Setting up Installer and Ubuntu Installation
Now that the PS3 is ready to accept a bootable Linux disc for installation, it's time to download and burn an ISO of your favorite distro. In this article, I will cover Ubuntu. You can download the Ubuntu ISO image off Ubuntu's servers. Click here to navigate to the download page. From there, select the release which you want to run on your PS3 (8.04, 8.10 or 9.04), then navigate to the "release" folder. On the page that opens, click on "PlayStation 3 Desktop CD" which will link you to the PS3-specific ISO image of that version.
Once you've downloaded the ISO, it's now time to burn it to an empty CD. If you are familiar with this step, you can skip it and read the next step directly. For the rest, you can download a free application like ImgBurn and select "Write image file to disc", then select the downloaded ISO file in the "Source" area, selecting your CD/DVD writer as the destination and finally clicking on the large button at the bottom to burn the image file to the disc.
Once this is done, insert the CD in the PS3, go to Settings -> System Settings -> Default System and select "Other OS" from the list.
When you reboot your PS3 now, it will boot the OtherOS bootloader (in our case, Ubuntu) and this will load the Ubuntu installer. Once it is loaded, you should see a command terminal with a "kboot:" prompt. Pressing Enter on the keyboard will start the installation procedure. If you want to go back to the PS3's XMB, just type "ps3-boot-game-os".
The Installation procedure is similar to what you will face when installing Ubuntu on a desktop system. You can refer to an article on installing Ubuntu written by my colleague Michael Dougherty here.
At the end of the install, the CD will automatically eject itself. Remove it from the drive and reboot your PS3. At the "kboot:" prompt now, press Enter to boot into Ubuntu Linux. Once at the login screen, type your username and password to login. You should now have a working Ubuntu operating system on your PS3.
At any time, you can open up a terminal and type ps3-boot-game-os to boot into the PS3's XMB. If you are stuck and cannot access a terminal, turn off your PS3, and when turning it on again, hold the Power button for a few seconds. Your PS3 should beep and boot into the XMB. This will reset the PS3's system settings and you will be able to revert back to the PS3's XMB without any problems.
Once installed, the possibilities with Ubuntu Linux are endless. Watch out for future articles from me exploring the various possibilities and explaining them to you.