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Installing Ubuntu 9.04 Linux on the PlayStation 3 (PS3)

The PS3 has a unique feature that allows you to install a third-party operating system on the console. Because of its popularity and ease of use, Ubuntu Linux is a good choice. By installing Ubuntu, your Playstation 3 becomes much more than just a game console. You can use it as a home computer (running desktop applications), a web- or file server, play media files, and run applications like Firefox, Openoffice and multimedia tools.

Installing Ubuntu on the PS3 will take about an hour. The process involves three steps:

  1. Setting up your PS3 to run Linux
  2. Installing your Ubuntu version of choice.
  3. Setting up your PSUbuntu installation

Set up your PS3 to run Linux

You have to format your PS3 harddrive to install Ubuntu. You will probably want to backup your savegames! You will also need to let go of some 10GB of disk space.

What you need
  • An Ubuntu PS3 CD
  • A USB keyboard and mouse. Wireless and bluetooth input devices should work fine (with a dongle).
  • A USB stick or external hard disk (if you want to backup files and saved games on your PS3).
Formatting the PS3 hard disk

The first thing you need to do is to format the PS3s hard disk to make room for a second operating system (called Other OS). Your user profiles and account information will remain on the XMB, but remember to back up any saved games or media files you want to restore after formatting the PS3 using a USB stick or an external hard disk. Your game saves are located under Game > Saved Data Utility.

All downloaded games you paid for can be downloaded again without having to pay for them. They’ll be in your account history in the PS Store.

  • Go to [System Settings] > [Format Utility].
  • Select “Format Hard Disk” and click [Yes].
  • Choose [Custom] and [Allot 10GB to the Other OS].
  • Select [Quick Format] and confirm with [Yes].

Formatting will take a few seconds. Press X to restart the system.

Log in (you need to hit the PS button on your controller if it’s deactivated after restart).

Installing Other OS

Installing the other OS is what it all about, You can choose the command line style loader included with the cd image you downloaded, but you can also use a custom loader called “petitboot”. This file has been mailed to you.(You can do it without this)

For Petitboot:

  • Get “otheros.bld”
  • Copy it to your usb stick or external harddrive in the folder; /PS3/otheros/
  • Connect your mouse and keyboard
  • stick it in your PS3
  • Go to [System Settings] > [Install Other OS].
  • Select “Other OS” and hit “Yes” to restart the system.

For the stock loader

  • Insert the disk you have into the PS3. And connect the keyboard and mouse.
  • Go to [System Settings] > [Install Other OS].
  • Select “Other OS” and hit “Yes” to restart the system.

Updating your console

The last thing you will have to do is updating the PS3, I think you have done that before, but just in case you dont know:
Go to: [Settings > System Update > Update via Internet]
When there is an update available the PS3 will ask you to install it.

Installing (X)Ubuntu on your PS3

Now you’re done setting up your PS3 it’s time to actually install Ubuntu on your console! This chapter assumes you have completed all of the previous steps.

Start up the PS3s XMB (Cross Media Bar).
With the disk loaded, go to [Settings > System Settings > Default System].

Loading the installer

This is where the otheros.bld we downloaded and installed first show up, If you chose the stock loader (the otheros.bld included with the ubuntu installation) you will be greeted by two penguins and some lines of text. After a few seconds the terminal will display:

This is an Ubuntu installation CDROM

built on 20081030.
If in doubt, just press Enter.

kboot: _
Pressing Enter will start the installation with the kernel loading the system. Never mind the usb error message(s), just let the installer start up.

If you chose Petitboot you will see a nice little gui, You can switch menus (the icons on the left) by hovering over them with your mousepointer, It might take a minute before the CD icon shows up, when it does, click the icon and choose “install”

The option “gameboot” you saw when you first booted will take you back to the XMB, Stock loader users can type “ps3-boot-game-os” at “kboot: _” to go back to the XMB

Installing the base system

These instructions are only tested on a ps3 connected to the internet via cable. If you’re installing without internet access the process might vary somewhat from the steps below

