How to Install Ubuntu Linux on your PS3

by MrPS3 Featured 12 Comments 16 Votes 20020 Views 18/01/2008 Back to Articles

To install Ubuntu Linux on your PlayStation 3, you should have the following:

  • A PS3 (duh)
  • An Ubuntu Linux LiveCD image (download here)
  • A blank CD-R or DVD-R
  • ISO burning software (Nero, etc.)
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Kboot Loader (aka otheros.bld, Link Provided Below)
  • USB Keyboard
  • USB Mouse

Burn the iso-file to a CD.

Download this otheros.bld ( ) file and put it on a USB stick or burned media using the path:


(make a folder on your USB drive or burned media called PS3, then create a folder inside it called OTHEROS. Place the downloaded otheros.bld file inside the OTHEROS folder)

2. Prepare the PS3

We need to format the hard disk to make room for the Other OS on the PS3. Before formatting you might want to backup your saved data.

  • Go to [Settings] > [System Settings] > [Format Utility].
  • Choose [Custom] and [Allot 10GB to the Other OS].
  • Choose [Quick Format] and confirm.When the format is completed, press X to restart the system.

Now insert your USB stick (containing the otheros.bld file) into the PS3 and go to [Settings] > [System Settings] > [Install Other OS]. When you see the screen with Title and Location of the otheros.bld file, press [Start] (X) to install the kboot loader.When the installation completes there will be an info screen telling you to go to [Settings] > [System Settings] > [Default System] and set it to [Other OS].

Insert the Ubuntu installation disc and boot it up by restarting the PS3 (by pressing [Yes] at the [Default System] > [Other OS] prompt).

3. Loading the installer

After a few lines of text, the terminal will stop and display:

This is an Ubuntu Live CDROM

If in doubt, just press Enter.

kboot: _

Pressing Enter will start the installation with the kernel loading the system.

After detecting your hardware, you need to partition a disk. Select Guided - use entire disk, select /dev/ps3da 10.7 GB, and format #1 as ext3 and #5 as swap. All options should be the defaults if you have followed this guide, so you should be able to just hit Enter through most screens.

4. Installing the base system

Fill in information about yourself and your system by following the configuration screens.You may set up you wireless network now or choose to do this later (in the desktop environment).

Hostname: PSUbuntu (or whatever you want)

Setting up resolution can be done later, so just hit Continue.

When the installation completes the CD will be ejected so you won’t be restarting the installation at the next boot. The screen might hang at a line saying “USB bus deregistered”. Just hold down the power button on the front to force a restart of the PS3.

When it reboots, hit Enter at the kboot: prompt. Wait for a while, and you will soon be greeted by the Ubuntu login screen!


The first thing you should do is set up your monitor to initiate the correct resolution at boot. To determine the correct video mode for your screen, use a tool called ps3videomode. It can be run from a terminal window ([Applications] > [Accessories] > [Terminal]) by typing:

ps3videomode -h

ps3videomode will return a list of supported resolutions, with a number in front to represent the mode:

YUV 60Hz 1:480i ... 2:480p ... 3:720p ... 4:1080i ... 5:1080p
YUV 50Hz 6:576i ... 7:576p ... 8:720p ... 9:1080i ... 10:1080p
RGB 60Hz 33:480i ... 34:480p ... 35:720p ... 36:1080i ... 37:1080p

RGB 50Hz 38:576i ... 39:576p ... 40:720p ... 41:1080i ... 42:1080p
VESA 11:WXGA ... 12:SXGA ... 13:WUXGA

If you have a “Full HD” monitor with 1920×1080 resolution, use a 1080p mode. If your TV is “HD Ready”, use one of the 720p or 1080i modes (3, 4, 8, 9, 35, 36, or 40 / 41).
Testing video modes

To check how a resolution works on your system you need to stop and start the Gnome Desktop Manager (gdm) between each test. Pressing Alt + F1 will give you a text console in which you enter your username and password.

Now stop gdm:

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop

Set a temporary video using ps3videomode -v and a number, for instance:

ps3videomode -v 5


ps3videomode -v 42 -f

(both commands represent various 1080p modes. You need to check with the table above which number corresponds with your monitor).

