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PlayStation (Games) Software Linux

Emulation Explosion On the PS3 Via Linux 425

Marty writes "The PlayStation 3 has recently seen an explosion of releases of emulators and games for the Yellow Dog Linux distro for PS3; once you have installed Yellow Dog Linux you then have the ability to try out MAME, SNES, Amiga, Dos, Commodore and Atari emulators (that's the tip of the iceberg) and such games as Quake 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Hexen 2 and Alephone. Time to start installing Linux on your PS3?"
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Emulation Explosion On the PS3 Via Linux

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  • pist frost? rly? (Score:1, Informative)

    by poolmeister ( 872753 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @02:32AM (#27118331) Homepage
    Yellow Dog Linux is sooo buggy and is based on the now comparativley ancient Fedora 6, why don't just install Fedora 10 for PPC on the PS3 instead, .
    There plenty of emulators in the Fedora repos and Fedora works fine on the PS3.
  • No (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tatsh ( 893946 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @02:44AM (#27118383)

    1. First of all, there are more options for PS3 then YD including Gentoo, Ubuntu, Fedora, and others.

    2. Access (due to Sony scared of people making good games for PS3 Linux for 'free') to the RSX (graphics card) is very restricted. A few firmware revisions ago it was accessible but of course that gets fixed. And without the latest firmware, you cannot play certain games.

    The PS3 is a flop anyway. If you want to emulate these mentioned systems, you are way better off with a PC, Xbox 1, or Wii.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gerzel ( 240421 ) * <(moc.liamg) (ta) (terrefyllorb)> on Monday March 09, 2009 @02:53AM (#27118411) Journal

    Flop? I don't think that word means what you think it means.

    PS3 has made money. It might not have caught on like the creators hoped it would or like the PS2, but it is slowly getting its market share.

    It isn't a huge success story but I'd hardly call it a flop.

  • by Vu1turEMaN ( 1270774 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @02:57AM (#27118433)

    I cry everytime people don't remember the hardworking folks over at the Freespace SCP when it comes to Linux gaming....
    http://scp.indiegames.us/ [indiegames.us]
    http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php [hard-light.net]
    for more info.

    Over a million posts in their forum debugging an amazing game.

  • Re:pist frost? rly? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:02AM (#27118449)

    Actually, no. YDL is based on CentOS 5 not Fedora 6. Clearly your info on it is quite erroneous and out of date.

  • Re:pist frost? rly? (Score:5, Informative)

    by socsoc ( 1116769 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:12AM (#27118481)
    Fedora? Where do you get that? It's Red Hat/CentOS [wikipedia.org] based.
  • Re:Linux on PS3? (Score:5, Informative)

    by palegray.net ( 1195047 ) <philip.paradis@p ... net minus author> on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:43AM (#27118609) Homepage Journal
    I'm wasting mod points I used earlier in this story just to correct your idiotic point of view (I've seen this before, mostly from kids who have no clue that there's a world beyond gaming).

    Linux on PS3 clusters, used for scientific computing, is a huge success. Sony openly supported Linux from the start on their console with precisely this sort of work in mind.

    Get off the couch and go do something productive.
  • Re:pist frost? rly? (Score:3, Informative)

    by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:07AM (#27118711)

    Just because it's called Yellow Dog Linux v6, does NOT mean it's based on Fedora 6. Rather, it's based on the latest RedHat and CentOS code, and is much more similar to an upcoming version 6 of these products.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Betonschaar ( 178617 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:44AM (#27118821)

    I'd recommend not to. It's dog slow because you can only use 256 MB RAM, you don't have video acceleration, last time I checked I didn't have bluetooth (which means no wireless keyboard and mouse and no sixaxis), and Sony regularly (mostly unintentionally) breaks the system with firmware updates (at least up to the point you need to spend time to get it booting again). Unless you really want to program the Cell CPU Linux on the PS3 is pretty much worthless. Aside from some simple emulators for ancient systems you can forget doing anything useful on it.

