Sony and PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz settle out of court

SONY vs Geohotz

After a short but rather storied history, infamous PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George “GeoHot” Hotz and Sony Computer Entertainment of America have settled their legal dispute, with a statement on the PlayStation Blog stating the two parties “reached an agreement in principle” around 10 days ago. According to said agreement, Hotz has “consented to a permanent injunction,” meaning he super swears he won’t do it again (legally speaking, of course), though no other terms are given. We were told by an SCEA rep that the terms of the settlement (beyond what was disclosed) are confidential.

Unsurprisingly, both Hotz’ legal team and Sony’s were excited to resolve the legal dispute so quickly. “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier. I’m happy to have the litigation behind me,” Hotz said in the announcement.

Previously, Hotz had strict terms for a potential settlement. “Let’s just say, I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it,” Hotz wrote on his website during the trial. “It’d be good PR for Sony too, lord knows they could use it,” he continued. “I’m also willing to accept a trade, a legit path to homebrew for knowledge of how to stop new firmwares from being decrypted.” Apparently the case spooked Hotz enough to reconsider.

The settlement announcement also absolves Hotz of any potential wrongdoing associated with recent PlayStation Network attacks. “Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites,” the statement reads.

To fully drive the point of the blog post home, SCEA general counsel Riley Russell said of Hotz, “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”

For his part, Hotz announced via his blog this morning that he is “joining the Sony boycott,” and that he “will never purchase another Sony product.” It could be that he’s mad after the legal case … or it could just be that he’s broke.

After a short but rather storied history, infamous PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George “GeoHot” Hotz and Sony Computer Entertainment of America have settled their legal dispute, with a statement on the PlayStation Blog stating the two parties “reached an agreement in principle” around 10 days ago. According to said agreement, Hotz has “consented to a permanent injunction,” meaning he super swears he won’t do it again (legally speaking, of course), though no other terms are given. We were told by an SCEA rep that the terms of the settlement (beyond what was disclosed) are confidential.

Unsurprisingly, both Hotz’ legal team and Sony’s were excited to resolve the legal dispute so quickly. “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier. I’m happy to have the litigation behind me,” Hotz said in the announcement.

Previously, Hotz had strict terms for a potential settlement. “Let’s just say, I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it,” Hotz wrote on his website during the trial. “It’d be good PR for Sony too, lord knows they could use it,” he continued. “I’m also willing to accept a trade, a legit path to homebrew for knowledge of how to stop new firmwares from being decrypted.” Apparently the case spooked Hotz enough to reconsider.

The settlement announcement also absolves Hotz of any potential wrongdoing associated with recent PlayStation Network attacks. “Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites,” the statement reads.

To fully drive the point of the blog post home, SCEA general counsel Riley Russell said of Hotz, “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”

For his part, Hotz announced via his blog this morning that he is “joining the Sony boycott,” and that he “will never purchase another Sony product.” It could be that he’s mad after the legal case … or it could just be that he’s broke.

yeah.. its nice to hear that finally this comes to an end. just put back the OtherOS and most of us would be happy to comply with Sony’s rule. don’t charge us unnecessarily though.. let’s hope everything goes well onwards. article from Joystiq.

Sony Claims PlayStation 3 Hacker Sabotaged Hard Drive, Skipped Town

George Hotz

Sony is accusing alleged PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz of surrendering two “nonfunctional” hard drives in violation of a court order, and then taking off to South America.

But Hotz’s lawyer said Wednesday that Sony is “crying alligator tears” over the issue.

Sony is suing the 21-year-old Glen Rock, New Jersey, man on charges he violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by publishing an encryption key and software tools in January that allow PlayStation 3 owners to gain complete control of their consoles. As part of the litigation, a San Francisco federal magistrate ordered Hotz to surrender his hard drives to Sony, so files connected to the hack can be extracted and used as evidence in the case.

But Sony notified the judge that, when it got the drives from Hotz, they were no longer working. “Hotz had removed integral components from his impounded hard drives, rendering them completely non-functional.” (.pdf), the company claimed in a filing.

Stewart Kellar, Hotz’s attorney, said the issue is overblown.

“They didn’t have the controller card attached. That’s it,” Kellar said in a telephone interview Wednesday from his San Francisco office.

He said that Hotz has since turned over the cards, solving the problem.

Sony did not respond for comment.

Hotz, who is also well-known in iPhone hacking circles, so far is fighting the case on jurisdictional grounds, and maintains he should be sued in New Jersey instead of California.

As part of that battle, Sony claimed that it uncovered evidence that Hotz maintained an account on Sony’s PlayStation Network, which is based in Northern California. Hotz had denied holding a PSN account.

In its filing, Sony also pointed out that Hotz has left the country.

“Hotz conveniently traveled to South America in the midst of jurisdictional discovery, including his court-ordered deposition,” Sony said.

“I don’t want to comment on that stuff,” Kellar said. “He has done nothing to make himself unavailable.”

Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero has signed off on Sony subpoenas (.pdf) to Twitter, YouTube, Google and PayPal as part of the console-maker’s scorched-earth litigation tactics to win an unspecified amount of monetary damages from Hotz. Spero has also granted Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited Hotz’s website from January 2009 to the present.

SoftLayer Technologies, which counts among its hosted sites, is objecting to a records demand seeking server logs and other information related to Hotz’s account on the online PlayStation forum.

The DMCA prohibits the trafficking of so-called “circumvention devices” designed to crack copy-protection schemes. Hotz’s hack provides PlayStation 3 owners the ability to run pirated and home-brewed software or alternative operating systems like Linux. Performing a similar hack on a mobile phone is not unlawful.

funny story though.. sony should’ve been well versed on this electronics stuff. don’t they have experts on HDD? if its not functional as said prove it with technical evidence then.. i still don’t see the benefit of Sony doing this. just ensure your console is good enough and make us users stick with the original instead of jailbreaking it. i must say that a portion of us only wants otherOS. i myself haven’t update it to the latest firmware just so that i can enjoy otherOS. and nope i’ve not jailbreak my PS3. i don’t see the needs yet. hmm.. article from Wired.

