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

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53 thoughts on “HowTo: Hack Your PS3: Installing Yellow Dog Linux 6.0, and Actually Getting It To Work!”

  1. Hold the power button for 5 seconds while booting up the machine, and it will bypass the linux boot,. and go straight into the console’s OS.

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  2. it also resets one or two of your video settings (perhaps others as well? i didn’t read the full instruction page on the sony site)

    the command “game” may also work, but i suspect it’s just a link to boot-game-os

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  3. Sounds like you got unlucky man. I’ve installed YDL this evening. Took maybe 15 minutes of actual work, and a little time away whilst the machine got on with the install. The only painful part of the process was downloading the 3.7 GB file from the net.

    Everything works out of the box, even the option to boot-game-os, which works as a normal user and is avaialble from the end of the applications menu from the E17 desktop environment!

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  4. I tried this tonight but no luck. I have a RCA HD Projection type tv. I am not new to linux which is not relevant really since I never got that far. I formatted the disk drive went to install other OS and then set the default system setting. It booted into the linux install screen and I watched as the screen filled with scrolling text about usb drivers. But when it made it to the interactive part I seen three of everything (No Im not drinking LOL) three screens, three cursors….. So I thought well I will try to get through this and change the video settings once installed. The text looked gibberish and I couldn’t make out any of it. So I went by the colors on the buttons and clicked the green ones. It worked until I got to the root password. My USB keyboard wouldn’t type anything. I plugged that back into my other PC and it worked fine. I couldn’t go any further so I gave up for the night. Has anyone else had this problem?

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  5. Clay,

    Try plugging a VGA or composite monitor for that part. I was able to use my Dell FP2000 monitor because it has a composite input. Sounds like the auto installer could not cope with your type of graphics set up.

    Did you try using the joystick pop-up keyboard? With the USB keyboard did you try using Ctrl-Alt-F1 to switch to interactive text?

    I installed YDL it back in November and I did not have any problems. But I did have problems with the Java Runtime and the graphics. Painfully slow, and I dropped the project (for the time). I am thinking going with another machine as a graphics client and letting the PS3 be a server.

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  6. OldTiger,

    What a relief to have an outside outlook in a frustrating situation. I didn’t think of hooking it to another monitor. That’s a very good idea I will try that this weekend. I actually didn’t know you could use the pop up key board for this though so I didn’t try it. And I also didnt think about ctrl+alt+f1. Although I have done it a hundred times before lol. Thanks for the insight on everything!

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  7. Hey Steve… I think the problems you had with “boot-game-os” and the wireless are because you installed version 6.0. The way I understand it this is not supposed to be supported for PS3, obviously it it still worked (with a little extra work), as will many other distros i think. But the YDL versions that are specifically made for PS3 are 5.0 and 5.0.1, and I beleive the 5.0.1 has updates for wireless support where the first one doesnt. This might be why you ran into so much trouble, so you might be getting many unsuspecting users into unneeded trouble. I really liked the Active ISO burner though, thanks for that advice.

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  8. If 6.0 doesn’t officially support the PS3 then this statement needs to be removed from the release notes, since the release notes specifically state that 6.0 officially supports the PS3.

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  9. I got Yello Dog to install on my PS3 but my sister playing the sibling rivalery thing set a pass word on it behind my back and don’t know what she put. Now I have a brand new PS3 I haven’t been able to use now for a few months. Please tell me that it can be taken off and reset please?
    if possible can someone call me.
    786.378.3652

    Like

  10. I’ve tried installing yellowdog several times, but the ps3 does not recognize the installer, I originally burned the ISO image file on DVD using Roxio, was this my problem? I am going to retry burning the ISO using the Active ISO burner that has been suggested here, will this solve my problem? I am not the literate when it comes to this sort of stuff, but I did follow the directions to a T, but still would not recognize the installer, I hope burning it to DVD using the Active ISO burner will solve this problem, because trying to surf the net on the PS3 browser really sucks.

