PS3 + Linux + Firefox = Office 2.0 computing

Sony and Office 2.0 conference organizers are showing off a PlayStation 3 game console running Linux and Firefox as a platform for Web-based computing.

Sony and a technology site are using a conference to show off a confluence of next-generation, monopoly-bypassing technology: a Sony Playstation 3 videogame console running Linux and Firefox as a foundation for Web-based "Office 2.0" applications.

IT|Redux, a site run by blogger and tech adviser Ismael Ghalimi, is showing off the system at the Office 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. IT|Redux is the show organizer.

Sony called the conference a great opportunity to "showcase the PS3 system's computing power and productivity capabilities."

"Installing Linux and Firefox on the PS3 enables Sony customers to not only enjoy games and entertainment in the living room but also take advantage of some of the Web browser-based office productivity applications available online today," said Oliver Marks, a senior manager for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The system is running the conference's flat-panel displays, pulling Web pages off a wireless network, IT|Redux said.

The PS3 has some complications as a computing platform, though. It uses the Cell Broadband Engine that was co-developed by IBM, Toshiba and Sony and that is a member of IBM's PowerPC family. That means it can't understand instructions written for more common x86 chips such as Intel's Pentium, and that some software that enables advanced Web browsing, such as Flash and Java, aren't as easily found or supported.