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Sony Games Linux

Game Over For Sony and Open Source? 364

Glyn Moody writes "Sony has never been much of a friend to hackers, and its infamous rootkit showed what it thought of users. But by omitting the option to install GNU/Linux on its new PS3, it has removed the final reason for the open source world to care about Sony. Unless, of course, you find Google's new distribution alliance with Sony to pre-install Chrome on its PCs exciting in some way."
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Game Over For Sony and Open Source?

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  • Re:Who Cares (Score:4, Informative)

    by zindorsky ( 710179 ) <> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @01:37PM (#29288205)

    Buy a damned computer, or one of the mobiles you can install Linux on.

    Maybe you should RTFA before posting ...

    Of course there are a million machines you can install Linux on, but the PS3 was particularly nice because of its Cell architecture. That allowed for some super-computer like performance for a low, low price. Lots of research institutions used PS3 clusters for low cost supercomputing. Now that future is jeopardized.

  • duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @01:43PM (#29288305)

    The problem is that PS3's are cheaper sources of Cell processors than anything IBM is selling. If you want to set up (at a university say) a research cluster of 4 or 8 Cell based computers for astrophysics, datamining, or the like, it was cheaper to buy PS3's than even consider the IBM bought Cell based servers. But then you weren't buying games, and Sony wasn't getting financial credit for subsidizing academic research (if they donated the equipment it would be a tax write off likely but if you buy it they get nothing, and since they're selling at a loss they only want you to buy if you'll buy games too).

    Also, as amusingly geeky as this was, how many of their gaming customers actually bothered? This was never an actual selling feature of the system, they were trying to circumvent EU import tariffs on game consoles that aren't on computers. The EU didn't buy it with the PS2, I doubt they bought it with the PS3.

  • Re:duh (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @01:52PM (#29288445)

    If you're looking for fast vector processors, just use a GPU. Same restrictions on main memory access, but shader units have access to even more memory than the Cell's itty bitty 256K per-SPE. Cell is an expensive dud.

  • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @02:14PM (#29288787) Homepage Journal

    Creator's Club is simply nothing like the OtherOS support Sony had. One is for developing XNA framework games and selling them on Xbox Live, the other is for turning your PS3 into a slightly gimped Linux box (gimped as in no direct access to GPU). They're targeted at completely different people and don't even serve remotely the same purpose.

  • by Schnoogs ( 1087081 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @02:23PM (#29288915)
    ...who gives a shit. People buy the PS3 for two play games and to watch BluRay. I'm sure Sony's stock will plummet once the market finds out that 45 people no longer have a reason to buy a PS3.
  • by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @02:49PM (#29289289) Homepage

    I think you might be misinformed. I installed 3.0 yesterday, and the option is still there.

  • So why CENSORSHIP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by faragon ( 789704 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @03:06PM (#29289595) Homepage
    The censored message (noticed by pjmlp []) was a reply from Sarah to a question I made (Why no Linux in PS3 Slim? []). The answer -verbatim- it was recovered because of mail lists and by backups: at Slashdot (1 []), and also in a "repost" in the same PS2-Linux Sony's forum (2 [], 3 []).

    Censored thread, recovered from mail list backup: []

    Message: 51037
    BY: aragon
    DATE: 2009-Aug-21 06:26
    SUBJECT: Why no Linux in PS3 Slim?


    I've found very disgusting the fact of removing the Other OS option in the PS3 Slim model, and the worst: without explanation. In previous cuts, as it was with the PS2 compatibility it was explained that was in order to cut price, removing PS2 CPU chip first, and PS2 graphic and memory subsistem second, which I found acceptable as explanation.

    Why? Is being used unencrypted RAM access or similar? Or is just a plain rip-off?

    I know that there are many kind people at Sony Computer Entertainment, so please, if possible, give at least a short explanation of why it has been discontinued the Other OS option in the new PS3s.

    Thank you in advance,


    P.S. PS2 Linux user since 2002, and since 2007 for the PS3.
    P.S.2. I still can not believe it, what a disgrace.

    Removed answer and further replies:

    Read and respond to this message at: []
    By: sarahe

    Hi aragon,

    I'm sorry that you are frustrated by the lack of comment specifically regarding the withdrawal of support for OtherOS on the new PS3 slim.

