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Linux Kernel Development Is Slow On The Xbox 360

Hardware

Published on 29 November 2012 01:25 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
2 Comments

While custom, unsigned code can be executed on the Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console with Linux, kernel development in this area has been moving very slow.

A Phoronix reader wrote in this week to comment on the slow pace that Linux kernel development has been happening for the Xbox 360. The Free60.org project seeks to port GNU/Linux, BSD, Darwin, and other open-source operating systems to the Xbox 360. Since the middle of 2011, custom unsigned code can be executed on the game console with all of the Xbox 360 kernels. However, setting up the custom OS requires either a reset glitch hack for the console or for certain older consoles a SMC hack that requires soldering is involved. Obviously the process of loading Linux on the Xbox 360 isn't supported by Microsoft.

For those not familiar with Free60, visit Free60.org. The Linux kernel development page notes that they have patches against the Linux 2.6.33 kernel and requires adding in new PCI IDs, Xenon cputable support, other Xenon changes -- including an ugly hack for tiled frame-buffer support -- and additional out-of-tree kernel patches for sound and pad support. Still not yet achieved in the Xbox 360 Linux support is a sane way for frame-buffer support, better graphics support, and IR remote support. These Xbox 360 hackers actually think they may be able to reuse some of the open-source ATI/AMD Linux graphics drivers since the Xbox 360 uses ATI graphics hardware.

The patches and kernel compilation process for those interested is noted on this Free60 Wiki page.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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