COMPUTERWORLD EXPO: Linux on PlayStation II launched in NZ

If chasing your tail around the World Rally Champ track is getting boring, why not turn that simple PlayStation II into a Linux-based PC instead?

If chasing your tail around the World Rally Champ track is getting boring, why not turn that simple PlayStation II into a Linux-based PC instead?

Launched yesterday at the Computerworld Expo in Auckland, Sony's Linux Kit includes a 40GB internal hard disk, 100 base-T ethernet network adaptor, keyboard and mouse and the software needed to boot up your PS II as a Linux PC. Recommended retail price is $599 including GST. Users will need a PlayStation II and a television or monitor.

Originally a beta version kit was made available in Japan in mid 2001, however demand from other countries saw the trial balloon in size and has spawned an online community devoted to the new Linux box.

Users will not be able to access some aspects of the PS II says Sony IT manager Bill Dixon, in New Zealand for the launch, who says he isn't worried about piracy of games.

"They won't have access to the DVD side of it so they can't copy DVDs and that sort of thing. Both the apps and the operating system run on a PS II run-time environment that keeps them away from the hardware itself which should slow them down."

Dixon happily demonstrated spread sheet and word processing capabilities on the PS II along with a media player.

"So for around $1000 Kiwis can get a PS II and hook it up to run Linux, which is great news."

Dixon does stress, however, that users who are not technical won't find the going easy.

"This is for the experienced user. Gamers wanting a bit more out of their system won't find any advantage in the Linux Kit."

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