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PS4, Linux, and where we're at

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PS4, Linux, and where we're at

Post by PixelButts » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:32 am

So if you do or don't know, PS4s can run Linux if you're on 1.76 and use the proper setup.
Generally speaking, if something doesn't run Linux, it eventually will. How well it runs isn't what's usually important.

Currently we have a number of things available to us if you look in the Tutorial section. Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, SteamOS, probably anything else that operates off the Linux kernel can be run on the PS4. That's great and all but there's still a lot of issues present that make things a bit bothersome.

The lack of sound drivers is probably the most wanted for me.
There's no Virtual Machines that can be set up due to BIOS settings on the PS4.
Things break. A lot. So bad you may have to start from scratch if you don't do it right.
Speed is an issue. 2.0 USB is not fast enough. USB 3.0 is absolutely a better option and almost required, but still needs SATA speeds to really get going.
(Not confirmed) GDDR5 RAM is used, but currently the OS is using something else. I was told it's probably interacting with the RAM as if it were GDDR3. If this is the case another speed boost would come from this if configured correctly.
Display issues. Doesn't apply to as many people, but if the system loses it's signal to your monitor/TV it goes green or black and cannot be undone, forcing a reboot and relaunching of the Linux installation.
Wine does not work even if it can be installed. Many games do work for their installers, but loading will fail. Some even fail at the end of the installation. (For those unaware, Wine is a tool used to use Windows specific applications and executables on non-Windows systems. Macs have this as well if you choose not to use Bootcamp).

Even with all these setbacks there's a number of positives here to take a very important note of.

All 8 CPU cores can be used to max capacity.
GPU access which is amazing to have since the PS3 had this access locked out.
3D acceleration, Steam, Emulators all work (not all but many).
Wine can be installed, so it's just a matter of having it work now.
RAM usage is very efficient and I'm very glad to see it so stable. (There are issues if you kill processes improperly)
And the one thing people are probably wanting to hear about - Games.

The PS4 does have the ability to run games native to the Linux system if you have your system booting from your Linux installation. This is usually a no-brainer. However, what IS surprising is how well some of these are playing despite the issues they should be having.

I've linked 10 videos at the bottom of this post showing how some popular Steam games operate from essentially an out-of-the-box image created by D-ecks based off the work from Fail0verflow and OsirisX. I did use a partition editor to expand my space available as well.
The specs are as follows with filesystem size being varied by storage chose (some things don't work right, so don't worry about the -11GB of ram reading. I assure you it's okay)
So I'm using a PS4 for my PC needs.png
So I'm using a PS4 for my PC needs.png (37.54 KiB) Viewed 1548 times
The range and degree to which games do and don't work is quite vast, and I only have so many Linux native games to pick from, so this is what I have to show. Some games by default max the settings based on hardware which is a clear indicator of how much the PS4 can really do.
In order from best running to worst running from what I tested (video settings maxed specifically)
Amnesia the Dark Descent
Portal 2
Left 4 Dead 2
Counter Strike Source
Arma 3
Mighty Number 9
Team Fortress 2
Counter Strike Global Offensive

I've found a number of games that don't work at all such as Splice, a very fun puzzle game, Besiege, a sandbox game, and Left 4 Dead 2 Beta (not a prototype, just for beta testing newest patches and bug fixes). I'm interested to know why and if there's ways to get them working, but that can take a lot of time.

I wanted to make this post in the hopes that it may catch the attention of those who wish to improve upon what we have. The PS4 is a powerful machine, and it really does show. It's about as powerful as a mid-high end PC. There's amazing amounts of potential on this machine, but it may be left untouched if there isn't attention focused on it. And who knows, with PS4 NEO on the horizon and the PS4 Slim costing next to nothing, there may be a way to use these as cheap yet powerful alternatives to monstrously powerful and expensive PCs. It may depend on the PS4 scene and reverse engineering the system, but it's better to start now than later.

Here are some videos showing how well some of these run. They are not cut to be shorter. They are left uncut to show load times. I've ordered them based on when I recorded them. I censored sensitive info and my name from them accordingly (and poorly). I don't want people adding me on steam.

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