Details about Playstation 4 OS development


We have some details about the development of the Playstation 4 OS.

The Operating System is called “Orbis OS”. It is a modified version of FreeBSD 9.0.

We aren’t sure if this will bring again the “Other OS” functions to Playstation 4 (remember that this option enabled Playstation 3 to install other OS in the console like linux or windows).

When you boot up a second-gen development kit, you will be prompted with several options, as you can see in the next captures:

310 Details about Playstation 4 OS development | VGLeaks 2.0

More options appear when you choose startup settings:

410 Details about Playstation 4 OS development | VGLeaks 2.0

As you can imagine you have either a console mode or a graphic mode (the one you will see in a retail Playstation 4).

Here you can see some images of the console mode and some of the files/directories in the devkit:

IMG 1517 Details about Playstation 4 OS development | VGLeaks 2.0


IMG 1519 Details about Playstation 4 OS development | VGLeaks 2.0

We’ll try to add more information in the future.

  • Helena

    Does Folding@home return on PS4 or XB1?

    • Floding

      No GPL – no fun. BSD equals closed source.

      • helbuns

        BSD license is permissive. GPLv3 is more proprietary in contrast to that license ( code MUST be shared ). linux is GLPv2 while GNU prefers is GPLv3 so that is another non permissive headache.

        • Huh

          You don’t know the meaning of proprietary software, stop abusing the language that way. GPLv3 is not more “proprietary”, it is copyleft, it ensures that every user down the line receives the same freedoms. BSD does not provide such an assurance and it doesn’t make BSD more proprietary either.

          Educate thy self.

          • Happy Harry Hardon

            “Freedom is slavery”. That is the model the GPL takes. With GPL, the developer MUST do certain things. They don’t have a choice, they don’t have freedom to choose, they MUST do certain things. With BSD, the developer MAY do certain things, including sharing their code, the code they wrote, if they choose to. With the GPL, you must share whether you want or not. With BSD, you retain the right to do as you please with your own creation. GPL is Orwellian, BSD is true freedom.

        • Markus S.

          Funny: Screenshots show Grub 2.0 which is under GPLv3.
          No way these shots are real. Why should Sony use GPLv3 software for a stupid thing like a boot loader?
          FreeBSD has its own boot loader, not licensed under GPLv3.

      • boniek

        It does not obviously. FreeBSD is open source. Anybody may wish to close source if they wish of course.

        • Markus S.

          Core FreeBSD: Yes.
          Grub 2.0: No.

      • Redflord

        BSD is open source. The license just lets you do whatever you want with it, including not releasing your own source code. You’re looking for a term like “copy left”, not “open source”.

        • Alice

          No, he is looking for a term like “free software” as in “freedom”. Allowing to close the source is not a freedom property. If you lose freedom properties you are less free.

          • kaidenshi

            Using the GPL means less freedom, because it artificially restricts you to certain rules. If you don’t follow the rules of the GPL, you can’t use the code itself nor the license. If you don’t follow the rules of the BSD licenses, you can still use the code but not the license. Tell me again which one gives the user more freedoms?

          • Tormak

            Seems to me the GPL provides more freedom to end users (consumers) where the BSD provides more freedom to producers.

          • Exactly. Liberal licences and copyleft licences afford different kinds of freedoms to different people.

            Liberal licences allow consumers the freedom to publish closed-source derivatives. Copyleft licences allow producers the freedom from having a closed-source fork of their work.

            Producers have the freedom to choose a licence for their software. Consumers have the freedom to choose software, perhaps based on its licence.

            Different licences are different. None of this is news.

          • Robert

            Exactly how may freedoms are the users of the PS4 OS being granted through the use of the BSD license here, then?

            p.s. the users in this case are the consumers.

      • Alex Vixgeck

        Nope. BSD is, in fact, far more “libre” than the GPL.

        • Alice

          BSD is less free than GPL, because BSD allows people to close the source and make software based on BSD without giving the same freedom to the public of that software.

          Something that does not warrant the freedom to others allowing you to put in jail the software forever, offers less freedom.

          • Check

            Oh, I don’t care about Freedom! I want BSD and not GNU Shirt.
            BSD is more solid, stable and more libre.
            I am able to do what I want and only have to. mention names

          • Check

            GNU on the other side has RMS, the worst looking man ever. A community which is against closed source..
            A belive in freedom and they must talk to everybody how great their freedom is.