PlayStation 3 code signing cracked

Dongle-less jailbreaking

Hardware hackers claim to have uncovered the private key used by Sony to authorise code to run on PlayStation 3 systems.

The hackers uncovered the hack in order to run Linux or PS3 consoles, irrespective of the version of firmware the games console was running. By knowing the private key used by Sony the hackers are able to sign code so that a console can boot directly into Linux. Previous approaches to running the open source OS on a games console were firmware specific and involved messing around with USB sticks.

The same code signing technique might also be used to run pirated or counterfeit games on a console. That isn’t the intention of the hackers even though it might turn out to be the main practical effect of the hack.

The group, fail0verflow, who also run the Wii’s Homebrew Channel, gave more information about the crack and a demo during the annual Chaos Communication Conference hacker congress in Berlin. Sony’s weak implementation of cryptography was exploited by fail0verflow to pull off the hack, as explained in a video on enthusiast site PSGroove. More discussion on the console jailbreaking hack can be found on a PlayStation forum.

lalalalala… seems like the hackers are getting the otheros back on PS3. good job guys. im still waiting and have yet to update my PS3 since otheros was removed from the console. article from The Register.

PS3 Firmware (v3.21) Update

The next system software update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) system will be released on April 1, 2010 (JST), and will disable the “Install Other OS” feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models, launched in September 2009. This feature enabled users to install an operating system, but due to security concerns, Sony Computer Entertainment will remove the functionality through the 3.21 system software update.

In addition, disabling the “Other OS” feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.

Consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, although the following features will no longer be available:

  • Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat
  • Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later
  • Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings)
  • Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later

For those PS3 users who are currently using the “Other OS” feature but choose to install the system software update, to avoid data loss they first need to back-up any data stored within the hard drive partition used by the “Other OS,” as they will not be able to access that data following the update.

Additional information about PS3 firmware updates, including v3.21 (once it becomes available), can be found here:

PS3 owners who have further questions should contact Consumer Services:
800-345-7669 (800-345-SONY)

the news is outdated.. but its heartbreaking. people hate it so much. most of us had to endure this and move on. some decided to sacrifice the feature and some reluctant to do so. im in the second group. hoping for either sony opens back the otheros feature or hackers to find a way to elude the blockade. ever since this update was up, i have yet to connect my ps3 to the net. the online gaming is quite a loss for the moment but im not playing much game lately. a couple of months passes by and still the update is still there. despite thousands of comments on the net expressing their anger, distrust and all sort of frustration, sony remains quiet on this matter. i bet the hackers are working hard as well. took geohot 3 years to break the ps3. how long would it take to break this firmware? hope… article from Playstation.Blog.

Firmware update will strip Linux support from the PlayStation 3

Sony removing the ability to run third party operating systems such as Linux on the PS3. Is this the final nail in the coffin of the PS3 as a general computing device?

Sony’s PlayStation 3 started out life as more than just a gaming console. When first announced Sony played up the importance of the Cell processor inside the system, using the ‘supercomputer in the home’ analogy.

There were visions of the future in which Cell was able to communicate and pool processing resources with other Cell powered devices in the home. This was a byproduct of Cell being a joint development effort between Sony, Toshiba and IBM.

The vision – more than a gaming console
In order to facilitate this Sony launched the PlayStation 3 with a function called ‘Install Other OS’. This allowed owners to install a cut-down version of Linux on the system and use it for more than gaming and media consumption. Sony’s website still promises that “By installing the Linux operating system, you can use the PS3 system not only as an entry-level personal computer with hundreds of familiar applications for home and office use, but also as a complete development environment for the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.).”

Over time these grandiose dreams have waned. Cell never really made it into other consumer devices, and while Linux did end up on the PlayStation 3 it was mainly leveraged by research institutions rather than home users. Sony removed the ability to install Linux on the second generation Slim PS3 models, however enthusiasts and tinkerers still actively search out first generation consoles for two reasons – ‘Install Other OS’ and backwards compatibility with PS2 games.

Sony’s new firmware update
Unfortunately the ‘Install Other OS’ option gained notoriety in January this year when noted iPhone jailbreaker Geohot announced that he had made serious inroads into hacking the PS3. Using Linux he was able to penetrate the supposedly secure ‘hypervisor’ software that acts as a low level protector of the system. While he didn’t get far enough for the feared flood of pirated PS3 games to hit the internet he did manage to lay the groundwork for future attempts.

To combat this Sony announced overnight that it was removing the ability for consoles to ‘Install Other OS’ in a firmware update due on April 1 (confusing the heck out of commenters on its website who are convinced it is an April fools joke). To add insult to injury it also announced that not upgrading to the latest firmware would lock users out of a lot of PS3 functionality such as access to the online PlayStation network. It would also mean that future game and Blu-Ray releases will be unplayable on un-updated systems.

The PS3’s future
While this will have little impact on PS3s employed as supercomputers, it is the final nail in the coffin of the PS3 as a general computing device. This has all happened despite assurances given late last year that the Install Other OS function would not be removed from older model consoles.

As for the hacking situation Geohot is unsurprisingly advising people to not update their firmware. He promises that he will come up with a workaround, which likely means that Sony’s solution will have little effect on those wanting to keep their options open for future piracy.

damn… so no firmware update for now. is sony becoming microsoft? i’ve been using linux happily ever since i bought the PS3. with this update, this feature shall be disabled… bad news for us linux users.. hopefully this remains as rumors alone.. article from Australian PC Authority.

No Linux on PS3 Revisited


When the PS3 was launched Sony included support for what was called The Open Platform. The Open Platform supported the ability to launch a Linux bootloader via what was called the Other Os from the XMB. Although the Hypervisor (GameOS) prevented full access to the system components when the Linux OS made a hardware call (i.e. such as the Reality Synthesizer) , it did allow access to the Cell Broadband Engine and 7 of the 9 processing elements being made available for use (1 reserved for system use, 1 is disabled) which for the technology involved was unheard of at the price point.

