Linux on the PlayStation 3

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The PlayStation 3 in selected models is capable of running Linux as well as other operating systems if installed on the console's hard drive. Many distributions are compatible with the console. Any Linux operating system has access to 6 of the 7 Synergistic Processing Elements [1]; Sony implements a hypervisor restricting access to the RSX. IBM provides an introduction to programming parallel applications on the PlayStation 3.[2]

The PlayStation 3 Slim model removed the possibility to install Linux or any other operating systems using the "Other OS" feature.[3]



Since the start of the 2000s, Sony has used the fact that the PlayStation 2 can run Linux in its marketing. They promoted the release of PS2 Linux Kit, which included a Linux-based operating system, a USB keyboard and mouse, a VGA adapter, a PlayStation 2 network adapter (Ethernet only), and a 40 GB hard disk drive (HDD).

The PlayStation 3 does not include Linux pre-installed. However, Sony has included an option in the XMB menu to install other operating systems such as Linux.[4] Sony has been quoted in an interview stating, "It was fully intended that you, a PS3 owner, could play games, watch movies, view photos, listen to music, and run a full-featured Linux operating system that transforms your PS3 into a home computer."[5]

Soon after the PlayStation 3 launched, Sony released "Other OS" in a PlayStation 3 System Software firmware up-date that allowed booting into Linux from the hard drive or from a Live CD that the distributor's kernel would boot making it possible to run on the PlayStation 3.

Support for the "Other OS" install option was removed by Sony in the PS3 Slim, announced in August 2009.[6]. This does not affect the old series, which is still able to boot other operating systems, even with the newest (3.15) system software update.


Linux supports PlayStation 3 since version 2.6.21, so no patches or modifications are required for it to run. There is also a user friendly Linux add-on CD for the PS3 including support for Fedora 8 and other operating systems that already claim to install natively on the PS3. However, there is currently an issue with the latest kboot[clarification needed] boot loader provided by Once the user has pressed enter to continue with the default action, the USB ports are de-registered on some systems. A work-around was created and is available on the PSUbuntu site[citation needed].


Debian[7], Fedora 8[8], Gentoo[9], OpenSUSE and Ubuntu[10] can be run on the PlayStation 3.[11] Yellow Dog Linux for the PlayStation 3 was first released in late 2006.[12]


Some versions of Ubuntu up to the last release: 9.10 have been ported to the PS3 platform[1]. The installer cannot run in Live mode when running in 480i or 480p video resolutions, but it offers an alternative installer (text-based) that will install a fully functional Ubuntu operating system. It is possible to have an external USB hard drive attached to the PlayStation 3 during install and choose to mount that as the home folder.

The LTS release 8.04 (Hardy Heron) of Ubuntu is incompatible with the PS3. However the 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) release was ported to the PS3 on the same release date as the official main Ubuntu release.[13]

Ubuntu includes well-known free software components such as Apache, PostgreSQL, and Python. The distribution also includes user applications, such as the Mozilla Firefox Web browser,, Evolution, Rhythmbox, Pidgin, and GIMP.

Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian and relies on the APT Package Manager, using .deb format. Through successive versions of Ubuntu every 6 months, more hardware support is added frequently. However some other hardware components will not function properly without modifications to the kernel.

Yellow Dog Linux

Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 is one of the first Linux distributions to run on Sony's PlayStation 3 platform.[14] It is designed specifically for HDTV so users with SDTV will have to use the commands 'installtext' and 'ydl480i' to be able to install and run.[2]

Yellow Dog Linux includes well-known free software components such as GCC, Apache, PostgreSQL, Python, Webmin, and[15] The distribution also includes user applications, such as the Mozilla Firefox Web browser,, Evolution, Rhythmbox, MPlayer, Pidgin, and GIMP.

Yellow Dog Linux is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS core and relies on the RPM package manager. Through successive versions of Yellow Dog Linux, Terra Soft Solutions has invested heavily in implementing support specifically for Apple and IBM hardware. Digital audio has been verified to function properly, however, the Nvidia graphics card is not supported beyond framebuffer mode. In addition, some other hardware components will not function properly without modifications to the kernel. WiFi functionality via the Network Manager is also not fully supported and must be entered manually via the Network Configuration tool, or in some cases, through the command shell.[16] A workaround is available to enable wireless to be configured via the Network Manager.[17]


OpenSUSE 10.3 is the first version of OpenSUSE to run on the Sony PlayStation 3 platform. OpenSUSE is a free version of SUSE Linux, which is owned by Novell.

It runs either KDE or GNOME by default, as selected by the user at install time, so it should be considered more resource-intensive than Yellow Dog Linux or other Enlightenment / Xfce based distributions[citation needed]. (although recent versions of OpenSUSE come with Xfce as an optional package.)

PlayStation 3 specific installation instructions for OpenSUSE can be found here

NOTE: Starting with OpenSUSE 11.2, support for the Power PC (and therefore the PlayStation 3) has been dropped.


Fedora also runs on the PlayStation 3.

On a CECHExx PS3 with firmware 2.01, Fedora 7 works on a USB external hard disk but fails to detect the internal disk, Fedora9 detects the internal disk but not the USB disk, Fedora8 will not work due to video "card" detection problems. Fedora 10 installs on the internal hard disk without any issues and works fine without having to change any settings.

Fedora 12 only installs on the Playstation 3 when running the 64 bit kernel and only when English is the chosen language.

There is no SPU compiler package but a cross-compiler can (relatively) easily be compiled by the user and installed outside the package manager.

RSX Homebrew

Linux on the PlayStation 3 allows for a huge range of homebrew programs to be developed and is entirely and completely sanctioned by Sony. Although the Cell's performance is more than enough to handle most media requirements or render complex 3D graphics, it does lack the teraflops performance of a contemporary GPU's texture fetching hardware. For this reason many complex games aren't possible on the PlayStation 3 through Linux, as access to hardware acceleration in the RSX is restricted by a hypervisor.

There have been developments in enabling access to the RSX through the Linux kernel and the X Window System[18]. It's possible to use the RSX memory as swap space. A trick to access some 3D functions was blocked with firmware 2.10.


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