Need for Speed: PS3 Linux!
Now, I can start to analyze whether the YDL installation is actually a configuration that addresses my earlier stated needs for a software solution that makes the PS3 a useful Internet machine, and a quick visit to linuxjournal.com confirms that, yes, it works fine, it's darn fast and eminently usable. Nice!
One of the sites I use as a test is Google's Gmail service. It's complex behind the scenes and quite powerful, so the question is always whether it works and renders properly on a new system. YDL came through like a champ, working just fine and letting me navigate through my e-mail securely through Firefox. Thunderbird is also pre-installed and ready to go, and configuring a POP3-based e-mail account is pretty straightforward for most Linux users, so there are at least two good avenues for accessing your e-mail.
That means, of course, that YDL does indeed meet my primary criteria for usability, letting me surf the Web and interact with my e-mail, all from the comfort of my easy chair and with a simple USB keyboard added onto my slick PlayStation 3 device.
But, Linux offers a lot more capability, and as an experiment, I launched Rhythmbox and quickly concluded that I have had my expectations of music players really screwed up by using iTunes for so many years. It's astonishing to me that I can choose “Internet radio stations” and not get a list of available stations, but instead have to figure out the URL of the station I desire so I can “tune in” to it. Unfortunately, all these years into the Linux evolution, and there are still too many apps that are rough around the edges like this.
I went to Firefox, searched for “internet radio station jazz”, found one through the popular Live365 site, selected the channel, had it try to download a streaming file that caused the launch of the Helix player, only to find that it doesn't have the capability of playing back that type of content. Next stop: AccuRadio, but it wanted me to install a new plugin. Yech. New Orleans Jazz channel WWOZ offered up a URL, so I pasted that into Rhythmbox just to find it didn't work either. To heck with it! How is someone like my Mom supposed to survive so much hassle to get audio in YDL?
As I expected, it may be slick and fast running on the Sony PlayStation 3 with its powerful Cell processor system, but it's still the same Linux that we've gotten used to with no exciting new capabilities, no easier way to work with the various media on the Web, and the same rough edges I've been bothered by for over a decade now.
Unlike most Linux systems, however, YDL on PS3 at least lets you reboot and go back into the world of the PlayStation, where you can easily run photo slideshows, upload and enjoy your music library, watch DVD and Blu-ray HD video and, of course, play some of the amazing games available for the PlayStation.
Really, it's one heck of a combination, and if you know someone who would like to have access to all the power and capabilities of the Cell processor through Terra Soft Solution's YDL system, along with the fun and power of the PlayStation 3, it's really one heck of a combination. Even if you just want to hack, it's cool to have a foreign OS on the system as an option at boot time too.
Dave Taylor has been poking around in UNIX and Linux since the mid-1980s and has contributed various software to its evolution. He has run Linux on all sorts of strange devices now, including his tri-booting Mac laptop and Sony PlayStation 3. He also runs a busy Q&A and troubleshooting site (AskDaveTaylor.com) and has written a number of popular tech books, including Growing Your Business with Google and Wicked Cool Shell Scripts.
Dave Taylor has been hacking shell scripts for over thirty years. Really. He's the author of the popular "Wicked Cool Shell Scripts" and can be found on Twitter as @DaveTaylor and more generally at www.DaveTaylorOnline.com.
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