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PlayStation 3 HDD to Ship With Linux 548

Posted by Zonk
from the penguin-in-every-hard-drive dept.
timtwobuck writes "Gamespot.com is reporting that Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, has disclosed in an interview that PlayStation 3 will natively run Linux. In fact, it will come bundled with it, if you purchase the HDD peripheral." From the article: "But while Linux would require a hard drive to run on, Kutaragi told Impress PC Watch, 'We're not going to equip [the PS3 with] a HDD by default, because no matter how much [capacity] we put in it, it won't be enough.' It was unclear whether he was referring to the previously known fact that the PS3 would not have an internal hard drive or whether he was indicating that the device would not come with the external 2.5-inch detachable HDD outlined in the specs revealed at E3."
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PlayStation 3 HDD to Ship With Linux

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  • Not suprising. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mindaktiviti (630001) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:37AM (#12780227)
    This is not suprising. Of course they wouldn't ship it with Windows, they don't want to fund their direct competitor!
    • Re:Not suprising. (Score:4, Informative)

      by alexandreracine (859693) <alexandreracine@gmail.com> on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:39AM (#12780242) Homepage Journal
      The money is made with the hardware (in PS3 case), not directly with the software...

      And unless they buy a copy from india (1$), I don't think they will change the price of the PS3 just to include Windows.
    • Re:Not suprising. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Spy Hunter (317220) * on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:47AM (#12780341) Journal
      What are you talking about? This is very surprising. It doesn't have to come with a PC OS at all. Listen to this quote: "It will become completely open if we equip it with Linux, and programmers will be able to do anything with it." This is a total about-face from the normal attitude console makers have, which is "we control the hardware, we control the software, and you can't do anything we don't like with it or we'll sue you."

      Of course, no matter what exact words are coming out of Kutaragi's mouth, I'm sure what he *really* means is closer to the second statement. But it's interesting that they are trying to position the PS3 as a real computer, not just a game console. If they really do equip it with Linux and provide dev tools, they won't be able to control the resulting flood of hacks, emulators, media center applications, indie games, and the like.

      • Well, they probably stand to profit more off the hardware anyway, especially if they can market it as a real computer.
      • Re:Not suprising. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Trigun (685027) <evil@evilempi r e .ath.cx> on Friday June 10, 2005 @12:15PM (#12780634)
        You mean they won't be able to contol the desire for everyone to have this machine, instead of buying their competitors product? They won't have to worry about people poking around their bios and reverse engineering it, because there would only be one reason to do that? They won't be able to handle the heaps of praise placed upon them from the open source community?

        Damn, this looks like a bad move on their part.
      • Re:Not suprising. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gabebear (251933)
        I was thinking how they could still retain enough control so that they still make butt loads of money.

        But the more I thought about it the more putting linux on the PS3 makes sense.
        • It costs them very little to develop a distro for the PS3
        • This gets them around the console tax in Europe(like they tried and failed to do with YaBasic on the PS2)
        • Big game programming companies will still need Sony's PS3 SDK for at least the first several years
        • Once non-Sony dev kits are good enough, they will be making mone
      • Re:Not suprising. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rapiddescent (572442)
        it is not surprising for anyone in the EU because "computers" and "toys" attract different import duties. Anyone who bought an original playstation 2 in the UK got a programming language with the console so that Sony could say that it was a computer and not a toy; i.e. it was user programmable. I don't think they got away with it in the end and the folks who got Linux to work on the PS2 have saved Sony a lot of effort to prove it is a computer,

        TFA alludes to this when Kutaragi says "...So even though we'

  • Open source? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AviN456 (863971)
    If it's running linux, do you think that the open source nature will help with emulation programs? What about running other emulators on the PS3? Perhaps that was part of Sony's strategy. Hell, it might even run WINE fairly well.
    • Re:Open source? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iapetus (24050) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:39AM (#12780244) Homepage
      No. WINE is not an emulator, Cell is not an x86 chip.
      • Re:Open source? (Score:3, Informative)

        by listen (20464)
        But it is possible QEMU could be ported, and Transitive almost certainly would be willing to work with sony on this.... their stuff has been used for PS2 games before along with Cedega.
        So wine could work using either of these options.
      • WINE is not an emulator

        But Bochs [sourceforge.net] is. And running ReactOS [reactos.com] on top of it would give a completely free Windows replacement. If ReactOS were already ready, of course :-)
      • You could compile windows programs to winelib.

        you're right wine is not an emulator, it is a library and program loader. similar to ld.so and gtk.

