[PHORONIX] Sony's PlayStation 4 Is Running Modified FreeBSD 9

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[PHORONIX] Sony's PlayStation 4 Is Running Modified FreeBSD 9

Postby pkubaj » 23 Jun 2013, 19:59

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTM5NDI

Interesting, but IMO here's where GPL shows its strengths - if FreeBSD were GPL-licensed, AMD would have to release code for its drivers. Now, I guess we can count on someone hack PS4 and extract those drivers, but it's not going to be legal.
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Postby Savagedlight » 23 Jun 2013, 21:28

pkubaj wrote:http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTM5NDI

Interesting, but IMO here's where GPL shows its strengths - if FreeBSD were GPL-licensed, AMD would have to release code for its drivers. Now, I guess we can count on someone hack PS4 and extract those drivers, but it's not going to be legal.


If FreeBSD were GPL licensed, they wouldn't have used FreeBSD. Let's face it; this is probably the main reason they didn't go with Linux in the first place.

I'm glad they're using a FreeBSD fork though. These things tend to have nice things trickle back in the long run, if for no other reason than to make it easier for them to get the newest and shiniest from upstream.
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Postby zspider » 23 Jun 2013, 23:40

There seems to be some idea over there, that the GPL magically stops people from taking the code and not giving back, in reality there's really nothing to stop them from doing so if they throw it into a closed source project. BSD wisely realizes this and does not attempt to impose those kind of restrictions.

There also seems to be a lot of envy simmering over there about Sony choosing FreeBSD.Image
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Postby ShelLuser » 24 Jun 2013, 00:34

pkubaj wrote:if FreeBSD were GPL-licensed, AMD would have to release code for its drivers.

Actually that's not correct. Because only if you fork an existing project which is licensed under the GPL will you be forced into licensing your work under the GPL too (I never understood how this was supposed to be a sign of freedom).

But that doesn't apply if you're programming a separate extension for an environment which just happens to be licensed under the GPL. Because your project is not a fork, you're most certainly not forced into distributing the main program with your extension, and so I can easily come up with closed-source extensions for GPL licensed code.

I think you're confused about the stuff which goes into the Linux kernel. But that's a totally different ballgame which has nothing to do with GPL restrictions. It's not the GPL which prevents people from distributing closed source kernel modules, it's their desire to have their module distributed ("embedded") together with the kernel. Eventually it's Linus' choice to determine what does and doesn't get included. And if you send him a binary kernel module then I have a good hunch what the verdict is going to be.
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Postby throAU » 24 Jun 2013, 02:35

pkubaj wrote:http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTM5NDI

Interesting, but IMO here's where GPL shows its strengths - if FreeBSD were GPL-licensed, AMD would have to release code for its drivers. Now, I guess we can count on someone hack PS4 and extract those drivers, but it's not going to be legal.


Commercial vendors being able to use FreeBSD and NOT have to release all their code is a FEATURE (i.e., not a weakness).

Not a bug.
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Postby kpa » 24 Jun 2013, 02:59

Correct. The choice to allow binary only releases of BSD licenced code like in this case is a completely intended one. BSD license does not try to put unnecessary restraints on code that has little value outside the system it's intended for, for example a firmware for a device like a cable box with DVR capabilities, what good is the firmware without the device itself? Why would an average user be interested in the source code of the firmware?
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Postby alie » 24 Jun 2013, 05:08

Sony is not giving back to FreeBSD like Yahoo! Really sad there is no take and give.
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Postby throAU » 24 Jun 2013, 05:16

Code: Select all
[jrose@proxy /usr/src/sys/contrib/altq/altq]$ less altq.h
/*      $FreeBSD$       */
/*      $KAME: altq.h,v 1.10 2003/07/10 12:07:47 kjc Exp $      */

/*
 * Copyright (C) 1998-2003
 *      [B]Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc.[/B]  All rights reserved.
 *



etc.
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Postby Crivens » 24 Jun 2013, 09:08

Sounds interesting - I will head over there in the lunch break to have a peek at the comments.
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Postby pkubaj » 24 Jun 2013, 10:21

I know the BSD license is used because of its advantages, but no one will say that it doesn't have disadvantages, just like GPL has pros and cons as well.
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Postby cpm » 24 Jun 2013, 11:11

On the freebsd-doc mailing list this is also discussed: http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-doc/2013-June/022198.html. I prefer don't use as a information source the provided by Phoronix, for this reason.