    The PS3 programming scene is also about as dead as it can be. I've been lurking on ps2dev for years and it's still the same 5 people and nothing has really been achieved yet...

  • Re:pist frost? rly? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:45AM (#27118825)
    Or you can try Xubuntu for the ppc - they now simultaneously release for the ppc architecture.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by Elementalor ( 551544 ) <baraja@gm a i l . com> on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:55AM (#27118859) Homepage

    No, PS3 has not made any money and it may never make any.

    http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/financial/fr/index.html [sony.net]
    Sony videogames division in the past three years (PS3 era+R&D, including PS2 and PSP):

    2006 ===== 75 (positive)
    2007 = -1,969 (negative)
    2008 = -1,265 (negative)
    2009 ===== 51 (positive)

    Total 2006-09 === -3,108

    (in million US$)
    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111003 [neogaf.com]

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:58AM (#27118875)

    The one thing i love about PS3 haters is that they try to state that each console are sold at a loss.

    but there's no way to actually *prove* that with out Sony actually saying so. Sony hasn't released any loss/gains on the per-unit for a ps3. So at this point it's no better than wildly guessing.

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @05:10AM (#27118925)

    Prove 100%? No.

    But analysts have priced out the cost of components in the PS3. They came to the conclusion that the PS3 costs about $1000 a unit, based on what information Sony has been offering.

    And by "analysts" I don't mean "random nerds on websites" I mean "financial analysts who do this for a living to try and offer valuable information to investors to determine the financial health of companies." It was on Slashdot a while back, I don't feel like dredging it up. A Google search will turn it up.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @06:19AM (#27119227)

    Bzzt.. Wrong...

    YellowDog 6.1 allows access to the GPU memory too...

    It's the only distro that ships with the kernel patches that allow it to do so, but there is nothing stopping any distro picking up the kernel patch.


  • Re:Sweet! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @06:42AM (#27119333)

    not too much

    indeed you are right about bluetooth, but using the video mem is not of much help with the ram shortage


    because its video mem

    you can copy very fast into it, so swapping out to it works well

    -but- reading from it is painfully slow, and all in all using hdd's for swap is more convenient

    i wish we would get some more acceleration than using the cpu dma for pushing data around - that would make ps3 linux quite usable

    but in its current state it is really only for those usable, like me, who wish to train cell programming (which is not that difficult as some like to explain in the media)

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @07:14AM (#27119473)

    > It was on Slashdot a while back

    Yes, it really was a very long while back.

    You obviously haven't noticed the several revisions it has went through since then.
    It is significantly cheaper for them to build it now.

  • Re:Yay. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Giometrix ( 932993 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @07:27AM (#27119535) Homepage

    Much more friendly than the accursed Microsoft though, still no progress (real) towards Linux on there, makes me wish I bought a PS3 :-/

    Microsoft has the XNA API for homebrew games.... and they let you sell games on their network. I'd say that's pretty friendly.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @08:10AM (#27119733)
    You mean like:
    • Raw Power
    • Linux install in the freaking menu (no cracking required)
    • Standard USB cable for controller charging
    • Free online play (no subscription BS)
    • Nearly flawless upnp video/music/image viewer (no need to install xmbc, etc)
    • Power adapter is BUILT IN (standard desktop power cord goes straight in the back)
    • Very low failure rate (unline some other console out there)
    • Can be run 24/7 without heat issues (I do folding@home CONSTANTLY while not playing games on it with no problems)
    • card reader built into the front (5 or 6 in one)
    • Folding at home (sponsored by sony themselves) as a native app

    Remember, some of us actually have REASONS for picking a particular console!

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @08:34AM (#27119859)

    First of all, ANY console in a closed cupboard will overheat, but leave a PS3 and XBOX360 in the middle of the floor, and there will be a CONSIDERABLE heat difference. You would think that moving the power adapter inside would make it warmer, which it probably does, but considering it's still cool to the touch after 4 straight days of gaming+folding@home is pretty remarkable.

