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FreeBSD now supports the Playstation 3 (freebsd.org)
91 points by requinot59 on Jan 6, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

I thought the whole thing was hilarious. The pirates couldn't crack the console, so they told everyone not to buy the PS3 because they wouldn't be able to play pirated games and stuff. But then Sony did something stupid and removed the ability to use Unix on the PS3 so those guys (homebrewers) were like 'RAWRRR' and cracked it.

Lesson learned: Never mess with the guys who know what they're doing!

You're making a pretty egregious (and insulting) mistake by conflating pirates (i.e., those just want to steal games) with homebrewers (really intelligent electrical engineers, mathematicians with PhDs, tec).

That's not to say that those who crack things (essentially "pirates) like SecureROM and SafeDisk aren't intelligent, but the fail0verflow is on a whole 'nother level.

I read what veb said as there were two different groups.

"Pirates" who were unable to crack it. "Homebrewers" who didn't want to (because it previously run Linux so they could do homebrew without cracking it).

Sony remove the Linux ability, so the second group ("Homebrewers"), now had motivation to crack it, and succeeded.

If anything I think veb's comment was complementary of homebrewers. He is saying they succeeded where the pirates failed.

More and more it seems that removing Linux support from PS3 was one of the worst moves of 2010.

Apparently, this FreeBSD port requires the PS3 have a tool called "petitboot" installed; the "petitboot" installation process seems to use the PS3's traditional "OtherOS" support (what you refer to as "Linux support"). So a PS3 whose firmware prohibits it from booting Linux won't be able to run FreeBSD either.

Now that all the signing keys are leaked, I'll be interested to see how long it takes for universal installers to appear that work even on PS3s that don't support "OtherOS".

Or alternatively, one of the best moves.

All a matter of perspective ;)

I totally agree with you on this being a matter of prospective... I was on the verge of dumping PS3 for media playback from my file server since dealing with transcoding + the PS3 is IMHO a huge pain in the ass.

With the root key cracked and homebrew soon exploding I'm scheming a quality XBMC port to GameOS... sooner than never ;-)

Which part of transcoding is being a pain in the ass? I find fuppes ( http://fuppes.ulrich-voelkel.de/ ) to be working perfectly. If you're trying to transcode high def mkv/ts/etc, I agree.

Transcoding is a pain in the ass because it requires another computer with a decent CPU to decode in realtime (which means you can't run it off a NAS or some other server-based disk backup, unless you want to shell out the bucks for a really overpowered backup solution).

If I'm going to go through all that trouble and cost, it makes more sense to buy a low-cost ION GPU HTPC ($300) that can just run the video (even HD) without transcoding.

Worst of all, when transcoding you are needlessly discarding data and therefore picture quality. It you don't have to, you shouldn't.

got one of those ion pcs, i recommend it, and your sentiments about how this all fits together. i think a machine really can only do one thing really well (especially something high performance) at a time, and often MPC software tries to do too much at once.

I had an ASRock NetTop 330, measured the wattage draw while playing a 1080p film, it was pulling about 15 watts from the wall. Pretty damn impressive.

Are there plans for PS3 XBMC or is that just wishful thinking on your part?

There are no immediate plans to port XMBC, but it is open source so all it would take is some determined people and some time to make it happen.

How does a PS3 compare spec-wise with a regular PC? Alternative server solution?

It's tight on RAM (only 256MB main memory + 256MB VRAM, a large portion of which can be used as fast swap space, at least on Linux), the SPUs will sit mostly idle unless your software is specifically written to utilise them. Especially older models consume a lot of power, even when idle. A cheap Atom-based Nettop or NAS is probably better for home server type stuff.

That'd be my question as well. In older times, the performance/price ratio of PS3s was very good. A lot of universities at least considered building a cluster of them. But the PS3 is getting pretty old.

The cells SPUs are comparable to modern ATI/NV GPU computing, and new graphics cards are released every year. Wouldn't it be more cost-effective to buy a GPU card?

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