibly be Sony’s own fault, could it? They couldn’t possibly have brought it on themselves, right? I mean, secretly putting root kits on peoples computers, shipping laptop batteries that explode, shutting down companies (Lik Sang, ElectricBirdland) that (*GASP*) sell Japanese PSP’s to Europe, shipping bad optical drives in PS2, none of that is any reason for people to be pissed off at Sony, right? It is so unfair of people to critizise such a fine company that obviously really value it’s consumers… Edited 2006-12-07 04:15 2006-12-07 4:33 am cyclops “Geee, that couldn’t possibly be Sony’s own fault, could it? They couldn’t possibly have brought it on themselves, right?” Microsoft ========= http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft Nintendo ======== http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/06/19/nintendo_wins_liksang_pirac… http://www.theregister.co.uk/1999/02/08/nintendo_legal_rumblings_pr… etc etc. These are not *nice* companies. If you are trying to spend your money with the good guys, your out of luck. 2006-12-07 4:47 am Soulbender I must have missed the part (maybe it was ghostwritten?) where I said you should only spend your money on the good guys and that we shouldnt’ criticize Nintendo and Microsoft. 2006-12-07 5:07 am cyclops “I must have missed the part (maybe it was ghostwritten?) where I said you should only spend your money on the good guys and that we shouldnt’ criticize Nintendo and Microsoft.” Then why did you post it then? If your reasons aren’t conscientious. Clearly there must be another reason for your bias. Perhaps you should have posted that instead You should definitely post it now. Edited 2006-12-07 05:11 2006-12-07 5:52 am Soulbender “Clearly there must be another reason for your bias.” Bias? What bias? I’m saying that perhaps Sony has only themselves to blame for the criticism and for people not trusting them. 2006-12-07 6:34 am cyclops So i’ll explain Large Corporations do bad things. They are not evil in nature. They are the way they are because they want money, and will do whatever they can to get it. Sony putting Linux on the PS3 is a good thing, for users like me. Sony are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it for money. They will get a lot of good publicity and they will get it from a very small, but vocal community. They will get an awful lot of press regarding how powerful the PS3 is. They will even sell more consoles. Pushing BlueRay into the technical community. You have to be very naive to believe in trust. 2006-12-07 6:56 am Soulbender “So I’ll explain” Thanks Prof. Obvious but I knew this already. “They are the way they are because they want money, and will do whatever they can to get it.” Because that is not evil…but whatever, that’s not the point here. I don’t really get what point you’re trying to make. What has this got to do with whatever bias against Sony you say I have? What has it got to do with criticizing or not criticizing them? Are you saying we shouldn’t criticize them because they’re just “doing what they do for money?”. No, I don’t think you do. So what is it? “You have to be very naive to believe in trust.” No kidding? 2006-12-07 7:15 am cyclops Then what is your point. Your not bringing it up because your biased. Its not because of trust. Its not because your conscientious. Your still not giving a decent reason of why “Windows Rootkit on sony CD” is relevant to Sony Adds PS3 Support to Linux Kernel. There is only one reason why you should do so, and I think its better discussed on one of those gaming sites. Where people trash talk consoles, and thats always been my point. Edited 2006-12-07 07:29 2006-12-07 11:52 am moondevil As long as their support for PS3 is not at the level of PS2 Linux, I would rather get a 360 + XNA than a PS3. No proper support == No money from me. If Sony is pretending to support the platform, they should do it in a proper way. 2006-12-06 8:36 pm tbcpp Like I’ve said a thousand times, the lack of graphics accelleration really doesn’t matter. The Cell has 4GB/sec transfer speed to the framebuffer which means that it redraw the screen ~800 times a seccond. It’s only a matter of time till someone releases a SPE accelerated Mesa library for the PS3, and then we’ll see gfx speeds at least as good a a GeForceFX. 2006-12-06 11:25 pm Wes Felter Of course, if you are using the SPEs for OpenGL you’ll have few or none left for other work. 2006-12-06 9:03 pm flanque Putting whatever Sony’s intentions are aside, for the open source software, this is a positive thing. Maybe it’s not perfect upon release and you want or expected more from Sony, but keep in mind that the Linux kernel wasn’t perfect with every needed feature upon it’s initial releases. The “OSS movement” seems to be based on a “release more, release often” or something similiar to that. Do I care for this release in the sense of actually using it at this time..? No, but I am mindful that it’s the incremental releases of OSS that has made it possible for greater competition and arguably better services and/or software as a result. Get some perspective and realise that even for the biggest of organisations, producing complete quality software is a challenge. Also keep in mind, you haven’t been charged for this either. 2006-12-06 9:19 pm sbergman27 I’m not sure whether to love them or hate them. They implement DRM, install root-kits on unsuspecting customers’ computers, and manufacture batteries that are so defective that they could actually kill. http://www.theinquirer.net/images/articles/dell%20banger1.jpg http://www.theinquirer.net/images/articles/dell%20banger2.jpg And deny it all until they can’t reasonably deny it any longer. They have fallen from a reputation for quality which was second to none in the 70’s and 80’s… to being a runner up to Samsung, today. And then they go and do something good and constructive like this. They really need to change their name to Sybil Corp.