Software rasterizer project on PlayStation 3

As you may know, it is possible to run user programs on the Sony Playstation 3 console, provided you install a Linux-based system. However, it is not possible to directly access the GPU of the console, meaning hardware 3D rendering is currently impossible for -most- PS3 users.

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Sony drops otheros feature from new PS3 Slim

On August 18th 2009, Sony unveiled the new PlayStation 3 (PS3) computer entertainment system to be available in stores beginning from September 1st, 2009.

The new system is reduced in size, weight, power consumption, and price, which should be good news to most gamers worldwide.

But for hackers who began the adventure of Cell programming on the PS3, or simply Linux supporters on the PS3 platform, a single sentence at the end of the official announcement changes the good news into a nightmare:

The new PS3 system will focus on delivering games and other entertainment content, and users will not be able to install other Operating Systems to the new PS3 system.

What this simply means is that Sony arbitrarily decided to stop supporting the otheros feature for this new hardware, sentencing PS3 Linux and amateur Cell programming to become underground.

This is really sad news for the supporters of the PS3 system, which seems to be percieved as a simple betrayal by people who have been spending days of free time mastering the achitecture and developing tools and libraries in the objective of a future public release.

This really disappointing decision from Sony will encourage hacking that leads to piracy. It also removes an important development environment that allows new developers to learn how to write software for the Cell architecture. This leads to a larger pool or resources available to build software for the system.

Build PS3-optimized kernel for Debian GNU/Linux

I present the different required steps to get an up-and-running kernel for Debian GNU/Linux running on the Playstation 3.

This method requires a fully working Debian GNU/Linux system on a powerpc platform, which means it does not cover cross-compilation issues. It has been tested on the PS3 itself.

Note: This method was working at the time it was written. The method should always be correct, even though file names may change with different version updates. I will try to keep this page as up-to-date as possible, but things may not work from one time to another. In this case, you will have to find out about the file names by yourself. In the rest of this article I will always use the most recent file names at the date of latest update.

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A WebDAV server

WebDav is a HTTP extension which allows users to put files, create directories, just like you would do using a FTP server. Its major advantages on FTP are that it uses a unique TCP inbound communication channel and passes though web standard ports (it's still HTTP !), reducing problems for accessing from firewalled networks, and takes profit from web servers in general, such as authentication and the use of HTTPS secured communication channels.

A simple WebDav application is for instance the SyncPlaces Firefox extension, allowing you to share your bookmarks among different computers, using the WebDav server for storing the bookmarks files.

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HTTPS setup

Today I will talk about setting up HTTPS with Apache on a Debian system. HTTPS is used for secure connections between your web browser and the web server, minimizing the risk for hostile people to be able to listen to your communications by using standard network sniffing techniques.

This may be useful, if some of your websites handles personal data, such as a webmail application for instance.

This article supposes you already set up a basic Apache web server, as described in this previous article.

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Blog engine setup

Today I will talk about how to setup a blog engine just like the blog you are reading. It uses the Dotclear PHP application.

We will also have to install and setup the PostgreSQL database system for that purpose.

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Web server setup

Today we will discuss about basic Apache-based web server installation. This is a quite straightforward process on Debian systems.

I will also present the steps to setup the most commonly used Apache modules.

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QEMU and KQEMU

I recently presented KVM as an efficient virtualization solution for PC's with VMX-enabled processors. Today I present another efficient solution for older processors.

QEMU is a well-known full system emulator, powerful enough to virtualize complete hardware systems. Its major drawback is that it actually emulates the processor, making it unefficient for virtualization purposes when performance is required. The KQEMU kernel module allows QEMU to use the host processor when running on a PC and emulating a PC, removing that performance barrier.

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