    The reasons are simple: The PS3 Slim is a major cost reduction involving many changes to hardware components in the PS3 design. In order to offer the OtherOS install, SCE would need to continue to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers for any significant hardware changes - this costs SCE. One of our key objectives with the new model is to pass on cost savings to the consumer with a lower retail price. Unfortunately in this case the cost of OtherOS install did not fit with the wider objective to offer a lower cost PS3.

    We'll see if we can get the offical OtherOS page updated with something to this effect so that an official explanation is provided. Thank you for your comments.


    - - - - - - - -

    Read and respond to this message at: [] By: aragon

    Thank you very much for the answer, Sarah.

    Anyway, if its just a software related point, I hope that it may be addressed in the future, if users request is enough important for making worth the driver update effort.

    Best regards,


    - - - - - - - -

    Read and respond to this message at: []
    By: f5inet

    Thanks for the extra-official explain, sarahe.

    could will be possible for SCE to develop and sell a 'PS3-Slim OtherOS license'?. since there is a few wannabe/homebrew projects running in PS3 hardware (the cheapest IBM-cell developer machine), and these projects are dumped to dust with this major revision of PS3-architectur

  • Re:Who Cares (Score:3, Informative)

    by jpmorgan ( 517966 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @03:21PM (#29289829) Homepage
    Oh, and I should add that in Linux you have no access to the GPU. So you only have the Cell's 250GFlops of programmable performance, unless you're a game developer.
  • Re:Stupid Article. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jpmorgan ( 517966 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @03:24PM (#29289857) Homepage
    <quote>Should I stop caring about Burger King because I can't run Linux on a Whopper?</quote>

    Of course you can't. That's what NetBSD is for!
  • Re:Who Cares (Score:4, Informative)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @03:29PM (#29289935)

    Ooh, bad idea mentioned Orange Box.

    EA ported Orange Box to PS3 and Valve refuses to support it.

    That's not such a big deal for most of the games in it (excepting performance problems), but Team Fortress 2 has had continuing updates on the PC platform (and the Xbox 360 version has even had a few bugfix patches).

  • by CronoCloud ( 590650 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <noruaduolconorc>> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @03:43PM (#29290141)

    I have a CECHE01 PS3 with a Linux install on it, I updated to 3.00 without worrying about losing my ability to boot or install a newer Linux distro. The options are still there and they work, just like I still have the ability to virtual PS2 memory cards and play PS2 games even though PS3's newer than my model can't do that.

  • Re:Who Cares (Score:3, Informative)

    by CronoCloud ( 590650 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <noruaduolconorc>> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:03PM (#29290445)

    Yes, LInux on the PS3 runs under a hypervisor, but your information is quite incorrect. You have full access to the dual threaded PPC core (with Altivec) and it runs at the full 3.2 GHz speed. You also have full access to 6 SPE's. What you don't have is full access to the RSX, only framebuffer, but that's okay if you only want to do serious number crunching as a researcher. They use off the shelf PS3 hardware.

  • Drupal (Score:4, Informative)

    by michaelcole ( 704646 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:15PM (#29290615)
    This headline is dramatic and uninformed. Linux isn't the only open source project out there.

    Sony has made huge contributions to the Drupal CMS (Website Content Management System).

    They have hired a full-time programmer who is 100% dedicated to open source (CCK/Views modules).
    They have sponsored major improvements to Drupal - []

    Ease up on the rhetoric, before you sour other open-source projects.

    Maybe you want to couple your perceived right to hack the PS3 with open source? That's dangerous. Make an open-sourced PS3 and no problem. Mike
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:22AM (#29308663)

    Thanks for the answer, my personal guess why Sonys offerings did not spark anything simply is that Sony simply crippled the machine left and right. The Linux on the PS3 was so crippled that no one really used it outside of academic circles and those even were not really overwhelmed.
    As for the PS2 it was a rather similar situation too little too late. I know at least one academic institution who have built a ps2 mini cluster which then was collecting dust after the thesis was done. No one was interested, with faster easier to program for resources around.
    The same is now given to the PS3, the Linux was so crippled by the underlying VM that you hardly could use the machine for normal work and the scientific computing cheaper alternatives with GPUs were available within a year.
    In the end both offerings on the side of sony were just there to get EU import taxes down, which are lower for computer than for gaming machines. And in the end I doubt that Sony really had any interest into offering real Cell workstations, that would have made IBM angry.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev