Ubuntu 7.04 on PS3

First impressions and installation guide.

By on 21 Apr 2007, 14:44 GMT
As Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) has just been released two days ago, I thought it would be nice to give it a try on my brand new PlayStation 3 (PS3) gaming console. I should mention though, that I tried a few other PS3 LiveCDs and none worked for me like Ubuntu did. Today I am gonna teach you guys how to install this wonderful Linux distribution (as a second operating system) on your PlayStation 3 console. For those of you who think for a second (and who are scared) that this will replace their PS3 operating system, well you guys are wrong because this will NOT erase your PlayStation 3 native operating system (XMB) and it will just run as an alternative OS on your PS3 console. Ready? Are you excited? Let's go!

Things needed:

Great, now before we start to install Ubuntu 7.04 on your PS3, you are going to need a few things:

1. An USB flash drive or a Memory Card (PS3 can read only SD/miniSD Memory Card, Memory Stick PRO (Duo) and CompactFlash). Or as an alternative, you can use a portable hard disk if you own one.

2. An USB keyboard and mouse so you can navigate through your Ubuntu PS3 Linux, and to be able to go back to the PS3 OS.

3. Last but not least the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn PS3 ISO image, which you can always download from Softpedia.

Prepare your PlayStation 3 for Ubuntu:

You will need to partition the PS3 hard drive, otherwise you will not be able to install Ubuntu. Open your PS3, Log in and go to "Settings -> System Settings", scroll down until you find the "Format Utility", press X on it and go to "Format Hard Disk" (last option). You'll be asked if you want to format your hard disk, so press Yes and then you must choose a partition setting for the hard drive. Select the "Custom" option, then select "Allot 10GB to the Other OS" option and do a "Quick Format". When it's done, reboot your PS3.

The KBoot installation:

As I don't have a USB flash drive, I have used an SD memory stick for this operation and it worked just perfect. Create a folder, on your USB stick (drive), called PS3 and inside this folder create another one called OTHEROS. Put the otheros.bld file in the OTHEROS folder. Go to "Settings -> System Settings -> Install Other Os" and hit X to detect and install the Ubuntu boot loader.

Boot the Ubuntu PS3 LiveCD and install it

Are you wondering how to access what you've just installed above? Go to "Settings -> System Settings -> Default System" (press X) and select Other OS. You'll be asked if you want to quit your PS3 system and start the other OS (of course you do), so choose Yes and wait for the PS3 to reboot. In a few seconds you will see "Ubuntu PS3 KBoot Loader" text on the top of your screen. Insert the Ubuntu PS3 LiveCD in your PS3, hit enter (on your keyboard, which should be attached to your PS3 right now) and wait for the LiveCD to start.

You can install Ubuntu at anytime just by double clicking on the Install icon situated on the desktop. The installer steps are very easy so I am pretty sure you'll manage to install it.

Go back to the PS3 OS

To get back to your PS3 OS, reboot the Ubuntu system and at the KBoot prompt, type:

boot-game-os

and hit enter. Wait for the PS3 to reboot and you'll be logged in to the XMB (PlayStation 3 operating system).

Conclusions

After some long testings, I've realized that Ubuntu is the best match for the PlayStation 3 gaming console. It can recognize all the components of your PS3 machine, like the firmware version, the hard disk of course, the Gelic network card and the USB and Bluetooth ports. The most important piece of hardware (in my opinion) is the Blu-ray drive, that works very well in Ubuntu (you can insert blu-ray discs and see their content, isn't this wonderful?).

Here are some screenshots I've made of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn running on my PlayStation 3 console:
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Have fun and play safe!

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Ubuntu 7.04 on PS3
   Ubuntu 7.04 on PS3