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Operating Systems PlayStation (Games) Games Linux

Hackers Get Linux Running On a PlayStation 4 (engadget.com) 108

An anonymous reader writes: Two years after the PlayStation 4 was released, and two weeks after it was jailbroken, a group of hackers has now successfully installed Linux on it. "...it appears that the fail0verflow team utilized a WebKit bug similar to the one recently documented by GitHub user CTurt and then took things up a notch. CTurt's workaround focuses on the PlayStation 4's Webkit browser, which is tricked into freeing processes from the core of the console's operating system by an improvised webpage. The PS4 is powered by Sony's Orbis OS, which is based on a Unix-like software called FreeBSD. With a route into the console's system, fail0verflow then identified weaknesses in the PlayStation 4's GPU. It specifically called out engineers from semiconductor company Marvell, accusing them of 'smoking some real good stuff' when they designed the PlayStation 4's southbridge chip."
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Hackers Get Linux Running On a PlayStation 4

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @12:37PM (#51221687)

      "is based on a Unix-like software called FreeBSD"....HA!.

    • One software, two softwares, right? One hardware, two hardwares. One information, two informations. One firmware, two firmwares. Right? And when you correct someone ("it is one PIECE of software, or one PIECE of firmware"), the response is "English is a changing language" NO. Pardon me whilst I go eat some toasts.
      • by subk ( 551165 )
        ""is based on a Unix-like software called FreeBSD"....HA!."

        One software, two softwares, right? One hardware, two hardwares. One information, two informations. One firmware, two firmwares. Right? And when you correct someone ("it is one PIECE of software, or one PIECE of firmware"), the response is "English is a changing language" NO. Pardon me whilst I go eat some toasts.

        The OP was not making a grammatical objection.. He was clearly objecting to the fact that they called FreeBSD "Unix-like" when it *IS* Unix.

    • by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:37PM (#51221921) Homepage

      It's a UNIX system, I know this!

      • Unless and until it gets the Open Group UNIX certification, it ain't: it's what the summary described - a UNIX like operating system. Right now, the only OSs that are OS X and Solaris. I'm not sure whether AIX is still there on IBM's Power computers. Oh, I forgot HP/UX on the Itanic.
        • BSD Unix predates the existence of Open Group UNIX certification by 18+ years. Your contention is that Unix didn't exist before 1995?

          Here, have a chart from them [unix.org] showing that BSD is Unix, predating their "single specification".

          Owning a trademark to say what is certified as a particular specification doesn't override the history of the code in software.

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        Of course, on the flip side of this, we routinely get announcements on Slashdot about the latest drama in the WidgetM@ster9500 community, with absolutely no context, explanation of what that means, where it runs (Does it run? Do you code in it? Do you store things in it? Do you spread it on toast?), or why we should care.

        So actually, I'll give the OP a pass on this one, at least they tried... :)
    • News for parents
    • I'd say that line was sourced directly from Wikipedia.
      From the FreeBSD entry.

      "FreeBSD is a free Unix-like operating system "

  • "based on a Unix-like software called FreeBSD"

    Wow, the lack of comprehension here is amazing.

    So they managed to install Linux on a machine already running an OS based on an open source Unix which already comes with a full Linux kernel/software compatibility layer? That's such an amazing accomplishment...

    What will they do next, get some ports running [freebsd.org] on it and make it do useful work? Figure out how to get a unix shell on an OS X machine?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think the point is that they were able to do it in relatively short order once it was Jailbroken. Getting an existing OS to run on proprietary hardware which you don't have drivers available for isn't a cakewalk.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 )

        The accomplishment is the jailbreak.

        Getting Linux to run on something already running FreeBSD is like saying you managed to replace Redhat with Centos on a machine... wow, what a tough task...

        I'll go back to configuring Postfix on my new "Unix-like" FreeBSD server so I can ship it out to the data center on Monday...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It would be unusable without GNU utilities

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      How does this represent a lack of comprehension? Linux is System V style and FreeBSD is, well, BSD style. When we use the term Unix, or *nix we are simply being all encompassing because it's easier than having to continuously draw the distinction. You used the term yourself. I gather from your post you are also thinking "why bother?". Why not?
      • Re:Linux vs Unix? (Score:4, Informative)

        by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper&booksunderreview,com> on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:55PM (#51222045) Homepage Journal

        Linux is "Unix-like". It was made to be similar to Unix in behavior, but be based on different underlying code.

        FreeBSD is literally Unix (descended from the "Berkely Software Distribution" of Unix). It's not the only version of Unix, but it's more Unix in origin than say, Ubuntu or Redhat are Linux in origin, as they also inherit significant parts of their origins from GNU utilities. No one with any comprehension of their history would call them "Linux-like", though.

        As I've said elsewhere, the jailbreak is the accomplishment.

