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A short guide how to install Gentoo Linux on the Playstation 3!



• Playstation 3 – Don’t need internet for the installation.
• Screen
• USB keyboard
• USB mouse
• Computer with Internet connection for downloading the software to memory stick
• CD writer and a blank CD
• USB memory stick (at least 1.5 GB)

PlayStation 3 specific software:

• OtherOS.self: The “other OS" installer from Sony
• PS3 “Addon Packages CD”: A collection of items needed for a linux install, including some good doc’s (source included) [Register or Login to view links]
Gentoo software
• Gentoo PPC64 Playstation 3 Stage 4 tarball
• Gentoo portage snapshot (see [Register or Login to view links] for a mirror) gentoo/snapshots/portage-latest.tar.bz2


• Burn CELL-Linux-CL_20061208-ADDON.iso to the blank CD
• Partionize and format the harddisk: “Settings → System Settings Format Utility Hard Disk”. You’ll need at least 10 GB for “other OS"
• On the memory stick, make a directory called PS3, and in that directory another directory called otheros. Copy otheros.self and kboot/otheros.bld from the CD to the otheros directory. Copy both Gentoo files to the memory stick and ps3-mtb-gnome-01.tar.bz2. Unpack the files, so you’ll have these files and directories on the memory stick:

USB Flahdrive file structure.

(root of the drive) stage4-ppc64-ps3_32ul.tar.bz2
(root of the drive) portage-latest.tar.bz2

Installing the bootloader (kboot)

The process of installing the bootloader is pretty simple, and is done though the PS3's menu's. Insert the USB stick containing the bootloader into the PS3. Go to the System settings menu, and then find the sub menu called "Install Other OS" and follow the instructions. If there is an error, check the folder structure on the stick.

If there are no errors, congratulations, you are now ready to boot your PS3 with kboot!

Kboot first steps:

To boot up with kboot, first go to the System settings menu of the GameOS, and then choose the sub menu "Default System" - choose "Other OS".Now when your PS3 boot's it will use kboot instead of the GameOS -to return to booting the GameOS if you quit the Gentoo install before finishing, type the command "boot-game-os" in kboot to change the boot settings.

Now shutdown your PS3, plug in the USB keyboard, usb flash drive and restart.

If you have done above correctly, after the kboot boot process, you should have access to a command prompt. Kboot is a simple bootloader, and includes a rescue mode with BusyBox, meaning we have access to nearly all the commands we are used to during a normal Gentoo install. To get away from the Kboot prompt, and to see our old friend BusyBox's welcome, just type sh.

After the kboot boot process, you should have access to a command prompt. Partition your Linux disk with fdisk. Do this for two partions: one partition for Linux and 512 MB swap. You can choose different layouts, if you want. For the 2 partitions enter these commands. After every line press “enter”. Comments are in parantheses.

fdisk /dev/sda
n (new partition)
p (primary)
1 (first partition number)
1 (first cylinder)
512 (last cylinder)
t (change the type)
82 (Linux swap)
n (new partition)
p (primary)
2 (second partition number)
(press enter twice for the first and last cylinder to allocate the rest of the harddisk for this partition)
a (toggle bootable flag)
2 (second partition)
w (write changes to disk)
After partioning, reboot the PS3, this will add the sda1 and sda2 partitions to /dev:
Mount the memory stick and start the first installer. This will format /dev/sda2 and prepares the rest of the installation. It needs about 30 minutes.
mount /dev/__?_ /mnt/tmp
(for here use your thumb drive’s drive letters. For example mine was sde1)
mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda2

mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo

Copy the files from USB drive

cp /mnt/tmp/stage4-ppc64-ps3_32ul.tar.bz2 /mnt/gentoo
cp /mnt/tmp/portage-latest.tar.bz2 /mnt/gentoo
cd /mnt/gentoo

tar xvjpf /mnt/gentoo/stage4-ppc64-ps3_32ul.tar.bz2

tar xvjpf /mnt/gentoo/portage-latest.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/gentoo/usr

cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/resolv.conf

mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc

Finally you’ll see the “kboot:” prompt again. Now chroot to the installation and start the second installer. Depending on your internet network speed this will need about another 30 minutes.
chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
cd /

source /etc/profile
emerge --sync
e2label /dev/sda2 /
mkswap /dev/sda1
swapon /dev/sda1

At the end it will ask you for “New UNIX password”. This will be your root password. After entering your password, restart your system.


When the PS3 has rebooted to kboot, wait 10 seconds and then Gentoo starts booting. Now you can login with “root” and your password and enter “startx”. Your mouse should work and in Applications are some programs to start.

Now you can start exploring the ADD-ONCD you’ve burned. There are some samples in “src” and documentation in “doc”. If you are using Windows as your development platform, you may want to install Samba.

USE="-gtk -X" emerge samba
cd /etc
cd samba
wget [Register or Login to view links] -O smb.conf
smbpasswd -a root
/etc/init.d/samba start
rc-update add samba default
This installs samba, downloads a configuration file and installs it as a service. From Windows you can connect a network drive. Login with your root account (for security reasons you may want to create a normal user on the PS3 and login with this account). Enter “ifconfig eth0” to see which address your Playstation 3 has and use this for connecting to it, e.g. “\\\root”.

If you are tired of playing with Linux, you can type “boot-game-os” at the “kboot:” prompt before it starts booting Gentoo to boot the Playstation 3 Game OS. In the settings menu you can change it to Linux again.

Congrats, you are running the latest version of Gentoo!