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Sony Hints At PS3 'Homebrew' Linux Plans 128

simoniker writes "Talking to the Japanese press, Sony executive Izumi Kawanishi has illuminated some of his company's PlayStation 3 Linux plans, indicating that it will be possible for individual 'homebrew' coders to create playable content for PS3, something actively blocked for Sony's PSP handheld. He commented: "Other then game studios tied to official developer licenses, we'd like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3"."
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Sony Hints At PS3 'Homebrew' Linux Plans

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  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:32PM (#15321001)
    PS2 linux failed because:

    1) Sony crippled it and didn't give anything close to direct access to hardware, meaning very little hardware acceleration
    2) Sony charged a big chunk of change to "buy" linux support

    And Sony is actively trying to kill off PSP homebrew. So don't get your hopes up!
    • Why not get our hopes up a little, when before it didn't really do well and the comment from the article:

      "indicating that it will be possible for individual 'homebrew' coders to create playable content for PS3"

      seems to directly address your concern?

      The most obvious answer is that Sony learned from the past lack up update with PS2 linux and furthermore wants to seed a variety of cool downloadable games, which they can take a cut of. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.
      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Informative)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:07PM (#15321317) Homepage Journal

        This is why you should be concerned:

        It seems that Sony is happy to let basic application and game construction take place without access to the extremely sophisticated rendering and physics libraries available to licensors - Kawanishi further commented: "When a game studio enacts development on a PS3 by entering a license contract, SDK libraries... will be presented, and various technical support given. In contrast, when using Linux World on the PS3... support will fall to the lowest level required, and you must solve and work on things by yourselves."

        If the article is to be believed, you don't get access to any of the normal libraries. If they don't give us specs, either, then you're not going to be doing much 3D...

        • Of course you don;t get access to the libraries, that's what the really expensve dev kit fees pay for!

          It doesn't matter as long as you have direct access to the graphics processors. Then people can craft thier own libraries. Yes it's unlikely that we'll see MGS5 - Joe Schmo edition, but we'll see a lot of cool smaller games I think if people are allowed to develop and share them online.

          There are plenty of free engines people could also port if they really need libraries.
          • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:07PM (#15321776) Homepage Journal
            "It doesn't matter as long as you have direct access to the graphics processors. Then people can craft thier own libraries. "

            Spoken like someone that has never written a line of code.

            If having direct access is all that you need then where are the free drivers for nVidia and Ati graphics cards?
            Having access isn't enough. You need drivers!
            If we are lucky Sony will give you a frame-buffer. Good enough for Frozen-bubble but not enough to get me to pay $600+ for.
            • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

              by SuperKendall ( 25149 )

              Spoken like someone that has never written a line of code.

              If having direct access is all that you need then where are the free drivers for nVidia and Ati graphics cards?
              Having access isn't enough. You need drivers!


              Actually I have done a fair amount of OpenGL programming.

              I pretty obviosuly did not mean THAT direct. I meant some standard way to acces sthe graphics card, it's kind of hard to image there will not be an OpenGL library or at least device drive for the video card we can access.

              You are coming at t
              • Sony themseves has said they want this to be able to build user provided content.

                That's "user provided content", not "user provided programs". People writing about the entertainment industry tend to use the term "content" to refer to any work other than a computer program. Such a statement could just refer to mods (maps, models, and missions) for existing licensed games, right?

            • on a P200 with no hardware accel. Quake, Duke 3d, Doom, etc. I'm sure the raw performance of the ps3 will be more than enough for hobbiests to code the kind of basic 3D they're able to. If you're skilled/professional enough to code ps3 hardware (no mean feat), then buy the sdk.
              • If all I can expect from this are shoddy Quake ripoffs, I'd rather stick to PC for hobbyist development, thank you very much.
                • Say goodbye to (*insert modern FPS here*), then, if that's REALLY what you meant.

                  Sure, they may have better graphics, physics, and storylines, but they're still the same gameplay and everything.

                  And hardware acceleration has nothing to do with how pretty a game looks. I've seen OpenGL and DirectX games that look like HELL, and I've seen games that aren't hardware-accelerated that look pretty good. Pretty graphics require an artist, not a graphics card.

