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Linux on PS3 Anyone?

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  • Linux on PS3 Anyone?

    I just recently bought a PS3, and in the little time that I've found not playing games I've managed to install Gentoo on it. This is my first real time to have Gentoo installed... there were other times years ago when I was first learning how to use Linux that I decided to jump in with Gentoo of all distributions (so I didn't get far). This time I hope having this distribution installed will show me what's so good about Gentoo, and hopefully the support it provides on Power architecture as well. Has anyone else installed Linux on the PS3? If so what distro did you go with and how is it running for you? The main problem I have right now is the complete lack of wireless drivers, which causes a problem since I have to run a cable all through my house to get the Gentoo install on the network. I was thinking of ndiswrapper, but I am under the impression that this package only works for x86-based systems. I'd be surprised if wireless isn't working at all under Linux on the PS3... but I haven't found anything that tells me otherwise.

  • #2
    Gentoo on PS3?

    hmmmm can you post some benchies? even though the PS3 is running only 512MB RAM I would be very interested on how it performs against a Big HUGE intel/AMD system pimped to the gills, vs the Cell's power processing elements and eight synergistic processing elements. thanks in advance

    thhings I would like to see

    $cat /proc/cpuinfo
    #time make -j18 {kernel-version}
    $uname -a as well
    Last edited by smp-freak; 01-12-2007, 10:10 PM.


    • #3
      IIRC they compared the processing power of the PS 3 a few months ago and it was found to be somewhat similar to a ~600 MHz Pentium !!!, far less than would be expected of such a modern CPU and architecture.


      • #4
        Give me a break... absolutely not true. One major thing to consider is what architecture the software is compiled for. I'll run the above commands on the system at some point and post them here.


        • #5
          Oh...excuse me, you're right, I forgot, it's comparable to an 800 MHz Pentium !!!, a whopping 200 MHz extra. Boohoo. FTR, I did mention "IIRC", so my estimate was not too far off anyway.


          • #6
            Here's some actual facts on the current state of Linux on the PS3, and also some information and benchmarks that anyone with a PS3 can verify at home:


            While the performance given in the above link shows that the PS3 is on par with a Powermac G5 after initial testing (which in itself is much better than an 800MHz Pentium processor), there are some important things to keep in mind:

            1. Altivec optimization is not being done for this processor in the benchmarks given, which makes a huge difference in performance. There will be a noticeable change once this optimization is implemented (I personally have no idea how much... that's better left to someone else to comment on). Here's a quote from the above article:
            Originally posted by Geekbench
            I can?t comment on Altivec performance, unfortunately, since Geekbench for Linux PPC doesn?t measure Altivec performance yet.
            2.These benchmarks in the link above do nothing with any of the other vector processors. It only runs on the main core of the processor. Of course this will make a huge difference in performance once applications are able to take advantage of this hardware.
            Originally posted by Geekbench
            Geekbench also isn?t able to exploit the eight vector processors on the Cell processor. Any program designed and optimized for the Cell processor should be a lot faster than one designed for a generic processor (like, say, Geekbench). So while the Geekbench results might seem disappointing, keep in mind that Geekbench can?t exercise the PlayStation 3 to its full potential.
            3. The G5 system is running the benchmarks with over four times the amount of memory the PS3 has available. It would be interesting to see how the G5 system compares with an identical amount of memory. I'm not really sure why the author decided to run the benchmarks like this. Not sure if the following difference would matter as much, but the G5 is running an older version of Fedora as well.

            The above benchmarks show how the PS3 actually compares to a G5 while running unoptimized applications. As far as how it 'feels' while running a whole desktop environment under the same situation, it is like running Linux on a slower system that needs a memory upgrade. Programs (like Gnome's web browser) are fairly fast and responsive once they are opened, but the action of opening the applications takes longer than normal.

            On to another topic besides benchmarks and performance comparisons: I'm actually a huge fan of the Power architecture. Not necessarily of Sony or the PS3, but I do like the PS3 more than other gaming consoles by extension due to the advanced chip it is making available to consumers like me. I've been waiting for over two years to get a desktop system based on the Power architecture, and my initial hopes were on Genesi (a company who sells Power-based developer workstations among other things) to release their answer to Apple's old Quad G5 Powermac. While they are still planning to release that system, I got tired of waiting and decided to go with the PS3 instead. My main reasons for buying the PS3 (in order) are: the great Square Enix and Koei games, the great architecture to run Linux on, and backwards-compatibility with PS2 games. I'm sure the games I bought the machine for will be released soon, but one thing that is a little more uncertain to me is how long it will take for developers to optimize Linux for this new hardware. Once that is done, this system will be a very nice desktop system. Hopefully it will happen soon.
            Last edited by joshuapurcell; 01-15-2007, 01:39 PM.


            • #7
              There's been some more information on current benchmarks recently. These benchmarks were taken after the Geek Patrol benchmark (posted above), and basically it confirms everything in that benchmark and in this thread. The added information is news on IBM's upcoming gcc compiler for the Cell processor:

              Some other links for information:
              Best Instructions I've found for installing Gentoo on the PS3
              PhD Project using PS3
              IBM's Octopiler... what will make the PS3 really run Linux.