Sony Playstation 2 – The Next Linux Box

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. announced that it is set to release “Linux (for PlayStation 2)” Release 1.0, targeted toward the Linux development community in North America. Designed as a hobbyist development environment, users can not only run the wide variety of computer applications written for the Linux operating system, but also create original programs and applications designed to run on “Linux (for PlayStation 2).” The company expects the kit to sell for about $199 USD when it is made available in May 2002 exclusively through its website, http://www.us.playstation.com.

As announced at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo 2002, the leading event focused exclusively on Linux and open source solutions, “Linux (for PlayStation 2)” will for the first time allow developers in North America complete access to the PlayStation 2 runtime environment and system manuals. The “Linux (for PlayStation 2)” Release 1.0 kit includes:

Internal hard disk drive for PlayStation 2 (HDD) with 40 GB capacity

Network Adaptor (Ethernet) (for PlayStation 2) with 100 Base T Ethernet interface

Linux Kernel version 2.2.1 (with USB device support)

“Linux (for PlayStation 2)” Version 1.0 software distribution on two DVDs

gcc 2.95.2 and glibc 2.2.2 with VU assemblers

XFree86 3.3.6 with PlayStation 2 GS support

Computer monitor adaptor (for PlayStation 2 ) (with audio connectors)

USB Keyboard and mouse (for PlayStation 2)

In addition to the “Linux (for PlayStation 2)” kit, users must have a standard North American PlayStation 2 (SCPH 30001, SCPH 30001R, SCPH 35001GT), a Memory Card (8M) (for PlayStation 2), and a VESA monitor. The graphics output requires a high-resolution computer display, with standard output set as XGA (1024 x 768 resolution); home televisions cannot be used as monitors. Computer displays supporting “sync on green” are mandatory.

Linux use is growing at unprecedented levels and according to IDC, a leading market research firm, the Linux operating system marketshare is expected to reach 38 percent worldwide by 2004. In response to many requests from the Japanese Linux society to enjoy Linux programming on PlayStation 2, Linux Beta Version Kit was made available to approximately 7,900 enthusiasts in Japan in July 2001. Since then, overwhelming numbers of requests have continued on Linux community websites all over the world, with approximately 9,500 people joining the movement.

Also, according to questionnaires conducted by Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, more than 28,000 people have expressed interest in the “Linux (for PlayStation 2)” development kit to date. This led the company to release a new version as Release 1.0 to support users of the worldwide Linux community. The company responded to feedback received from the Beta test program in Japan and modifications were incorporated for “Linux (for PlayStation 2)” Release 1.0.


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