            • I think what he meant was that you can hack it and write drivers for it. . .

              He's right - if you have the time and the willpower you can do it. Hey, that's what people did for the Xbox, didn't they? Hack it and figure out a way to run Linux on it?

        • Not having access to specs never stopped homebrew before. Just check what is out there. Oh sure it takes time but that is because usually you got to fight the system first. This time the system is "open".

          No it may not be documented but if "amateurs" can emulate consoles from scratch and put homebrew software on hardware that tries to fight them then I don't think this will be too much of a problem.

          What I wonder is not the access to libraries but to the hardware. Will the Cell really be fully available?

          I

        • If PS2 Linux is any indication, you'll get access to a good deal of the system's functionality; six of the seven core libraries were opened up (well, given out, anyway), with low-level I/O being the exception, for a number of reasons. (Region-free DVD players and modified game images that boot from Linux are two possibilities that spring to mind.)

          The problem is that Sony doesn't own any complex, reusable 3D or physics engines, at least to the best of my knowledge. That's why platforms like Havok and Rend

      • The most obvious answer is that Sony learned from the past lack up update with PS2 linux and furthermore wants to seed a variety of cool downloadable games, which they can take a cut of. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

        People learn, animals learn, corporations do not learn. The most obvious answer to me is that Sony got some good press from PS2 Linux (I know I was excited - I had a PS2 Linux mousepad for a couple years). Now they hope to suck in some users that Microsoft just plain won't touch. Seems
        • People learn, animals learn, corporations do not learn.

          What do you think composes corperations? Hint: It's not animals, but they learn.

          The most obvious answer to me is that Sony got some good press from PS2 Linux (I know I was excited - I had a PS2 Linux mousepad for a couple years). Now they hope to suck in some users that Microsoft just plain won't touch. Seems obvious to me.

          That's far fetched at best, given that they got really little press at all from the last round of PS2 stuff. You are ignoring som
    • Sony is terminally stupid. The problem is that they are of two minds about everything. One part of the company makes bit-copying hardware, and the other part sells bits. There's nothing they can do that will please themselves, so everything they do is a bad compromise between making it easy to copy bits and making it hard.
    • by _egg ( 86248 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:00PM (#15321258)
      That's funny, since they shipped the hardware manuals with the kit and even gave a "sample" implementation of OpenGL in PSGL. AFAIK the only hardware they didn't give access to was the IOP, hardly the performance-sensitive piece of the kit. Are you sure you're not slinging second-hand, inaccurate information?
    • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:09PM (#15321330)
      You seem to have forgotten the following two Linux-related announcements:

      - Kutaragi at the recent 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing [next-gen.biz]

      ... which claims: "Kutaragi said that that the PS3 will require a hard drive, which will have a 60 GB capacity and support Linux OS."

      - Kutaragi at the earlier PS3 Conference Report [1up.com]

      ... which says: "He [Kutaragi] did offer some tantalizing new details about the system, though. PS3 will include a 60GB hard drive (which is upgradeable) with Linux preinstalled."

      It would appear then that things aren't all that bleak. Maybe IBM had an influence this time around, as they would love to see the Cell succeed, and perhaps forced Sony to open up a bit.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The PS2 wasn't capable enough to be competitive with a Wintel PC for general purpose (spreadsheet, email, web-browser, etc) apps and hardware (printer, hard disks, etc).

      The PS3, however, looks more capable in all ways than the PowerPC Mac-Minis -- which makes it capable enough to be someone's primary PC.

      If they play the Linux card right, this is Sony's chance to take the Workstation market (the Cell chip is indeed awesome - I'm evaluating starting a company building a High-Def H264 video encoder with it

    • Much the same way as the original PlayStation "Yaroze" program failed. Apart from the high cost of hardware and program enrollment ($700 USD if I recall), no direct hardware access was provided for. You were limited to linking functions to rapidly aging libraries on the boot disc which could never be upgraded. Throw in the world's most sparse documentation and you've got an exercise in masochist programming.

