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PS3 available pre-installed with Linux

Feb 21, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Linux distributor TerraSoft is accepting pre-orders for Sony Playstation3 gaming devices pre-installed with Linux, alongside the PS3's native gaming OS. Additionally, TerraSoft, IBM, RapidMind, and Vivendi game publisher High Moon Studios are offering seminars to help game developers… exploit the PS3's Cell architecture.

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Sony's Playstation3 does not run Linux as its standard OS. However, the device's Cell BE processor has been supported in the mainline Linux kernel since late last year, and TerrSoft has offered a version of its Yellow Dog Linux for the Playstation3 since October — a month before the PS3 actually shipped.

TerraSoft says its Linux-enabled PS3 will come with a DVD, installation guide, sticker, and “flippy” — presumably a dog toy. The device will have a 60GB hard drive, 256MB of non-expandable Rambus RAM, gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, 4 USB ports, a Blueray DVD player, and HDMI and Sony Multi AV graphics ports. Users must supply a keyboard and mouse, and must purchase separate HDMI or component-to-multi-AV cables in order to connect the device to high-definition displays (the PS3 supports “1080p” output).

So far, the PS3 may be the only embedded device to use the Cell BBE processor, co-developed by IBM, Sony, and Hitachi — although several relatively low-volume high-performance computing products have used the chip, including a QS20 blade from IBM and several products from Mercury Computing. BetaNews reports that Sony may relinquish its partial ownership of the Cell processor design, perhaps enabling IBM and foundry partner Chartered Semiconductor to market the chip more effectively to other device makers.

If other Cell-based gaming devices do reach market — especially those based on Linux — the Collada tools that Sony recently donated to the Khronos Group could help game developers port their titles between devices, BetaNews suggests. Also of interest may be RapidMind's multi-core dev tools, recently ported to the architecture.

Cell BBE programming seminars

In related news, TerraSoft and IBM have sponsored several “Hack-a-thon” events hosted at TerraSoft's Colorado-based headquarters, and touted as opportunities for application developers to learn programming techniques first-hand from engineers who helped design the Cell processor.

Additionally, IBM and TerraSoft will team up with RapidMind and Vivendi-brand game producer High Moon Studios in seminars this week in Armonk, N.Y., and Carlsbad, Calif., according to BetaNews. The BetaNews story can be found here.


TerraSoft is now taking direct pre-orders with no delivery time guarantees for a Sony PS3 pre-installed with Linux, priced at $650. Also available separately are several required video cables.

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