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Linux on PS3 part 2: Live and Loud

OK, I promised I would post more today, but these updates are taking a little longer than I thought! So today's update focuses on booting Linux from a live CD instead of installing it. Tomorrow I'll tackle the last step of putting it on your hard drive.

What you'll need:
A blank CD-R
USB mouse and keyboard

Before you go around deleting files and partitioning your hard drive, don't you want to know what you're getting into? A live CD will allow you to run the Linux operating system completely from a CD so you can try it out before you make any permanent changes.

Step 1. Download the 677MB Ubuntu 7.04 live CD file at [download link 1] or [download link 2] and burn it to a disc.

Step 2. With the live CD in your PS3, go to Settings > System Settings > Install Other OS. You won't really be installing the operating system at this point, but just play along. The PS3 should locate another operating system on the disc at PS3/otheros/otheros.bld; install it. Connect the USB mouse and keyboard to the PS3 at this point.

Step 3. After it's done, you'll get a message that says to boot this OS, go to Settings > System Settings > Default System and change your default system from PS3 to Other OS. Once you do so, you'll be given the option to quit and restart.

Step 4. When you restart, you'll be greeted with a prompt. Hit enter, and wait a few minutes for Ubuntu to boot up. You're almost in!

A few notes to read while you're waiting for Ubuntu to start up.
- The first note is that it will take a few minutes for Ubuntu to start up, because it's running entirely from a CD. If you install Ubuntu to your PS3's hard drive, load times are approximately equal to a typical Windows machine.
- The second note is the resolution. If you are using an HDTV, the whole screen won't be filled. There is a way to get full-screen 720p and 1080p support, though; see the end of this article.
- The version of Ubuntu you are installing is Ubuntu 7.04, known as Feisty Fawn. There is a newer version, but 7.04FF is less buggy. If you choose to install, you'll be able to upgrade the OS later on. Ubuntu is easy for new users, supports HDMI out from the PS3, and has an active developer community, which are a few of the reasons I chose it.
- You can find another install tutorial at the Ubuntu PS3 page. It's not exactly wrong, but it can be misleading. I speak from experience...

Step 5. OK, now that Linux is up and running, have fun playing around. When you're done, click the power icon in the upper right and choose "Shut Down". There's a bug where the PS3 won't power off when the operating system has shut down, so hold down the power button for about 10 seconds. The PS3 should power off after the second beep. Only use the power switch on the back of the PS3 to shut it down if the first method does not work.

Step 6. Boot the PS3 back up. What the... this damn prompt again? This time at the prompt, instead of hitting enter, type the following (not including quotation marks): "boot-game-os" and then hit enter. You'll see the message "boot flag changed" and from now on the PS3 will boot into the XMB. If you want to boot back into Linux, repeat step 3.

With a live CD, Linux gives you a free hit and keep you coming back for more. Except unlike crack, the "more" is also free. Keep in mind that Linux has a robust library of applications you won't be able to install when you're running from the live CD, but it does come with most of the basics.

I'll see you tomorrow with the final installment; full screen commands below for anyone who wants them.
Depending on what video output you are using for your PS3, you may need to boot the installer with a different video mode. To do this, type install video=ps3fb:mode:X at the kboot prompt, where X is (from ps3-video-mode):

0:auto mode
YUV 60Hz 1:480i 2:480p 3:720p 4:1080i 5:1080p
YUV 50Hz 6:576i 7:576p 8:720p 9:1080i 10:1080p
RGB 60Hz 33:480i 34:480p 35:720p 36:1080i 37:1080p
RGB 50Hz 38:576i 39:576p 40:720p 41:1080i 42:1080p

full screen mode:

From here.

So, for example, if I want to boot my PS3 into 720p fullscreen on my LCD TV, at the start-up prompt I type the following (not including quotation marks): "video=ps3fb:mode:131". You add the 128 to your setting number, rather than actually typing "+128" after it. Setting 3 + 128 = 131.
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About MaxVestone of us since 9:23 PM on 06.03.2007

It's only a model...

Uncommon, some wear on the edges.

First game: TI Invaders (Space Invaders knock-off) for the TI-99 "home computer". Either that or the Pac-Man built into the glass-top tables at Mr. Gatti's Pizza.
First console: NES
First world-altering game secret: JUSTIN BAILEY
First Arcade: Aladdin's Palace
First "mature" game: Leisure Suit Larry
First PC: 386SX 16 mHz w/40 MB HDD, Win 3.0, & 640x480 VGA baby!
First FPS: Wolfenstein 3D
First game mastered: Street Fighter II Turbo - Hyper Fighting (SNES)
First LAN deathmatch: Duke Nukem 3D
Great Game Reawakening: Living in an apartment with all sixth generation consoles and 3 gaming rigs.

New Systems: Wii, DS.
Somehow now owns: PS3
Randomly owns: SEGA Nomad, Game Gear, Genesis II, Sega CD
Cannot afford but is thinking about intercepting return RROD coffin: Xbox 360.
Currently playing: Rock Band, Zack & Wiki, Unreal Tournament III