      I am not terribly thrilled about Sony's plans for homebrew software development on the PS3, but i

  • Fool me once! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:32PM (#15321002) Homepage
    Ken Kutaragi will not get a cent from me.

    The PS2 was supposed to support Linux. How many homebrewers bought the PS2 dev kit and actually had success?

    How about the amazing no-show on the PSP?

    And now the PS3 is supposed to be friendly? It'd be cheaper to buy a MacMini and howebrew up something for Ubuntu or OS X than the Sony PS3.
    • It'd be cheaper to buy a MacMini

      Most Mac mini computers are not connected to a television, so good luck getting an audience for a 4-player same-screen game in the tradition of Tetris or Bomberman that's meant to be played on a platform typically connected to a 17" monitor.

      • "Most Mac mini computers are not connected to a television"
        I wouldn't bet on that. A lot of Mac minis are going to be hooked up to the TV. Not to mention they mythical Apple PVR
        • Even if a large percentage of Mac mini computers are connected to televisions large enough for four players, that's a large percentage of what number? How many Mac mini computers have been sold or will be sold by November 2007? How many PS3 consoles will be sold by the same date?

      • Multiple players on a single screen is not the panacea of gaming.

        In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it were the least common "social type" in gaming, losing to single player, turn-based and online multiplayer.

        Just because a machine is not commonly sold with the required $10 cable to connect to a television, does not mean it is useless as a gaming machine.
    • So Linux support should sell an extra what, three units?

      Good on Sony.
  • by Evangelion ( 2145 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:32PM (#15321003) Homepage

    Remember how PS2 homebrew development exploded when the PS2 Linux kit came out? Remember how many new and exciting independant games were released for the PS2?

    This is going to be awesome.
  • "Other then game studios tied to official developer licenses, we'd like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3."
    That should be "other than".

    I think this would be a good move for Sony. I would definitely reconsider purchasing the console if I could run linux on it and I think many other people would reconsider too. $599 isn't too bad for a console+linux PC.

    • But it could only run Cell software. You can't just recompile an application and have it work nicely on the Cell. You have to rewrite the program to make it nicely take advantage of the cells. Even if Sony sold a PS3 running Linux, what would you run on it?
      • You can't just recompile an application and have it work nicely on the Cell.

        A single-threaded app such as a typical 2D game will run OK on the Cell processor's PPE alone provided that the compiler is configured for the number of pipes. Sure, the PPE lacks out-of-order, but out-of-order helps primarily when running i586 code on a PII/PIII, or PII/PIII code on a P4, or Pentium code on an Athlon, etc. If you know that all Cell processors have the same pipeline configuration, you can tell the compiler to re

        • Right, sorry. By nicely, I meant that they wouldn't run exactly speedy, but somewhere I forgot to explicitly mention that. For the price of the console it's better to buy a real i386.
          • For the price of the console it's better to buy a real i386.

            But if you buy a real PC (whether wintel or macintel) and connect it to a TV, then you won't have access to a library of console-style games that are designed to be played by four players, each holding a gamepad, looking at the same screen. Most games that are developed for PCs require one computer per player and one display per player, and that's a lot more expensive than $600.

      • Media programs regularly spend >90% of their time in a small fraction (<10%) of the code. It would not require a complete rewrite, but instead a redesign of the most computationally demanding parts of the code. Of course it wouldn't be an easy recompile, but its certainly a lot more managable than it might at first seem.

        I have old games I wouldn't mind porting if the console has decent GL support. Typical of one-developer games, they aren't exactly demanding of the system, so I wouldn't even need t
      • Correct me if I'm wrong. . . but all it would need is a kernel driver for the Cell.

        And you don't have to rewrite any programs to take advantage of the cells. Linux handles both multi-CPU systems and hyperthreaded CPUs quite well. I don't see why the Cell should be much different - the only difference between the Cell and most modern CPUs are that the Cell's VPUs are faster and more general-purpose.

    • "I would definitely reconsider purchasing the console if I could run linux on it and I think many other people would reconsider too. $599 isn't too bad for a console+linux PC."

