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Sony to release Linux for PS2

Linux fans who want to run their favorite operating system on the Sony PlayStation 2 game console apparently will get what they've been hoping for.

Linux fans who want to run their favorite operating system on the Sony PlayStation 2 game console apparently will get what they've been hoping for.

On Friday, Sony posted information on the Beta Release 1 of its PlayStation 2 Linux Kit, including a press release on its Japanese site that puts its price tag at 25,000 yen, or about $200.

The kit includes a DVD with software, 40GB hard drive, keyboard and mouse. The beta, or test, version will be available in June.

More than 6,000 people signed a petition earlier this year to encourage Sony to work on the project.

The PlayStation 2 is powered by a MIPS chip. One of the benefits of Linux is that it's comparatively easy to get it working on different CPUs.

Sony selected Linux to help game developers simulate the PlayStation 2 so they could get a jump on creating games before the actual hardware was available.

Running Linux on the game console itself, though, is a different matter entirely. Rumors of the possibility have been circulating on Slashdot, a news and discussion site popular with Linux fans.

The programming blueprints, or source code, for the kernel--the heart of Linux--is included on the DVD, Sony said. But the source code for a proprietary "runtime environment" that lets games play on the system is not.