Over a relatively short period of time, the PS3 Linux side of things went from being a utilized as a secondary computer with various distributions being available, (such as YDL by Fixstars formerly Terra Soft Solutions being available at launch) to  being used as a supercomputer to utilize the amazing processing power of the other elements in Cell Broadband engine known as the Synergistic Processing Elements (SPE’s). UMass Dartmouth Physics Professor Gaurav Khanna and UMass Dartmouth Principal Investigator Chris Poulin created a step by step guide on how to use the PS3 for supercomputing, and advanced their research on Binary Black Hole Coalescence using Perturbation Theory by building a 16 node PS3 cluster.


Researchers who were renting supercomputer time by the hour now had a viable option to build their own supercomputer and advance their projects. NC State’s Dr. Frank Mueller created an 8 cluster PS3 supercomputer, the first in academia for students to use in research.

And even recently a real-time H.264 encoding solution such as Fixstars CodecSys Personal emerged and the power of the Cell Broadband Engine via the PS3 entered the commercial arena. All of these examples generated amazing publicity for Sony and served to distance itself in a niche way from it’s other console competition. PS3’s were now ending up in places that they would not normally have been before.

With the announcement of the PS3 slim, it was mentioned that the ability to boot to an Other OS had been removed. This caused concern and questions as to why this was done: Was it cost, a security hole being removed, what would happen to current PS3’s or was it just a corporate decision?

The earliest answers we were given came from an interview with John Koller, Sony’s Director of Hardware Marketing. In a conversation with ars technica, he was asked about why the ability to install Linux was removed. His answer was:

“There are a couple of reasons. We felt we wanted to move forward with the OS we have now. If anyone wants to use previous models and change the OS, they can do so. We wanted to standardize our OS.”

Sometime later, an article surfaced on Games I like about a posting made on the Offical Playstation 2 Linux Community forum by a Sony representative that has since mysteriously disappeared. Thankfully the details of the conversation were captured. In response to an unhappy forum poster, a representative stated the following:

“I’m sorry that you are frustrated by the lack of comment specifically regarding the withdrawal of support for Other OS on the new PS3 slim. The reasons are simple: The PS3 Slim is a major cost reduction involving many changes to hardware components in the PS3 design. In order to offer the OtherOS install, SCE would need to continue to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers for any significant hardware changes – this costs SCE. One of our key objectives with the new model is to pass on cost savings to the consumer with a lower retail price. Unfortunately in this case the cost of OtherOS install did not fit with the wider objective to offer a lower cost PS3.”

This was further substantiated by an article on Av Watch, by Akira Takase. When asked about the lack of the Other OS on the PS3 Slim, how it compared to the 80gb PS3 and how it affected Linux and companies like Fixstars, Takase-san stated that (rough translation):

“There would be no time in the future when the Other Os would be moved from those models (CECHL00)”

He also commented on security being an issue by saying (rough translation)

“That with respect to the Other OS security becomes the hole, but with the PS3 very firm security measures are being done, presently there is no such problem. If anything, support power is lightened”

On the Fixstars message board forums, Kai Staats (Fixstars) explained this in even greater detail in one of his many and very informative posts. I would definitely suggest you read them if you have time but here is one important quote:

“Sony was quite diligent about testing, and with each new rev of the GameOS
(which acts as the hypervisor for Linux) there was a battery of tests. Often
the GameOS had to be modified to support things which otherwise broke in
Linux, so it is not a one-way street. GameOS affects Linux, and Linux affects

So it would appear that the decision was 100% cost based. This is certainly understandable from a fiscal perspective. Drive down the cost, in essence starts the console wars all over again, placing Sony in an excellent position. It is sad though that access to the Cell Broadband Engine had to be removed as it was truly pushing the limits of what could be done with the SPE’s both commercially and academically. With the price drop affecting all PS3 product lines, acquiring one of the older units is going to be a challenge.

So will the Other OS will return? Maybe. Sony recently unveiled the Academic PS3 Dev Kit. Could this lead to the return of the Other OS on a one to one basis? It’s certainly possible that drivers could be written for the change in hardware and then submitted to Sony. If feedback is strong enough they could allow the needed change to the hypervisor code. Time will tell…

i thought so that this was one of the cost reducing acts. somehow i still think that removing linux from PS3 is a mistake. i am currently typing on YDL running on my PS3. article from SonyInsider.

Yellow Dog Ships Linux Converts Sony PS3 Into PC

With rumours of a cheaper and slimmer Sony PS3 gaming console around the corner, Fixstars corporation have released a bootable version of their popular Yellow Dog Linux distribution for Sony’s platform that comes on a USB Flash drive. The installation is straightforward plug-in the USB stick, install the bootloader, boot into YDL and you’re running Linux on your PS3. Although the Playstation 3 comes with a hard disk drive, YDL runs from the USB Drive. The distribution is popular amongst developers who can can create clusters of low-cost Playstation gaming consoles for data intensive tasks. A 32 Node cluster with support and all the necessary cabling costs $32,995. The developers have chosen a 16GB OCZ Diesel Flash drive which has achieved 31.18 MBps read performance and 30.78 MBps write performance in recent DiskBench performance benchmarks. Owen Stampflee, Fixstars Linux Product Manager, stated that “‘YDL on a Stick’ is a compact and portable alternative to a full installation, Since everything runs from the USB drive, ‘YDL on a Stick’ is ideal for users who want to try out Linux without sacrificing space or having to back up or reformat their PS3.” The package also contains OpenOffice 3.0, Firefox 3.0.6, IBM Cell SDK v3.1.0.1 and ps3vram and Xfce 4, a fast and lightweight desktop environment. Customers may chose to purchase “YDL on a stick” with or without Yellow Dog Linux’s own support package. YDL is available for download from a number of Linux Mirrors here. Alternatively, the 16GB OCZ Diesel USB Flash drive version which comes with a Printed user guide and a Yellow Dog Linux sticker without support costs $59.95.

Read more:

here caomes the latest Linux Yellow Dog LInux. with this users does not have to install this on PS3. instead users can just plug in the usb and voila.. linux running! nice one.. article from ITPro Portal.

