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[Tutorial] How to Configure & Install the Debian GNU/Linux squeeze on Playstation3 (PS3)


        Preface: the Playstation3 is a kick ass machine/computer! It has a CELL processor and 256 mb ram (plus 256, from the video card, used as ram); it is a power tool that can run Linux perfectly well and stable! I've tested many Linux distributions (Yellow Dog Linux 6.1, Gentoo ppc64, Fedora11, Ubuntu and some others); Debian squeeze PowerPC64 and Slackintosh are the champions of performance and stability! I'll try to explain how to install and configure the Debian squeeze PowerPC64, in a simple way! It isn't a hard procedure; just follow this step-by-step tutorial.

       I) Its mandatory to own a:
Playstation3;
USB keyboard;
USB pendrive / USB memory stick;
Debian's GNU/Linux PowerPC64(ppc64) squeeze daily CD/DVD;
Network connection(easier to do with a wired connection / non-wireless);
Video(TV or monitor that has, at least, 480p or 480i support).
       Ia) Non-mandatory, but recommended:
USB mouse;
USB external Hard Disk;
USB HUB 2.0;

       II) Preparation:
Download Debian squeeze PowerPC64(ppc64)  install CD and burn it;
Copy the vmlinux file to the root (/) of your USB pendrive;
Copy the otheros.bld file to the USB Pendrive, in a folder called /PS3/otheros/  (PS3 in UPPERCASE);
Copy the xorg.conf file to the root (/) of your USB Pendrive;

       III) PS3's Preparation:
It is necessary to format the PS3's HD! Beware! Make a backup of your games/savegames. To format your PS3's HD, do as I suggest:
On your PS3's  menu, go to Settings, then to System Settings and then,  Format Utility; select Format Hard Disk, select Yes; then, select, Custom and Allocate 10GB to the other OS. Select Quick Format; when it finnishes, press X on your PS3 controller to restart the system. It's done!
After the reboot, go to Settings, System Settings and Install Other OS. Plug your USB Pendrive with the file otheros.bld  in the  /PS3/otheros/
dir. The system will tell you that the file has been found! Select Start. When  it shows the Install Completed message, press O on your PS3 Controller.
Now, go to Settings, then System Settings 'n then, Default System. Select OtherOS. Select Yes.

       IV)Installing the Debian GNU/Linux squeeze ppc:
Insert the Debian's CD on your PS3 drive. Keep plugged your USB Pendrive and plug your USB Keyboard.
The kboot shall recognize all your devices. I'll use the kboot, instead of the Petitboot, cause kboot has more tools than the Petitboot one.
After some seconds, shall be shown the kboot's prompt, as follows:
kboot:
Nowlets find where is mounted your precious USB Pendrive. At the kboot's prompt type: (You'll aways type what is written in red):
kboot:   cat  /proc/partitions   |   grep   sd
              8      0     1986560     sda
              8      0     1986560     sda1
Look for something like sdXY. For me, it was on sda1. PS: keep/memorize this address!!!
To start the installation, type:
kboot:   sda1:/vmlinux     initrd=/install/powerpc64/initrd.gz    video=720pf
Where video=720pf is the video mode to be used. Ex:  1080if, 1080pf, 720if, 720pf, 480if, 480pf. Use the highest value that your monitor/TV can handle!
If you did as I told, we are now at the Debian's squeeze install screen!!!

       V) System's base install:
Select the language as English--English  and press ENTER; select your country(or area). Example: other / South America / Bra$il;
Select  your USB keyboard layout as American English (later, it will be reconfigured);
The installer will show a screen asking: "Continue the install without loading kernel modules?". Select <Yes>.
Everything will run ok, until it prompts for:
Hostname:
Type, as an example, debianPS3 and select <Continue>  ENTER;
Now, it will prompt for:
Domain name:
Type your network's domain name. Example: HOME   ; select <Continue> ENTER;
Select your TimeZone. Example: Sao Paulo  ENTER;
It will prompt: "Logical Volume Manager not available".  Select <Continue>ENTER;
Select Guided partitioning, and then Guided - use entire disk; then /dev/ps3da  -  10.7GB. Now, select All files in one partition;
Select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk ;
Prolly, we shall have:
    partition  #1    of     /dev/ps3da   as    ext3
    partition  #5    of     /dev/ps3da   as    swap
Selecione <Yes> to Write Changes to disk ;
The installation will begin. Wait some 3 minutes;
Now, it will prompt: "No installation kernel was found ..."   Select <Yes>  ENTER;
Now its time to type your super-user password(root's pass). DO NOT FORGET THIS PASSWORD!!!
Re-type the same password: ********* and Press ENTER;
Now, type your full name. Press ENTER;
Confirm or type your desired Username (name/login of your common user account);
Type a password for your common user and press ENTER;
Re-type the same pass: ********** and press ENTER;
Now, we will have to choose the mirros! Do not skip this step:
Select the country where you live (or the closest one). Example: Bra$il;
Now, select the mirror. Example:   debian.las.ic.unicamp.br
If you need, type your Proxy settings. If you don't, press ENTER (for me, ENTER);
The installer will scan the mirror and download some files! Wait (won't take a long time);
The installer will install the downloaded files. Wait;
It will prompt for: "Configuring popularity-contest". Select <No> ENTER;
Now, it will prompt for: "Software Selection".  Select  ONLY 'Standard System'. To remove the 'Desktop Environment' select it with the downside arrow and press the SPACEBAR. After its removal, press ENTER;
It will install more files! Wait some 5 minutes;
It will finally prompt for: "Continue without bootloader". Select <Continue> ENTER.
Now, its time to restart the system! Press ENTER. The Debian GNU/Linux was succesfully installed. Store your CD-Rom. KEEP the USB pendrive plugged;

