We might not be in the era of taking your PlayStation 4 to a shop down the street and getting a mod chip. But ever since Sony announced you could run Linux on the original PlayStation 3 – and subsequently removed it in future iterations – people have been keen on the idea of Linux running on the PS4.
But as a talk at the annual Chaos Communication Congress showed, the PS4 is definitely not a PC. And while that makes things harder, it doesn’t mean you can’t get Linux going on the PS4 nonetheless.
Hackers first showed off the PS4 running Linux last year, but it wasn’t until this year’s conference that they went more in-depth into their methods. Most of the jargon and explanation will be fairly unintelligible for most people – it’s a layered, technical breakdown of the PS4’s hardware, how it was engineered and the framework underneath it all.
But for those with the requisite knowledge, or careful listeners, there’s plenty of interesting information. It’s fun to know, for instance, that the PS4 relies on a separate ARM chip to run a whole other operating system for the downloading of updates. And it’s not just an academic exercise either: presenter Marcan at the end of the presentation booted up Steam and started running around the first level of Portal 2:
You can watch the full presentation below. The Linux kernel fork for the PS4, along with the Radeon drivers, are available now on Github.
The presenters also confirmed that they were able to get Linux working on the PS4 Pro, but that “the GPU was broken”. The hackers have also gotten a bunch of other games working on the PS4 via Linux earlier this year. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was a hot mess, but the hackers managed to join a Team Fortress 2 server with 20 players and Skullgirls looked pretty decent.