            And it’s not even Unix..

          • Zeitsevi

            RMS has dedicated his life to software freedom for the benefit of all mankind. Your issue with him is his looks? What have you ever done that’s noteworthy ?

          • check

            Linus Tovalds has done this as well and he doesn’t look ridiculous.. as well as he doesn’t chew his toenails


          • check

            Linus Torvalds did this as well and he doesn’t look ridicules.
            as well as he doesn’t chew toe nails

          • check

            Linus Torvalds did this as well and he doesn’t look ridicules.
            as well as he doesn’t chew toe nails
            www. youtube. com / watch?v=I25UeVXrEHQ

          • check

            don’t know whats better:
            www . / watch?v=KMU0tzLwhbE
            (Steve Ballmer)

          • check

            don’t know what’s better:

            www. youtube. com / watch?v=KMU0tzLwhbE
            Steve Ballmer

          • Alice

            Go and enjoy your closed system, but remember you will only be able to do what Sony allows you.
            People thinking a bit further know what to choose.

          • check

            theres no need for copyleft to have still an unlocked System!
            Sony could have done this, if they wanted to.

          • gabriel_ca

            Unbelievable that the same debate has been had now for what…15 years now? (give or take), Nothing new has been said here (just the same reiteration of the same points over and over and over again), it will never be resolved, why bother having it? Both sides have merit, and unresolvable differences.

            Lets have a debate about how you all feel about using goto next, or how about vi vs emacs, or spoons versus forks. It will be just as fruitful.

          • Alice

            You don’t care about freedom, well, tell that to Sony. I’m sure they care about freedom, but only about THEIR freedom, not others freedom, as you see with PS4.

            Frankly, if PS4 had its source code available a lot of users would enjoy much more the system. But the less free BSD license allows Sony to deprive users of their rights.

          • check

            tell Sony that they should people allow to install their own OS and we are all happy. And Sony still doesn’t need to release their source. I don’t care about their source. As long as their are not 10 trojans, 20 backdors in their i am ok. And no, you as user have no reight for the source. You have the money and you don’t need to buy it, if you don’t want it. On what reason ever. That’s your choice. You are not even 1% allowed to get the source as long as they say it.

            Of course for an User the GNU project is great, more source etc.

            But the BSD model is much more libre, as well as you can put bsd code in the Linux kernel and make it restrict.
            Happend on ipv6 integration.
            I hate the people who always say, it must be free, because id don’t.

          • correcthorsebatterystaple

            The GPL forces developers to do things they may not want to do. You say freedom, but when you’re in handcuffs and a mouth gag, how much freedom do you have? With BSD the developer, not the GNU foundation, is the one in control.

          • Alex Vixgeck

            “Something that does not warrant the freedom to others allowing you to put in jail the software forever, offers less freedom.”

            How about forking?

            And nope, the GPL viral clause is FAR more restrictive than the possibility of re-licensing BSD software.

          • Alice

            GPL lets you do forks, so I don’t see any problem. The GPL viral clause does not restrict you from doing nothing with the source code. You can do whatever you want except taking freedom to the users of the software, including those of the original software that could use your fork.
            So, if you want to let your users without freedom then you aren’t someone whose software deserves to be used and take profit of free software.

          • Alex Vixgeck

            “GPL lets you do forks, so I don’t see any problem.”

            Yup, exactly, like BSD.

          • Alice

            So, what’s the point?

          • Alex Vixgeck

            You can grab the last open version of a relicensed software, fork it and keep developing it (even surpassing the now-commercial counterpart).

          • Alice

            What are you talking about?

          • asie

            Indeed. And that is what’s being done. musl/custom Android ROM communities do that, same with Apple.

          • SlitazMint

            /me facepalms. Tell me one thing you can do with GPL that you can’t do with BSD.

