One of the great features of the Play Station 3 is that it can use Linux, which means that PS3 owners can customize their system and get lots more out of it. Gaming consoles are usually designed so that foreign systems can’t run on them, but the PS3 goes in the total opposite direction, allowing an experienced Linux user to personalize their system. Most gaming systems are “locked” so that other systems can’t be run, so PS3 is unconventional in allowing this. The only thing you can’t do on the PS3 is run accelerated graphics.

PS3 isn’t the first system to allow Linux. The xBox also has this feature, but the PS3 differs in a few ways. First off, the PS3 is more powerful. In addition, the xBox requires a certain chip to run Linux, whereas the PS3 can run it without. In fact, it’s totally free to run Linux on the PS3.

Some of the things you can do with Linux on your PS3 include:

-Use your Play Station like a PC, with a keyboard and mouse. Not all PC programs will run on the PS3, at least not yet, but Linux enables you many options.

-Run your own operating system. This is a boon to those who want to personalize their system.

-Use the internet. You can surf the web on your PS3 with an internet browser such as Firefox.

-Use office software. Although, it’s been reported that Windows doesn’t run well on the PS3. However, in the future, Microsoft could make a version of Windows that can run on the PS3. The rumor mill is buzzing, but there is no official word about this.

-Run MAME and other kinds of emulators. This means you can play all your favorite games from yesteryear on your brand new shiny Play Station 3.

-Play different types of media, such as DVDs, ROMs and CDs. Running Linux, you can watch movies or listen to music on your PS3.

-Connect to network shares. This feature allows you to save and retrieve files on another server, thus saving your memory.

The only problem with getting Linux on your PS3 is that it’s difficult to install and hard to use. Right now, it’s pretty much the domain of experienced programmers and hobbyists. Hopefully, in the future there will be a more user-friendly interface for running Linux on your gaming console. Since PS3 came out, most programmers have used Fedora Core to run Linux on their PS3’s, but there is a new system called Yellow Dog which is designed specifically for use with PS3. Yellow Dog is highly recommended and gaining popularity.

Still, the best thing about Linux is it’s free. All you need is a PS3, the proper cables, a USB mouse and keyboard, a USB flash drive and some other gear to make installation smoother… ok, so it’s not really free, but Linux itself is! If you’ve used Linux before, it may not be so tough to install. There is a variety of websites out there with tips for installation and most recommend Yellow Dog. You can also find ideas on how to run Linux on gaming forums.

Marcus Creyton writes on game console systems. He is a PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii enthusiast. For information, guides, cheats on PS3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 go here:

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