Hackers restore OtherOS functionality to PS3

When Sony removed the PlayStation 3's OtherOS functionality almost nine months ago, they were subjected to a torrent of disapproval for their actions. Now, the sought-after feature has returned. Hackers have managed to restore the ability to install Linux on their Playstation 3 consoles again, though it does require an already-modified PlayStation 3 console in order to use the 'OtherOS' feature again. ArsTechnica has managed to uncover more than just the restoration of the feature; they have also managed to find one of the sites where such a hack can be explained and performed.

The installation of Linux upon Sony's console is difficult to follow for those inexperienced with the advanced terminology and handling the modified PS3 console. The actual installation of OtherOS through this method brings the following features:

  • Integrated OtherOS bootloader.
  • OtherOS bootloader is started directly from hard drive without the need for GameOS.
  • Process of booting OtherOS is similar to that of Firmware 3.15.
  • Linux can be booted from the hard drive, a network, or a USB drive.
  • Linux has GameOS rights.
  • Full access is given to system critical files for the console via both Linux and GameOS.

Other features are listed both on the 'official site' distributing the hack, and on the ArsTechnica webpage. The 'official site' that is restoring the feature leaves the following messages on their homepage, clearly directed at Sony:

One small steps for devs, one giant kick in the nuts for Sony Corp.

My hardware, my rules.
I brought back what you took away.

As with any modification, you should do so at the risk of potentially rendering your device inoperable. 

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20 Comments

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Absolutely pointless then and now. That is why Sony removed the "feature" in the first place. Although for me I find the PS3 of little use I can't even remember the last time I even turn the thing on.

"they have also managed to find one of the sites where such a hack can be explained and performed."

psx-scene.com what's so hard about finding that site?

the only access to the RSX was using the VRAM as swap, since the PS3 only has 256 of RAM, I do not see it going any further than that, I did tinker with linux on the PS3, and even though it have potential, it was a nightmare just to get flash to work (via gnash since adobe has yet to release a PPC version past flash 7)

people have installed windows via virtual PC, and even windows XP took ages to load, and any app loaded would take 4 or 5 minutes to fully load.

without full RSX access, the PS3 was equivlant to a pentium 3 733mhz with 256MB of RAM and a standard VGA card with no driver, not to mention with the expection of a few select applications it only used 1 core of the SPU, there was a program that would use the other 5, but very few programs actually used them in conjunction with it.

in the end it wasnt really worth it

Eugene C said,
I wonder if the US Air Force (or was it Navy? I don't remember...) have heard...

Why would they care? They already have their collection of PS3s with Linux on them.

testman said,

Why would they care? They already have their collection of PS3s with Linux on them.

but this here is a more powerful implementation of Linux than what originally came with their PS3's

All this work so that you can basically " paint a house with a broom '. Sure, it can be done, but it isn't very practical and there are much better options you could choose from to really use.

It won't run on 3.60 firmwares YET. Saying it won't run on normal PS3's is a lie. It will - but nobody has the gull to further drive sony's ego into the ground and face the multitude of sony lawsuits they throw out like candy in a parade for releasing any exploits/hacks/work-arounds/keys needed.

This has been possible since the jailbreak/private public key leak, but not at THIS level (on boot selection, no gameOS needed, etc). The PS3 is a powerhouse aside from its low amount of available ram. Encoding blurays and networking would be a blast on that thing.

Thinking about doing a side by side comparison of PS3 V3.15 fatty with OtherOS and a slim with this version. See which boots faster, which benchmarks better.. Its almost a no brainer that this implementation would be incredibly more powerful than any OtherOS functionality sony implemented.

Im glad that someone worked on this and released it publically. I only wish there was a 'OtherOS 3.60 firmware flash released that would re-instate this into a 3.60 boot so you could boot this or 3.60

When sony releases a newer firmware and 3.60 is 'obsolete' im sure we will see things. This all hinges on how sony restore the PSN as that will be the next firmware update.

Would be interesting in a geeky way, to install Windows 7 on a PS3 and a 360, and compare Windows Experience Indexes :-)

nub said,
Not going to happen unless you run it through a virtual machine

I know it's not going to happen, lots of things I'd be interested in seeing what are like, are never going to happen.

Fus10n said,
This means we can run Ubuntu and XBMC with full graphics!

Are you sure about that? The RSX driver has not been created yet so no graphics acceleration atm. I don't know if software emulation suffices for all codecs running on the ps3.

schizo_ said,

Are you sure about that? The RSX driver has not been created yet so no graphics acceleration atm. I don't know if software emulation suffices for all codecs running on the ps3.

Hopefully someone will make that driver!