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Games Entertainment

Linux to be Development Environment for PS2 113

Leon writes "Sony will use Linux and SGI as the development environment for the PlayStation 2. Apparently, they are staying away from Microsoft Windows altogether. This may be the push Linux needs to once and for all solidify itself as the OS of the future. "
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Linux to be Development Environment for PS2

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  • by CLorox ( 7 )
    Wonder if this means we see some playstation emus for linux by sony :)
  • A TCP/IP stack might actually be useful in a games console, coupled with a network interface, or a modem. Internet multiplayer games on a games console. Of course you could skip it for games that don't need it, but it would be good to have it available.
  • Why not use a distribution, or downloading precompiled apps? It's not as if Windows apps don't need to be compiled, you just can't get source. And if you believe you're 100 times as efficient in BeOS as in Linux (assuming the apps you use are available for Linux), you are just plain stupid.
    And I doubt BeOS is the OS of the future, seeing as not even Be are trying to position it in that way. For myself, if the OS is not free, I'm not particularly interested.
  • " set up."

    Hmm..that's funny. I just got a new box, installed RH 5.2 and had everything (built RIVA TNT X server, WM, etc., built cust. kernel) up and running in less than 24 hours, and this only during free time between projects. By this time tomorrow, I should have egcs 1.1.x, glibc 2.x, kernel 2.2.3, etc. built and installed. Granted, I've got a little (a year) experience with Linux, but it's not that difficult if you do your homework.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir, but geez, this guy's clueless. More difficult to set up? Naw, he just knows the Windows install proggie real well because he has to re-install Windows about once a month.

  • Which will be an interesting court case to watch ...
  • Read this report about what The TRON Project [] is in Japan, and do some more searching around for information about the TRON project in the Japanese consumer electronics industry, and then have a good deep thought about what Linux is...

    And it will all start to make more sense. No, it's not some 80's movie rip-off ... though one has to wonder how TRON the Movie came about in parallel with the initial idea's about TRON the Project, and if there was any connection ever made.

    Sakamura started something big in the Japanese consumer electronics industry during the 80's, that not a lot of Western technologists are really aware of... anyone that's worked on any Japanese consumer electronics RT/Embedded systems will at least have had *some* exposure to the Tron project, since a lot of Japanese electronics companies share development resources as part of the Tron initiative.

    I've done a fair bit of work for Japanese companies in the embedded systems area, and recently had the odd deja-vu like experience of having access to the source code for two completely disrelated embedded systems projects, and witnessed the *same code* in each... even though these companies have *nothing* to do with each other, market-wise.

    So it makes sense to me that one of the biggest Japanese consumer electronics companies is picking up on the shared developer resources concept that Linux and the OSS movement represent.

    This could and should be a wakeup call for American (and other) industries that might still be competing against the Japanese consumer electronics giants...

  • I think that was a reference too all general Operating systems. Sony is saying that they will use some custom loader with a few extensions rather than a full blown OS in the PSX-II, which is exactly how consoles are built today. Linux will be used for DEVELOPMENT, but not for execution. Besides, why would you need PCI/IDE/SCSI/Serial Port/telnet/csh/etc... support in a Playstation anyway?
  • Sony endorsing Linux as the development platform is hardly going to cause Linux to go mainstream.


  • Posted by tid242:

    now here's a very interesting thought, sony uses linux as the OS for their new game system which would mean that they would have to make their modified source available for all us geek-types to see, and being that the linux community seems to have plenty of time on its hands i'm sure in a matter of days there will be an emulation proggie to run ps2 games on the comp. not that this isn't already being done for regular PS games, but it would probably be much, much faster on a more native system. anyway i wonder how much m$ would want for sony's rights to use winblows for their game system anyway...

    anyway i just find the idea of an open source OS on a system, which by industry standards, tends to be the most closed-type of software around rather interesting.