* It would avoid a certain amount of confusion on the part of consumers. 😉 * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_%28film%29 Edit: Oops! Can’t edit the typo in the title. How embarrassing. 😉 Edited 2006-12-06 21:32 2006-12-06 10:12 pm infirit Ah, you mistakenly think there is only 1 sony where there in fact are many. The music selling side (the rootgate afair) is not the same company as the one doing the PS3. What many people do not know is that their devkits and all of their development is done on linux. So can now all people stop with the flames and get on topic! 2006-12-06 11:13 pm sbergman27 “””So can now all people stop with the flames and get on topic!””” My post wasn’t a flame. 🙂 And Sony (or one of the Sonys?) is the topic. I didn’t realize that Sony(?) still had such ardent supporters. Still, kudos to whatever Sony entity was behind this cool contribution. 2006-12-06 9:25 pm tbcpp Exactly, what ticks me off is the stupid FSF mentality that everything must be free. Would you rather they be like the X360 that keep you from running unencrypted code? Sony has really given us something here. Maybe someday the’ll give us the gfx driver, but until they do I’ll just be happy to get my hands on a Cell. 2006-12-06 9:25 pm GStepper Personaly the only reason that would make me buy a PS3 is the ability to transform it as a “General Desktop-internet-media center” on a HD TV. AFAIK Linux is a just the best way to achieve this on Cell processor based machines. I have no doubt that some very talented PS3 owners will bring new drivers, homebrew apps (Games?) on the table. Even if Sony didn’t bring a full Desktop environment, I’m glad that the Linux kernel supports the Cell architecture. PS: 2 days remaining until Wii day… :p 2006-12-06 10:10 pm REMF to sony for doing what they have. provided they INTEND to allow support for the GPU in linux within a reasonable timeframe I would love to get one. 2006-12-06 11:02 pm tomcat Welcome to Sony’s party, OSS slaves. Keep working in your parents’ basements to prop up our favorite provider of rootkits. 2006-12-06 11:25 pm WorknMan Assuming that we never get the gfx driver, is framebuffering (whatever that is) fast enough so that when/if somebody does a port of MAME for the PS3, I’d be able to play Killer Instinct in HD on my 42-inch Toshiba HDTV with full speed and sound ? I saw a video of somebody playing SMB via a NES emulator on the PS3, and it looked very jittery, so I’m not sure if it’s just that the code was unoptimized, the video itself was jerky, or the combination of the cell processor plus framebuffering means sub-par speeds when emulating old consoles/arcade games. 2006-12-06 11:28 pm Wes Felter I don’t think most emulators use 3D, so they shouldn’t be penalized by the lack of 3D acceleration. They may require a certain amount of code optimization, though. 2006-12-07 5:35 am cyclops I search the web for snippets on cell support under the PS3. I read bloggs on people who have got it running under PPC. I’m desperate to know how it performs under the 256mb of memory; How practical it can be used as a PVR; Whether a console works as a Desktop replacement; How powerful it really can be. Is linux on the PS3 a novelty or my next PC. If you talk about delayed launch; Mention any other consoles; ebay sales; rootkits; blue ray; hdtv; shootings launch titles etc etc for an article about “Sony Adds PS3 Support to Linux Kernel” everyone knows why you are doing this. There are places all over then net where you can post that garbage, with like minded people…but its not appropriate here. 2006-12-07 7:15 am vikramsharma Would be nice to hear about some benchmark test on Linux, how many gigaflops is the machine able to deliver, memery test etc. I am serioudly thinking of PS3 to run Linux. 2006-12-07 7:57 am Rehdon I noticed at least one person wrote he is actually running Linux on his PS3, I assume there are/could be more: how about writing a little review of the PS3 as a general purpose / media-center computer? is it difficult to install Linux on the PS3? how about peripherals, etc. I think that would very interesting for OS News readers. redhon 2006-12-07 5:07 pm graigsmith i think it is cool that they are releasing open source bits to make their hardware work better. < i mean, isn’t this the dream of most people who use linux? it may not have graphics support yet. but what if it does in the future? 2006-12-07 11:12 pm stolennomenclature I have heard so many times in the press how Sony wants the PS3 to be more than a games machine – in fact supposedly its a fully fledged PC. If so, why did they cripple it by putting in so little ram, and apparently no facility to expand it? With 1 Gb of ram being more or less the defacto standard on new PC’s these days, and Windows Vista moving into the 2Gb recommended arena, its just a little hard to see how Sony thought 256Megs might be enough. True in all other respects the machine is powerful enough, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. There is also the issue of adding a second hard disk, a digital TV tuner, etc. The only thing it has is a couple of USB ports. Not enough. It needed at least an external eSata port, and at least two USB-2 controllers. I am looking for a new PC to run Linux, and gave (am giving) the PS-3 serious consideration, but these issues are show stoppers for anyone who plans to do more with the machine under Linux than web browsing and email.