Tuesday, January 3rd 2017

Steam and Linux on the PS4 - AMD's "Bonaire" GPU Register Reference Found

While trying to hack the PS4 in order to make it run Linux (in a bid to get Steam and possibly other programs running on the PS4's hardware), hackers hit a snag: they couldn't get the PS4's GPU to display any kind of output or process any kind of graphics. Like any good researcher would, when hit with a snag, the hackers turned to scouring the Internet in hopes of finding any kind of documentation that could help them harness the PS4's Pitcairn-based GPU.
Their first stop, the Linux Radeon graphics driver source code, proved unusable: being incomplete, it makes any full picture impossible to attain. They kept digging, and as they did, someone eventually stumbled upon one of those websites that are just floating about the internet, in which they found a register reference for AMD's Bonaire GPU. Essentially, this works as a sort of bible for GPU functions and register access, and how to engage them. With this, work can finally be done regarding the PS4's previously non-cooperating GPU so as to make it display and process Linux (and any other programs running over it) that the hackers want.

This means that, given time, Linux on the PS4 is almost a certainty, with all that entails. Granted, the registers are for AMD's Bonaire GPU, not for the PS4's Pitcairn (and one also has to take into account the custom nature of the PS4's chip, with it not being a pure Pitcairn), and some registers are certainly still unknown (and thus inaccessible), yet having access to some of those functions is still better than being unable to access any of them at all. Add to this the fact that AMD's GPUs are so widespread (through gaming consoles, laptops, and PC's), and the fact that AMD's architectures (both pre and past-Bonaire) share many similarities, and the importance of this finding for this and other potential hacks can not be stressed enough. Sources: Hacking the PS4, GitHub mirror
Add your own comment

10 Comments on Steam and Linux on the PS4 - AMD's "Bonaire" GPU Register Reference Found

#1
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
And then there is Sony who instead of helping this along will immediately ban all accounts they find with linux installed.
Posted on Reply
#2
Bruno Vieira
I dont know how many people saw this, but the ps4 has been hacked and installed Linux on it, at very usable levels, but hell, its hard to do. At least anyone have found any exploit ease to use yet, cause, the PS4 is x86 and NOT a PC.



This video is very long and not many people will be able to understand past 3 minutes, but is good to have a reference.
Posted on Reply
#3
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
We need WikiLeaks to hack Sony's servers to extract the PS4 and PS4 Pro datasheets and make them available to everybody. Hackers then used these to do some amazing things with the hardware that still look impressive today, such as the tech demos on the Commodore 64, a 1982 home PC.

I remember the old days when such datasheets were routinely available through a simple request to the company. I'm going back to the 80s, pre-internet days.

This was the stuff that really got me excited about computers, but alas it's now gone forever, locked behind NDA agreements, copyrights and other BS.
Posted on Reply
#4
TheMailMan78
Big Member
qubit
We need WikiLeaks to hack Sony's servers to extract the PS4 and PS4 Pro datasheets and make them available to everybody. Hackers then used these to do some amazing things with the hardware that still look impressive today, such as the tech demos on the Commodore 64, a 1982 home PC.

I remember the old days when such datasheets were routinely available through a simple request to the company. I'm going back to the 80s, pre-internet days.

This was the stuff that really got me excited about computers, but alas it's now gone forever, locked behind NDA agreements, copyrights and other BS.
I don't suggest "hacking" anyone. Good way to get thrown in jail.

Also I cant wait to see all the threads on TPU and Reddit crying how Sony bricked their PS4 for pulling this crap.
Posted on Reply
#5
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
TheMailMan78
I don't suggest "hacking" anyone. Good way to get thrown in jail.

Also I cant wait to see all the threads on TPU and Reddit crying how Sony bricked their PS4 for pulling this crap.
I was suggesting hacking tongue-in-cheek / wistfully than seriously lol. I'm surprised that you of all people didn't pick up on the humour. ;) :)
Posted on Reply
#6
Kaotik
The iGPU in PS4's APU is actually closer to Bonaire than Pitcairn, you people focus too much on calling shots based on CU counts.
Posted on Reply
#7
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Kaotik
The iGPU in PS4's APU is actually closer to Bonaire than Pitcairn, you people focus too much on calling shots based on CU counts.
Yup it is definitely a Bonaire base with GCN 1.1. I just let that go earlier not worth bringing up.
Posted on Reply
#8
IvantheDugtrio
I wonder how this compares to the Xbox One. Doing some quick searching shows that Microsoft developed their own chipset similar to what Sony did with the Aeolia.
Posted on Reply
#9
Jism
You cant blame Sony for securing their consoles properly.

But it's not just AMD hardware. Those CPU's and GPU's carry various register and even on top of that Sony's own brew to protect the console. They are very clever because console gaming is a very profitable market.
Posted on Reply
#10
owen10578
Isn't the PS4's GPU based on Bonaire?
Posted on Reply