Also a quite interesting interview: PS4 to aim the "game environment without walls".
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Postby overmind » 24 Jun 2013, 12:33

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Postby Crivens » 24 Jun 2013, 12:43

Just read some comments there - I think some of the zealots are offline due to a stroke. Normals trolls are immune to this, so they are still there.

Basically the tradeoff is clear and argued all over again and again. Force the sharing ./. share by gift (as if you could sue someone for violating the GPL and then show up in court with reassemblies of encrypted binaries you somehow picked out of a secured, closed system like some game console... not gonna happen).

What I find quite disturbing is the tendency to deny developers to choose what licence they want. WTF? Can someone please grow up? When I put code under the BSD licence, it's my choice to do so.

The PS4 is said to be pretty different from off-the-shelf HW, so I see no point in Sony not giving anything back. On the contrary - doing so would make sense. You need not keep it up to date on your own that much. And when finally someone else may find an architecture sufficiently close to the PS4 on the shelf, well, I think the PS4 will be considered gone by then. So no loss there. Only more developers who already know the ropes and can make things for the then-hot PS6.

Some of the posters there seem frustrated that they don't get asked to nitpick on the brushwork on the bikeshed. Not that they would have any choice in the paining, or the color, or the whole blooming shed.
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Postby NewGuy » 24 Jun 2013, 12:46

Wasn't the PS3 also based on a branch of FreeBSD? I seem to recall rumours to that effect when the previous generation of consoles came out. As such it makes sense for the PS4 to use FreeBSD as well. And it looks as though Sony will be contributing patches back, so everyone wins.
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Postby TiberiusDuval » 24 Jun 2013, 13:03

I don't know for sure, but at least it used the UFS filesystem.
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Postby CoTones » 24 Jun 2013, 14:21

[del]The[/del] FreeBSD is a true server OS and not suited for games. Sony is totally crazy for doing that. </irony>
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Postby ahavatar » 24 Jun 2013, 16:47

When are we going to be able to run an AMD 7000 series graphics card on FreeBSD? I hope AMD will release its FreeBSD driver.
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Postby Savagedlight » 24 Jun 2013, 17:28

From what a game developer friend told me, the "driver" is probably a programming API specifically for this chip, and wouldn't make much sense outside of that context. It wouldn't be an X.Org driver.
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Postby DutchDaemon » 24 Jun 2013, 22:31

A forum user alerted me to the fact that there's a user 'DutchDaemon' showing up in the PS4/FreeBSD topic on the forums at Phoronix. I'd like to have it on the record that that is not me. I don't use the name 'DutchDaemon' anywhere else, ever.
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Postby cpm » 24 Jun 2013, 23:10

DutchDaemon wrote:A forum user alerted me to the fact that there's a user 'DutchDaemon' showing up in the PS4/FreeBSD topic on the forums at Phoronix. I'd like to have it on the record that that is not me. I don't use the name 'DutchDaemon' anywhere else, ever.


He is the Linux (GPL) [user]DutchDaemon[/user]'s version :e
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Postby mlsemon » 24 Jun 2013, 23:16

All I see are a couple of pictures. It starts with GRUB in one picture, which could suggest that it's Debian kFreeBSD, or maybe GRUB2 loading regular FreeBSD. Then in the next picture, someone's loading libstdc++, suggesting that Sony isn't totally against the GPL, and even then the license version hasn't been established yet.

So basically, the idea that it's based on "modified FreeBSD 9.0" comes from one sentence on a site I've never visited. Might one of the experts here correct me? I've seen only enough kFreeBSD to run back to the real FreeBSD rather quickly, not much longer than that. Thanks!
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Postby zspider » 25 Jun 2013, 02:28

DutchDaemon wrote:A forum user alerted me to the fact that there's a user 'DutchDaemon' showing up in the PS4/FreeBSD topic on the forums at Phoronix. I'd like to have it on the record that that is not me. I don't use the name 'DutchDaemon' anywhere else, ever.


I saw that too, I was like "that's not the real [user]DutchDaemon[/user]. <_<"
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Postby Blueprint » 25 Jun 2013, 07:27

I knew it was not the real Dutch when he used two consecutive exclamation marks. That is not grammatically correct!
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Postby Crivens » 25 Jun 2013, 08:03

What brought a smile to my face is that the first rant post I saw from the evil twin has the obligatory "Last edited by DutchDaemon; 06-25-2013 at 12:38 AM." footer.

Seriously, some people who post there should seek help.
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Postby kpedersen » 25 Jun 2013, 09:01

That is quite cool that people relate the name [user]DutchDaemon[/user] so closely with any news regarding FreeBSD. Perhaps we should replace Beastie with [user]DutchDaemon[/user] ;)
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