The tried and true free operating system approach is now making its way over to the PS3 as well in the form of Yellow Dog Linux 5.0. Linux, for those that aren’t aware, is a free operating system that many computers run on. It is not nearly as popular as Windows, but it has a huge following. Yes it is free, but it also extremely stable and reliable even though there is not a direct support mechanism for it. How can that be? Well, it is an “open source” software platform. What that means is that the source code itself is freely available for programmers anywhere in the world to contribute to in order to refine and improve it. For many programmers this is a personal challenge and the end result is a very stable and reliable free operating system. But what does all of this have to do with a the PS3 and is a free PS3 operating system really beneficial to you?
First of all, the free part can be a bit miss-represented. Up until recently there was a $100 packaging fee to obtain the software, but now it is truly available for free online. Even so, you will need to be highly skilled and willing you risk your product warranty and guarantee to even enter into this world of putting a free PS3 operating system onto you gaming box. For many, that price alone makes it an unattractive proposition at best. Secondly, the amount of time necessary to get everything working and configured can easily take dozens of hours – or be completely impossible – depending upon your level of technical knowledge and experience with Linux in general and more specifically system level configurations.
But let’s assume you have no trouble with any of that and that you could have you free PS3 operating system up and running in a day without a hitch – would you want to? What would be the benefit? This is a bit of a fuzzy area. In one respect it is because of exploits like this that some of these systems really take off in the gaming community. Someone finds a way to expose certain angles and then a whole bunch of neat and speciality software starts cropping up from under the woodwork. This is, however, a very special and limited crowd of purchasers. To most PS3 owners the fact that a free PS3 OS is available will have little or no significance whatsoever. Put it this way. If you have to ask “why would I want to do you this?” then the likely fact is that you wouldn’t.
The benefits today of spending your time and effort converting a highly specialized gaming computer into a desktop computer are questionable at best, especially when you factor in the likely void in your warranty and support. However, there will always be those who like to challenge the establishment and that is what this project currently serves as – a proof that it can be done. In the future, there may be some meaningful reasons, but right now it is largely an experiment in feasibility.