    As for failures, it's true, I was mainly comparing it to the 360, but every person I know (save 1) who ever bought a wii played with it for a week (or maybe 2), then put it in the closet till they had a party. Wii fail less partly because the hardware is not as powerful (less heat), but mostly because you don't get as many hours worth of use out of them.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:25AM (#27120267) Journal

    All this fanboy talk can cease. [wikia.com]

    Sony's gaming division lost $1.24 billion in 2008. This means that anyone who lost less than 1.24 billion dollars in 2008 is more profitable than Sony's gaming division. Sony did NOT make money on the PS3 in 2008.

    That said, your other statement is more accurate. Third party developers have finally stepped up and begun releasing games people might actually want to play, and Sony finally lowered the price of the console, leading to an increase in sales of 156%. Their share of the market increased by about 5% in 2008, but it's still a tiny slice of the market.

    By most measures, the PS3 is a flop. It's trailing both it's competitors by double digits in market share, their gaming division is losing money while both competitors are making money hand over fist, and there's very little light on the horizon, since they're selling the most expensive console in the middle of a recession. The only real upside for Sony is everyone who wanted a Wii and 360 has bought one, so the PS3 is next on the list.

  • by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:42AM (#27120447)

    The parent here makes it sound like you should be able to just write a few lines of code and set a compile flag to have your program start using the SPEs on the Cell. That's completely untrue - you'd need to write some very specific, very custom code to use them, as they're basically just very fancy DSPs with regards to C coding.

    As a point of reference, no one's ported x264 to use the Cell for encoding, and that's the sort of application that the Cell is supposed to be very good with. IIRC, part of the issue was that each SPE only has 256kb of cache on it, which is rather marginal for high resolution rendering (you can't fit a whole 1080p frame into the SPE).

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:50AM (#27120529)

    Are you high?

    You can't install anything but the "official" PS3 Linux. Once you have that going you can bootstrap anything you want into it.

    HOWEVER, the only one which isn't broken by the firmware updates is the official port. This is also why bluetooth works for some people but not others, you don't get it by default.

    For all people complain the XBOX is a PC, the PS3 is most certainly not.

  • by Tongsy ( 1188257 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @10:01AM (#27120665)

    1. So, has anyone here tried using something like VLC or Mplayer to play h.264 and Xvid? Is playback smooth? Does it use Xv?

    When I tried it 10 months ago, it wasn't smooth at all. Xvid was good, though.

    Does the hypervisor restrict access to usb? Ie, will other devices such as an external hard drive and a tuner card work?

    No, it doesn't. External USB drives should work fine, as should your tuner card if you have the driver

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:00AM (#27121345) Homepage Journal

    You would think that moving the power adapter inside would make it warmer, which it probably does, but considering it's still cool to the touch after 4 straight days of gaming+folding@home is pretty remarkable.

    No, I would think that it would mean you'd have to have more fans inside the case to keep it cool.

    Wii fail less partly because the hardware is not as powerful (less heat), but mostly because you don't get as many hours worth of use out of them.

    My Wii stays turned on 24/7 because I run WiiConnect so that I can get news and weather immediately after turning on the machine. The power light goes amber, but the system is running in the background. Like your PS3 it has a memory card slot in front; unlike your PS3 it is a SD/SDHC, the only card which is actually useful to have there. (I'm not going to read RAWs off a CF and Memory Sticks are for Sony Fanboys.) Also, the amount of processing power in the system is completely irrelevant. Hardware overheated before the invention of the Wii, yet it was less powerful than it is. The only thing which matters is whether your design is able to carry enough heat out of the system to operate in its temperature range. I have a PDA which is designed to operate at 180 degrees, the machine can get too hot to comfortably hold and still be well within tolerances.

