PS3 Linux [was - Re: OpenMoko and LCD TV]

roguemoko at roguemoko at
Wed May 6 05:43:33 CEST 2009

On 6/05/2009 12:31 PM, The Digital Pioneer wrote:
> Maybe boot Linux on it from a USB CD drive? :P

That'd be nice but I suspect I'm limited to umass attach/detach, fs 
indexing and the like, not boot related features. Even if possible, I 
doubt it would be worth my time with so many other resources available 
to me. I can get a portable media player with USB/DVD made by maya for 
AU$25 here. It's about the only gift I give to people these days and 
makes sharing media with the non-technical all that more accessible :)

> Do you run Linux on your PS3? I'm thinking about getting one sometime,
> and I'm trying to determine what my options of Linux are on one.

Yeah I do. Xubuntu is way too slow, although once you map the GPU's vram 
as prioritised swap it's acceptable ... it's a bit of a hack though.

YDL functions a lot better primarily due to there distro being more 
focused on the PS3. 3D acceleration doesn't exist (hence the mapping of 
vram) and there's a limit of around 250MB of available RAM ... so either 
option is going to be less than impressive. It's a bit like OM in that 
respect :) ... you get used to it :)

Standard 2D apps function fine, just don't expect perfect streaming from 

In saying all that, I've found that running linux, although good, is 
kind of redundant from the media/connected to TV perspective. It'll be 
great if we ever get 3D acceleration but as is, I can do it all from the 
PS3's gameOS. Once you come to grips with the controls ... and hook up a 
wireless mouse and keyboard, it does pretty much everything. Oh, and you 
are limited to a 10GB partition for linux :S

I run mediatomb from a xen NetBSD domu and have been able to play all 
files except MKV and VBR encoded AVIs via the PS3's gameOS. The former 
simply needs to be remuxed with an mpeg2 header (less than a minute) and 
the later just needs the mp3 stream to be reencoded as CBR (a minute or 
two per standard episode ... virtualdub batch encoding works a treat 
here, though I should prolly find a unix alternative). If you run a 
centralised download server like mldonkey, coupled with mediatomb, you 
can watch downloads as they arrive, meaning you never have to touch a 
file to determine if you are going to keep it. I love that.

If it wasn't a domu and it was a dedicated media backend, mediatomb 
allows for on the fly transcoding, though you are presented with some 
limitations in that scenario.

Honestly the best AU$600 I've spent on a computer system, for all that 
it entails. Possibly the cheapest computer I've bought since the late 
90's. I couldn't recommend a PS3 highly enough.

I haven't tested this yet but apparently being able to run linux makes 
it a tax write off aswell from a home office perspective :)

I could probably go on but I'll leave at, it's a must have geek 
accessory. I spend so little time hunched over an actual PC now, it's great!


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