Can Linux manage updates and upgrades more easily than Windows?

By Angela Gunn | Published July 16, 2009, 9:31 AM

Our continuing Linux-vs.-Windows series turns now to the absolute basics — the most universal, and occasionally most important, task you will undertake with any computer. Whatever software and OS you use, whatever you do with the machine, sooner or later you’re going to install, update or upgrade something. How does the process compare on the two platforms?

(Again, Mac OS folk, you’re not the topic of discussion here. If you want to comment on the .dmg experience or other aspects of tending your Apple orchards, please do so in comments, civilly.)

<a href=”;loc=300;key=key1+key2+key3+key4;grp=” target=”_blank”><img src=”;loc=300;key=key1+key2+key3+key4;grp=1830276369″ border=”0″ width=”300″ height=”250″></a>There are two classes of people who shudder at the prospect of maintaining their machines: Civilian users like your mama (or mine, who happily ran Windows Me for years rather than go through the XP install process), and sysadmins who have to handle matters for multiple users, whose machines may or may not be physically present for it. We’ll try to address both in our comparison.

Breaking it down task by task:

Installing applications

Windows applications these days, whether downloaded or installed from optical disc, tend to include installation wizards; at the very least, there’s likely to be a setup.exe program in there. Click and go (or just “go” if it’s an autorun).

Linux packages come in a few different wrappings, depending on your preferred flavor. The installation process for *nix packages used to be rather tedious. Many experienced users are familiar with .tar balls, which are similar to .zip files under Windows. The .tar, .gz, and .tgz extensions all indicated that you had before you an archive, which had to be unpacked and the readme or install file sought in the collection within.

Fortunately, we’re past all that now, thanks to package management — a development that brought Linux installation management on an ease-of-use par with other operating systems by making the install process part of the operating system, not part of the individual package. The first iteration of the genre was given the unfortunate name “pms” (package management system). Perhaps in deference to the greater needs of humanity, it was followed quickly by RPP (Red Hat Software Program Packages), Red Hat’s first essay in the field. Red hat later turned to RPM (RPM Package Manager, thank you Unix recursivity fiends), still a going concern for the Red Hat/Fedora/RHEL contingent. Yum (YellowDog Updater Modified) is one of the most popular package managers for that crowd.

The Ubuntu project (which is based on Debian — the full family name is actually Debian Gnu/Linux, so you know) focused especially on making the install and upgrade process pain-free — and in doing so actually provides a model that closed-source OS vendors would do well to follow. Like its progenitor Debian, Ubuntu uses the APT (Advanced Package Tool)-based Synaptic package-management tool to handle installations (and, as we’ll see, updates and upgrades). APT, which is one of the centerpieces of the Debian/Ubuntu usability philosophy, is the interface to the wide world of DEB packages; instead of every individual package toting its own installation, the smarts for the process lie in the OS itself. Specifically, APT manages and resolves problems with dependencies — a ticket out of the dreaded “dependency hell,” in fact. APT sits atop dpkg, a Debian package manager.

To APT, a repository looks like a collection of files, plus an index. The index tells APT (and, therefore, Synaptic) about a desired program’s dependencies, the additional files required to make the thing run. (Windows users, think “dynamic link library” here.) Synaptic checks the local machine to see if any of the listed dependencies need to be retrieved along with the program itself, and it tells you before installation if it will retrieve those for you.

More importantly, APT handles problems in which a package’s dependencies conflict with each other, are circular to each other, or are otherwise out of control. Windows users will easily recognize that mess: It’s DLL Hell by another name — and if Windows’ Add/Remove Programs function (Programs and Features in Vista) behaved nicely, it would actually do this sort of dependency tracking rather than simply enquiring of the setup.exe files it finds on the computer.

Jeremy Garcia, founder and proprietor of, notes that “the newer repository-based Linux distributions have gone to great lengths to mitigate the dependency hell issue… it’s something I rarely hear complaints of anymore.”

For our purposes, let’s look at how the process works in Ubuntu. When installing a new app, the easiest method is to fire up Synaptic Package Manager and type in the name or even just a few description terms concerning what you want: “yahtzee game,” for instance. Synaptic knows of several software repositories — collections of software that are carefully maintained and checked for malware and such — and users can add third-party repositories to check if they choose. By default, all repositories signed their packages, providing a level of quality assurance.

Some people find the Linux package management tools and repositories confusing, and some of that is due to the creative (and sometimes silly) naming of the tools. When the rubber hits the road, though, it’s not that complicated. RPM, YUM, RHN, and several others all relate to management of packages in RPM format. APT, Synaptec, Ubuntu Update Manager, Canonical’s commercial package manager — all of these relate to management of packages in the Debian DEB format. And if you happen to want a package that’s only available in RPM format for your Debian system (or vice versa) you can use a utility called Alien to translate between the two package formats, and keep everything on your system under the watchful eye of your chosen package manager.

There are four types of repositories in the Ubuntu universe: main, restricted, universe and multiverse. Main repositories hold officially supported software. Restricted software is for whatever reason (local laws, patent issues) not available under a completely free license, and you will want to know why before you install it. (“Free” in this case doesn’t mean free-like-beer but free-like-speech; if a package may not be examined, modified, and improved by the community, it’s not free.) Ubuntu has sorted matters out in this fashion, but once again it’s a wide Linux world out there, and you’re apt to encounter other terminology if you choose other flavors of the OS.

Software in the “universe” repository isn’t official, but is maintained by the community; sometimes particularly popular and well-supported packages are promoted from universe to main. And many “multiverse” wares (e.g., closed-source drivers required to play DVDs on an open-source system) are not free-like-speech; you’ll need to be in touch with the copyright holder to find out your responsibilities there. Many repositories of any stripe are signed with GPG keys to authenticate identity; APT looks for that authentication and warns users if it’s not available.