          • Alex Vixgeck

            You can’t act like a “libre” taliban 🙂

          • vachon

            GPL is a religion, BSD is science. Yet computer “scientists” worship the GPL. I’ll never understand that…

          • asie

            GPL takes away /my/ freedom as a programmer. Why is it that I cannot dual-license a project as GPLv2 and GPLv3, to ensure compatibility with both types of projects, and be unable take source from either GPLv2 code or GPLv3 code? (Has happened, see qemu, they had a lot of trouble when binutils moved to GPLv3 and the Linux kernel stayed at GPLv2). If I make an operating system and spend thousands of hours of work on it, why can’t I make it only run on my own, handcrafted devices? It would ensure far better speed, compatibility and quality than allowing everyone to run it on anything.

            The next problem is fragmentation. GPLv2 and GPLv3 are NOT compatible. Not everyone uses the clause “GPLv2 or later” in their code. For instance, the very Linux kernel is GPLv2-only, and I understand their choice – I believe I’d rather have my OS used in commercial, locked systems AND get all the resulting patches, improvements and fixes they needed at the same time rather than have it only used by small groups of neckbeards.

          • Baronsed

            Thank you Alice for all these comments. You perfectly explain the problem, buth they’re kind of blind.
            @others : freedom is not the state of nature.
            (BSDs *themselves* are free software and are clearly acceptable)

          • Case

            That’s a matter of opinion. Many would argue that the BSD license is far less restrictive for individuals and more importantly companies. One might define freedom by having more choices, I do. I like the idea that a company can create software based on my derivative works. They have the freedom to jail their changes and I’m quite alright with that. They’re also free to fork and contribute. I’ll let the user of my software make that choice.

            I’m sure the BSD developers are quite pleased that companies like Apple and Sony have chosen their software to build large projects with their code.

          • Tiao

            That depends what are your concepts of FREEDOM. If they are: “Software must remain open source”, you are right. But, you are looking to just one side of the coin.

            BSD licenses allows people to make closed source software? For sure, but it doesn’t impose limitations to Freedom concept.

      • bob

        GPL = restricted && non free
        BSD = actually open source

        • Mikko

          BSD = Free to take all and make money from it.

          • Alex Vixgeck

            BSD = Free to fork the last open version and surpass the commercial counterpart.

          • Alice

            And, what’s the point?
            If you can’t surpass the commercial counterpart because you’re a brick or you get stuck, then you are sold. With GPL the closed source would be open and you could build on top of that. Even more, users could enjoy from all the code.

            BSD == self-conscious people. See, random quotes can be of any type.

          • jamyn

            Yes, that’s the meaning of truly free. It can be used in ways YOU disagree with. It is free.

      • Jootha

        GPL==sex BSD==love

  • golovin

    GNU GRUB is under GPL, they should share their patches.

    • boniek

      Who says they have any patches?

    • Redflord

      GPL doesn’t require they share the code with anyone other than their customers (i.e. anyone they distribute the compiled programs to), and indeed why do you think they have custom patches? Almost all of the PS4-specific is probably in the OS, not in GRUB.

      • Chris Bowen

        Well that also includes machines they sell using the code.. But I agree, I doubt there is any patches they are making for the bootloader.

        • Redflord

          GRUB could just be used in the dev kits as well. They’d have to get the code to developers, but that’s it. The developers could redistribute it if they cared.

          • Chris Bowen

            Again it only really matters if patched it.

          • asdf

            Not quite. grub-2 is under the GPL-3 which means people who get such a system also have to be able to boot their own build if they care. But that means if they use encryption, they have to have a way for you to run unsigned code. This only applies to the people who get such a devkit though.

          • Redflord

            The GPLv3’s anti-Tivoization clause only applies to “user products” which are “(1) a “consumer product”, which means any tangible personal property which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) anything designed or sold for incorporation into a dwelling.” The exemption was apparently added specifically for uses such as in the medical industry, and it’s clear that devkits would also not count as “user products”.

          • Marcus2012

            Idk, Sony’s NDA certainly restricts that.

          • jlksdfjs

            Nope, Sony’s legal team, hundreds of high-priced lawyers, each got their law degree out of a Cracker Jack box. The internet lawyers here, each with a degree from Harvard Law, know far more than they ever will.

          • Marcus2012

            … Says the internet lawyer with an opposing view point…

          • jlksdfjs

            Cracker Jacks are cheap.

        • Bob

          I don’t understand what you guys are arguing about. Sony uses GRUB for the dev kits. That doesn’t mean they’re not making their own bootloader for the final versions. In fact, they probably are knowing how tight the PS3’s hardware security was. In that case, why does it matter whether or not it’s under GPL? They made no modifications, and it’s not being distributed to the masses…

    • Paul

      Sony will do what they have to do.