  • Posted by DonR:

    I've heard many rumours that BeOS will be imbedded in the PSX2 as its Operating system.
    Donald Roeber
  • Posted by DonR:

    Perhaps because the development tools are up to snuff yet? Besides many Linux applications are easily ported to Be. Only time will tell.

    Donald Roeber
  • This is great news.

    And it was last time I saw it on slashdot a few weeks ago.

  • I thought that was an odd comment as well. I mean, it ain't that hard to set up a Linux box for someone who is supposedly computer literate. And I assume he meant Linux as the ferrari and win as the scooter - but why the fsck would he want to drive a scooter? Hmmmmm...maybe I'll just stick to N64.
  • A great combo, IMO
  • This is not great news. Sony and Sega were already using gcc. THAT is the driving factor here and always has been. Linux is just another platform that gcc runs well on, is well supported on and supports cheap hardware.

    The 'easy port' aspect has always been a factor in the success of Unix.
  • bzzz.
    they only have to distribute source if they release the binary to the public. This looks internal only.

    no source.

  • ...that they compete with everybody!

    Every time that M$ decides to get into another business - travel, games platforms, telecoms - they buy or partner with (and the difference is?) someone else in that area.

    And so all the competitors can no longer use M$ products for their work, and so they're forced to go straight to M$'s competitors.

    And so M$ gets just the one company in that field working with them, and everyone else goes running to Sun, Linux, Java, IBM or whoever.

    M$ is basically forcing the world to buy into competing products. You have to love the stupid bastards ;O)

  • what shall i do?
    -buy an palm XXX?
    -buy an empeg?
    -wait for PS-II to spend my money on?
    -rob some old ladies?
    hell, life *is* complicated as linux-addiccted...
  • Yeah. And that programmer probably prefers to drive the rusty Rambler that VisualBasic is... :o)


  • The differance between MS buying you out and MS parnering with you is:

    They get you outright and you get some $$$

    They get you to do all the work.. then they run you out of buisness with a copy cat MS application.

  • Anyone familiar with game development should remember that while the development of a game for a console takes place in an IDE on a desktop system, that system does not run the actual code. For a "smallish" sum of money you can get a stripped down version of the developers kit for the current playstation called the Yaroze. You write the code for the PS under codewarrior for windows and then dl that binary to the console to execute. I would certainly not plan to see any kind of emulation under linux, escpecially since the hardware is so specific and speciallized.
  • I would certainly recomend the purchase of a palm device. They are by far the most elegant solution in the current offerings of PDA's. I would recomend the Palm IIIx, which is just like the Palm III except with 4Meg of RAM/ROM.
  • This guy is a moron. I wonder where they find these people.

    When we installed RH5.0 on my buddie's new VAIO laptop, I got it up with Networking and X faster than windows.

    Linux Setup:
    XF86Setup.. click on monitor, click on card, startx
    Pop in the pcmcia ethernet, ifconfig, route, netscape

    Windows Setup:
    Reboot, load display driver, reboot
    pop in pcmcia card, reboot, setup networking, reboot

    Talk about a pain in the ass to set up. We counted 5 reboots in the whole 98 install. Retarded.
  • Damn. Thought this was going to be a news-bit about Linux on Microchannel systems. Fat chance of new developments, I know, but one can dream..
  • The old link to glycerine didn't mention a move to dgmicro.
  • A few thousand development machines - SGI PC's running Linux - is definitely a big push towards "mainstream".
  • >I was at a Playstation (original) developer's conference in Los Angeles, '97,

    that was a long time ago.

  • What happens with GPL-covered binaries in a black box like a playstation? Would they have to release source?
  • "According to The Japanese site Gamespot it has been reported that the PlayStation 2 will use the operating environment of Linux for development!"

    Oh so when a Japanese magazine reports it, it is nothing more than a rumor. But oh, when it is on an American site, it is fact? Is that what you are trying to state?

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • "... that makes it hearsay, or rumor."