To the end user, all this looks like: Open Synaptic. Type in search term. Select stuff that looks cool. Click “Apply.” Done. Because the default repositories are actively curated, there’s very little danger of malware; because the packages themselves must conform with Debian’s install rules, the end user needs to do little to nothing to complete the process; because APT manages every files and configuration component completely, every package can be updated or removed completely without breaking the rest of the system. The applications are even sorted appropriately; my new Open Yahtzee game (I really do knock myself out for you people, don’t I) appeared under Games with no prompting from me at all.

If you’re determined, you can still do old-style installs in Debian, circumventing APT. If you’re compiling your own software or installing some truly paleolithic code, you can end up scattering files and such all around your system, none of it tracked by APT. But you’ve really got to try.

Updating applications

<a href=”;loc=300;key=key1+key2+key3+key4;grp=” target=”_blank”><img src=”;loc=300;key=key1+key2+key3+key4;grp=1479910130″ border=”0″ width=”300″ height=”250″></a>Microsoft some years ago combined its two main update services — Windows Update and Office Update — into one big Microsoft Update service. (For administrators, there’s WSUS, which gives sysadmins greater control over updates.) And then the other programs folks use on Windows often have their own update processes of greater or lesser frequency and persistence.

Linux offers a few choices for managing your updates, but in Ubuntu, again, the method of choice is Synaptic. The system periodically checks online for updates to all the applications it sees on your system. Updates fall into four categories: critical security updates, recommended updates from serious problems not related to security, pre-released updates (mmmm, beta), and unsupported updates, which are mainly fixes for older, no longer generally supported versions of Ubuntu. Most users will automatically update only those patches falling in the first two categories.

The process is otherwise identical to install — click and go. It is recommended, by the way, that users always do updates before upgrades to either individual programs or the OS.

Backing up applications

Windows users installing from optical disc are wise to keep those in case they’re needed later (along with any required license keys, of course). Because the repository model works as it does, Linux users may choose to simply rely on those servers. However, the program APTonCD makes it quite simple to create discs with backup copies of the packages installed on your system. The Ubuntu system must, however, be told about the specific disc from which you wish to install. That’s a three-step system-administration process, and you will need to have the actual disc in hand and ready to drop into the machine. (It can also help you burn discs of packages you don’t have on your system — if you wanted to hand someone a nice clean install disk, for instance — as Jeremy Garcia points out, “There are many corporate environments where Internet access in not available, for a variety of reasons.”)

Or, if you like, on the basic Synaptic menu, there’s an option to export a list of every blessed item on your system that APT is tracking. Take that list to another machine, import it, and Synaptic will install everything on the list, including appropriate updates, from the repositories.

Rolling back applications

Though the Internet often provides little recourse when one seeks an earlier version of a Windows program one didn’t have the sense to back up before an ill-advised install, both Linux platforms have a wide range of rollback ease, depending on which applications you’re dealing with.

Debian / Ubuntu leaders made a decision that new packages would not automatically uninstall older versions. This may or may not present tidying-up challenges for tiny-disked systems — in my own experience I find that the Computer Janitor utility does an adequate job of keeping things in check — but it certainly makes it easier to revert to an earlier version of a particular program.

Updating the OS

Minor updates to Windows are pushed out about once a month, or more often when Microsoft chooses to release an out-of-cycle patch. Major updates — the Service Packs — are less frequent. Desktop systems are often configured to automatically install updates when they become available, while Windows servers are typically configured to notify (but not install) updates so that proper testing can occur.

In Linux, the operating system and the kernel are constantly being updated. That doesn’t mean you need to update every time something changes, and as with Windows there are perfectly good reasons to wait — as with other operating systems, an upgrade can occasionally cause confusion with dependencies and break third-party software (especially, Murphy’s Law being what it is, on production machines). On the other hand, tiny performance improvements, support for newer gadgets, and assorted bug fixes may mean you find the prospect of frequently freshened kernels appealing, especially if you’re not doing the installation for any machine but your own. And many sysadmins would in any case like to automate the update process as much as possible for civilian users.

One good reason to update your kernel is to prepare for a larger upgrade; while a major version installation itself can’t be easily rolled back once installed, the kernel, modules or specific applications all can. A cautious or curious sysadmin could get a preview of how a newer version of the OS treats an older application by upgrading the kernel, checking its behavior, then testing individual applications to see how they behave, rather than upgrading the whole shebang and hoping for the best.

In related thinking, smart Linux users make their /home/ — the directory for data and documents — on a separate partition from the OS installation. That way, changes to the OS — up to and including switching to an all-new Linux distribution — don’t necessarily require you to reconfigure all applications and reload all your documents, photos, and other user data.

Upgrading the OS

Late October is going to a big time for you no matter which OS you use; Windows 7 is expected for release on the 22nd, while Ubuntu is expected to level up to Karmic Koala (did we mention the amusement factor in Ubuntu’s naming system?) on the 29th.

Whether or not you think Windows or Linux has the edge here is perhaps dependent on what you expect from a large install process. With Windows, the process goes relatively well if you remember to do your BIOS upgrades before you start the process (and are sure your current version can be upgraded to the new one). Linux upgrades must be done in lockstep, and if you’re more than one version behind you’ll have to install all the intervening versions until you’re up to date. On the other hand, upgrades for Linux can be done over the Net if you like; when upgrading Windows, on the other hand, you’re wise to get offline completely.

Backing up the OS

Windows users who purchase their machines with the OS pre-loaded used to be supplied with rescue disks in case of disaster; these days, it’s on a partition on the hard drive itself (and heaven help you if the drive fails). Various good options exist for backing up one’s Registry and system files in case of trouble. But things can get a little awkward (or expensive) when it’s time to start absolutely fresh with a clean install. (And every machine needs to do that now and then.) Did you save your license key? If the Debian / Ubuntu effort made nothing else simpler, the “free” part ensures a lot less drama when chaos strikes.

Rolling back the OS

It happens: You need to be where you were, not where you are. In Windows, you’re hosed; format and start again. In Linux… you’re still hosed. You can, however, roll back the kernel as mentioned. (In fact, you’re not really rolling back the kernel itself; the upgrade process leaves the old kernel in there, available from the boot loader just in case. They’re only about 10-15 MB, after all; you have room.) That’s rather helpful for testing purposes, and can save you some unpleasant surprises with individual applications; careful use of the testing technique described above may well spare you the need to roll back at all. (Also, this is an excellent time to have done that /home/ partition we mentioned.)

I am fairly sure RPM supports rollback, although I think it’s disabled by default. I’m not sure about dpkg. It’s also possible to force install an older version of the package you’re having issues with in many cases.

So what’s the verdict? For maintenance of applications and the operating system with minimum pain and maximum control, the answer to this Can Linux Do This question is YES, and well enough that Microsoft and other closed-source shops ought to be taking notes.



Jul 23, 2009 – 8:56 PM

Nicely written. But the Apt process might sound a little scary for someone who has never seen it. In Ubuntu, adding a program can be as simple as this: (For those who don’t wish to type ANYTHING, not even a portion of a program name.)
Click on Applications
Click on Add/Remove
Click on the desired program Category
Scroll down and select the program(s) you wish to install
Click on Apply changes.
I’ve found installing and maintaining a Linux system is generally faster and easier than a Windows system. (Especially if you don’t have a bunch of driver disks!) Being able to do all the updates from one place in Linux is so much easier than having to go out to each and every programmer’s site for updates in Windows. I’ve heard others ask Microsoft programmers why Windows can’t offer the same convenience to users, but the ones I’ve spoken with just didn’t seem to understand.
I hope Microsoft will eventually emulate the ease of Linux maintenance.


Jul 17, 2009 – 10:49 AM

‘Don’t believe it’s valid to make the comparison ’cause there’s no one way to update/upgrade “linux”. This is one critical issue with me that varies from one distribution to the other; there’s no doubt that some distros provide for updates & upgrades far easier than Windows: take a look at Foresight and Arch.


Jul 17, 2009 – 2:36 AM edited

I am using Linux over a decade and Unix more than two decades. If someone asks me about Updates Linux vs. Windows then you need first ask, what is Linux? Linux is just a kernel, and all another are projects how are added around the kernel to build an Operating System.
But I will take the hit now and ask you Angela Gunn about the command line tools from Archlinux and there “pacman” and Debian and there “apt”. Have you ever used them?
Have you ever compare Windows with the Graphical tools from openSUSE YaST or Debian’s Synaptic?
At the end you will find out, everybody has another taste, see things different and use different tools.
You better ask: “Can a Linux distributions manage updates and upgrades more easily than Windows”? The answer is yes!


Jul 17, 2009 – 12:18 AM

I find Ubuntu repositories safe and very convenient to use. However, I don’t agree with your suggestion to try to install software from source: cited from your article “If you’re compiling your own software or installing some truly paleolithic code, you can end up scattering files and such all around your system, none of it tracked by APT. But you’ve really got to try”
No thanks, I have just been through two failed compiled programs. The experience was so frustrating and even with help from experienced users, I could not get the programs to work. Not only they don’t work, there is no uninstall procedure! The “sudo make uninstall” is just for show (tried with Ekiga 3.2.5).
I thanks the programmers for their generosity to give away their programs. But there should be a convenient way to help them to release their works in well know package formats. Installing Linux programs from the source code is way way too complicated.


Jul 17, 2009 – 6:57 AM

Linux needs a universal standardized package format.


Jul 16, 2009 – 9:17 PM edited

Ubuntu, Debian are fine. I use a derivation of Ubuntu called Crunchbang Linux on my Asus 901 EEE PC and Synaptic. The modern package manager of Linux are as good and dare I say better than what windows has offered for sometime. However unlike most computer users I don’t want my computer to be a toaster. Which is what 99.99 percent of the world wants. I want to have all the advantages of the modern package system while seeing gobs, and gobs of code scroll up my screen. Hence my work computer, home computers, server all run Gentoo Linux. They have extended the Portage system found in BSD. If your not a coding wizard, at least you can pretend with all the code flying by on your screen as you compile ever single package needed to run a complete system. Great for the control freak and the patient. 😉 Most want there computers to work… just work… like a toaster. I want to know why it works.


Jul 16, 2009 – 4:49 PM

Having used the Ubuntu distribution of Linux since 2007, I find that Linux distributions can do anything, though not always in a straightforward, simple, or transparent way.
However, supporting third party applications is usually good. I have waited on the various Canonical/Ubuntu developers to roll in application updates but they generally don’t happen quickly. In fact, they can be several releases back, as some applications change quickly. Firefox 3.5 has not been available as of a few days ago and the normal Mozilla way of updating has been disabled.
Still, Windows doesn’t care for third party software at all and neither does Mac OS X. Of course, you can get a package manager and play behind the scenes but they’re generally software ports from Linux and *BSD. A single point would be extremely nice.


Jul 16, 2009 – 3:22 PM

Sorry to sound so frivolous (well not really), but you should have used more acronyms like PITA, WOW or WTF. They are very related to the Windows update process…


Jul 16, 2009 – 12:56 PM

Talking about Ubuntu and kernel updates … a kernel update usually requires a reboot. Well, not anymore, at least in Ubuntu. The very nice and free-for-Ubuntu KSplice application makes “rebootless kernel updates” a dream come true. Being available for Ubuntu only, it’s just a start. Linux users expect KSplice to provide the package for other distributions too. Having KSplice on a CentOS server (or any other Linux server) would make any admin extremely happy.
Something that Windows (and even OSX) still does not have.
And yet they don’t have to deal with the hell of video and/or sound drivers.
Upgrading to a new release makes me wonder every time if the existing ATI/NVidia drivers will work as they did before.
Easy things like setting up TV-Out or using your microphone in some trivial application (ex: Skype) are still a pain for the Linux user.
Not to mention the big confusing cloud caused by a non unified sound arhitecture.
Pulse Audio, ALSA, OSS, bla-bla… too many… much too many and none of them doing the right thing as easy as Windows or Mac does. I still dream of a Linux desktop.
Mark Shuttleworth wants Ubuntu to be on par with OSX in two years from now. Well, I guess he is extremely optimistic.
GNOME is a sitting duck, lagging way behind what a modern desktop needs to be/look like.
KDE devs just seem to be playing with the whole package for their own amusement (All I see of KDE is a huge “look ma’ Iwe can do this, it doesn’t matter if it’s just useless eye candy”.
Upgrading to the new KDE 4.x made lots of Linux users curse.
Compiz (as in Compiz, Beryl, Compiz Fusion and the whole history behind) brings some new air to the desktop. But try watching a video or play a game while having Compiz activated …
Well, this is not part of the subject. Reverting to the subject itself, yes, Linux update/upgrade can be a painless process most of the times. Easier than Windows. Not as stupid-proof as Mac though 🙂


Jul 16, 2009 – 10:26 PM

Just when I thought my newer PC could handle the latest KDE…. Boy was I unhappy with that thought. KDE 4 was not the direction I thought they were going, but it’s the direction they went. And my newer PC was like my older PCs of days gone by trying to use KDE 3 on them… Almost impossible. So again, I’m back to using either Gnome or XFCE. Good old XFCE, always there when you need it, and always light on the resources. I recently busted out my old 500 Mhz box and tossed Xubuntu on there and likity split, it ran like a champ. I can’t put XP on it, I can’t put Vista on it, I can’t put OS X on it and I can’t put KDE or Gnome on it, but XFCE was there yet again to save the day.
Anyway.. Long story short, I’ve given up on KDE now with the advent of version 4. 😦
BTW, check out Enlightenment DR17 if you get a chance. Eye candy without the KDE Bloat. 🙂


Jul 16, 2009 – 10:52 AM

Though while it would be ideal for Windows Update to manage updates to all installed programs, considering they weren’t all “installed” from a Microsoft Repository, issues become onerous.
Where does it get the updates from? How does it know?
Developers for Windows don’t necessarily like following the rules. If Microsoft were to say, “You must use this installer (package manager), and you must include this information”, they’d be up in arms. If Microsoft told them, “You must upload the installation media and updates to this repository”, the users *and* developers would go insane.
Without the repository, you run the risk of the files no longer being where the developer said they’d be during install. This would break the functionality *and* be 100% out of Microsoft’s control. Not something they’d want to allow to happen. Talk about a PR nightmare….


Jul 16, 2009 – 11:49 AM



Jul 16, 2009 – 1:33 PM edited

It’s only the installation package format that’s mandated. If MS were to adopt this model, I don’t think they would try and create an uber-repository of all available windows software, and it certainly doesn’t resemble that on the Linux side. Canonical (the business behind Ubuntu) handles this nicely: On a default Ubuntu install, there are thirty-something repositories already defined. Some are maintained by Canonical (analogous to Microsoft maintaining a Windows OS and Office repository), and the rest are maintained by third parties, analogous to Adobe and Google maintaining their own repositories. You want more? Add more repositories for the software you want.
For a real example, Skype maintains a repository for Deb/Ubuntu versions, and the software they make available is on their own servers. It’s just that they are using the DEB file format for their installer. E.g. their instructions are:
1. Add the Skype repository*: deb stable non-free
2. Reload or update the package information
3. Install the skype package.
From that point on, Skype is installed on your Ubuntu system, AND updated automatically along with everything else on the system. To the end-user, it looks like one process, but in reality each package looks for updates from its own maintainer; Canonical, Adobe, etc etc. Now if I could just point Office 2003 (running under Wine) to a Microsoft repository…. 🙂


Jul 16, 2009 – 4:12 PM

I shouldn’t have worded the first sentence of that last paragraph quite the way I did…
Supplant “Without the repository” with “Without the Microsoft repository”.
If it’s out of their control, Microsoft will not actively code to support it. Losing a repository and ending up with a broken update looks bad for Microsoft, even if they had nothing to do with the repository in question.
Now, there’s *nothing* stopping a 3rd party group of folks from doing something like this (other than scale, of course), but of course, without the built-in functionality…who’s going to use it…or even hear about it?


Jul 16, 2009 – 8:32 PM

Too true.
Someone could indeed launch a tool similar to Steam, for desktop aplications, or Steam could be extended to manage more apps than just games.
They already have a great way of managing licenses and a pretty nifty online-store for apps(games).

this is an ongoing debate.. linux vs windows. i pasted with comments as its quite informative. do take a look at original article from betanews.

Yellow Dog Linux 6.1 First-Start Guide

Here’s my guide for Yellow Dog Linux 6.1 on Playstation 3. This guide is for my personal use and might be useful to those trying to get to know the system.

Yellow Dog Linux 6.1 First-Start Guide

Fixing the screen resolution


  1. open terminal
  2. su –
  3. password
  4. nano -w /etc/yaboot.conf
  5. find: video=ps3fb:mode:3 rhgb
  6. change: 3–> 133
  7. Exit: Ctrl+X
  8. Save changes: Yes
  9. reboot

Enabling vram swap for faster performance


  1. open terminal
  2. su –
  3. password
  4. cd /etc/init.d
  5. wget
  6. chmod 755 ps3-vram-swap
  7. chkconfig –add ps3-vram-swap
  8. chkconfig ps3-vram-swap on
  9. service ps3-vram-swap start
  10. exit
  11. confirm ps3vram is being used as swap. su –
  12. password
  13. swapon -s
  14. output should be:

Filename                      Type                Size                 Used    Priority