    • Precisely!!! If they wanted to run Linux on it, they could have just gotten to the Linux jails in the OS - assuming that it wasn't removed while making the Orbis OS.
    • Re:Linux vs Unix? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MtHuurne ( 602934 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:10PM (#51222153) Homepage

      FreeBSD comes with compatibility for running Linux executables, but it doesn't let you run the Linux kernel unless you run it in a VM, which doesn't seem to be the case here judging from the boot logging. Getting the Linux kernel to run on the bare hardware means adding drivers to run on the PS4 hardware, which is PC-like but not exactly a PC, and I doubt Sony published their FreeBSD hardware drivers. Doing that in just 2 weeks time is pretty impressive in my opinion.

  • A software? Did anybody write a software recently? I wrote three softwares last week.

    P.S. there appears to be a problem with logging on. I get a message "wrong image text", which is hardly surprising because there's no image.

    • A software? Did anybody write a software recently? I wrote three softwares last week.

      That's nothing- I had two whole marijuanas once and ended up accidentally coding an accounts receivable app with a metrics dashboard.

      • A software you must write. Hmmmmm.
      • Careful, man. Couple years ago I woke up naked in jail and they told me I had written a new init system. Apparently I was ranting about how it would overthrow the established order and then they shot me up with thorazine.
        • Careful, man. Couple years ago I woke up naked in jail and they told me I had written a new init system. Apparently I was ranting about how it would overthrow the established order and then they shot me up with thorazine.

          Damn, I hate it when that happens. (I mean the new init system, not the thorazine. Thorazine gets me all dreamy and placid and makes listening to the candidate debates much more bearable.)

  • Okay (Score:4, Funny)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @12:55PM (#51221743)

    Okay, I gotta say that's pretty impressive. Not that Linux will run a PlayStation 4, but that they could do what it takes to get it installed and running.

    In a similar vein, I was on the Microsoft campus the other day. One of the instant bean-to-cup coffee machines wouldn't work, it was basically frozen solid with a non-responsive touchscreen. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. (I'm not kidding, that's what MS support would have suggested, right?)

    Lo and behold, when it booted up I saw it was running Slax [slax.org], a Linux variant often found in embedded systems.

    I laughed- if only the MS employees knew that this subversive OS was the one making them their morning coffee (the lifeblood of every corporation) they'd probably be up in arms about it. lol

    • by shess ( 31691 )

      I laughed- if only the MS employees knew that this subversive OS was the one making them their morning coffee (the lifeblood of every corporation) they'd probably be up in arms about it. lol

      Seriously? They are probably busy working on important things rather than worrying about whether every random doorknob and lightbulb in the world runs their OS.

      Well, at least since Ballmer moved on. He'd have probably decreed no cream because the salesperson sent by the dairy used a Mac.

      • Seriously?

        No, not seriously. You missed the all-important "lol" at the end of my message. It was a joke, something you should try finding out about some time.

        They are probably busy working on important things rather than worrying about whether every random doorknob and lightbulb in the world runs their OS.

        Actually quite a bit of what goes on at MS is little more than inter-office dick-waving and writing reports about what they should be doing rather than actually doing it. Ask me how I know.

    • by rthille ( 8526 )

      Just yesterday I tried to buy a soda at the mall, but there was a windows dialog on the screen and it was totally non-responsive. It wasn't worth an encounter with the mall-cops to try to unplug/replug it.

      • Just yesterday I tried to buy a soda at the mall, but there was a windows dialog on the screen and it was totally non-responsive. It wasn't worth an encounter with the mall-cops to try to unplug/replug it.

        Never ask for permission, just ask for forgiveness. :)

        Or tell them, "Oh, well, the plug looked like it was just about to fall out, so I pushed it back in..." Let them prove that's not the case. :)

        • by rthille ( 8526 )

          Pretty sure replugging would have involved shoving the machine a few inches to be able to get to the plug...

  • based on a Unix-like software called FreeBSD

    Ok, the above is pretty funny, but this is New Year, so I'm allowing for the editor (and the submitter) being wasted... Or, maybe, Siri was wasted and misunderstood them.

    But, seriously, replacing FreeBSD with Linux is sort of like making a millionaire out of a billionaire...

  • ... Sony gets FreeBSD running on a PlayStation 4 - as the default OS. (Netcraft speechless as it thought BSD was dead.)

  • Now Playstations run on Linux. BSD isn't going to be around much longer...

  • So Sony has created a computer that is next to impossible to jailbreak. (Keep in mind you have to have the old firmware for their exploit to work.) And yet they claim all their systems were hacked. Right...

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      You are aware that the Sony Pictures corporate IT department was not responsible for developing FreeBSD, right? Apparently not...

You had mail. Paul read it, so ask him what it said.

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