  • First choose a language for the installation process, then your geographical location.
  • The system can try to determine your keyboard or you can choose it from a list.
  • The CD ROM is scanned, and additional components are loaded.
  • If your PS3 is connected to the internet via cable, choose eth0: Ethernet. Its better not to set up your wireless network here, unless you use WEP.
  • Enter a hostname for the system – like “psubuntu”.
  • Disks and hardware is dectected. If asked if you want to Activate Serial ATA RAID devices just chooseyes(anyone know why?).
  • When asked how to partition the disks, choose option 2: “Guided – use entire disk” (meaning the 10.7GB you formatted from the XMB in step 1).
  • On the overview screen, hit “Finish partitioning and write changes to disk”. If asked to confirm, choose yes.
  • The partition is formatted and base system installed. It should take about 6 minutes.
  • Set up your user information (full name, username and password twice), and choose whether you would like to create a private encrypted directory for your user.
  • Unless you’re using a proxy, leave the HTTP proxy information field blank (just hit enter).
  • The system will start installing software. It might appear to hang at 6%, but just give the installer time and it will move on. The process will take about an hour.
  • System clock – Yes to UTC.

You’re done! The CD will automatically eject itself, but you have to manually take it out of its slot (if you don’t, the PS3 will load it upon reboot). Hit Continue to boot into Ubuntu.

Now its time to boot into Ubuntu, again, if you chose the stock loader press enter at “kboot”. Petitboot users now see a harddrive icon on the left, hovering the mouse over it will show the options you can set in kboot.conf, we’ll talk about that later on, for now select “linux”.

Once greeted by the Ubuntu login screen, enter the user name and password you chose during installation.

Congratulations! You should now have a working (X)Ubuntu Operating System installed on your Playstation 3.

Configuring PS3 Ubuntu

Set up a PSUbuntu Monitor

Fixing Black Borders/Overscan

8.10 and newer

Depending on what TV/monitor you are using with your PS3, you may find the full-screen version of the video mode you need to use causes your picture to exceed the bounds of the monitor (overscan), and if you do not use full-screen you have large black borders around the picture. A solution to this problem has been documented on the forums here:

Set up wireless network
With new kernel versions (2.6.28+) wireless, wep and wpa, works out of the box. If you have an old stock kernel version, you should consider upgrading to (X)Ubuntu 9.04 or compiling a custom kernel found in this tutorial: Compile Kernel from git repository∞

For older kernels, an excellent guide for setting up wifi can be found in forum tutorial: PSUbuntu Wifi Alpha 0.1∞

Wireless works great on WEP-encrypted networks, but WPA is problematic. If your WiFi is WEP-encrypted, it can be enabled by clicking on the network icon (top right panel) and selecting manual configuration. Go to the Wireless connection properties, and type in the name of your network (ESSID). Select your WEP password type and enter the key for your router.

In Connection Settings, choose Automatic configuration (DHCP). Click OK, and enable the connection by clicking the radio button for Wireless. You should now have wifi internet access.

Making the sixaxis work in PSUbuntu

USB Mode

See this forum post for a thorough walkthrough:

SixAxis will ‘just work’ when plugged into the PS3 via a USB cable. You can use joystick aware applications at this point. Joystick nodes will be created at /dev/input/jsX, with X being the joystick number, starting from zero, ie. /dev/input/js0. Be sure to press the PS button after plugging in the SixAxis, otherwise no signals will be sent, even if the lights are flashing.

If you get erratic or no response from programs whilst trying to use the SixAxis, be sure you check your settings in that application, and then try using the jscalibrator program which can be installed in synaptic, or by typing the following in a console:
sudo apt-get install jscalibrator
then do:
jscalibrator /dev/input/js0
Also, you can test that input is being sent to your console by using jstest which will show the ‘raw’ input being sent to the console:
jstest /dev/input/js0

Wireless mode

SixAxis-GUI old deprecated

You can also use the bluetooth features of the PS3 and SixAxis to use your controller wirelessly. This requires a simple gui program called SixAxis-gui as stated here. Bluetooth Sixaxis-The Easy Way
You can use the SixAxis to control your mouse pointer as well. Just go to the the ‘Task Menu’ in SixAxis-gui and ‘Enable keyboard and Mouse’ and choose one of the options.

SixAxis new way for ubuntu 9.05

HOW-TO: Connect Sixaxis to Ubuntu trough bluetooth mode


After the BlueZ stack was updated to 4.xx, Sixaxis joysticks (from Sony PS3 console) stop working. There’s some people on the bluez team working to make it work, but it seems that it could take a while.
So I decided to create a simple GUI that would use some patched ‘hidd’ that allows to connect Sixaxis to a Linux PC “out-of-the-box”.

