While the original Xbox eventually gained unofficial Linux support, Sony's PlayStation 3 is shaping up to be Linux-ready from the start. Terra Soft Solutions has announced that the next version of its PowerPC Linux distribution, Yellow Dog Linux 5.0, will support the PlayStation 3. Tera Soft says it was granted a "unique opportunity" under an agreement from Sony to develop a complete Linux distribution for the upcoming console. Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 will be based on Red Hat's Fedora Core 5, and it will integrate the Enlightenment DR 17 GPU-accelerated desktop environment, the Linux 2.6.16 kernel, a developer toolkit for the console's Cell processor, and a variety of bundled software ranging from GCC to OpenOffice.org and Firefox. According to Tera Soft CEO Kai Staats, Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 is scheduled to come out this fall.
This is good news for tweakers and developers who'd like to take advantage of the PS3's Cell processor without having to shell out nearly $20,000 for an IBM BladeCenter QS20. However, officially allowing a Linux distribution to run on the PS3 seems like a strange decision for Sony. The console's cost will be heavily subsidized, and considering the European launch delay, it may take longer than initially expected for Sony to recoup its investments. Since Sony is largely counting on games to turn a profit, encouraging users to purchase the console for purposes other than gaming seems like an odd business choice.
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