      - right on, I haven't had a console since my SNES. I've already decided to buy a Wii (they had me when they announced the virtual console and the rest is just bonus), but if I can use the PS3 as a desktop computer as well ... that might be a great buy too ... imagine, 2 consoles in my house.

      Of course the PS3 would just be for running
      • Right (Score:3, Insightful)

        You are going to run a Sony piece of hardware as a linux machine. You think that might not make Sony very happy. Now think a little bit further. Who might not like it as well? Does the word Wintel mean anything to you?

        Cause you would be running a IBM/Linux desktop NOT the everpresent Wintel setup. I think Sony would like it because MicroSoft would totally not like it.

        It is offcourse unlikely that this will have any effect but at least something is being tried.

    • You don't need anything the $100 more version has if you're going to run Linux on it. You can run HD resolutions over component cables and you can hook up USB card readers and storage devices (there was a seperetae article where I think the same person casually mentioned that people who needed CF readers could just hook up normal USB ones).

      I think it could be pretty reasonable as well.
      • You don't need anything the $100 more version has if you're going to run Linux on it.

        Unless the Linux environment is available only as part of the $600 bundle, meaning that owners of the $500 system are limited to playing only signed code.

        • Unless the Linux environment is available only as part of the $600 bundle, meaning that owners of the $500 system are limited to playing only signed code.

          So, can you give any reason whatsoever that would be the case? It sounds pretty unlikely and seems like groundless speculation from someone who simply wants to believe the worst of Sony no matter what.
    • "That should be "other than". I think this would be a good move for Sony. I would definitely reconsider purchasing the console if I could run linux on it and I think many other people would reconsider too. $599 isn't too bad for a console+linux PC." That should be, "console and Linux PC." Also, you did not capitalise "Linux" both times you said it. You used incorrect grammar in your first line. It should have read: That should be, "other than." Notice the placement of the comma and the period. Nothi
      • It should have read: That should be, "other than." Notice the placement of the comma and the period.

        The use of period-inside-quotes rather than the more rational system where the quotes surround the quoted material and the period, which ends the sentence which includes the quotation not a sentence inside the quotation, is placed after the closing quotes is a particular stylistic feature of common U.S. style, not a general feature of English as used globally. The "British" or "logical" style is the dominan

        • Yes, but on the internet we use the American English rules, so your point is mute. Even so, I know plenty of Brits and they all use the quotes outside the period, further muting your point. In the end, I really could care less. My point was about anally retentive people who correct peoples spelling when their post is riddled with incorrect grammar. And his post had more grammar errors than just the quotes inside the period, muting your point completely.
          • Yes, but on the internet we use the American English rules

            Perhaps you may be correct on sites in the .us domain, but on www.bbc.co.uk they use the Queen's English, and they like it. Tendencies on Slashdot also tend toward "hackish" (jargon) constructions. Eric Raymond offers the example [catb.org] of the difference between "Type 'dd.'" and "Type 'dd.'" in a tutorial about the vi text editor.

            so your point is mute.

            You mean "moot".

            • "Eric Raymond offers the example of the difference between "Type 'dd.'" and "Type 'dd.'" in a tutorial about the vi text editor."

              Actually, it would be far more precise to use a code tag or similar device in that instance, or even ignore punctuation altogether. When clarifying something in code, that becomes more important than trivial issues such as correct grammar.

              We use American English on the internet because we invented it. And since we invented it, we get to say what kind of English we use.

              And I

              • it would be far more precise to use a code tag or similar device in that instance

                E-mail sent as text/plain doesn't have a code or kbd element. Neither does the subset of HTML accepted by Slashdot. SlashML does have tt, but that's 1. presentational (and deprecated) and 2. not distinguished easily from normal text with many font settings.

                or even ignore punctuation altogether.

