The latest firmware upgrade for the bios apparently prevents any operating systems (such as Ubuntu) from being installed. So please avoid getting the new bios Also please complain to Sony! April 2010 .
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS HELP PAGE IS OUT OF DATE. UBUNTU 8.10 HAS BEEN RELEASED AND A PS3 VERSION IS AVAILABLE FOR UBUNTU. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND UNTIL THIS PAGE IS UPDATED!
The PlayStation 3 is a video game console created by Sony Corp. Aside from playing games, it also offers an option to install other operating systems such as Linux. This page gives instructions on how to install Xubuntu, Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Edubuntu onto a PlayStation 3. The instructions contained in this page will work if you have the PlayStation 3 firmware version 1.60 and a few later versions but not any firmware from March 2010 onwards!!
Firmware update 3.21 (April 1st 2010) removed the "Other OS" option, you either have the choice to play on PSN or install Linux, you can no longer do both.
Numerous workarounds have been discussed for both windows and Linux systems these involve using a third party DNS server to fool the Playstation into thinking it has no firmware update and allowing it to sign into PSN without being forced to update, see "References" for guides.
Users of standard definition TVs are recommended to use the alternate installer discs to install Ubuntu as you will have a very low resolution to go through the installer wizard of the desktop installer discs.
There are archived links for feisty if wanted below this section which includes the 7.10 release port for the PS3. The first address is the alternate followed by the desktop versions.
Once you have downloaded the CD images, burn the images onto a CD.
The links below are where the Live-CD images are located. Download the Ubuntu distribution you intend to install on the PlayStation 3. Note that unofficial updated installation discs for Ubuntu Feisty Fawn were made. A link is provided to those discs followed by the address for the official installation discs.
Once you have downloaded the CD images, burn the images onto a CD.
NOTE: There is currently a problem with the desktop installer (Bug 106683). You will have to manually setup the partitions during the setup, else the entire system will lock up during the setup wizard. When manually setting up the partitions, select 10GB for the main partition and setup the rest to be used for the swap area (i.e. filesystem type SWAP). You may well find that the Other OS partition (which appears as sda in the installer) has no partition table, in which case you will need to let the installer create one. This is fine and doesn't overwrite the real partition table on the PS3 disk (sda is a virtual disk created by the PS3 for Other OSes)
Prepare the PlayStation 3
WARNING: These next operations WILL ERASE EVERYTHING on your PlayStation 3. Be sure to back up the data that you want to restore later once you've formatted the PlayStation 3 hard drive (i.e. your game save data, configuration data, etc.).
In the XMB of the PlayStation 3, go to [Settings] > [System Settings] > [Format Utility] > [Format Hard Disk].
- In the following prompt, choose "Yes".
- Next choose "Custom" to choose a custom partition setting.
At the following prompt, choose "Allot 10GB to the Other OS" to choose 10GB of hard drive space for use with the other OS. (NOTE: You may also choose to "Allot 10GB to the PS3" however it is not necessary as 10GB is enough to run Ubuntu.)
- At the next prompt, choose "Quick Format". (Choosing "Full Format" will take longer to complete than a "Quick Format.")
Once you choose a partition setting from the previous step, the PlayStation 3 will format the entire drive and create two partitions, one for the XMB and the other for use with the other OS. Once formatting is completed, the PlayStation 3 will prompt you to restart the system. Press "X" on the controller and your system will reboot.
Install kboot and Boot into the Live CD
Insert the CD you burned the Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or Edubuntu image into the PlayStation 3.
In the XMB, go to [Settings] > [System Settings] > [Install Other OS].
The "otheros.bld" file will be detected on the CD by the PlayStation 3. Press "X" on the controller to select "OK" which is automatically highlighted at this prompt. After selecting "OK", the kboot boot loader will be installed.
In the XMB, go to [Settings] > [System Settings] > [Default System].
- Choose "Other OS" as the default.
- At the following prompt you will be asked if you want to boot into the Other OS now. Choose "Yes."
The PlayStation 3 will restart and boot into a command line prompt. The prompt will look like this.
- At this prompt just hit enter. A live session of either Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or Edubuntu will run (depending on what Ubuntu derivative you burned onto the CD).
At this point you will have a complete desktop session of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or Edubuntu running off the CD on your PlayStation 3. From here you may choose to do a hard drive installation. Just double-click on the "Install" icon and a wizard will guide you through the setup process.
Booting Back to the XMB
To boot back into the PlayStation 3 XMB, you must be at the kboot prompt. At the prompt, type "boot-game-os".
An alternative in case the above doesn't work is to turn off the PlayStation 3. Then hold down the power button on the PS3 until the PS3 beeps twice. The PS3 will boot into the XMB and prompt you to choose the default video setting.
Alternate Install Discs
There are alternate (non-live) install CDs available for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu. They are located at the following addresses.
NOTE: At this moment there is a bug (Bug 106694) that may leave you at the initramfs prompt instead of booting into Ubuntu. After installing Ubuntu, at the kboot prompt, type:
/boot/vmlinux initrd=/boot/initrd.img root=/dev/sda1
This will get you booted into Ubuntu. A quick fix for this issue so that you don't have to type the above command to boot into Ubuntu everytime you boot is to go into a terminal session and type the following.
sudo sed -e 's/sdd1/sda1/' -i /etc/kboot.conf
Below is what the system's /etc/kboot.conf should contain.
message=/etc/kboot.msg default=linux timeout=100 linux='/boot/vmlinux initrd=/boot/initrd.img root=/dev/sda1 quiet splash' old='/boot/vmlinux.old initrd=/boot/initrd.img.old root=/dev/sda1 quiet splash'
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 VESA 11:WXGA 12:SXGA 13:WUXGA full screen mode: <video mode ID> + 128 dither ON mode : <video mode ID> + 2048
Playing Blu-Ray Films
It should be possible to play Blu Ray film under Linux in a manner similar to HD DVD (which shares the same ineffective DRM restrictions). See Blu-Ray and HD DVD.
Here is a list of known bugs that affect these distros with the PlayStation 3.
Bug 102044: Kernel floods log and console with error messages from the card readers.
Bug 106683: Setup will cause the system to lock up unless you manually configure the system's partitions.
Bug 106694: After installing with an alternate CD, you will go no further from the initramfs prompt unless you type /boot/vmlinux initrd=/boot/initrd.img root=/dev/sda1 at the kboot prompt.
If you find other bugs or problems with Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or Edubuntu running on the PlayStation 3, please report them following the instructions at http://wiki.ubuntu.com/ReportingBugs.
Testing Gutsy Gibbon
If you want to prevent the same kind of bugs (especially the installation and initial setup bugs) that affected the Feisty Fawn PS3 installation discs, start testing out the Gutsy Gibbon PS3 installation discs now before the release of Gutsy Gibbon. It helps to report bugs early before the release dates of any Ubuntu distro. Below are the links to download a daily snapshot of the installation discs.
Note: None of these images are currently expected to work at all. See Bug 120295 for details.
Alternate Installation CDs
http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html - Open Platform for PLAYSTATION 3
http://manuals.playstation.net/document/en/ps3/current/index.html - PLAYSTATION 3 System Software User's Guide
http://3004.pokemonger.com/showthread.php?tid=21 - How to keep the "Other OS" option, and still use PSN after April 1st 2010 (3.21 Firmware)