Why is PS3 Linux GPU Access Gimped?


We touched on this topic in this thread, but I think this topic really deserves it’s own thread:

Why do you think that the GPU access is restricted under Linux? Please vote for one in the comments or suggest your alternate reasoning.

  • Piracy
  • Competition with Linux game development
  • Just Not ImportantDeveloping and supporting proper Linux drivers takes time, money, and valuable resources. Maybe Sony simply has more important priorities.
  • Other?

I vote for Linux game dev. Think about it: if devs could access the full hardware under Linux, they could make the exact same games for Linux that they make for PS3 and sell to the exact same install base with one difference: They can cut Sony out of the picture and not pay them anything. The PlayStation revenue stream could really dry up.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by bobeotm on September 29th, 2007

    Piracy is the biggest reason, the rest are minor by comparison. Open up full Cell+RSX horsepower for linux and that opens the door for pirated PS3 games.

  2. #2 by arabek on September 29th, 2007

    Oh, for sure it’s all ’bout piracy and stuff. Linux game developers are by far not that successful in writing good games. It takes a whole studio (or one genius) to develop a trully immersive game.

  3. #3 by Dartmerc on September 29th, 2007 [ 490 Points ]

    I honestly think a mixture of privacy and not important.
    Sony is said to be looking at ways to support homebrew in the future, and expansion of PS3s resources to linux is probably a way they’ll do this.
    Currently, I think that PS3 running linux is a bit of a gimic, so people who run linux at home steer towards buying a PS3 rather then an xbox2.

  4. #4 by Darrin on September 29th, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    arabek, I don’t think the danger is hobbyist Linux developers, but the big third party companies: EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Square, Capcom, etc. What if they started targeting PS3 Linux users to avoid paying Sony platform fees?

    Other than that, I don’t see the piracy threat. Sony doesn’t care if PC type piracy moves to the PS3.

    Dartmerc, sure, right now Linux mode is mainly for novelty purposes and a few niche researchers. However, if they offer a model with increased RAM and full GPU, I think that would be a really compelling PC alternative.

  5. #5 by Dartmerc on September 29th, 2007 [ 490 Points ]

    Darrin, I definitely agree. Also, how do I manage to replace words with other words so often (privacy instead of piracy)..

    I think Sony sees PC type piracy as a HUGE threat. I mean you could argue that a 22GB BluRay game is rather safe from torrent sharing, but even still, Its a problem that Sony would rather avoid. Already many developers are going multi-platform and using the xbox2 as their base platform (we can argue the reasons for this), and I think the threat of their hard earned work being stolen on PS3 could be just one more reason.
    I’m fairly anti-piracy (but i’m guilty at times), and I think the temptation of being able to rent a game or borrow it off a friend and copy it to my HDD is one that would overcome alot of PS3 owners.

    Already we’re seeing forums dedicated to swapping PSN account details so that Sony’s 5 console rule on downloaded content can be used to swap games between strangers.
    The risks of this are extremely high, and the most valuable game that could be gained this way is Tekken 5, so I could only imagine that an iso loader would get quite a bit of illegal use..

  6. #6 by Segitz on September 30th, 2007 [ 1470 Points ]

    No no and NO.

    A GPU kernel module would never ever lift PS3 linux into PS3 game possiblities. The xserver alone would need “so much” RAM, it would make it impossible to make games for in the scale of PS3 games. Think about it. Usual PC games need at least 1GB of RAM to run fluid on high settings. Yeah I know, Windows is a memory hog, but thing is, the PS3 linux community is slim at best, so releasing a game solely for that platform would not sell at all. 80% of all PS3 users aren’t even aware of the possibility to install Linux on their PS3s let alone use Linux at all.

    The only problem I could see is that it opens some doors to exploits… But these can be remedied by firmware updates as usual.

    I rather think, Sony merely let’s us install Linux to lower the import costs inside the EU… Sad but I think this was Sonys plan all along, so why use up money to make something possible that noone really uses?

  7. #7 by Dartmerc on September 30th, 2007

    Good point Segitz, one I completely overlooked.
    Guess it’s the same as why coke put 5% pear juice in their post-mix (the stuff you get from maccas).
    Pear juice has almost no flavour, and once a drink hits 5% juice it’s considered one, and import tax is lower on juice then softdrink.


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