    Uhm. So I guess the news does little for you? In fact everything on slashdot is in fact being "reported". Your attempt at redfining the word reporting is invalid as is your argument.

    This is obviously apparent even to you since instead of just stating your newly formed meaning of the term reporting you begin your post with an attack.

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • How wonderful! My favorite gaming platform, my favorite OS, and my favorite hardware vendor, are all coming together! Now, if we could throw some Montgomery Inn ribs and Budweiser in there...
  • Yes. The development environment for the playstation is available for Wintel PCs.
  • Sorry, Jeremiah. As you've obvioulsy discovered he meant PS[X]2. However, in rewriting the headline from a previous article, he backspaced over the "X" and didn't notice. ;)

  • Woah! That just brought something to my attention... look at that date.Two digit date field? Do I smell a lame ass programmer somewhere in the lineup? I assume (hope!) there won't be a Y2K problem, but any programmer I've talked to worth $1/hour has used a 4 digit date field for at least the last 3 years. Phew, that was fun.
  • miss his point. the article mentioned the rumor that Sony may use a modified version of the Linux kernel to run the PlayStation in a future rev. If they did that, then they would have to make all of their changes public. He was not talking about their game code.

  • The *point* of the GPL (which the kernel is under) is that modifications *have* to be available source-form for no more than a copying fee for the media.

    So if Sony embeds Linux in the PSX2, they *have* to make it available. And it won't take long for the community to find out what it's running inside once it ships.

    -- Cerebus
  • >This may be the push Linux needs to once and
    >for all solidify itself as the OS of the future.

    Uhm... Isn't this attaching an awful lot of importance to what is a relatively minor event, in the overall scheme of things? The news that IBM, HP, etc. are planning to support Linux is much more significant, imho.

    By contrast, corps aren't likely to view Sony's choice of Linux as a development platform as a major reason to switch from NT...

  • > uses linux as the OS for their new game
    > system which would mean that they would have to
    > make their modified source available for all us
    > geek-types to see

    Who says?

    That's like saying that because Oracle are porting 8i to Linux, they have to make the source for 8i available to all of us...

    What's to stop Sony from grabbing the Linux source code, putting together their own distribution with precompiled kernel, binaries, etc., sticking it on a CD and sending it to their developers?

  • Sony is a big company and they realise what they are getting into.

    From the Next Generation article, it appears that Linux's involvement at this point is for a development platform. Whether or not it is used as the OS for the PSX is another matter completely.

    At most, if Sony does make use of Linux and adheres to the GPL, they would only need to release the source code for the subsystems that they modified. If they make use of the Linux OS and use it as a development platform and not modify anything, but code up the development tools, then they will not have to release anything. Period.

    Using an OS for development and actually using the OS itself as the foundation for a console is very different. In this case, what's being reported is what the Next Generation reporters are getting from insiders and from questioning Sony staff. Nothing is set in stone yet and until it is, getting excited and pounding your table demanding source being released is no help.

    If/when it is announced that Sony has chosen to use Linux in an official capacity, then sure, break out the champagne and celebrate and start demanding source for what they used. Just be prepared for a nasty shock since what they release could well be worthless in terms of letting people code on the PSX2 without the special hardware level libraries.

    And if in their good heart they decide to release the source, even better. Break out the banquet tables and feasts.

    On a related note, Sony supporting Linux for their game console, if it happens, is a BIG step. Perhaps even bigger than IBM. Entertainment drives the Internet and has driven it to become as big as it has been. Games make money and the entertainment industry makes money. Linux being used by Sony is a big step.

