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PS3 Linux ready and waiting

Oct 17, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

[Updated 3:15 P.M.] — Terra Soft Solutions says it will “immediately” begin shipping a version of its Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) distribution for Sony's Playstation 3 (PS3). The PS3 itself is expected to ship in November, in time for the holiday gift-giving season.

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Terra Soft says it was able to port YDL to the PS3 thanks to an agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI). The distribution is based on Fedora Core 5, along with a next-generation “E17” release of the Englightenment window manager. The distribution also integrates Cell-specific code created at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

The distribution includes a single-click installer aimed at providing “an intuitive, self-guided means of exploring Linux without the confusion of multiple applications in the same family,” Terra Soft says. An alternative installer will let more advanced users choose among about 1,500 packages, according to the company.

The first release of YDL for the PS3 is based on a Linux 2.6.16 kernel. Other integrated open source components include:

  • gcc 3.4.4 and glibc 2.4
  • Cell SDK 1.1
  • 2.0.2
  • FireFox 1.5.0 and Thunderbird 1.5.0
  • Nautilus 2.1.4

About the PS3

The PS3 will be the first product for consumers to be based on the “Cell Broadband Engine” (Cell BE) processor designed collaboratively by Sony, IBM, and Toshiba. The Cell architecture has a single PowerPC core, along with multiple microcode-programmable vector processing units dubbed “synergistic processing engines” (SPEs).

The Cell chip used in the PS3 is expected to have seven SPEs. It will offer 35 times the performance of the PS2's processor, 10 times the power of a typical PC, and twice the power of Microsoft's newest XBox, a Sony executive recently stated.

Owen Stampflee, lead software engineer of Terra Soft Solutions, stated, “From the days of the Commodore 64, a battle has raged between dedicated game boxes and home computers for highest quality game play. [The PS3] provides an industry first exceptional Linux OS experience. I am proud to have played a part in this development.”

According to a brief interview at Digit Magazine, Terra Soft CEO Kai Staats said he hopes Sony will bundle the YDL distribution with the PS3.

SCEI CEO Ken Kutaragi predicted about a year ago that Linux on the PS3 would revolutionize the personal computing market.


YDL for the PS3 is expected to be available soon through the Terra Soft store, and through Terra Soft's distribution channel partners. The PS3 is expected to ship in November.

Terra Soft also offers YDL distributions for PowerPC systems from Apple, Genesi, and others. It previously shipped YDL for Cell-based blades and processor add-in cards from Mercury Computer. Mercury's Cell-based products target high-density, aerospace and defense, and supercomputing applications.

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