Homebrew group installs Linux on a PlayStation 4, proceeds to play Pokémon

By Shawn Knight
Jan 1, 2016
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  1. Hackers have had Sony's PlayStation 4 in their targets ever since its launch just over two years ago. The persistence paid off earlier this month as a GitHub user finally cracked Sony's security, a milestone that paved the way for one homebrew group to achieve an impressive feat of its own.

    A group known as fail0verflow has managed to load a full version of Linux onto the console. As VentureBeat explains, exact details on how they pulled off the feat haven't yet been disclosed but the team apparently found weaknesses in one of the system's chipsets.

    In the clip above, the group suggests that the Marvell engineers that designed the machine's southbridge must have been "smoking some real good stuff" (and / or felt like reinventing PCI their own way). Either way, it's a major step forward for the homebrew community.

    fail0verflow also demonstrated that they were able to install and run a Game Boy Advance emulator and play a Pokémon game. The publication even notes that they connected a Game Boy Advance to the PS4 to serve as a controller.

    "CTurt," the GitHub user that first cracked the PS4 earlier this month, explained the process he used in a lengthy post on the site. In it, he points to a WebKit vulnerability in firmware version 1.76 that seems instrumental in the jailbreak.

    Image courtesy Shizuo Kambayashi, Associated Press

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,526   +829

    Hopefully with xbox moving to windows 10 and current gen consoles moving to x86, some day (next gen?) we will be able to run x86 apps and/or dual boot other OSs without having to go through such extreme lengths.
  3. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,102   +530

    I highly highly highly doubt that. Sony and Microsoft aren't going to want console users to even install a PC OS on their consoles. Why would they let console gamers gain access to games 2-3 times cheaper especially when they get money from each console game sold?

    If Sony / MS did allow multiple OS when the new consoles release, everyone one would just rush out and buy one because they subsidize the price. You would essentially be buying a PC with help from MS and Sony. MS and Sony would sell a ton of consoles but if no one is buying console games they'd be bankrupt by a move like this.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    wastedkill likes this.
  4. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,158   +197

    Steam OS?
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    Doubt it. None of those games would run even remotely well on console tech due to their lack of optimization for the platforms. Access is one thing; playability is another entirely.
  6. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,157   +195

    Since an xbox one runs on 'modified' windows 10 OS, will a ps4 be able to run windows 10 too?
  7. getonerd

    getonerd TS Rookie

    Well Linux was on PS2 and I think PS3 too why not PS4
    misor likes this.
  8. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 735   +259

    The beauty of PC games is that they are made with a wide range of hardware in mind. So no, you're wrong here. Change up a few graphical setting and they should run well (albeit not as pretty as their optimized counterparts)...
  9. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    Cite one PC game optimized to run on a console's hardware configuration. Any game will run gimped on a console. People don't consistently pay money for a gimped product.
  10. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 735   +259

    What? I did say it wouldn't run as well as an optimized game (Duh. Didn't think I'd have to say that again). You said it wouldn't run well enough to play which means that you don't understand how PC games work on many different hardware configurations (or you just hate consoles). It doesn't matter that it is "console" hardware, it is still just hardware that, with the right drivers, will work just fine........
  11. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    I own a PS4. I own a PS3. Before the PS3, I had a dedicated gaming rig and a PS2. Before that, I had a PC. I know how the games work. I also know that a PS4/XBO that can natively support a secondary OS won't be capable of running any modern era title at an acceptable level because (1) the necessary gimp (2) Sony & MS would restrict key parts of the hardware (just like Sony did with the PS3).

    They don't disallow other operating systems to protect game sales. They have control over that either way. They don't do it because it's more trouble for them than it's worth.
    misor likes this.
  12. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 735   +259

    Ah, so you are assuming that the hardware would be restricted like the PS3. You can't assume that until it's been tried. And if anything, the hardware this gen's consoles use is the closest it's been to a PC. So, if everything works fine with another OS, then it will run games just fine.

    And I know why they don't support another OS. We're talking about if they did (or if it was hacked). You're bringing all the wrong assumptions to this thread.
  13. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    Not a valid position: None of the console makers have made a console that fully supports standard operating systems. You're assuming they would allow full access to the hardware. You can't assume that until it's been tried.

    It's perfectly reasonable to assume they would restrict important hardware operations, rendering any serious gaming on the "PC" side of the console tedious and unsatisfying. The reason is that they are selling a console dependent on software sales, not a PC dependent on hardware sales. Allowing a console to function freely as a PC would mean reducing their console software sales for... no reason.
  14. kschubel

    kschubel TS Rookie

    I am a diehard console gamer. But with SteamOS making it possible for me to have a console experience on my PC, I am now a diehard PC/console gamer. I get the console experience with the ability to upgrade my hardware. What could be better?
  15. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 735   +259

    Read my last paragraph
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    I did. That's what my second paragraph responds to.
  17. LoginToLogout

    LoginToLogout TS Rookie

    Quite a shitty PC tho. Not sure it would be worth it.
  18. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,102   +530

    Yeah, not really worth it anymore but when the consoles first released it was well worth it. The guy was saying if this feature was enabled since release.

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