      • Cell does copyright protection at the hardware level doesn't it? I don't think you can emulate these functions. Thus, Sony won't mind making the software run on an open source platform.
    • Re:Open source? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#12780327) Homepage Journal
      Well you could not run JUST Wine. You would need Wine with a cpu emulator or a JIT compiler.
      The other issue will be the tool chain. Can you get a compiler for the Cell? Most emulators do not do a lot of FP so the Cells will probably not be used much for the lower end emulators.
      The compiler/tool chain is going to be critical. GCC for what I have seen is not very good at vectors. For a lot of Cell development a compiler the can generate vector code will be extermly useful if not vital. Maybe Intel and or IBM could help out GCC in that area?
      • Most emulators do not do a lot of FP so the Cells will probably not be used much for the lower end emulators.

        Are you sure the Cells are only useful for FP? Since one of the main features of the Cells is that they can be pipelined, I could imagine an emulator using them in a similar way as real processors use their pipeline.
        • I am not sure since I have not gotten to play with one. But from what I read they are really best at floating point DSP style stuff. Not lots of branching logic. However for MOST emulations the PPC core do just fine.
    • Re:Open source? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FidelCatsro (861135)
      It couldn't run wine nativly , but could it run Mac on linux
  • what's the state of linux bluetooth support (for bluetooth keyboard and mouse) ?
    • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:41AM (#12780268)
      Stable but wonky interface, in my experience. You have to manually poke it to get it to attach to a
      new device, and at least on my belkin parts you have to manually switch crypto off and then back on.
      Oh, and anybody in the world can listen in on your keypress events, but that's not a Linux thing,
      that's an auto-selected 4 numeral PIN thing ;)
    • Very good, it works great with Ubuntu and Debian as long as you can deal with setting up some things by hand (ie: editing /etc/default/bluez-utils and some files in /etc/bluetooth/)

      You'll also need to setup HIDD and after the drivers and bluez-util init script has been ran just run "hidd --connect ".

      For bluetooth keyboards you'll need another keyboard around to type a pin in. then type the pin into your new bluetooth keyboard to pair it.

      It takes me about 5 minutes at worst these days to get a new blueto
    • Check out http://www.bluez.org/ [bluez.org]. I use an apple bluetooth keyboard with my debian system without any kernel patches and it runs overall pretty well (although there are a few glitches). By the time the PS3 comes out I have confidence that it will be completely smooth.
  • by Yoje (140707) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:39AM (#12780238)
    After the whole fiasco that Sony had with the NA release of HDD (delaying it by years, promising it would do things it never did, then abandoning it completely with the PS2 redesign after being on market less than a year), I'm not beliving anything Sony says about PS3, HDD specs or otherwise, until it is physically at the store available for purchase.

    Personally, I think it would be a mistake that they not include an HDD with the console, but considering the rumoured cost of the PS3, it is probably doubtful that it will include one at launch.
    • Personally, I think it would be a mistake that they not include an HDD with the console, but considering the rumoured cost of the PS3, it is probably doubtful that it will include one at launch.

      According to Sony [theregister.co.uk] the PS3 will have a 2.5 inch removable hard disk, 6 USB2 ports and gigabit ethernet. Yummy enough?
    • Personally, I think it would be a mistake that they not include an HDD with the console, but considering the rumoured cost of the PS3, it is probably doubtful that it will include one at launch.

      What's the point of a hard drive in a console? Put in CD. Play. Save to a little memory card thingy. A hard drive just adds to the amount of stuff that can break/get FUBAR'ed. If I want to dick around with stuff that needs a hard drive (ie: more complexity), I'll sit in front of my computer.
      • What's the point of a hard drive in a console? Put in CD. Play.

        And wait, because loading all of the code, maps, textures, etc. takes a long time. With a HDD, a game can cache this stuff, allow downloadable content and patches, etc.

        Lots of small, handheld devices use hard drives, why is it a stretch to make it a standard console component? It wouldn't need to have much capacity, and with a quick glance at pricewatch, it seems that 20GB 3.5" drives are less than $30, which is less than 10% of what the co
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:41AM (#12780267)
    ...fancy buying a PS3 and joining my "Emacs Exterminators" online editing clan?

    We're gonna *TAKE DOWN* those vi fanboys!

  • Seriously, why? It's not like the addition of Linux on the hard drive is going to garner any more sales of the product.

    Why not just let those people who really want to download Linux and run it on their PS3 (all, what, a couple of thousand maybe, if that?) to do that and spend your corporate time and effort into something else?

