[LinuxBIOS] Open Gaming Console

Nathaniel Dube avatarofvirgo at gmail.com
Wed Aug 24 09:11:28 CEST 2005

On Wednesday 24 August 2005 01:22 am, Richard Smith wrote:
> What hardware do you have in mind?

I'd like it to be designed so any retail hardware off the shelf will do, but 
if we are to start a small business making these things I would try the best 
I can to make something that would cost less then say current game consoles.  
So any hardware that would accomplish this would work.  I don't remember what 
the current XBOX cost, around $150 I think.  The XBOX360 I belive is going to 
be close to $300 when it comes out.  So it has to be hardware that would keep 
the over all price below the current consoles.

After all we wouldn't want to build a system that cost more then the xbox360, 
then people will get this idea that Linux systems are more expensive then MS 
systems.  We need to build something that says "Linux saves people money."

> To me the software of this 
> actually seems like the easy part.  There are loads of ways to make a
> small customized linux image.
> http://www.emdebian.org/
> http://familiar.handhelds.org/
> http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
> http://openwrt.org/
> http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/
> http://www.pengutronix.de/software/ptxdist_en.html

It's easy when you know how. ;)  I've still a Linux newbie my self.  As of now 
I don't have the current knowledge to build a brand new Linux Distro from 
scratch.   But I will look at those links.  If you ever played with an Xbox 
you'll know that when you turn it on it loads to it's menu (with no game in 
it) pretty quick.  Which made me think to use LinuxBIOS.  Current BIOS 
wouldn't be able to pull this off.  When you put a game in the xbox it loads 
up right away.  no installing any thing except if you forgot to plug in your 
controller.  I want to build a open gaming system with the same principles of 
user friendlyness.  Many people have hacked the xbox to install a custom 
linux distro onto the xbox by replacing the "xbox live" menu entry with a 
Linux entry.

I want to build this new system with the same kind of easy to use menu system 
when you turn it on and I want it to have a menu entry to start up a regular 
sized distro if people want that to.  This new system will have the primary 
purpose of being an alternative to the xbox.

Because of legal reasons it may not be able to play encrypted dvds but should 
be able to play cds just fine.  But it should also be flexible enough so you 
can do any thing else with it.

The DVD part doesn't have to be a impossibility, if it became popular enough 
other companies might decide to make software to play encrypted movies on 
this system.  For this system to be devoted to open standards and be sold in 
stores I wouldn't be able to provide any software for dvds with out breaking 
retarded patent laws.  But that wouldn't stop other business from providing 
products to over come this.  That way who ever makes this system don't have 
to deal with royaltie issues.

> Horsepower wise though you are really going to have some beef to
> compete with the graphics power of the Xbox or ps2 line of products.
> That means the later nvidia or ATI cards.

I would use nvidia.  I find they have better support and drivers for Linux.  
Thought I would prefer to find hardware with open standard "chip sets" so any 
one can make open source drivers for them but I'm dreaming now.  I've seen 
some pretty nice video cards on newegg.com that's not to old that should be 
able to handle the latest games.  The first xbox had a 800 mhz CPU, it didn't 
even have a fan on the heat sink but the GPU did.

> A gaming console is also going to need some sort of low noise, smaller
> type case setup.

I've seen some nice microATX desktop cases on newegg.com.  So those should do 
nicely.  The thing to watch out for is heat and the power suplies they come 
with.  I've been told by some people the ones they have have crap power 
supplies and ended up getting their own.

> Neither of the above is cheap.  $300 is a would be a pretty good deal
> for what you get if it wern't for the stupid DRM they use.

Now that I re-think it, building this system by hand, we would end up making a 
gaming system that would cost more than current systems but cost less than 
current desktop computers at Best Buy.  And since this new system will be a 
hybrid of both I see no reason why this thing wouldn't sell like crazy.

> Although I think ps2 has linux dev kit for it dosen't it?

The first ps2 had one, it was a hard drive with linux installed on it and you 
just insert it into the ps2.  Sony came out with a newer thinner version of 
the ps2 and doesn't have the hard drive slot nor do they sell the kit any 
more.  Not in the US any way.
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