    Whether or not it will be a positive step which will help promote freedom of source and information is still something left to be seen.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • One cool thing is, that this would lead high-quality 3D-modelling applications into the Linux World. And I think we can expect some PSX hackers to improve GIMP's texture editing and image-creation abilities...
  • I agree. All OSes are inefficient for consoles. The OS on a console should do exactly what is needed and NOTHING else. You don't need multitasking (probally only threading), or swap space, or a TCP/IP stack, or any notion of users or groups or security, etc. I'd imagine the OS on a console really is nothing more than a bootloader to initialize the hardware. Since you have the exact same hardware on every system it would be a lot faster for the games to access it directly rather than through a device driver. Esentially to it seems it would basically be a lot like DOS. DOS made a great game OS because the games could essentially impliment their own OSes. I'd imagine that most of the general purpose functions for doing things like accessing hardware would be implimented in libraries on the compiler side than in syscalls on the console side.
  • I agree that they would be usefull, but IMHO they should be implimented in libraries on the compiler side. So the developers can use the functions which would talk to the hardware directly. I'm sure whatever sony does will be the best cource of action, I know they know a lot more about console design than i'll ever know.
  • I saw the headline for this article and thought it would be about my beloved PS/2. <sigh> You let me down. I'll have to head on over to the the Microchannel pornography website [] and solace myself with the pictures of beautiful adapter/As. Ahh.... I need to scan in my ActionMedia II Display Adapter/A (with capture option daughtercard) and send it over to Peter.

    Joshua (a member of the MCA mafia)

  • Hey! That PS/2 50Z has a VGA. I should know, because I used a PS/2 Model 25 for many years, and it definitely does have MCGA. Having just 64KB of video memory is no fun, not to mention having no ability to use EGA software. However, programming in 256-color mode back in 1989 impressed everyone when they were still hacking their digital monitors...

    Joshua. (Did you visit the Microchannel pornography website yet?)

  • if the reason Sony choose linux as a dev environment was because they had to much trouble with their engineers playing computer games, and since they realized there are so few for linux, they wouldn't have quite as large a problem. Of course, with more games coming, and wine, that may not solve anything.
  • There is a third-party market for console development tools. So no matter WHAT Sony includes as the "default" compilers with a devopment kit, other software makers will make PSX2 tools that can be hosted on a variety of platforms.

    And Windows will be one of them.
  • The article says that when Phil Harrison (a Sony VP) was asked if Linux would be used as the OS he responded by saying, "We do not intend to use an inefficient multipurpose operating system."

    It would seem that Sony has pretty much already said they aren't going to be using Linux as the OS.

    I can see, though, how you might have missed that since it's way down in the third paragraph of the article. Easy to overlook.
  • "It's a pain in the ass to set up your own Linux box. No one really wants to do that, but you can. It's like your choice of transportation is you drive a ferrari or a scooter."

    I would think Linux on a Visual Workstation is at least a corvette.

  • Was there ever a Windows developmen package for the PlayStation?

    It seems that support for UNIX, given the high end graphics available for it (in past, PCs have mostly caught up), makes sense. The UNIX workstations are still very nice for the task with some nifty hardware, like body tracking equipment, that isn't supported on PCs. So, Sony problably was going to support a UNIX anyway.

    Maybe they thought a cheaper development platform to bring down development costs would stimulate game development. Seems like an odd argument -- its still pretty costly to make a game. A Linux port would be far easer than a Windows port if UNIX was already supported.

    This makes sense to me, because then supporting Linux is logical economically. Sony wouldn't support Linux because its cool. Money has to be involved here somewhere . . .
  • No, they disribute it to their developers. Sony doesn't make all the games in-house. Just because it's not a consumer producte doesn't mean it's not distributed.
  • None of the things you list are all that expensive, except robbing old ladies, which can take years away from your life once you are caught.
  • What can a playstaion2 do that my PS/2 50Z (12Mhz 286, MCGA, MCA) can't?
  • Of course I would much rather drive the ferrari. That's why I use Linux!