    Hell, I'm all for adoption of other operating systems, but I really can't work out what advantages this is going to give anyone - save for about 10 minutes of downloading and tra

    • " Seriously, why? It's not like the addition of Linux on the hard drive is going to garner any more sales of the product."

      Just off the top of my head, it adds a full suite of internet applications. Adding Linux lets the console become an internet appliance. Besides, someone is going to port Linux to it as soon as it comes out. Why not let the manufacturer do it.

    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Delwin (599872)
      Simple - becasue they will get FOSS people to help them with the API's. Not only that but this means that there is already a Linux ported to Cell, so that's proof that it works for IBM to start selling Cell PC's. All in all it doesn't cost them much to put it on the HDD but they get good press, a few more sales, and most importantly free dev work to advance the software for Cell (compiler, graphics API's for the chipset that the PS3 uses etc). Remember - this thing won't run Direct X and programming for
    • There are plenty of people who could use a 'free' extra computer for browsing the web. It's like back when kids had to share the phone -- even one line per kid wasn't enough. So now instead of having to share whatever computers you have (maybe none) or buying a $300 wal-mart computer just to get the rugrats out of your hair they can just use the PS3 to do it; it's got an ethernet connection anyway to play on-line games.

      It's not like setting up Linux for PPC to boot to a blank screen with a web browser re
    • Repeat after me and Steve Ballmer...

      DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!
      DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!
      DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!

      (now jump around waving your arms like a crack addict on fire)

      Seriously, and of course this is assuming that it ships with development tools of some sort, Imagine the benefits for a company allowing unchecked development on their new platform... especially a platform using Cell which will find applications in other areas... gotta
    • Seriously, why? It's not like the addition of Linux on the hard drive is going to garner any more sales of the product.

      What makes you think that is true?

      To start with, some fringe people WILL buy the device if it supports Linux, that may otherwise have bought soemthing else.

      Now consider the whole XBox hacking scene with stuff like media player and the like. If in the next round the PS3 supports Linux with no hacks, then where are the people working on those projects going to go? Probably the PS3.

      Then
  • Gotta go. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jericho4.0 (565125)
    I have to go to work, so I'll keep this short;

    YES! OMG YES!!!! This is a dream come true. Thank you Sony. Thank you IBM. WTF is this in the Games section? This is big news for a sub set of geeks. This will be the largest installed base linux has, on interesting hardware.

  • Won't be enough? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBraynard (653724) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:43AM (#12780290) Journal
    'We're not going to equip [the PS3 with] a HDD by default, because no matter how much [capacity] we put in it, it won't be enough.'

    Nonesense. Never came close to filling up the 8gig on my Xbox, but every game I've played has made use of the HD because they KNOW it will be there.

    Of course, since the HD is optional with the PS3, devs will have to assume that it will not be there to reach a wider installed base. PS3 has just made developing for their system more difficult by releasing two products - ones with HDs and ones without.

    Even just a small 4gig drive might have been helpful and inexpensive.

    • by Johnny5000 (451029) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:51AM (#12780396) Homepage Journal
      We're not going to equip [the PS3 with] a HDD by default, because no matter how much [capacity] we put in it, it won't be enough.

      I think what he really meant to say was:

      We're not going to equip [the PS3 with] a HDD by default, because no matter how much [money we make on the PS3] it won't be enough [when we can make a bit more by milking extra money out of customers for a HDD]
      • by Icyfire0573 (719207)
        That statement is a bit unkind, however since its a corporation its probably quite true. I think what they really mean though is since it has linux they expect people to go out and buy large hard drives for it, on the order of 120 - 300 gigs, and that would add $150 - $300 to the cost of the console immediately and really who is going to pay the 300 for the console, and then another 300 for the hard drive all at once, that would defiantly scare away a lot of the average Joes looking to buy one of the newest
    • Bear in mind Sony don't seem to be marketing this as a games machine. They're going for the ever-elusive home entertainment hub market, so yes, any sized hard drive isn't going to be enough. ".. it only comes with a 4gb drive? How am I supposed to store all my home movies on it?"

      It supposedly has slots for CF, SD, MS flash, so perhaps, like the PSP, it'll come with a flash card. Although, hopefully, unlike the PSP, it'll come with more than 32MB ;-)

  • Good strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killtherat (177924) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:43AM (#12780305)
    It's a good marketing play. It just shifted my preference toward PS3 and away from Xbox360. The ability to use Linux on a system with some rather exotic symmetrical processors, and play all previous PS titles. Right now, all Xbox 360 has going for it is the promise of Halo 3.
  • by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#12780323)
    ...yes, but does it run windows?

    ;P

    • ...yes, but does it run windows?