/dev/ps3da3                 partition           522104            12196  -1

/dev/mtdblock0           partition           241656            0          1

Installing repos


  • open terminal
  • su –
  • password
  • open text editor: gedit
  • copy to gedit:


name=Fedora Extras






exclude=finch pidgin libpurple libpurple-perl libpurple-tcl pidgin-perl \

libpurple-devel finch-devel pidgin-devel libsmi libsmi-devel oddjob  \

pyxdg lzo lzo-devel cvsps convmv nautilus-open-terminal gtk+ gtk+-devel \

perl-Pod-Escapes netlabel_tools freeglut-devel freeglut perl-Pod-Simple \

perl-PAR-Dist perl-ExtUtils-CBuilder keyutils-libs keyutils \

keyutils-libs-devel gnash scribus splint scribus-devel perl-YAML \

perl-Pod-Coverage conman gnash-plugin libibverbs oddjob-libs libhugetlbfs \

libibverbs-utils libibverbs-devel oddjob-devel asciidoc perl-Error exim \

glib tla mesa-libGLw mesa-libGLw-devel exim-doc hatari sblim-testsuite \

perl-Module-Build help2man perl-Test-Pod libmthca-devel libmthca git \

git-cvs git-gui git-svn git-arch git-email gitk perl-Git meanwhile-doc \

meanwhile-devel meanwhile Canna exim-mon perl-Test-Pod-Coverage glib-devel \

lsscsi sabayon-apply sabayon sblim-cmpi-devel sblim-wbemcli \

sblim-cmpi-base-test sblim-cmpi-base-devel sblim-cmpi-base aide ddd \

Canna-devel liberation-fonts Canna-libs mod_nss imlib2-devel imlib2 \

gstreamer-python openvpn qt4 qt4-postgresql qt4-odbc qt4-mysql qt4-devel \

qt4-sqlite qt4-doc blas-devel blas lapack lapack-devel \

perl-ExtUtils-ParseXS python-imaging-devel python-imaging \

python-setuptools gdk-pixbuf-devel gdk-pixbuf python-iniparse \

cyrus-imapd-utils cyrus-imapd-perl cyrus-imapd-devel cyrus-imapd \

yum-cron apmud

  • save as: /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora-extras.repo
  • copy to gedit:


name=Livna for Fedora Core 6 – ppc – Base








  • save as: /etc/yum.repos.d/livna-stable.repo
  • copy to gedit:


name=Dribble for Fedora 7 – ppc





  • save as: /etc/yum.repos.d/dribble.repo
  • install protectbase. this will prevent any repositories other than yellowdog-updates from replacing files from your yellowdog-base.repo when you update.
  • yum install yum-protectbase
  • echo ‘protect=1’ >> /etc/yum.repos.d/yellowdog-base.repo
  • echo ‘protect=1’ >> /etc/yum.repos.d/yellowdog-updates.repo
  • confirm repos being properly set: yum repolist
  • output result:
repo id repo name status
base Yellow Dog Linux 6 Base enabled
dribble Dribble for Fedora 7 – ppc enabled
extras Yellow Dog Linux 6 Extras enabled
fedora-extras Fedora Extras enabled
livna-stable Fedora Compatible Packages (st enabled
updates Yellow Dog Linux 6 Updates enabled
  • exit

Faster, smoother Windows Manager

Instead of using Gnome, KDE or Enlightenment, there is another simpler WM available. Use XFCE. The display is boring and simple. But what’s more important is gaining more and more speed.

  1. system — add remove program
  2. desktop environment, tick XFCE
  3. apply
  4. reboot
  5. change session: XFCE
  6. login

Video and Youtube

To view most videos, we shall use vlc. As for youtube viewing, vlc shall be embedded as our video player.

  1. system – add remove program
  2. search – vlc
  3. choose vlc-mozilla-plugin, vlc player
  4. install
  5. start firefox
  6. download greasemonkey:
  7. restart firefox
  8. open vlctube and install:
  9. restart firefox

Which YDL 6.1 DVD do I download?

I have used the YDL 6.1 for quite few months already. i notice its quite slow in comparison with normal pc. although i do expect it to be slow, with only 256MB of ram available, but not this slow. the loading was ok. but after half hour using it, i can start to notice significant slowdown in opening and navigating through the system. i do not know why. surfing was that bad as well. i can surf much faster with my old pentium 3 desktop. so i read up forums. googled here and there.. and  found a way to boost its performance. vram swap. sadly my version of ydl6.1 does not support vram swap. although i have the latest version, but it does not support an older application.. but it was my fault after all.. i should have read before i downloaded and installed that version. so i downloaded the older version and installed that on my PS3 again. so far the performance is quite good. but this time i customized what to be installed during setup. so it consumes less space on my hdd and i don’t have to install unnecessary programs.

for now i have started with some simple configurations. i’ve got the resolution to full screen mode, viewing at 1080p. then i have enabled the vram swap. ive just realized that i did not install any desktop environment. i did not install gnome or kde. just enlightenment. and i can’t explore my files. need to get the one of this environments to run. perhaps xfce or fluxbox will do. will do this tonight maybe. next the repos. unlike windows, YDL6.1 requires repositories available to them to find suitable installers. so i have to install the repos i will have to make viewing youtube available as well. that will also be as part of making the video vailable on the system. my aim for now is vlc.

article below is to explain on which iso to be downloaded. got this from Fixstars.

to be updated later..

Which YDL 6.1 DVD do I download?
If you are downloading and installing YDL 6.1, you may have noticed that there are two ISOs available on and on the public mirrors:
  • yellowdog-6.1-ppc-DVD_20081119.iso
  • yellowdog-6.1-ppc-DVD_20090201_NEW_PS3.iso
Download this DVD if:
  • You are installing on a newer PS3 model. This includes the 80GB PS3 (Model Number 98015 and later) and the 160GB PS3 (Model Number 900006 and later).

This ISO contains a patch for a boot issue on the newer model PS3.

Download this DVD if one of the following conditions is true:

  • You are installing on a supported device other than a PS3
  • You are installing on a earlier model PS3. This includes PS3s with Model Numbers preceding the 80GB PS3 (Model Number 98015) and the 160GB PS3 (Model Number 900006).
This ISO does not include the boot issue patch and is compatible the older model PS3s.

If in doubt…
If you are not sure of your PS3 model number, we recommend downloading the yellowdog-6.1-ppc-DVD_20081119.iso. If you encounter an issue where you are unable to boot into YDL, download the other ISO (yellowdog-6.1-ppc-DVD_20090201_NEW_PS3.iso).

This HOWTO was written by Bonnie Gosler, Fixstars Solutions.