    If that's a typical representation of the PS2 developers, I'm certainly not interested in their product. Geez, setting up a linux box is too hard? For developers? Give me a break!
  • by Kosingi ( 19249 )
    This is just the thing Linux needs. Publicity with a big name like sony, who could ask for more?
  • Quote from the article:
    "We do not intend to use an inefficient multi-purpose operating system."

    referring to Windows? :) confirmed by their decision to actually use Linux?
  • GPL is GPL is GPL. If they were based on GPL code, then of course it has to be available.
    That is not what is happening here, i'm not implying anything about sony.
  • What is significant (at least in the opinion of the author of the article) is not that Sony is picking up Linux, but that it is ditching MS. IBM, HP, et al haven't come close to that yet. At least not in public. (Technically, this is from an internal meeting, so its not public either. Yet.)

    Also, think about the next generation of bleeding-edge PS games, and poeple going "They did THIS with Linux? Cool!"

  • The previous Slashdot post [] reported on a rumor... this new story confirms it and has much more info. It was written yesterday.

    So please stop your whining and follow these simple rules for posting (in this order):

    1. Follow the URL
    2. Read the story
    3. Think
    4. Post

  • Sigh, why are there so many bitter geeks in the world? You give the rest of us a bad name. As your quote points out, according to the Japanese site, "it has been reported that the Playstation 2 will use ...Linux for development."

    In other words, they heard it second hand. That makes it hearsay, or rumor. This new story reports that the rumor has been confirmed by Sony itself. That's different. That's news.

    If Microsoft releases Office for Linux this summer should Slashdot ignore it because of today's post on the ZDNet article?

  • Well this has gotten totally off topic... but let me respond.

    I guess I didn't make myself clear. The difference comes in having a source. "Sources say" or even sources say that "Sony says" count as rumors. They may be credible rumors if coming for someone known to have credible sources, but they are still rumors.

    But Slashdot making available a link that takes readers to a story where the publication reports that "Sony confirms" or "Sony says" something. Well, that is news.

    True, the latter is hearsay too and true there are no black and white divisions between words. If we start arguing about when rumors become news we'll probably never get anywhere. Life isn't black & white (or even greyscale).

    But the point is that there was a story without confirmation from Sony before. There is confirmation from Sony now. Furthermore, the other story had a snippet of text. This has many more details. If you're not interested in this new info, fine. But I get frustrated seeing people rant and rave because they think everyone else shares their interests. Ignore stories that don't interest you. Whining just wastes bandwidth for the rest of us (like we're wasting bandwidth now).

    And I'm sorry if my frustration turned into an attack on you.
  • You can bet that one of the factors will be cross-compiling. The psx2's processor is completely new. I for one am interested in paying for one of the development platforms and using the power of this new processor to run some robots. Perhaps even a bunch of psx2's networked together using the fire-wire interface. A supercomputer made out of playstations is not as far fetched as you might think. I am going to try my best. :)
  • in Microsoft's coffin.

    As long as W2000/NT5 are broken, buggy, moving targets with an indefinite release date, nobody in their right mind would introduct a new, high-performance application that needs to work *now* for the platform.

    Nice to see companies finally waking up. After years of "We can't trust our critical apps to anybody but Microsoft because they might not still be in business next year," finally we get the truth: "We can't trust our critical apps to Microsoft because WE might not be in business next year."
  • Everyone should know that just because the software is writen on Linux or SGI doesn't mean PS2 will use Linux or SGI as they're OS. Old Nintendo games (I cant say for new ones) were all writen in DOS. As long as your code is cross platform it doesn't matter. Your not going to be able to run linux code on a PS2, its not going to be the same OS. I can write code in Linux, compile it in DOS and it will run, as long as it cross platform. Thats all SONY is going to do here.
  • Because they may be using a hacked linux kernel as PS2's OS - so for consitencys sake it should be linux. Be is also a possiblity for the OS - however they wouldn't have access to the source, and they would have to pay for it.
  • This sounds like a smart choice by Sony -- to try to detour some open source developers into developing games for the PSX, meaning more games will be available when it ships. I'd love to do some 3D game development on a Visual Workstation running Linux myself!

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde