Home > Linux > Running Linux on PS3: Slimming Down X11 Running Linux on PS3: Slimming Down X11 Submitted by LinucksGirl 2008-04-16 Linux 18 Comments The Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) runs Linux, but getting it to run well requires some tweaking. In the third and final article of this series on PS3 Linux Peter Seebach talks about ways to get X11 slimmed down to fit on a smaller memory budget. About The Author David Adams Follow me on Twitter @david_adams 18 Comments 2008-04-16 4:10 pm FunkyELF It is real sad that people are devoting time to work around things that are artificially crippled. Sony is dumb. Nobody is going to buy a PS3 to run TuxRacer on so why not give access to the graphics hardware. Maybe people would run nes or snes emulators but they could do that with a $100 used xbox and a software exploit. If people are paying what they’re paying for a PS3, they’re going to buy PS3 games and Blu-ray movies. Giving access to the graphics hardware isn’t going to change that. I think these people, instead of finding weird ways to get stuff done inside the sandbox, they should be finding ways out of the sandbox. This is what the iPhone guys are doing. They’re not accepting Apple’s sandbox and they found a way out of it. They actually found a way out of the sandbox before Apple even let them play in the sandbox. I ran Gentoo on my PS3 a while back before my optical drive broke and I had to send it in. I haven’t loaded Linux back on there since it wasn’t worth the effort. 2008-04-16 10:47 pm smitty I think there’s been talk about creating a Gallium3D backend for the Cell CPU, which I think could be really interesting. I have no idea what kind of performance you could get from it. 2008-04-16 6:18 pm arokh You’re very quick to call Sony dumb. I’ll tell you the first thing accelerated graphics will be used for: playing illegal HDTV rips of movies in the .mkv format. 2008-04-16 8:26 pm concurrentcoder Dumb may not be the right word, but disappointing could describe it. Half-hearted efforts are rarely worth doing. I understand they have a fear that people will develop games for Linux that might compete with the commercial ones for the PS3 OS. I personally don’t see this happening, telling the average user they have to install an OS on the Playstation before they can play the game, if you have a quality game that cost millions you could afford to release it on the regular PS3 OS if you felt it would be profitable. Perhaps they have another reason but I have not really heard it, as they may not want people using these systems without buying regular PS3 games and if they just run Linux on it, that may be what occurs and Sony does lose money on every PS3 due to the actual cost of the hardware. This makes little sense then to even let people install Linux in the first place. It as if one side of Sony wants people to install Linux but the other side fears the result if that is all they do. So they end up with a compromise that is not really good at anything. I personally would have purchased a version of the PS3 for a price that allows Sony to make a profit instead of a loss if I knew it had a Linux version that could take full advantage of the hardware (perhaps it should come with a VGA cable too and a wireless keyboard/mouse!) Dumb, may not be an accurate description of this current half hearted Linux compromise, but Schizophrenic could be! 2008-04-16 10:28 pm apoclypse The only real reason Sony let users install Linux on the hardware is so they could classify it as a computer and thus reduce their taxes or something like that. They tried the same thing with the PS2. Granted they did put more effort into it than they did with the PS2 but they aren’t really serious about it. Sony and IBM are trying to sell you a cell powered computer, they don’t want you use a your cellpowered console and convert that into a computer, they can’t charge you $$$ for that. Besides that things have really gone down hill if 256MB of ram isn’t enough to run an OS. I remember when 64MB got you a full working OS with the works. 2008-04-17 1:25 pm helf psh, I still run a full working OS in 16 and 40mb of ram 2008-04-16 8:35 pm dagw I’ll tell you the first thing accelerated graphics will be used for: playing illegal HDTV rips of movies in the .mkv format. While probably true, would that really be such a bad thing for Sony? I bought an (original) xbox for exactly one reason XBMC. However having bought the xbox I found myself buying a bunch of games for it as well. I know other people bought an xbox for exactly the same reason. The same would probably happen with the PS3. I have yet to pick a current gen console. However if Sony gave enough access to the hardware to make it (also) work as a good general purpose linux based media player, they would get my money. And having bought a PS3 I would no doubt buy games for it. I still don’t quite see what Sony has to lose. Sony would sell a few more consoles and thus a few more games. It’s not like people will start pirating more all of a sudden just because they can watch the movies on a PS3 with some software they downloaded off the internet. 2008-04-17 1:29 pm FunkyELF I bought an (original) xbox for exactly one reason XBMC. …XBMC runs on Linux now. If there were accelerated graphics drivers for Linux on the PS3 you could do the same thing but actually play HD content over HDMI 2008-04-17 2:23 pm dagw …XBMC runs on Linux now. If there were accelerated graphics drivers for Linux on the PS3 you could do the same thing but actually play HD content over HDMI That was actually one of my first thoughts when I learned that XBMC was was being ported to Linux and that the PS3 would run Linux. Then I found out exactly how restricted the hardware access would be and Sony lost a sale. 2008-04-16 6:23 pm fithisux on a platform without user upgradeable RAM is a joke. 2008-04-16 9:14 pm MrVain Maybe allowing people access to the full PS3 hardware, would mean it is easy to crack PS3? For running pirated PS3 games? 2008-04-17 1:13 pm Feps The bloatedness of X has long been a problem that few are willing to even address. One guy however has done so with FramebufferUI… Here… http://home.comcast.net/~fbui/ And … http://home.comcast.net/~fbui/fwe.html And note that although there are several windowing systems for the Linux frame buffer, this is the only one that is deliberately small. 2008-04-17 1:19 pm sbergman27 The bloatedness of X has long been a problem that few are willing to even address. It’s sad to see people repeating the same old “X is bloated” myths with no evidence to support them. Prove to me, with evidence, that X is bloated. And then explain to me, if any of these other efforts to replace X are so good… why is it that not a one of them has a user base worth talking about? Could it possibly be, despite the misinformation that some choose to spread, that they are really just solutions in search of a problem? Edited 2008-04-17 13:20 UTC 2008-04-17 1:28 pm helf What they probably mean is that X itself isn’t really “bloated”, it’s just the implementations of the protocol that are sorely lacking in the speed department. Granted, if you have decent drivers and a fast enough cpu, they more or less run fine. But you start paring down the power of the computer and things start to lag more. I haven’t ran any of the Xs in awhile though, All my machines either don’t have enough RAM or “Linux” doesn’t support their hardware well… So I’m screwed no matter what 2008-04-17 2:40 pm sbergman27 Very often what the would be critics mean is that they don’t know how to read the output of top correctly. They just look at res (or worse, virt) and take it to be an indication of the system ram used. Edited 2008-04-17 14:41 UTC 2008-04-17 3:23 pm helf . n/m Edited 2008-04-17 15:24 UTC 2008-04-17 4:02 pm wigginz Question to anyone who has run Linux on the PS3, is it worth the effort??? Currently my PS3 is a paperweight compared to by XBOX 360, unless you count the few times I use it to play a Blu ray disc. Currently not worth a much to play games (will change soon with the new batch of exclusives coming), what does running Linux on it give me? I already have a high end Ubuntu based PC plugged into my TV which is my gateway to the mass amount of media available via newsgroups/torrents. Is running Linux on the PS3 just going to give me a toned down media PC? 2008-04-18 3:51 pm werfu Well, the installation is pretty technical as you have to install the distribution bootloader than boot into a lightweight linux environment to do the install. Once you get into the install the process is almost the same as it would be onto a PC. If you already have a media center PC I don’t think it worths wasting your time and 10gigs of hard disk space. The only nice thing I could say is that the PS3 distributions are already configured to work on TV screens.