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Hardware Hacking Open Source PlayStation (Games) Sony Games Hardware Linux

Using Kexec Allows Starting Linux In PlayStation 4 70

jones_supa writes: Team fail0verflow, the hacker group who made Sony PlayStation 4, has introduced another method to start Linux in the game console. Instead of the previous exploit which was based on a security hole in an old PS4 firmware version, the new trick allows a kexec call to start Linux through Orbis OS (the FreeBSD-based system software of PS4). The code can be found in GitHub. Maybe this will lead to more and better PlayStation clusters.
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Using Kexec Allows Starting Linux In PlayStation 4

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @11:14AM (#51658949)

    Team fail0verflow, the hacker group who made Sony PlayStation 4,

    Highlighted for the accuracy of this summary.

  • Okay, but (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Launching Linux from FreeBSD is also known as "downgrade". Just sayin'

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @11:20AM (#51658999)

    The cell processor was very briefly an interesting beast at the time it came out. It represented surprisingly good bang for the buck when the PS3 released. No console hardware before or since has been 'ahead of its time' enough to offset the inherent limitations of a home entertainment device.

    Unfortunately, while it had tremendous capability to run certain traditional HPC jobs, it wasn't that good a match for what game developers needed most...

    The current crop is particularly less compelling, since they were basically midrange PC at the time of launch.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @11:26AM (#51659049)

    Team fail0verflow, the hacker group who made Sony PlayStation 4

    Well if they built it in the first place, no wonder they're able to hack it.

  • Why bother (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If freebsd is underneath the whole PS4 system, then why not just use that instead of booting into linux? Seems a little excessive.

    • Because it's not FreeBSD. Just because Sony based their kernel on FreeBSD doesn't mean it has a FreeBSD userland, nor does it mean you can just slap on a FreeBSD userland and make it work.

      You'd have to port FreeBSD all over again - and it turns out that Linux has better off-the-shelf support for the PS4 hardware than FreeBSD does. The only reason Sony didn't use Linux is because of the license, not because it isn't easier to make work on this hardware.

  • How long (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @11:41AM (#51659115)
    Downloading Steam games to play PC games under linux on a PS4... use an xbox controller to play that game and the universe might just end.
    • Considering xbox controllers have worked on PCs for a long while, wouldn't be a stretch...

    • Dunno how proprietary the amd video hardware is in one of those but if the drivers are good enough to display video you could use the stream feature and turn the PS4 into a stream box. Or you could throw it in the trash and build a small PC that will do the same thing better.
  • in before "update" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @12:13PM (#51659323)

    it should only be a day or so before Sony removes this ability for "security" reasons. fuck Sony. yes, fuck Microsoft more but still, fuck Sony.

    • They can't remove this "ability" because this "ability" is just a piece of code that runs on any PS4 you can get kernel code to run on.

      It's up to you to figure out how to run the code in the first place. That is affected by updates.

      • They can't remove this "ability" because this "ability" is just a piece of code that runs on any PS4 you can get kernel code to run on.

        you act as if Sony is incapable of altering the kernel. don't be a dullard, think before you post.

        • How exactly do you alter the kernel to stop you from running kernel code when you can already run kernel code? I'd like to hear about this magical technology that Sony has invented.

          Try better reading comprehension next time. This is just code. It's not a way to run code. Therefore, Sony can't do anything about it, because there's nothing to be done. Sony can't magically make code stop being code. That's like saying Microsoft is capable of making Linux stop working on an (open) machine you choose to install

  • "the hacker group who made Sony PlayStation 4"? Really?

    Might want to check that.

    And I can't find this interesting, when it's basically a way to run Linux on something that we know could run it, whose predecessors have run it, and which is deliberately made not to run it for no real valid reason.

    It's not even like a PS4 is cheaper than a laptop or whatever nowadays.

  • Back with the PS3, you had a novel processor (Cell) and the PS3 was a cheap way to get machines with it. With the PS4, you have a mid range AMD APU processor. Newer APUs will probably outperform it in raw performance terms, and clustering will be easier with commodity hardware.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      The one caveat being that the APUs are probably still lacking in performance compared to the console APUs (that basically devoted most all of the power/cooling budget to the GPU and a very weak CPU). However a very modest discrete GPU would handily overcome that gap.

    • clustering was even easier with commodity hardware back in the ps3 days. The horrific 256mb ram meant it didn't even perform as well as a pi2+ does today.

Memory fault -- brain fried