The app is called ‘SixA‘ (It will be in ‘Apps’ -> ‘Utils’ -> ‘SixA‘). The GUI is almost complete and has been tested to work in 32, 64bit and PowerPC/PS3 computers. on LPIA architecture may also work, but this has never been tested.


To install, simply add my repository to the Software Sources:
(It’s normal if it gives a warning when updating sources; the repo isn’t trusted yet)

deb jaunty main

Then can you install it by opening a terminal and type:


sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install qt-sixa


But Keep in mind that the USB cable should be disconnected, as this set of programs does deal well with usb cable on the ps3 , your mileage may vary for i386/x86_64


I could explain every detail of the GUI, but it is so easy to use that I don’t thing it needs an explanation.
not work

(It’s KDE4.3, Air Theme)

PSUbuntu Applications

This is a list of suggested applications to run on your PSUbuntu installation. We have tried to provide lightweight alternatives to most programs, because of the low amount of available RAM. Most of them can be installed using the visual Add/Remove Application or using the terminal command sudo apt-get install applicationname.

Feel free to add to the list if you have suggestions for other applications.

Software Updates

Using Ubuntu 8.10, updating software should work properly using the update manager. Add more repositories using [System] > [Administration] > [Software Sources].

Web Applications


Midori is a simple and lightweight web browser based on webkit.

sudo apt-get install midori


Opera is a sleek and very fast browser, which works great on PSUbuntu systems. To install, go to∞. You should be prompted with the correct deb file to download and run directly from the website.

Firefox 3.0

Ubuntu 8.10 already has Firefox 3 as its default web browser.

Ubuntu 7.10 comes with Firefox 2. To install the latest version of the Firefox web browser, paste the following command into a terminal window:

sudo apt-get install firefox-3.0 firefox-3.0-gnome-support latex-xft-fonts

Multimedia Codecs

To be able to play certain file types, like mp3 and divx, you need to install some extra tools and codecs. A quick way to do this is is to paste in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

To select specific codecs go to Applications > Add/Remove… In the top right box, select Show: “All available applications”, do a search for “gstreamer” and pick whatever you need from the search result list.

Music applications

Music library organizers/players:

  • amarok (excellent, but depends on KDE libraries and can be quite slow on PSUbuntu)
sudo apt-get install amarok libxine1-ffmpeg
  • bluemindo (recommended)
  • exaile (recommended)
  • listen (default in Xubuntu 8.10)
  • rhythmbox (already installed by default in Ubuntu)
  • quod libet (also installs ex falso tag editor)
  • sonata (requires the console based mpd)

Simple music players

  • audacious (recommended)
  • xmms

Really lightweight (console based)

  • MOC (recommended) (launch command: mocp)
  • mpd
  • cmus (vi-like interface)

Video players

Some suggested video players:

VLC (sudo apt-get install vlc)
MPlayer (sudo apt-get install mplayer)

Desktop/Window Managers

One of the disadvantages with integrated desktop environments, like GNOME or KDE, is that they tend to have much higher system requirements and consume a lot of resources. Rather than using an integrated suite of programs you can simply use a standalone window manager and then just run any of the apps you want. These lightweight window managers are designed specifically to do just a very simple task and keep the resources consumed to a minimum.


sudo aptitude install openbox obconf

See the PSUbuntu Openbox page for more information.


Another lightweight alternative. Fluxbox provides you with window management, a taskbar-like window switcher and a basic panel, a right-click menu for launching applications. It is lightweight and very configurable.

See the PSUbuntu Fluxbox page for more information.

PSUbuntu Gaming and Emulating

Getting your games and emulators running on PSUbuntu can be quite a hassle, games are often too choppy to play, and often emulators won’t even work… This guide will hopefully help you getting some running well enough to at least enjoy them! Good luck.

Other tools

SPE Scaler Tool

This will allow to zoom the screen with out using the ppc cpu where the scaling is beening handle by a spu.


Emulating other consoles is why many people even bother installing linux on their console, Often however, people format their drives shortly after they realize they won’t be able to play their playstation 2 games… The hardware is what limits us there. Luckily there are still plenty other consoles left to emulate!


