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Yellow Dog Linux Overview

written by: Chris Hoffman•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/25/2010

Yellow Dog Linux is a Linux distribution originally targeted at Apple PPCs, but now used on PS3s and for running NVIDIA CUDA applications.

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    Yellow Dog Linux is a Linux distribution based on the popular Red Hat distribution. Unlike most distributions, Yellow Dog Linux defaults to the Enlightenment desktop environment instead of the more widely chosen GNOME and KDE desktops.

    Yellow Dog Linux includes standard Linux desktop applications including Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird,, GIMP, Pidgin, Gnash for running Adobe Flash content, Rhythmbox and Totem for playing music and videos, and more. It can be downloaded for free at the official Yellow Dog Linux website.

    Yellow Dog also includes server software for running web, database, and network servers. In fact, there's a version called Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux specifically designed for this purpose.

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    Yellow Dog Linux 5 running Mozilla Firefox in the Enlightenment desktop environment. Yellow Dog Linux's initial purpose was to support the PowerPC architecture Apple used to use for its computers. While it wasn't the only Linux distribution to support it, Yellow Dog Linux distinguished itself by focusing exclusively on the PPC architecture. In fact, its parent company had a unique license with Apple. Terra Soft Solutions was the only corporation authorized to resell Apple computers with Linux installed on them. No one else was authorized to sell Apple computers with anything but OS X on them.

    When Apple began making their computers with the Intel chips used throughout the rest of the PC industry and dropped PPCs, Yellow Dog was re-targeted at a new niche platform in need of an operating system: the PlayStation 3.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Henriok

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    PlayStation 3

    Yellow Dog Linux supports PlayStation 3 consoles with their The PS3's Cell platform was based on the PPC's POWER architecture, so the PS3 was a logical next step for Yellow Dog Linux. While other distributions, including the popular Ubuntu distribution, currently work on the PlayStation 3, Yellow Dog Linux was one of the first to release a working version.

    Unlike Yellow Dog Linux's parent corporation's deal with Apple, there was no deal with Sony. PS3s were never sold with Yellow Dog Linux pre-installed, it must be installed using the PlayStation 3's "Other OS" option.

    The "Other OS" feature was removed by the PlayStation 3's 3.21 firmware update on March 28, 2010 New PlayStation 3s won't be able to use Yellow Dog, but older ones will if they haven't been updated. Unfortunately, not updating the firmware removes the ability to access the PlayStation Network for online gaming.

    See Yellow Dog's official installation support website if you want to install this free Linux distribution on your PS3.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/S. Solberg J.

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    The Future

    Yellow Dog's latest release as of June 2010, "Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux for NVIDIA CUDA" is a Linux distribution specialized to run NVIDIA CUDA applications. CUDA is a NVIDIA API allowing programmers to use the graphics card for computational operations. Check it out here.