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  11. i have just downloaded and installed version 6.1 which is the most recent officialy for ps3. I installed it the same evening following the offical adobe ps3 installation manual. It is fairly simple and i have not found any problems yet. you will find all information at the following link. I used an american link and got a constant 500-600 kb sec, it took about 2 hrs.

    http://us.fixstars.com/support/downloads/

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  12. Today I finished my mission “downloading YDL 6.1” boy that was painful ….I’m installing it tonight, I’ll let you know how it goes ;-)

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  13. I installed ydl on ps3. But there is no support for flash, cann’t play mp4,avi or any internet radio…

    So What’s the point of installing the same

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  14. Something went wrong your stupid thing made my ps3 broken it says kboot and i pressed enter then it goes all black and it says no signal! Please help I have a 40 gb PS3

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  15. Man, it is not that “users don’t have access to” the /sbin directory. It is just that the /sbin directory is not present in the default PATH (issue “echo $PATH” to check out).
    As for root: it depends on how you became root: “su” or “su -“? (note: depending on YDL configuration this may or may not be the exact same thing. In general, “su -” is advisable).
    What you did with the “ln -s” command is to create a link in the /bin directory, which is present in the PATH.
    You could have perfectly used “/sbin/boot-game-os”, or added /sbin to your PATH.

    I don’t want to flame, really, but it would be nice if do a little research before start saying things like “users don’t have access to…” and stuff like that :)

    Except for this small thing, I really enjoyed the article, thanks!

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  16. 1) users DO have access to /sbin however it is not in their $PATH hence just typing the command will not work you can however fully qualify the path and it will work fine /sbin/boot-game-os

    2) instead of su try using sudo (not sure if it is installed by default with YDL) if not you can logon as root with “su -” in a terminal, this becomes root with root’s environment and you can then just run “rpm -i –force …”

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  17. Forgot to add a quick explanation:

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

    See #1 in my last post about users. The reason this didn’t work with “su” was because su will let you become root but it will not change your session variables or environment paths so assuming your username is stevie, when you run su you username will be root and you will have root privileges however your $PATH will be that of stevie. As I mention in #2 runing “su -” will make you become root & get root’s $PATH

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  18. hi there thank u all for your replies
    i wonder if there is another way to hack PS3 without using the network ( Internet) because our lines in Iraq is too low ( Slow )

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  19. I got Yello Dog to install on my PS3 but my sister playing the sibling rivalery thing set a pass word on it behind my back and don’t know what she put. Now I have a brand new PS3 I haven’t been able to use now for a few months. Please tell me that it can be taken off and reset please?
    if possible can someone call me.
    786.378.3652

    spydaman2280@gmail.com

    Like

  20. i installed YDL on my ps3 and everything seemed to go ok. but when i got to the screen with the scrolling text it gave me the kboot: option, i pressed enter nothing happened. any help would be greatly appreciated. i am new to linux.
    thanks.

    comodorefluffy@hotmail.com

    Like

  21. Just installed old yellow 6.0 and used Wine to run a few older emus i.e Amiga ST.

    anyone know if Office 200x or Paint shop pro 12 will run using Wine?

    Thanks for te useful information in this forum.

    Andyman

    Like

  22. Ok when I am done downloading the 3.77gb file that im downloading… I just burn it to a blank cd, that I bought a walmart, and burn it with the iso burner thingy that I downloaded that you said was great. Will this one blank cd hold all that? All 3.77gb’s? Or do I have to use 2? WHAT DO I DO.

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  23. I am starting to become interested in Yellow Dog.

    I use my PS3 for a media center device in my HT. I primarily bought mine (original 60GB version) as a Bluray player with the benefit of being able to also play games.

    I also use it to archive my DVD collection to external USB drives (networking the unit is out because of how my house is constructed). The problem is FAT32. My interest in YDL is this: Will it be able to support USB hard drives formatted in NTFS, and more important is will I be able to play the media and how good is the media player? Last important item is upconverting… can YDL take advantage of the PS3’s hardware and provide the same quality of upconverting that the PS3 does running its native OS?

    Thanks for any input guys… nice article and civil discussion.

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  24. I have no earthy idea on how to instal yellow dog, every time i try to instal it i get?dev/sr0:/ppc?ppc64?umlinx-PS3; Not Found And it will say that over and over again >.< someone please help me, message me, My psn is Eliteknight2003

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  25. reply
    # M Afzal
    February 17th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Something went wrong your stupid thing made my ps3 broken it says kboot and i pressed enter then it goes all black and it says no signal! Please help I have a 40 gb PS3

    I solved this problem with:
    kboot:install_ps3_480i
    my tv is a HDReady Acer (puag)

    Like

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