HowTo: Hack Your PS3: Installing Yellow Dog Linux 6.0, and Actually Getting It To Work!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a PS3, for the Blu-Ray disc capabilities. Since HD-DVD has died and I can get Blu-Ray discs through Netflix, and since the PS3 can be updated with new features, I figured I would give it a try. (The 100 dollar EB games credit I had made the decision easier as well)

After playing around with the PS3 (I bought one game disc ; Uncharted, Drakes Adventures, and one Online game; Pain) I figured it would be good to hack around and install Linux on it. With the PS3, Sony makes it really easy to install Linux.

linux_on_ps3

I decided to go with Yellow Dog Linux (YDL), version 6.0 (the latest). Other distros will work, but this is the main one they support – you can download it here – http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/support/downloads/

After getting the 3.7 GB file, which took forever, I burnt the ISO to DVD using Active@ ISO-Burner (a sweet ISO burner BTW). Ok, all set to install. A few things to consider

1) You need a USB keyboard and mouse

2) You need a HDTV for this to work

In the PS3, go to settings, system settings, and then format utility. You can format a 10 GB partition for “Other OS”.  Restart the PS3

Then put in the Linux DVD, go back to settings, system settings, Install Other OS. YDL said /ps3/otheros/otheros.bld  … so, hit start. Then it will tell you how to get to the other OS.

Go then to “Default System” menu and choose Other OS, and then restart..

It should restart into Linux. It will be at a prompt, “kboot:” – hit enter, it should get into setup, you can follow the onscreen instructions from there. Everything is pretty much default and hitting yes to any prompts, a basic install. You set up a root password, etc. Reboot after it is done, it will go through some final setup steps (checking sound, etc), after that, you should be able to login.

Logging in, first thing I wanted to do was get networking set up. I am not using the wired connection, rather I am using wireless, with WPA. Here is where the fun starts, and why I hate Linux.

YDL doesn’t support WPA out of the box, isn’t that awesome? The wifi was there in network config, etc, and I could put in settings, but it would never connect. I do love the error it gives you as well… “Check Cable?” umm… well, I would but Linux, remember we are configuring a Wi-Fi Connection? No Cable?

Anyway’s.. debacle time.. found this after some searching – http://dachaac.blogspot.com/2007/08/guide-to-get-wpa-psk-working-on-ps3-ydl.html

This works… I just connected to a “linksys” for 2 seconds to download the RPM (or you can just put it on a flash drive as well), and then disconnected. Going through that tutorial though,there was one thing I was getting hung up on. The networking commands were not working for me. I was logged in a regular user, so I tried “su” to switch to root. Still no dice. I had to logout, and login as root, and run through that tutorial (unpacking the RPM with –force works with “su”).

Awesome, my networking is working and I am using WPA… yesssss! Now, just check a few things, email, reader, Facebook, cool. How about YouTube… wait… no flash. Check Adobe’s site.. no flash for PPC architecture.. WTF? So no flash at this point…which stinks..

Whew, all the Linux hacking is making me thirsty.. ok, lets boot back to the PS3 OS…wait.. how?

After doing some more digging, there should be a command “boot-game-os” you can run from the terminal and it should reboot. Wait, trying to run that command, it says “command not found”… another WTF…

After some more digging, it turns out the command resides in the “/sbin” directory, which users don’t have access to… (even root? man…)

So we need to make a sym-link. You can do this as a regular user, but you need to “su”, then run

cd /bin

ln -s /sbin/boot-game-os boot-game-os

Then, you can just go to the “start” menu in TDL, and there is an option then to “Boot Game OS” – works like a charm, reboot and you are back to the PS3