Is this a ghost of Christmas past come to visit? Are we looking back on past generations of consoles as hackers make PlayStations run operating systems that they shouldn’t? No, not at all, it’s just history repeating itself once again. This time though it’s with a PlayStation 4, as hacker group fail0verflow has managed get Linux working on the current-gen system.
This marks the first time that someone has managed to get a full version of the operating system running on a PlayStation 4, despite others have made attempts at the feat. The current console has proven far more difficult to crack open than its predecessor. However, once the FreeBSD kernel exploit was discovered by hacker CTurt earlier this year, fail0verflow had a great starting point, and now several months later here we are.
Making the PS4 run Linux essentially turns it into a fully functioning PC. As proof of its varied abilities, the group was even able to get an emulator and a modded copy of Pokemon running on it (as per Liliputing), using a Game Boy Advance as a controller.
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All of this was shown off at the recent Console Hacking 2015 conference, where the group detailed their investigations into the PS4’s operating system, known as Orbis. It said that some of the decisions made when creating Orbis were really bizarre compared to more traditional PC operating systems.
This really does harken back to the last generation, where Sony made its OtherOS feature available to everyone, letting them install Linux with ease if they wanted. This led to great projects, like using clustered PS3s to create supercomputers using the powerful — if hard to develop for — Cell processor inside. Although that feature was eventually disabled, fail0verflow was able to crack open the PS3 before long, enabling the installation of a range of software.