                Grammar national socialists on Slashdot tend to hate punctuation-free posts even more than posts that use hackish or British q

  • by goMac2500 ( 741295 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:34PM (#15321027)
    So Sony is going to go after the free software audience with a $600 console? Someone needs to recheck their math...
    • by imroy ( 755 )
      Oh yeah, because all the other hardware we run Free software on costs nothing. Idiot.
      • Why would you pay $600 for a sub par Linux box? It's a Cell. It sucks at running software not specifically written for the Cell. A cheap Pentium could probably run circles around it running Linux software. Why would anyone pay a premium for a box that's going to run slow?
        • Why would you pay $600 for a sub par Linux box?

          Because it lets you put "PS3 development experience" on your resume.

        • A Pentium? Are you serious? The PPE in the Cell is essentially IBM's "G5" PowerPC 970 core, complete with Altivec/VMX. That's no slouch. It'll run "software not specifically written for the Cell" just fine. The SPE's are the really interesting parts though.

          And you might want to get the PS/3 as a cheap Cell development platform, it depends on what Sony or IBM do with the Cell. If the only other options are big blade servers from IBM, then $600 for a development machine running Linux would be quite accept

          • by bnenning ( 58349 )
            The PPE in the Cell is essentially IBM's "G5" PowerPC 970 core, complete with Altivec/VMX.

            Not really [anandtech.com]. The PPE is much simpler; for example it's an in-order processor, as opposed to the 970's deep OOOE. It does have SMT, but can only dispatch 2 instructions at once. From discussions among people who know much more than me, the suggested rule of thumb was that a PPE at N GHz is roughly equivalent to 2 G4s each at N/2 Hz.

            The SPE's are the really interesting parts though.

            Right. I think how easy it is to use the
        • I would suggest you look at the Cell BE SDK [ibm.com] from IBM. Cell isn't completely impossible to code for. From what I understand, you just write a small app, you get your arguments from main(), and there are a few functions to interface back with the main program. There are a few caviots about instructions, but for the most part it's just like writing in C.

          I'm into Bioinformatics, and I would love to see if I could get each of the individual SPE doing dynamic programming on short sequences. A database searc
    • Free as in freedom, not beer.

      Idiot.
    • So Sony is going to go after the free software audience with a $600 console?

      It's a lot cheaper than emigration to a country that doesn't reserve the right to throw modchip users in jail.

    • Well it's a gaming console. If you were to buy a gaming pc, it'd cost about that much too..

      Hardware isn't free.
  • So, on the PSP, they are currently actively blocking any attempts of "homebrew" software. But for the PS3, they are going to allow it?

    I don't see how there can be such a big difference in the stance of homebrew applications for their 2 main flagship products. Unless they are going to stop cracking down on these applications for the PSP, or else, this is just some lame attempt to recover from the bashing they are receiving at E3, since they've been bashed about a lot of things, including the crack downs

    • The real difference (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:53PM (#15321207)
      So, on the PSP, they are currently actively blocking any attempts of "homebrew" software. But for the PS3, they are going to allow it?

      I don't see how there can be such a big difference in the stance of homebrew applications for their 2 main flagship products.


      The difference is this. On the PSP, if someone creates a game you can play Sony gets no money.

      On the PS3, if you crate a game for others to play you can probably sell it on the Sony online service and Sony gets a cut.

      I'm pretty sure Sony intends this to be a way to have a lot of small games generated to give theonline service buzz, which benefits everyone. It's a shame they can't see reason on the PSP but at least they came to thier senses with the PS3 and it even makes sense in terms of a profit motive.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        On the PSP, if someone creates a game you can play Sony gets no money. On the PS3, if you crate a game for others to play you can probably sell it on the Sony online service and Sony gets a cut.

        So why doesn't Sony introduce e-commerce in PSP firmware 3.0?

        • I have no idea, but perhaps they are working on it... you'd think they would like to tie the PSP into the online market they are building. I assume that they probably will do something like that when the PS3 ships, until then there's no need (for them).

          Perhaps Linux for the PS3 will eventually see a cross-compiler that supports the PSP.

          You'd think these portable makers would wake up to the huge demand for programmability of these devices and give people an outlet for that...
  • ...then this might be the one thing that would convince me to buy a PS3. They'd have to give me access to all the hardware, though. Otherwise, why would I be interested? It seems very unlikely that they'll cough up, so it seems very unlikely that I'll be buying a PS3 before they start hitting garage sales and flea markets.

