Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sony Vs. Homebrew 2.0: The Battle for the PS3

As the PS3 launch nears more and more details regarding Linux and its homebrew capabilities. While this news offers great hope for those active in the homebrew community, many major questions have still been left unanswered.

We've probably all seen the psp-esque xmb up and running on demo units. It was confirmed long ago by Sony Exec Izumi Kawanashi that Linux will indeed be included with homebrew in mind:

"Because we have plans for having Linux on board [the PS3], we also recognize Linux programming activities... Other than game studios tied to official developer licenses, we'd like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3."

How will linux be implemented into this equation? Will we really get a full version of Yellow Dog Linux to run? Taking Sony's action in regards to the PSP, can we just expect more of the same? More importantly, will first run PS3's be "open" in the sense that Japanese 1.0 PSP's were? How limited will the homebrew functions be considering its getting Sony's seal of approval this time around?

Taking into account Sony's corporate history concerning proprietary everything; its hard to believe we'll see anything close to a full version linux and/or homebrew capabilities that rival a 1.5 PSP or modded Xbox. The power of the cell is enough to make any fan of emu salivate. Hopefully those "gifted few" will take on this project and let us all unleash its true potential. I think we're headed towards another firmware war but this time the stakes are much higher. Does Sony really have to worry about piracy with Blu-Ray at least in the short term? Even the most dedicated pirates will have a tough time with 25+GB disks, unless you've got FiOS (lucky bastards). Sony opening up to homebrew is definetly a step in the right direction; its just a matter of how big a step it will be. Because of the infinite possiblilities through firmware upgrades I think we'll see baby steps at first. Ironically this will most likely be the time when "those few" will be able to take the fullest advantage of the system and its infant firmware. I guess only time will tell.

The games and the HD video are enough to get me to eventually pick one up, but the possiblity of homebrew ensured that I would do my damndest to get one on launch. Get ready, the war is about to begin.

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Posted by TheTech @ 6:54 PM

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