Background and preparation
You will need:-
- TV/Monitor hooked up with HDMI or Component (min. 720p resolution)
- Computer with internet and DVD burner
- USB keyboard and mouse
- USB pen-drive/thumb-drive
- Patience (and lots of it!)
Linux on Sony hardware has been done before, but not to any great success. Some of you may remember that the PS2 could run a strange version of the open source OS with a bought package that gave you a 40GB HDD, a keyboard and a mouse. However, it did not allow for any functionality of the DVD-ROM because Sony thought you might start using your PS2 to rip off all their games.
There was a lot of noise in the beginning of the PS3's marketing-hype-launch that the console would have Linux pre-loaded, but Sony came to their senses when they realized how much more work that was going to be for them. So we are left to figure this one out for ourselves. But don't cry; Sony has not left us completely in the dark! The XMB menu system has an option to partition the hard disk and install another operating system which I will be guiding you through the use of in this how-to.
There are several options as to which distributions of Linux you can install; OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora8, Gentoo and Debian. We will be going with just one of these, the one that Sony itself recommends to install; Yellow Dog Linux (or YDL for short). This distribution is a mutated child of Fedora with a lot of tweaks and patches to make it play nice with the PS3s hardware.
The Version of YDL we will install here is 5.0.1, and it is freely available from http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/support/downloads/. Version 6.0 is out already, however you have to pay for it or wait until March 8th for it to be released on their public download mirrors. Follow the link and download the 5.0.1 image from a mirror server that is closest to you; click the link and then open the directory that says "ISO". Scroll down until you find "yellowdog-5.0.1-phoenix-20070511-PS3.iso", either click it to start a download or drop it into any download manager you happen to be using. Once you have downloaded the image then you must burn it to a DVD+R.
Now it's time to make some space on your PS3! - Plug in your USB keyboard and mouse and make sure they work by using both of them to navigate around the XMB menu system. Feels weird, doesn't it? - Now, before we begin with the formatting and re-partitioning, back up all your save games to the USB thumb drive; I don't want to be e-mailed complaints that you lost your progress on Guitar Hero 3 because you didn't read that you need to back your stuff up on a pen-drive before formatting the hard disk!
Once your saves are safely on an external medium, navigate in the XMB to :-
System > Format drive > PS3 HDD
Custom > 10GB to PS3 (Rest goes to the new OS)
Your PS3 will restart after this, and you'll notice that your log-in and account data are all still there; that is because it's stored in a different place along with the XMB firmware. Once you have logged back in, insert the Linux DVD and go to :-
System > Install other OS
Let it search and it will find "otheros.bld" on the DVD; install that.
Now back in System, select :-
Default System > Other OS
The PS3 will now always boot to the other operating system. If you have trouble getting back into the XMB operating system, turn off the PS3 and turn it on again, but hold your finger down on the power button and it will boot up into XMB with the video settings re-set to low resolution. Alternatively, in the "Kboot:" prompt you can type "boot-game-os".