      I realize that this comment is meant as a joke, but from TFA:

      If Linux can run, so can Lindows. Other PC Operating Systems can run too, such as Windows and Tiger (Max OS X 10.4), if the publishers want [them] to do so.

  • by inkdesign (7389) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:46AM (#12780333)
    Other PC Operating Systems can run too, such as Windows and Tiger (Max OS X 10.4), if the publishers want [them] to do so. That happening seems so far-fetched to me that its very mention undermines the believability of anything else said in the article. That said, it is good to hear Sony will continue to support linux on PlayStation.
    • Why is this so implausible? In the case of Windows on PS3, it's a win-win situation for Microsoft - they might get to sell a few more copies of Windows, and if it really takes off, then people might start buying PS3s rather than PCs - and presumably Sony will be making a loss on every PS3, so that's a win for MS too.
  • ps3 as pc? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rawmule (744495) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:46AM (#12780335)
    This announcement makes me wonder if Sony is positioning ps3 as a general purpose pc replacement. If the HDD includes not only the kernel but a windowing environment(KDE, gnome, etc...), I could see more than a few people using ps3 as thier primary web/email/office box. Assuming that it has keyboard/mouse support, the ps3 has more than enough power to handle normal pc usage.
  • They should ship it with a knoppix-like distro on DVD. With that much space they could put basically everything in the known, open-source universe on it. Could even use the memory cards for some small amounts of data.
  • As unbelievably beautiful as Sony's hardware can be, Sony has a long-standing history of creating atrocious proprietary software to support it. So this strikes me as a surprisingly smart move for them. Let them create a semi-decent Linux environment (it's not like they don't already exist in Pocket PCs, smartphones, etc.), and let dedicated programmers create excellent software for the PS3 for free.

    It kills two birds with one stone very efficiently dontcha think?
    • Yeah, I'm sure all the applications written will be 100% safe, polished and complete. No chance of installing trojans, bots, malware etc... Great fucking idea until the most massive DDOS ever hits the country, all coming from comprimised linux/PS3 zombies.

      The irony will be tragic.
  • My Wish (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Adrilla (830520) *
    I wish that you didn't have to buy a proprietary HDD from Sony, because you know that the markup on a "Sony Brand HDD" is going to be way over that of normal store bought computer HDD, even though the Sony HDD is just a regular hard drive that's not even made by Sony. I'm also wondering what capacity limit it will recognize. The PS2 will only recognize up to 127 Gigs (even though the PS2 drive is only 40G). If we're lucky they'll let you use a 3rd party drive via USB. The ideal would be to let us use 3rd pa
  • With what linux apps. A bare OS is kind of useless. Particularly if they don't include init, some getty, X, or even a frame buffer console.

    A PS3 on a HDTV, running KDE, kword, and konqueror would be sweet. (If you are GNOME fan just substitute their equivalents) Unfortunately, nearly all homes have a computer these days, so it isn't the advantage that it could have been in the past.

    Then again Atari's XEGS didn't sell, despite having a good enough word processor (for the day).

    • "With what linux apps. A bare OS is kind of useless."

      You don't know much about Linux do you? A bare OS version of Linux still has more apps then $1000 worth of windows and software addons.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:51AM (#12780387) Journal
    Can anyone understand what this guy is saying? It seems like everything he says he says the opposite like 2 seconds later!

    "We're not going to equip [the PS3 with] an HDD by default."

    "So in order to declare that the PS3 is a computer, I think we'll have [the PS3's HDD] preinstalled with Linux as a bonus."

    Basically he wants to have PS3 seen as a computer not just a game machine. OK, fine. He says to do this it will need as OS (Linux) to be installed on the HDD. OK, fine. But PS3 won't ship with a HDD. OK, .. but...I thought...WTF!
  • linux fetish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by griasr (822487)
    me as a linux fetish put all my hopes and prayers into sonys PS3. since apple/microsoft/intel more and more try to get rid of us linuxers i think the future of linux is in the cell processor. also the ps3 used as standardized personalcomputer would take away a lot of work to figure out drivers and sh*t.
  • by LordBodak (561365) * <msmoulton AT iname DOT com> on Friday June 10, 2005 @11:53AM (#12780417) Homepage Journal
    Terrible move by Sony. Developers ignored the PS2 hard drive because the installed base was so low, and I'm sure PS3 will be the same way.
    • Maybe they could have installed a small flash drive that works in lieu of the optional drive, so that developers would be more inclined to use the feature.
      • That would work. I just don't think they can go another generation without some sort of onboard storage for developers to use. Some sort of flash that at least let you use it, but might not be big enough to have _everything_ on it, would still be usable-- users who were bothered by it could upgrade to the hard drive, but the functionality would exist for everyone.

