The PlayStation 3 is capable of running Linux as well as other operating systems if installed on the console's hard drive. Many distributions are compatible with the console
Linux supports PlayStation 3 since kernel version 2.6.21, so no patches or modifications are required for it to run. There is also a user friendly Linux add-on CD for the PS3 including support for Fedora 8 and other operating systems that already claim to install natively on the PS3. However, there is currently an issue with the latest kboot provided by kernel.org. Once the user has pressed enter to continue with the default action, the USB ports are de-registered on some systems
OpenSUSE 10.3 is the first version of OpenSUSE to run on the Sony PlayStation 3 platform. OpenSUSE is an open source version of SUSE Linux, which is owned by Novell.
It runs either KDE or GNOME by default, as selected by the user at install time, so it should be considered more resource-intensive than Yellow Dog Linux or other Enlightenment / XFCE based distributions.
Versions of Ubuntu up to 7.10 have been ported to the PS3 platform.The installer cannot run in Live mode when running in 480i or 480p video resolutions, but it offers an alternative installer (text-based) that will install a fully functional Ubuntu operating system. It is possible to have an external USB hard drive attached to the PlayStation 3 during install and choose to mount that as the home folder.
The current 8.04 (Hardy Heron) release of Ubuntu is incompatible with the PS3. However, efforts are in place to ensure the upcoming 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) release will work.
The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is currently the most inexpensive and widely available Cell processor system available. There are other platforms: IBM has released its Cell-based blade servers, and Toshiba has announced research into a Cell-based laptop. These systems come with specific documentation for Linux, but the PS3 doesn't.
By default, every PS3 runs Sony's proprietary operating system, Game OS, and you can see its welcome screen when you first turn on the console. There's no way to disable Game OS, but you can take over a portion of the PS3's memory and install a second operating system.
This second OS does not have complete access to the PS3's resources and is subject to a number of limitations, including the following:
The second OS can't run privileged functions or access privileged memory.
The second OS can't transfer data using the Cell's input/output interfaces.
The second OS can't access the Nvidia RSX processor on the PS3.
The second OS can't communicate with two of the Cell's eight Synergistic Processor Units (SPUs).
Don't be dismayed. Despite these limitations, you can run applications that control the Cell's PowerPC Processor Unit (PPU) and six of the SPUs. That's a great deal of computational power.
The process of installing Linux on the PS3 isn't short or simple, so this section will divide the process into three tasks:
Download the Fedora Core disk image (*.iso) and burn it onto a DVD.
Download the Cell PS3 Add-On disk image and burn it to a CD.
Use both disk images to install Linux on the PS3.
Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this may take awhile.
Obtaining the Fedora Core Image for the Cell Processor
To install Linux on the PS3, the first task is to download the Fedora Core disk image (*.iso) for the Cell processor. This compressed file contains the structure of the Fedora Core filesystem. It's provided free of charge, and once you've downloaded it, you need to burn it onto a DVD.
This can be accomplished with the following steps:
Determine which version of Fedora Core is required by the Cell SDK.
Open a web browser and go to IBM's Cell Broadband Engine resource center. Click on the Downloads tab and find out which Fedora Core version is compatible with the current Cell SDK. I'll call this version number version_num.
Find a site that provides Fedora Core, release version_num, for the PowerPC.
Red Hat doesn't provide the disk image directly, but other sites, called mirrors, allow you to download it for free. Open a web browser and go to the Fedora Public Active Mirrors site.
In the upper right, the Mirror List Filter lets you filter sites that don't provide the image you're looking for.
The Cell processor looks like a PowerPC to the operating system, so click on ppc under the Architecture heading, where version equals version_num.
The bottom of the screen lists sites that provide the iso file for the PowerPC, version version_num.
In the left column, look for your country's two-letter designation (US for United States, GB for United Kingdom, KR for South Korea) and find a mirror site with a high Bandwidth value. Click on either ftp or http in the Contents column.
Download the Fedora Core ISO file.
The new browser window should present a link to a folder called releases. Click on this link and on the version_num link in the window that follows. Click on Fedora, then ppc, and then iso.
Finally, you should see a link for a file called F-version_num-ppc-DVD.iso. Download this file to your computer.
Burn the disk image onto a DVD.
Once the disk image finishes downloading, you need to write its contents onto a DVD. There are many applications available.
For Windows, common utilities include Windows DVD Maker, Nero Burning Rom, and Sonic RecordNow. If you're running Linux on a PC, cdrecord burns ISO files to DVDs from the command line, and gnomebaker and k3b provide graphical interfaces.
If you look at the contents of the DVD, you should not see the file F-version_num-ppc-DVD.iso. You should see the decompressed directories and files that make up the disk image.
If you only see the ISO file, you need to find a new method of burning the file to DVD. For example, if you're using Nero Burning ROM, go to the menu option Recorder and then Burn Image.
When you've successfully burned the disk image to a DVD, you're ready to start the second step, which is much easier.