Gizmodo has done us all a favor by wading through many forum posts and condensing them into a handy guide to installing Ubuntu on your Playstation 3. It covers some of the caveats of going this route. You have to backup all of your game data before starting since the system repartitions the drive. Ubuntu installs without any problem, but because the cell processor is a PowerPC architecture it means not everything has been ported to it. There are a few things you need to install to get the Sixaxis controller to be recognized as a joystick. Super Nintendo emulator SNES9X is available and works, mostly. It doesn’t support fullscreen and cries if you reconfigure the buttons.
Supporting developers through alternate operating systems isn’t new to Sony. With the original Playstation, they released Net Yaroze, a consumer grade dev kit. The Playstation 2 was the first time they officially supported Linux on a game console (our first Linux machine). The ground breaking thing about the Playstation 3 was bundling in Linux support with every single console; no specialized hardware needed. Unfortunately they’re not near as open with the PSP.
[matiaz] has released an exploit which allows homebrew on the PSP3000. It takes advantage of a vulnerability when loading save games on a game called GripShift. You can see the PSP running unsigned code in the video.
Peripheral manufacturer Datel has been hard at work attempting to crack the PSP 3000 since its release. They’ve developed the Lite Blue Tool battery to force the PSP into service mode so hackers can run any arbitrary code they want. According to MaxConsole, Datel performed a silicon level investigation of the PSP’s chips to determine how to break into service mode. This means they decapsulated the the chips and reverse engineered any cryptographic protections. We’d love to hear exactly what chips were being used since some are fundamentally flawed.
Silicon hacking has always been a favorite topic of ours and we suggest you check out [Chris Tarnovsky]‘s decapsulation technique to learn more about it.
[foo] sent in this amazingly well done mod to add an SNES controller to a PSP. He was contacted with a request to mod a PSP for someone who had limited use of one hand. The PSP controls were too difficult for her, but miraculously, she could play an SNES controller well. The quality of the mod is very nice. [foo] has added a port on the back that the controller plugs into. Other than the port on the back, the PSP looks completely stock and functions fine. When plugged in, the cable and plug act as a stand for the PSP too. Check out the video after the break for more.
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[alien x] has posted this peculiar hack for a PSP. He has gutted and splayed the PSP spreading its insides neatly and mounting them on a plexiglass back. Everything is easily accessible and ready to tinker with. It may not fit in your pocket, but adding mods and experimenting with ideas should be much easier like this. It looks pretty cool too, we want one for our office wall. That could be possible too, he’s selling it.
We remember the halcyon days of firmware 1.00 for the PSP. It was wide open to run any code you wanted. Once the handheld game console was released outside Japan, Sony locked it down and began an arms race to prevent any sort of homebrew usage of the device. Nearly four years later and we’re at firmware 5.00. The hackers are on top of their game though. It’s only been a couple days since the official release and a custom firmware has already been published. Sony has traditionally supported development on their home consoles and we hope they’ll take that approach on their next portable instead of this stupid back and forth.
If you absolutely feel an incessant need to see the innards of every new piece of equipment out there, you’ll probably be excited to see that the PSP 3000 has been disassembled and photographed. Apparently there isn’t much new here. The screen has been replaced with one that has 5 times the contrast ratio, twice the color range, and a refresh rate that is twice as fast. Other than that, there’s a built in microphone and a mystery “PS” button.