    I understand that it must be hard to type with one hand on the keyboard and the other hand on Sony's cock, but please, stop jerking them off long enough to examine your bullshit arguments. They have no basis in reality whatsoever. If you want to say "The Xbox has poor thermal design compared to the PS3" that's okay, it could even be true.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Betonschaar ( 178617 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:04PM (#27122327)

    Actually I know the guy who's working on spu-medialib, he's unsolo from ps2dev.org. I've actually been exchanging some thoughts with him back when I was playing around trying to do video decoding on the PS3. Anyway, spu-medialib is far from complete and doesn't nearly make up for the lack of GPU acceleration, there hasn't been any major improvements since back when I was playing around with PS3 linux. You can still forget even getting 720p playback on PS3 linux. Don't know about the state Mesa/Gallium/anything else to do 3D on the Cell, but judging from the activity on PS3 dev forums there's nothing interesting for end-users there either.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:11PM (#27122459) Homepage Journal

    I get 1080p HD playback (and all the lower frame/bitrates, too) just fine using unsolo's spu-medialib mplayer -vo driver on my PS3, as I have for about a year now.

    The mesa3d project is highly active, including this month, on their dev email list.

    There seems to be quite a lot of interest in PS3 programming to both developers and to end users - like playing video (directly to an HDMI TV) on a $400 PS3 that would crush a PC costing 2-5x as much, that includes all that other stuff like Blu-Ray, Bluetooth, and lots of games (in GameOS mode).

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by default luser ( 529332 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:50PM (#27123121) Journal

    No. The small EDRAM is not the sole reason games aren't pushing 720p. It's because the graphice hardware in both consoles cannot display 1280x720+ without giving-up framerate or details. Since details sell (why they keep increasing), and framerate is mandatory, designers have been pushing things at the cost of resolution.

    Even many PS3 games don't run at 720p these days, and there's no EDRAM to make that happen.

    I owned a 7900, and I'm well-aware of what it can do. Oblivion brought the card to it's knees (had to settle for 1152x864, medium settings, HDR). They were able to run it at 720p on the 360, despite the 10MB EDRAM limit, and despite the overhead of HDR.

    Today, games look even better than Oblivion, and take more graphics power to render. The only solution is to reduce the resolution, or your framerate will go all to hell.

    And no, Sony didn't intend Cell to supplement shaders - they intended Cell to BE the shader. That's why RSX wasn't added to the PS3 until the last-minute, once they realized that Cell wasn't fast enough to render 3D.

    And yes, you could use Cell to do supplemental effects, but that's a difficult undertaking: you have to properly synchronize the Cell thread so that the GPU isn't waiting on it, and you have to make sure that your shader isn't cannibalizing too much memory bandwidth (rendering is bandwidth-intensive, usually heavily-offset by the complex cache architecture of the GPU, something an SPE can't do).

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Phasma Felis ( 582975 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @01:49PM (#27123899)

    Quake 2 ran on a Pentium/90 with 16MB.

    Sure you're not talking about Quake 1 here (at least for software mode)?

    I didn't say it ran well. ;) You'd want a fair bit more to get best performance out of it, but 90mHz/16MB is the official minimum spec. Either way, the PS3 should have no trouble handling it.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Betonschaar ( 178617 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:49PM (#27125703)

    You sound a lot like that unsolo dude himself you know? Like a Sony/IBM advertisement.

    Anyway, I'm not calling you a liar, maybe you do have some video's that somewhat work in 1080p, maybe you don't, I don't know but I highly doubt that you actually have a setup that reliably plays random 1080p videos. The reason is that no-one I know of can confirm an OSS player exists that can do that, and there's loads of people confirming even 720p MPEG with mplayer -vo ps3 is choppy and h264 is a slideshow. In other words just like it was a year ago. I can't find any videos on Youtube that seem very suspect to be fake either, and there's no-one on the dev forums saying he got 1080p h264 working either. But all the better if you can prove me wrong...

    If I'd be able to write a codec on the SPE's: I don't know. I gave up when all hope for GPU acceleration on linux was lost. Just like most other people hacking away at the PS3. There's hardly a scene left for PS3 linux, mostly straightforward porting of simple emulators, and besides that some research stuff like Gallium3D.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson