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Sony's PlayStation 4 Is Running Modified FreeBSD 9

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  • #21
    Originally posted by johnc View Post
    Is this confirmed that Sony is writing their own graphics API rather than using OpenGL? That's a bit disappointing.
    Historically, Sony always wrote his own API. I don't know the PS1 API, but the PS2 API was rather crude (and most "shaders'" has to be written in assembler, using the Emotion Engine "cores" (more like a DSP)) The PS3 used a GL-like API (designed under the responsibility of Remy Arnaud IIRC, who was also in charge of the definition of COLLADA at the Khronos group at the same time). For the PS4, I guess they'll follow the path set for the PS3 : they're going to create an API which is close to OpenGL while not being OpenGL. This will allow the developpers to easily get some code on the console before they'll start to optimize it (and use an API which they already used when they were working on the PS3).

    You must understand that console game development is not alike PC game development. You have to taylor your APIs to your machine in order to lift all the performance issues you may find. Adapting a standard graphic stack (with all its genericity whose goal is to fully abstract a large number of very different hardware) is not a good thing. It's even worse, since the devleoppers will want to have a fine-grained control over the hardware (that's why they added a special tag on the APU/GPU shared L2 cache cells ; this tag allows the developpers to control cache invalidation).

    Now, on the use of FreeBSD, it makes sense : Sony has a good knowlegde of MIPS OSes (MIPS were used in the PS1 and in the PS2), PowerPC OSes (through the Cell processor used in the PS3) yet it doesn't make sense for them to build yet another x86_64 OS from scracth when there is already many open source offers. The license of FreeBSD is specifically targetiing these needs - allowing a hardware vendor to adapt the OS to its specific needs without being forced to release their patches in the wild (you may or may not disagree on the philosophy yet that's the goal of the 3 clause BSD license).

    It doesn't mean that Sony is all clear here. The system probably use may GNU bits (including the C and C++ runtime if the screen captures are genuine) so it might be possible to ask them for some information on the subject. I suspect the GPL enforcement organisations are already looking at this subject (and if they don't, may I respectfully suggest them to do so?)

    (for those who believe that Michael served us yet another rumor - yes, it's true. Yet the rumor itself is traced back to VGLeaks, the guys who published the very first technical information on Durango (XBox One) and Orbis (PS4), showed us the first pictures of the Durango development machine and so on. It seems they are more reliable than CNN. In this case, they backup their claim with screenshots of the developpers boot screens. Since we're not April the 1st, I believe this story to be quite true. YMMV)

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    • #22
      Originally posted by Emmanuel Deloget View Post
      (for those who believe that Michael served us yet another rumor - yes, it's true. Yet the rumor itself is traced back to VGLeaks, the guys who published the very first technical information on Durango (XBox One) and Orbis (PS4), showed us the first pictures of the Durango development machine and so on. It seems they are more reliable than CNN. In this case, they backup their claim with screenshots of the developpers boot screens. Since we're not April the 1st, I believe this story to be quite true. YMMV)
      exactly, it's not like The Times or, heck, even Nature was always right in the past

      VGLleaks currently have quite a bit of cred, posting wild speculation would be stupid on their part and as such, unlikely

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      • #23
        Originally posted by johnc View Post
        That is for the dev kit only.
        Ship a different bootloader with the dev kit than the actual console? There are plenty of bootloaders not under GPLv3. Using GRUB 2.0 is implausible.

        Sure, basing PS4 OS on a BSD makes sense. Maybe it's even actually based on FreeBSD. That does not mean that the report is not a fake. Renaming GRUB entries is not hard. Heck, I'd even throw in a sleek PS4-branded theme (Sony PR released some artwork).

        I believe it when I see a disk image of it.

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        • #24
          Michael's Jouralistic Integrity.

          Originally posted by birdie View Post
          Michael, can you please stop posting wild rumors as fact?

          That's beyond unprofessional.
          You know, I've been following this website for quite a few years now, and Michael's journalistic integrity has been fine. He broke the Steam story before anyone else. He quotes his sources in his articles whenever he can. He actually trawls through daily commit logs and speaks to industry insiders to get the information. I would say compared to most Linux gaming news sites, he actually provides real journalism where they do not. Why are you so quick to tear down these articles when the histoy so far has been pretty good? Have you spoken to anyone within Sony? Have you got a copy of the SDK yourself? Can you provide any evidence to backup your claim that it's wild rumor that PS4 uses BSD? If you're going to slam an article as hearsay, you'd better be willing to back that up with evidence.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by ashkbajw View Post
            Not sure about directly translating x86_64 to x86, so some games might need it to access the 8GB of ram.
            AMD64 has been around for the past 10 years, and everything past 2006 (in Coincidence with Windows Vista) other than Intel Atoms which are utterly irrelevant to this conversation has been running a 64-bit processor with a 64-bit OS just why would people care about translating AMD64->x86 for this? Particularly when the Hardware required to match them in terms of what the PS4 is a modern upper midrange PC. To put it very bluntly this isn't going to be running on a Pentium 4 with a 8800GTX that would be your end of the line for 32-bit.

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            • #26
              PS2 PS3 PS4 all used BSD

              PS2 PS3 PS4 all used BSD so whats new?

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              • #27
                Originally posted by shmerl View Post
                D3D 11 on FreeBSD? This sounds rather weird to be true. Do you know this for sure? Isn't it Microsoft only, or it's some kind of independent mapping implementation similar to Wine's approach? I'd rather expect them to have OpenGL there. If you have any sources, that would be helpful.
                D3D11-like. The native API is much lower-level than is possible on the varying hardware of a PC. It's designed similar to the D3D11 way of doing things, sorta like how Gallium3D is, plus some direct shader and debugging facilities not possible without using a fixed hardware target. This is akin to how the XBox360 was "D3D9.5" as the fixed hardware target provided many affordances that PCs cannot. There is an almost 100% compatible D3D11 wrapper for the PS4 API to make porting easier, of course. Google is your friend. More specific details than those available online are still under NDA as of this time.

                It is, put bluntly, fucking ridiculous to think that any major console would run OpenGL. As PC-centric as pure D3D is, OpenGL is significantly worse in terms of adding abstraction over the hardware itself, and only barely reflects (and only if you use the latest GL 4.3) how modern GPU hardware works. GL is only regaining any popularity because iOS and Android give you zero choice and shove it down your throat. If they offered something similar to D3D11 I'd bet a large wad of cold, hard cash that GL would again be relegated to the dusty niche it occupied in the years between the release of D3D8 and the release of the iPhone.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by BO$$
                  OMFG FreeBSD! Sony must be Satan! I am curios what the linux zealots will say to this one. Hahahaha they chose FreeBSD over Linux. This is really fun. Linux is really being adopted by the people. See what happens when you are fanatical? It drives people away. Which is the opposite of what we want...or say we want.
                  Hmmm, this has nothing to do with the zealots, since is a license issue (and zealots are more observers than actual contributors). Linux is GPL, and FreeBSD is BSD (they are free to relicense, which means they can tweak it without giving this tweaks back).

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by nukem View Post
                    This is whats wrong with BSD licensed software in general. It allows companies to just take and take and give nothing back but a locked down system.

                    As Elanthis said, that's only a "problem" if that bothers you. The BSD license isn't some conspiracy no one knows about. its quite clear and concise and basically says "Do whatever the fuck you want." Those are THOSE developers choices. No one is FORCED to use BSD code. If you don't like it, don't use the BSD license, but don't hate on others just because they disagree with you.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by BO$$ View Post
                      What is so wrong with OpenGL compared to DX? I'm curious, not trying to start any fight or anything...
                      I second that. This GL bashing sounded more like a rant, than something real.

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