Playstation 3 Linux Installation

November 20th, 2006 by Crusader

Sony has opened the Open Platform for PlayStation 3 site, which contains the “Other OS Installer” needed to install Linux on the new game console system. If you’re one of the lucky few who bought one this past Friday, instructions for installation are also available, as well as a FAQ.

There’s already detailed Fedora-specific installation instructions at QuickJump; the one major limitation to be aware of right now is that there’s no GPU driver (the PS3 uses a NVIDIA-developed GPU similar to the one in GeForce 7XXX products), so you’ll be using the framebuffer for graphics.

Some abbreviated instructions by way of NeoGAF (thanks gofreak):


1) Download and burn Fedora Core 5 to a DVD
2) Download and burn the PS3 Linux Add-On Packages CD
3) Using a USB stick (or other storage option, like CD/DVD/BD etc.) create a folder at the top level called ‘PS3′. Within that folder create a new sub-folder called ‘otheros’. In that folder you need to put to files:

otheros.bld (bootloader – found on the Add-on Packages CD in the ‘kboot’ folder)
otheros.self (Sony’s “Other OS Installer”)

4) Create a Linux partition on your PS3 (via the XMB format utility)
5) Connect the USB or other storage from 3) to your PS3.
6) Start the “Install Other OS” Utility. It will scan for the otheros.self file, and when it has found it, will display its location. Select that and it will install the bootloader.
7) Set the default OS to be “Other OS” in the XMB system settings.
8) Reboot the machine. It will now automatically boot the bootloader from which you can install your OS.

Installing Fedora Core 5:

The bootloader will have a command prompt. To install type the following command:

install-fc sda

It will prompt you to insert the Fedora Core 5 DVD. Put it in if you haven’t already, and hit ‘y’.

It will then ask you if you want a minimum or full install, enter your preferred option. It will warn you that data on the linux partition will be erased – just hit ‘y’ to continue.

When finished, the DVD will eject. It will then prompt you to enter the Add-on Packages CD. Just pop it in and hit ‘y’. It will eject to finish, and that’s the installation complete. Just enter ‘reboot’ to start Linux or ‘halt’ to turn off the machine.

There’s also already a video up at YouTube with PS3 Fedora being put through its paces. Also, one of the Gentoo developers is working on an overlay for the console.

I’ve also added a PS3-specific forum for anyone interested in coordinating or discussing their efforts.

8 Responses to “Playstation 3 Linux Installation”

  1. GBGames Says:

    Maybe I’m just ignorant, but as I understand it, you won’t be able to take advantage of all of the power the PS3 holds due to missing drivers. That said, what happens after you install a Linux distro on it? I know you can run emulators and play games, but someone can do that with a cheap PC running MythTV, too.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I am not the kind to complain that “they put Linux on everything” because I think it is really cool that you can do it. I just want to know what a person can do once it is there. If I want to run a desktop, I think I’ll prefer a hi-res monitor to my television. I’m not the only one who hasn’t bought an HDTV, right? B-)

  2. NZheretic Says:

    [i]Cell SDK v1.1 An open source Software Development Kit for the Cell Broadband Engine (CPU), granting code developers the tools required to build applications optimized for the unique qualities of the multi-core Cell processor.[/i]

    Already there are people hacking on this …

    For gamers?

    Imagine an open source 3D engine ( either new or ports of the existing open source ones ) that makes use of the CELL processor to calculate the physics of the environment, and maybe render the result onto the PS3 output ( for DVI output ) or just convert it into a digital video stream ( mpeg/diac etc ) and network it back to your PC.

  3. Noneus Says:

    I guess it would be possible to use it as an htpc? (Home Theatre PC) Would be great. I’ll buy one anyway. Cheap bluray player and I can play my old PS2 games.

  4. hikaricore Says:

    Why in the world would you put fedora on that poor ps3? There are so many better distros.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    “one of the lucky few who bought one this past Friday”

    You mean one of those stupid enough to buy an overpriced console with no interesting titles at launch?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Putting Linux on my PS-3 was the coolest thing I ever did. I rock. I was so excited after the install, I just couldn’t wait to play a game of ‘smack the penguin’. So I grabbed by controllers, you know, those really innovative motion sensing one’s that look like nun-chucks? I started swinging my arms around and running around the room shouting ‘WHEE!!!! WHEE!!!!’. I was so excited and happy to be able to ……

    …oh wait.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    People who dont understand the processing capabilities of the Cell, are simply underestimating the impact this little device can have on computational computing.

    Linux isnt on the PS3 because a few gamers thought it would be ‘cool’. Its on the PS3 because it give an consumer level access to a device that would otherwise cost tens of thousands to develop on.

    Thus also expanding the knowledge and base of competent developers for the Cell. Its actually a neat thing to do, because it gives even average people access to develop software on a consumer console? Without modding, what other console has done this since the Amiga?

    Additionally as many people keep propogating (whom quite obviously havent got a PS3, nor understand the drivers on the YDL or FC distrub) the gfx framebuffer driver is actually completely able to use the full processing capabilities of the RSX. Yes, thats right, with a little bit of hacking you can get and render amazing 3D scene.. name another $500 device you can do that on.. with 200 Gflop CPU and a top of the line GPU (7900 GTX equivalent essentially). hrm?

    Doesnt sound like such a bad thing after all does it..

  8. Anonymous Says:

    YES YOU ARE GO TO CIRCUIT CITY AND DROP 1500 on a Panasonic Plasma HD 1080. You don’t know what you are missing. The games look INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.