  • Possible reason? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrJynxx ( 902913 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:57PM (#15321233)
    Maybe they're not having to much success with creating apps on the CELL. Hopefully they'll open it up for the genius's of the world to take a stab at coding in the cell environment. For the coders who want to experiment with the CELL, this could be an attractive offering. I"m sure a CELL desktop/server will cost a hell of a lot more than a $599.

    Could be a good thing if they actually give access to all of the hardware. But I doubt it, my PSP is still on firmware 1.5.

    MrJynxx
    • Its true. Although I doubt they will give access to the blu ray drive, but that won't really be such a bad thing.
      • With no access to any optical drive, how do you load a distro onto the system?

        • The ps2 linux kit locked access to the optical drive after you booted, so you couldn't use it to rip DVD's, although you could play movies off of the network or at least copy them over the network to your harddrive.
          • you could play movies off of the network or at least copy them over the network to your harddrive.

            Which requires one to have a PC within 100BASE-TX range of the PS2, making it little better than just running TV-out on an existing PC.

            • The kit was so people who wanted to could play around with ps2gl and the emotion engine, not to turn the PC into a media centre. It centred around creating a community of programmers who knew C++ and needed/wanted a cheap way to mess with a MIPS based processor. I'm sure there are a few developers out there that got their start on the ps2 linux kit.
  • I think as the gaming console is more and more resembling a normal PC (or more), I don't think putting linux on PS3 would be a problem. I tried running Linux on XBox and it works. Heck, it's working on a *Microsoft* product.

    Have a little (more) faith with Sony.

    But I *do* hope Sony cut down on the price..
  • Will it run Perl?
  • by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:53PM (#15321678) Homepage
    And let's get some mirrors in here!

    Don't put them there. Put them in front of that sign--the one that says 599.
  • I hope they haven't totally crippled possibility of separating the two GIGe ports intended for intranet.
    One for lan, other for dmz, and this would make a killing router/firewall/vpn-concentrator.
    The CPU should be fast enough to handle hundreds of vpn connections, if the promised performance holds true.

    I know you can get 1gig gaming router from dlink for less than $100, but that thing doesn't:
    * have dmz
    * work as vpn server
    * run linux

    If sony would make the platform open enough, this thing would be WRT54G on s
    • You're thinking about turning a $500 games console (which will likely draw >100W constant) into a router? That's crazy.
  • If they really want to kick Microsoft in the nuts and gain some love back from those who hate rootkits, they would ship Vaio's with Linux. With an open source solution at least someone could tell if they were spying on you.

    Plus it could make them some money in the long run.

    • If they really want to kick Microsoft in the nuts and gain some love back from those who hate rootkits, they would ship Vaio's with Linux.

      Actually, all they'd have to do is publish the source code to a working Sony Peripheral Interface driver, so the weird buttons and jog shuttles on their laptops will work properly.

      And some power management enhancements wouldn't hurt, either.

      Schwab

  • by joelpt ( 21056 )
    Phil Harrison: .. If you're a complete music fan and video fan, and you want to have huge amounts of digital content, then you can upgrade to whatever size of drive you like. You can put any in that you like - it is a computer, after all.

    gamesindustry.biz: So that hard drive is a standard PC drive?

    Phil Harrison: ATA, bog standard, yeah.

    gamesindustry.biz: You're not going to be selling Sony drive upgrades?