Want to relive the dos days of gaming before 3fx , dosbox is your friend πŸ™‚

dosbox wiki
dosbox games
dosbox arrowkey issues

sudo apt-get install dosbox
mkdir ~/dos
echo “check your sound via alsamix “
dosbox -fullscreen
at dosprompt , exit will escape dos
mount c ~/dos
config -writedosconf dosbox.conf

check your ~/dos/dosbox.conf that
Add the following to ~/dos/dosbox.conf
mount C ~/dos/

ALT-ENTER Switch to full-screen (and back).
CTRL-F1 Show the keymapper configuration screen,
CTRL-F4 Update cached information about mounted drives. Useful if you changed something on a mounted drive outside of DOSBox. Also cycles through disk images mounted using IMGMOUNT.
CTRL-F5 Save a screenshot (goes to capture folder).
CTRL-ALT-F5 Start/Stop recording of AVI video. NOTE: You may well have some problems with this, please see Recording Video for more information.
CTRL-F6 Start/Stop recording sound output to a wave file (goes to capture folder).
CTRL-ALT-F7 Start/Stop recording of OPL commands.
CTRL-ALT-F8 Start/Stop the recording of raw MIDI commands.
CTRL-F7 Decreases frameskip.
CTRL-F8 Increases frameskip.
CTRL-F9 Kill (close) DOSBox.
CTRL-F10 Capture/Release the mouse (if you need to use the mouse within DOSBox).
CTRL-F11 Decrease DOSBox cycles (slows down the emulation).
CTRL-F12 Increase DOSBox cycles (speeds up the emulation).

mame∞ Old school classic arcade emulators , keep in mind as the ps3 ubuntu 9.05 has no hardware 3dfx as the RSX is locked down gl via mesa is slow so some games will not work. Maybe with Ubuntu 9.10 as the new version of mesa will have a spu optimised video driver. Also some of the mame front loader will die on the xml file for all the mame roms even with the rsx memory as swap.
The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for short, was a console released by Nintendo in 1983. As the best selling console of it’s time it set many things that still determine our gameplay, from the controller layout to the look of the console itself. That, plus the epicness of classic games makes many people want to emulate this system.
GFCE Ultra
GFCEU is one of the easiest NES emulators to use, it features a nice GUI and easy controller configuration (a guide to set up your sixaxis can be found here)

To install GFCE Ultra open a terminal and use the following command to download and install:
Sudo apt-get install gfceu

Open GFCE Ultra by going to [Games > GFCE Ultra Nes Emulator] The gui is pretty straight forward, don’t forget to setup your controller before you hit “execute” to load the rom.

Roms can be found all over the world wide web, however keep in mind that you must own the original cardridge to legally play it!

The snes, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is, you guessed it, the successor of the NES, it features better graphic and functionality. The better graphics also make it harder for us to run it on PSUbuntu because of the hardware limits…
Snes9x is probably the emulator you want to use for your SNES emulating, It runs great on PSUbuntu. It also supports fullscreen! Installing it is pretty straight forward. This time we’ll be using Synaptic Package Manager to download the package, you can find it under [System > Synaptic Package Manager]. Search for “snes9x-gtk”, mark it for installation by checking the checkbox next to it and then hit the green checkmark.

The snes9x gui is very straightforward, so you will have very little problems with it, if you can’t figure something out, search the PSUbuntu forums, or use your friend Google to find the answer.




Doom is one of the few games in Ubuntu Universe/Multiverse that plays perfectly out of the box on ps3. Just open Synaptic, enable the Multiverse and Universe repositories; check Freedoom in the Universe repo, and the data files in the multiverse. What they are called precisely may vary depending on the version of Ubuntu.
Unfortunately you’ll be stuck playing the game with keyboard and mouse, or old-style joystick, unless you know of a Doom mod that lets you use a 2-stick pad.

Quake 2

Runs beautifully on ps3 in software rendering mode. You will need a copy of the full game to be able to properly use other people’s missions and maps.
Easiest way is to download Quake 2 from Synaptic. There is a data installer utility in Multiverse which is supposed to either download the demo from ID software, or from a quake 2 game disc. I have never been able to find this file after downloading it; if you get it to work, great, otherwise go here.

you may need to use a pc to unpack the file since Wine won’t work on ps3, though Archive Manager may be able to extract the important files.