        VI) 1st time boot:
At the kboot's prompt, type:
kboot:   sda1:/vmlinux     root=/dev/ps3da1    video=720pf
where sda1 is your pendrive's mount point; video=720pf is the video mode, substitute this values as needed;
After the system's start, a prompt will show (as below):
Debian  GNU/Linux   squeeze/sid    debianPS3    tty1
debianPS3    login:
Type  root ENTER, and then, type your  root's password  ENTER;
PS: when you see, in this tutorial, debianPS3:~#  (blue color and inside a table's cell), the command shall be executed at the system's prompt;
Now we will configure the keyboard. Type (aways type what is written in red letters...):
debianPS3:~#   dpkg-reconfigure  console-data
Select 'Select keymap from full list' and press ENTER;
Select your USB keyboard's map. For me it is:
keyboard selection menu
pc  /   qwerty   /    Brazilian   /    Standard   /    Standard ABNT2.  Pressione
ENTER;
If it shows some error message, don't bother with it! :-)
Now its time to customize your system and time to install a new kernel for it!!!

      
VIa) Updating the Debian's  squeeze database:
If you did it all, as I told, type, now:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude update
'N then;
debianPS3:~#   aptitude dist-upgrade
Aptitude is the Debian's package manager. It will be used a lot in this tutorial; now that your system is updated, type:
debianPS3:~#   cd   /root
And then, type:
debianPS3:~#   nano     .bashrc
Remove the # of the following lines of the .bashrc file:
export  LS_OPTIONS
eval     "'dircolors'"
alias    ls='ls.................'
Press"Ctrl   x"  ENTER;   "Ctrl   o"; Now we have a terminal with dir colors!!!


       
VIb) To compile and install a brand new kernel(E.Z. mode method):
Type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude install links
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd  /usr/src
Now, type:
debianPS3:~#   links    www.kernel.org/pub/linux/v2.6/
Press the Down Arrow key(or Page Down) untill you find:
    linux-2.6.30.tar.bz2
kernel downloadin screen
Press the "d" key and press ENTER. Wait until its finnished (the download)
When it ends, press "q" and ENTER. Type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude install bzip2
Type:
debianPS3:~#   tar  xvf  linux-2.6.30.tar.bz2
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd   linux-2.6.30/
Type:
debianPS3:~#   wget   http://ps3linux.radiolivre.org/files/config-2.6.30
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cp   config-2.6.30    .config
(dont forget the   .   before the config)
Type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude  install  gcc-4.4   gcc  ncurses-dev
Press"y" ENTER;
Type:
debianPS3:~#   make  menuconfig
Select 'Load an Alternate Configuration File' and press ENTER;
Select 'Save an Alternate Configuration File' and press ENTER twice;
Press the RightSide Arrow, select 'Exit'  and press ENTER;
Now type:
debianPS3:~#   make   &&  make  modules_install
Wait some 56 minutes and 55 seconds :-P
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cp   vmlinux   /boot/vmlinux-2.6.30-dimebag
And, finally, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude  install  build-essential  initramfs-tools

        VIc) Configuring the startup scripts:

Now we have to edit the kboot.conf. Just type:
debianPS3:~#   nano  /etc/kboot.conf
Insert the following lines on it:
default=debian
timeout=15
debian='/boot/vmlinux-2.6.30-dimebag   root=/dev/ps3da1   quiet   video=ps3fb:mode:131   rhgb'

Press "Ctrl  o" ENTER  and then,  "Ctrl  x". Done!
PS: the value mode:131 is equal to 720pf. To change it to satisfy your TV/Monitor needs, use the table below:
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
For me: 131 = 128 + 3, it means: Full Screen 'n 720p.

Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd   /etc/
And then, type::
debianPS3:~#   wget   http://ps3linux.radiolivre.org/files/fstab

        VId) Downloading the ps3-utils package:
Digite:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   ps3-utils    ps3pf-utils

        VIe) Configuring the sound:
Type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   alsa   alsa-base
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd  /etc/
Type:
debianPS3:~#   mkdir  alsa
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd  alsa/
Type:
debianPS3:~#   mkdir   cards
Then, type:
debianPS3:~#   cp   /usr/share/alsa/cards/PS3.conf    /etc/alsa/cards/
Finally, type:
debianPS3:~#   nano  /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base-blacklist.conf  
Edit the file, adding the following lines on it:
blacklist   snd-pcsp
blacklist   snd_usb_audio
blacklist   snd_usb_lib

        VIf) How to make your PS3's RAM twice as big:
This dirty trick I learned with the help of my friend Rafael (the miracle man)! You can use the PlayStation3 video RAM as a regular RAM, which I approve! You'll use the video RAM as an extra swap!
To double your RAM, follow these tips:
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd   /etc/rc2.d/
Type:
debianPS3:~#   wget   http://ps3linux.radiolivre.org/files/S98ps3-vram-swap
Finally, type:
debianPS3:~#   chmod   +x   S98ps3-vram-swap
It's done!!! It's time to Reboot. Remove your USB pendrive and insert, if you own one, an USB mouse.
Press "Ctrl   Alt   Del"!
Now you have a working and installed system! Congratzzz :-)

       
        VIIa) Installing the graphic interface:
PS: one USB mouse is an extremelly hot deal for this;
Log in as root 'n type your root's pass;
Then, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude  install  xserver-xorg-video-fbdev   xfonts-base   x11-server-utils
Type::
debianPS3:~#   cd   /etc/X11/
Type::
debianPS3:~#   wget  http://ps3linux.radiolivre.org/files/xorg.conf
Type:
debianPS3:~#   nano   xorg.conf
Change the below lines: (on Section   "InputDevice"      Identifier     "Generic Keyboard")
       Option  "XkbModel"     "abnt2'
       Option  "XkbLayout"    "br"
To suit your needs!!!!

Now, type:

debianPS3:~#   X
You'll see one screen  with a mouse cursor! Move the mouse to test it;
Press "Ctrl  Alt  Backspace" to go back to the terminal.

      
VIIb) Installing one Desktop Environment:
There are dozens of pre-compilled Desktops for the Debian! I recommend some light on/low memory ones, like the E16 or the XFce4.
To install the XFce4, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   xfce4   xfce4-appfinder   xdm
Done! Reboot the system!!!

       
        VIII) Installing some common applications:

If you followed this step-by-step tutorial, we are the xdm login manager now!
Press "Ctrl   Alt   F1" to go back to the terminal screen. Type 'root' press ENTER.  Type your root's password and press ENTER;
To install the basic system's packages, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   locate   gpm   unrar-free    unace   ark    openssh-server   xterm
To install a network (wired and wireless)manager, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   wicd    wireless-tools    wpasupplicant
To install a browser, type(it is the Debian's Firefox):
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   iceweasel
To install media players, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   mplayer   mplayer-dbg   mplayer-doc   smplayer   mozilla-mplayer   xine-ui   xine-plugin   amarok-engine-xine
To install a damn good user manager, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   kuser
To install an internet messenger (msn, jabber, icq, etc) type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   pidgin   pidgin-data   pidgin-dbg   pidgin-plugin-pack   pidgin-hotkeys
To install Office and an image editor, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   openoffice.org   gimp   gimp-plugin-registry
To install Torrent/Peer-to-Peer managers, type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   ktorrent   amule    amule-utils-gui
To install the flash / flash player for the Iceweasel, do as follows:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   install   gnash   mozilla-plugin-gnash
Type:
debianPS3:~#   cd    /usr/lib/iceweasel/
Type:
debianPS3:~#   mkdir   plugins
Type, now:
debianPS3:~#   cd   /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/
Finally, type:
debianPS3:~#   cp   *    /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins/
Press "Ctrl  Alt  F7"  log on with your common user (not the root one)ENTER; type your user's pass ENTER;
Get on the Iceweasel Browser(Menu XFce, Internet, Iceweasel), select 'Tools', 'Add-ons', go to the tab  'Get  Add-ons'.  Type "Flash" and download the 'Flash Video Resources Downloader'. Click 'Add  to Iceweasel' 'n then, 'Install Now'. Restart the Iceweasel;
To download Youtube videos, as an example, open the video's homepage, click on the bottom right corner of your browser(blue icon). Follow the instructions that will  be shown on a New Tab! Done!

Finally, press "Ctrl   Alt   F1";
Log as root / root's pass, if necessary;
Type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   safe-upgrade
Type:
debianPS3:~#   aptitude   clean
For thelast time, type:
debianPS3:~#   updatedb
You just did it!!! Congratulations!
Now you have a kick ass system on your PS3! Be ready to pwn!!!
I hope this guide has helped you to install and configure the Debian GNU/Linux ppc64 squeeze on your mighty PlayStation3!


PS3s with Debian (squeeze powerpc64) Benchmarks here


Below, some pics of the Debian squeeze running XFce4 and some apps:

ps3 desk
My desk, my mess :-)


desktop1_amarok
desktop2_pidgin
desktop3_iceweasel(firefox)
desktop4_file-manager_xterm