Start gdm using the new videomode with

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start

Make the resolution permanent

When you have found a decent videomode, make the setting permanent by having Ubuntu load this mode on each startup. In a terminal window, type:

sudo nano /etc/event.d/ps3videomode

This will start the console text editor nano with an empty file called ps3videomode in the event.d folder. In this file, type:

start on runlevel 2
exec /usr/bin/ps3videomode -v 0

Replace the 0 with the number key for your videomode.

In nano, save the file with Ctrl + o (the letter o). Hit enter to confirm. Then Ctrl + x to exit nano.

You should now be able to reboot your system with your resolution of choice.



Wireless works great on WEP-encrypted networks, but WPA is problematic. If your WiFi is WEP-encrypted, it can be enabled by clicking on the network icon (top right panel) and selecting manual configuration. Go to the Wireless connection properties, and type in the name of your network (ESSID). Select your WEP password type and enter the key for your router.

In Connection Settings, choose Automatic configuration (DHCP). Click OK, and enable the connection by clicking the radio button for Wireless. You should now have wifi internet access.

Wired Ethernet

Your wired ethernet should work fine, but if it doesn't, go to [system] > [network] and select the wired connection, deselect roaming, and select the auto DHCP option, or manually configure your connection if that's how it normally is configured.


Running Ubuntu on a PS3 can be quite resource intensive due to the low amount of RAM available on the system, so try to minimize the number of running services. From [System] > [Preferences] > [Sessions] you can disable all of the startup programs in the list that you don’t need (if you have already configured your internet connection with WEP, you can even disable the Network Manager).

You can also consider installing the more lightweight XFCE desktop manager for Ubuntu by typing (in a terminal):

sudo aptitude install xubuntu-desktop

Enter your password when prompted.

Enjoy Ubuntu on your PS3!

If you have any questions, send me a message, and I'll respond as soon as possible.

(the majority of this guide is courtesy of

Link to us
Tags: acess linux mac ps3 ubuntu wireless
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How to Install Ubuntu Linux on your PS3 Comments

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Give it a try, guys! It's a fun experiment, and you definitely feel accomplished once you can say that you now dual-boot Linux on your PS3! might get some queer looks from people...being that you're now Mr. Computer Nerd x 10 !!

woa, who wrote this?? nice work anyway
not for me but great guide
i think ill try this within the next couple days. thanks.
Thanks goes to the person who wrote this. I will be trying this some time next week. Is 30GB enough for Demos, savedata and a few movies? Most of my media will be streamed.
uhh where are the instructions?
I don't know guys, but i didn't find this story on psubunto, i searched the whole site but it is like a ghost story there, i doubt that so called jhon v. exists on that site!!! maybe the author here made a typing mistake so can anyone please provide the exact origin of the article?? .....
what happens if you want to go back to your ps3 but your in linux?
What exactly is linux?

ThaDarb said: what happens if you want to go back to your ps3 but your in linux?

When booting your PS3 up hold in the button until you hear a beeepy noise. It'll then boot up into the XMB.

J3PP0_15 said: What exactly is linux?

Linux is an Operating System. It's usually open source meaning it's also free
You get differant versions of Linux, called distribution (abbreviated to Distro's). Ubuntu is the most well known and commercial Linux distro.

Personally my favourite is Fedora, which brings me on to me needing help

Does anyone have, or know where to get a mirror of the file that should be located:

Get in touch if you do, Help is muchly appreciated.

Okey after a painstaking few hours, I've tried to install Ubuntu, the way it's described in this guide.

I can get the boot loader up, but when I get to step 3, I can get the screen up and everything, but I can't use my keyboard, it's like it's not supported or something, it's not supported, the underscore curser thing still blinks, and there's still power going into my keyboard (it lights up ) my keyboard works with the regular PS3's "Game" OS, I can navigate the XMB, use it to type etc.

Is anyone else having problems with this??
Is there a way to sort it??
If not, could anyone recomend a cheap keyboard I could get?? (no more than £15 {AUS$30 approx.})

yeah, where are the instructions? found these -
YaaaY!! FInally got it to work!!

A couple of problems with the wireless and the screen resolution, but I'll work it out tomorrow.


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