    Phil Harrison: We've got no plan to. We may offer something, but we have no plan to at the moment.

    http:/ [gamesindustry.biz]
  • I started in computing with a ZX81 connected to a TV and moved on to a Sinclair Spectrum. Later bought an Atari ST set but had access to a nephew's Commodore Amiga. This was at a time when PC had crappy graphic and cost an arm and a leg. Now on to my third PC in 10 years which is good enough for everything but play the games at their best. (A good graphic cost more than a PS3). A PS3 with Linux installed and off the shelf USB keyboard and mouse will be a viable alternative to a Windows PC.
  • by iamghetto ( 450099 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @03:45AM (#15328664) Homepage
    Main point:

    Nintendo Wii has its virtual console where classic Nintendo, Sega, and Turbographix 16 games can be played. Xbox 360 has Xbox Live Arcade where users can download classic games and play them on their console. And what does PS3 have? Homebrew. With homebrew will come access to everything availabe on Nintendo's Virtual Console and the 360's Live Arcade and much more. Documentation is freely available on how to code for the Cell, and it bet it would take all of 6 months to have MAME, Snes9x, Reailty64, FCE Ultra (NES), Gens and everything else up and running on it. Underhanded? Sure is. But you know it will happen. And I for one will be thrilled about it.

    Other points:

    - I think Sony also realizes that by allowing homebrews on Linux, they'll due themselves a favor by stifling people trying to hack the system. Most system hacks come from hackers who want to run homebrew apps on a system (case and point, the 360 has been hacked, but since the hack can only be used to pirate games, they've not released the source code). So by giving people the ability to run homebrews outright, they'll immediately cut down on hacking and (i think) in dear themselves to a lot of users.

    - PS2 linux failed because (as mentioned in these comments) was not a very serious nor technically mature effort by Sony. It was more of a proof of concept than anything. Sony barely talked about, and they certainly never bragged about it. They released it in 2002 and discontinued it 2003. With only 32MB of RAM (not to mention the processing power) there was limited use for the system as much more of a gimmick. Not many of you would've actively been running a poorly optimized version of linux on a slow pc with only 32MB of memory, so I mean, you can't blame Sony for not sticking with it long term as supporting it. The product had limited use. Like a car that could only drive 30 miles at a time.

    - Fast forward to 2006, and Sony has publicly stated the PS3's intent to run Linux (and potentialy Mac OS X- . Sony & Apple have talked about teaming up, and with OS X on PS3 they could both stick it nemesis Microsoft). The PS3 has a total of 512MB of RAM, more than enough to run Linux properly, and in additional to that it has a processor that easily twice as fast (probably more) than the fastest PC desktop processor available. IBM already has a Linux kernel compiled and running on the Cell, so this notion of PS3+LINUX is -today- far more reality than fiction. With its built-in hdd (once, maybe still, rumored to ship -with- linux preinstalled) the PS3 could be a fully functional, very useful computer.

    - When you look at it (or at least when I do) for $500-$600 you would have seriously powerful PC, Console, and Blu-Ray disc player. I realize that's more than some people want, but it's everything I'd like to see in the system.
  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @04:50AM (#15328801)
    PS3 is a very expensive console. $599 or $699. That's a lot of money for a console. Now, what Sony should do is to provide a lot of functionlaity for that money. What could they do?

    a) Make it a good DVD/Blu-Ray player. Yes, PS2 and Xbox can play back DVD's. But they are not very good at it. Make the PS3 actually a good DVD-player, and consumers have no reason to buy a separate DVD-player.

    b) Make it a computer. People still need computers. And while Cell might not be ideal for general-purpose computing, it should still be fast enough. So put Linux in the PS3, make it easy for the consumer to use it. They could use it for email, surfing, word-processing and the like. So the consumer has no need to buy a separate computer that costs several hundred dollars. And, this way Sony can attack Microsoft on it's home-turf. If the PS3-Computer" fails, no big deal. If it succeeds, it hurts MS where it counts (Widnows and Office. Less money to put to their console-business).

    If sony does thosetwo things, they could say (truthfully) that Why buy a console that costs 499 dollars, and then buy a computer that costs 699 dollars and DVD-player that costs 109 sollars, when you could jsut buy a PS3 for 699 dollars and be done with it?
  • It's starting to look like the PS3's primary goal is to ship Blu-Ray players. They're using the gaming console simply as a means to that end.
    Licensing the Next Big Media Format(tm) could provide at least as much revenue as the entire PS3 gaming market would. Trying to establish Blu-Ray as the standard would be a goal worthy enough for Sony to break some former believes in order to get the Blu-Ray format in homes.

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