Try starting quake 2 from terminal and watch it fail. This is to make it create your data directory. Navigate to /home/you/.quake2/baseq2. There should be a file called “pak0.pak” and maybe some other .pak files in the demo or your quake 2 disc. Copy them into /baseq2. Check /usr/share/games/quake2 for the file “” and copy it over too. I’m not sure it’s necessary but it won’t hurt.
Copy the “maps” folder on your quake 2 disc, and all the mission pack folders, into /baseq2 as well. There won’t be maps or missions if you’re using the demo.

Give quake 2 a test run by starting from menu or terminal. If it starts successfully, it should create a config.cfg in /.quake2, check this file and make sure the line “set vid_ref” has “‘soft_sdl'” as its argument. If you accidentally set the screen resolution above 920×720, just trash config.cfg and it will start over with default values.

If you want to use the ps3 controller, create an autoexec.cfg file in /.quake2 with the console commands binding the joystick axes. There’s an excellent config in this thread in the forums of another popular distro∞. Also for if you can’t get quake working; it is the thread that got me up and running.

Wolf3d Wolfenstein 3D redux

Speed up PSUbuntu

Updated for 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

Running Ubuntu on a PS3 can be quite resource intensive due to the low amount of RAM available on the system. This page will show you how to make the OS run smoother by disabling services or running special software.

Tip: Remember to always make a backup when you’re editing a system file. The quickest approach is to use the Terminal command cp. For example, to back up /etc/sysctl.conf you’d type:

sudo cp /etc/sysctl.conf /etc/sysctl.backup

Drop Unnecessary Processes

Ubuntu, like most other operating systems, ship with some automatically started processes you probably don’t need. You should try to minimize the number of running services. From [System] > [Preferences] > [Sessions] you can disable the startup programs in the list that you don’t need. Here’s some examples:

  • Bluetooth Manager Unless you use any bluetooth devices under linux
  • Evolution Alarm Notifier Unless you use the evolution mail client
  • Network Manager After you have used it to configure your network connection
  • Power Manager The PS3 is not a laptop, so no need for a power manager
  • Print Queue Applet Got a printer hooked up to your ps3? Probably not.
  • Check for new hardware drivers
  • Tracker + Tracker Applet Unless you need a quick desktop search tool
  • Visual Assistance

Tracker can also be completely removed using this command:

sudo apt-get remove tracker tracker-search-tool tracker-utils

Drop Unnecessary Services

From [System] > [Administration] > [Services], you can disable

  • Automated Crash Reports (apport)
  • Bluetooth device management (bluetooth) unless you’re using BT-devices

Remove desktop items

If you can live without a desktop wallpaper, set the background to a solid color black instead of the default image. Right click anywhere on your desktop and select “Change Desktop Background”.

Applications on the top and bottom gray panels can be removed by right clicking them and selecting “Remove From Panel”. You might want to disable User Switcher and Tracker. The entire bottom panel can also be removed, but you should move window list to the main panel first.


While the Sessions panel lists most of the common processes, it doesn’t show everything. For the full list, you’ll need the command line app sysv-rc-conf. To install the package, type:

sudo apt-get install sysv-rc-conf
Be very careful about what you change since you can permanently hose your system using this editor. Remember to backup files and make small changes to single items rather than deleting in batches. After making a change, log out and then log back in to make sure everything still works as you would expect.
As most of the time, google is your friend. Don’t hesitate to look up processes to see what they do and if they can be disabled!

A complete guide on this (and other minor tweaks) can be found here.

Use fast applications

If you use OpenOffice, go to the preferences window. Look for the Memory option under and increase the memory allotted to the Graphics cache, under both the “Use for” and “Memory per Object.” If you’re a heavy Office user and you have RAM to spare, don’t be afraid to set these high. Say 100+ for the Graphics Cache and around 10MB per Object. Play around and see what works on your system.

Consider using Midori or the Opera Web Browser if you can live without Firefox 3.

Use a “Lighter” Desktop Environment. Gnome, and especially KDE, can be pretty tough on the processor. Give Xfce (Xubuntu) a try, or try out the even lighter OpenBox or Fluxbox. Learning to master the command line is also a way to go fast, lightweight and simple once you adjust to its way of thinking.

You can download otheros.bld here.

This guide has been edited from

Buy Ubuntu 9.04 Linux PS3 from The K-Market. They ship worldwide.

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Installing Ubuntu 9.04 Linux on the PlayStation 3 (PS3), 6.1 out of 10 based on 10 ratings