    • I couldn't agree more. Besides the cost implications of having the HD come standard, I'm sure that Sony feels that the reception of the ps3 by the media and gamer community was so much greater than Xbox360 that they could safely take the hit in perception and still wind up a winner. An expensive gamble. I'd agree that ps3 probably has more buzz... but not THAT much more buzz.

      You can almost hear the sound of mass high-fiving coming from Redmond. Not only does do they have the HD advantage, but ther
  • because no matter how much [capacity] we put in it, it won't be enough... over the lifetime of the system.

    Sounds like a sensible approach, well explained. Why cannot more tech companies show the same restraint on features and hype??

  • I, for one, think this is a big mistake. At the risk of sounding like a troll, I'm going to tell the truth for once. Sony is appealing to all the little boys out there that are not secure with the image of video games as toys - it's the same situation as the whole "action figure/doll" thing.

    In TFA, Kutaragi says "even though we're making something that has the capability to be recognized as a supercomputer and requires paperwork when exporting or importing, the government sees it as a 'toy.'" Obviously

    • I think Nintendo will manage to stick around, because no matter what the kids want these days or will in the future, there's lots of non-kids with disposable income.

      I'm over my blood and gore phase, but I still like games. I'm guessing I'll be playing games for the rest of my life, and I'm interested in new and fun things. If Nintendo keeps producing good stuff, I'll keep buying it. And I think a good number of people will too.
  • if the PS3 can run Linux, and if someone writes a Xbox 360 emulator, we'll be able to compare which console really is better...

    I think. ^_^
  • "'We're not going to equip [the PS3 with] a HDD by default, because no matter how much [capacity] we put in it, it won't be enough.'"

    Any computer, stereo, car, house, mp3 player, mail-order bride I buy will never be good enough, so I'm just not going to buy anything.

    And any food I eat for lunch today just won't be enough to fill me tomorrow. So I'm going to stop eating, too.

  • If PS3 adopts Linux, it's an opportunity for linux to get noticed by the games industry. They might realise that there is a market left unexploited.

    They might also realise that if their games use OpenGL [opengl.org] instead of DirectX they can run on any platform, whether it's windows or linux. So there is *no* extra cost in supporting linux.

    If all games were published on linux as well as on windows, and linux was an equavalent gaming platform, gamers would sure go with linux, instead of windows, cause you don't h
  • MythTV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erwos (553607) on Friday June 10, 2005 @12:15PM (#12780625)
    If this is true, and they write some reasonable accelerated X drivers, they've more or less sold me on the PS3. Why?

    One reason: MythTV frontend. It's hard to justify spending $350 on a console. Spending $350-$400 on a console that replaces a $250-$300 mini-ITX box... that's much easier to justify. You gotta figure that MythTV will be ported pretty fast to it, if the video and audio drivers are reasonable. I also rather like the idea of using MythGame to emulate other systems - really makes for an all-in-one entertainment system.

    X-BOX 360 was definitely a competitor for my cash and home media network, but I just can't bring myself to deal with MCE. For all its benefits (easy setup, well-supported), it has niggling annoyances (lack of friendly open formats, multiple tuner issues, proprietary extenders).

    -Erwos
  • Now if we could get an easy install of Myth TV for the PS3, we'd really have something!

    Of course, the question is what to do for video capture/mpeg encoding? I assume that the PS/3 will have a USB2 or fireware port, so perhaps an external piece of hardware might do the trick. If nothing else, I guess it could be used as a frontend video client.

  • by jondt (870495) on Friday June 10, 2005 @12:34PM (#12780863)
    KK: Linux is legacy, but it will be a start.
    Legacy? Riiight. No Linux fanboy here, but I know bullshit when I see it.

    In the case of the Cell, operation systems are applications.
    Wah?

    The kernel will be running on the Cell, and multiple OSes will be running on top of that as applications.
    Bah?

    Of course, the PS3 can run Linux. If Linux can run, so can Lindows.
    Comparing kernels to distros here. Despite the fact that the latter is built upon the former.

    Other PC Operating Systems can run too, such as Windows and Tiger (Max OS X 10.4), if the publishers want [them] to do so.
    But the odds of Microsoft or Apple doing so are zero. So why say it?

    I'm sure the guys clever. But he's not technical in the slightest.
  • by saskboy (600063) on Friday June 10, 2005 @01:08PM (#12781205) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean that the default games for the PS3 will include Tux Racer, and Penguin Hunt?

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