      My Sony TV had the GPL licence explaining my rights in it’s documentation.

  • eRIC

    Strange with OS naming, there is already Orbis OS and it exists-

    A OpenSUSE-based OS specially designed for anime and manga fans (

  • GRUB is likely being used to prevent bricking the devkit (likely the devkit itself can be wiped with a OS reinstall disc/usb drive,) it’s unlikely to appear in the user product.

    FreeBSD 9.0 is a good choice to build on since it doesn’t have the open source political baggage Linux/GPL does. If they had built upon Linux, it would likely be a perpetual race between the pirates and SOE that can’t be won. We are unlikely to see “Other OS” return because that enabled piracy on the PS3.

    What I think, internally, SOE did was write their own bootable filesystem, libraries (other than libc/libc++/libm/pthread) and drivers. In regards to the video driver, it’s far far more likely that this isn’t catalyst related. AMD’s video parts are also in the Xbox360/Xbone/GC/Wii/WiiU, so it’s fairly likely that this is a separate “game console” driver code base that only shares the OpenGL bits with it’s desktop drivers.

    • Paul Gbel

      still dutch to me but I think that this is good News ?

    • WyattEpp

      “[OtherOS] enabled piracy on the PS3.”

      I don’t have any issue with the rest, but this statement is incorrect. Piracy wasn’t possible on the system until the PSJailbreak was discovered, nearly a year after OtherOS had been removed. PSJailbreak relied on a peculiarity of the USB driver init.

  • Tormak

    Looks like the entire BSD community came out to support their license in the discussion here 😉

    • Paul Gbel

      lol yep and it all dutch to me, I intend on buying PS4 have pre order but someone answer is this a good or bad thing. Can’t be worse than windows 8 can it ?

      • check

        nothing can be worse then Windows 8, can it?

        • Paul Gbel

          I take that this is good news then 🙂 Thanks

          • Kristian Robertsen

            Most likely it’s the better option.
            OpenGL is actually ahead of DirectX and has been for a while despite Microsoft’s efforts to make DX the be-all-and-end-all of graphics performance.
            Windows is generally the heaviest OS to run as well, but that’s not a given in this case as (as far as I know) the XB1 build is probably very different from a standard Win8 build.

          • Paul Gbel

            Thanks again mate. With 3 os in xb1 id and heavier news on the 3gb it reportedly uses thought id couldnt be bad news

          • Daniel Lawson

            all running on virtual machines… so they can be modified for resources on the fly

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Yea, because no games at all are running DirectX 11? Oh, wait, almost all big releases are? Oh…

          • Kristian Robertsen

            I’m not making this up, so instead of posting a gut-reaction based on nothing how about you actually spend five minutes reading up on it.

            Microsoft subsidizes many developers to use their DX engines, in order to keep it the standard.

   for your viewing pleasure.

            Also to be in line with your tone: Yea, because no smartphone runs OpenGL? Oh wait, 95% of them do? Oh…

          • The Net Avenger

            As for the link about the Valve tests, they were using an older DX9 engine against a rewritten OpenGL 4.x engine. DX9 doesn’t even run fully ‘native’ on current GPUs as they are Unified Shader architecture that DX9 does not use or understand. The Valve test you reference has become an embarrassment to Valve in the gaming development community for purposely trying to mislead casual consumers.

            Smartphones run a reduced ‘subset’ version of OpenGL known as ES.

            Only WP8 runs the ‘full’ version of DirectX, and in 3D tests, even Qualcomm themselves admit it is faster on their GPUs than OpenGL ES.

            Additionally, because it is the full version of DirectX, game engine designers are VERY vocal about the differences between their previously watered down variations to run on Android and iOS versus being able to keep the full functionality and code parity with games running on the PC.

            PS In reference to the Smartphone argument and the Valve link, by providing them both in your response you do realize they are conflated arguments, as Valve was NOT use OpenGL ES or an engine that can even run on OpenGL ES.

          • The Net Avenger

            I’m not sure if you are just mistaken are or intentionally providing false information.

            “Windows is generally the heaviest OS to run”

            This is not even close to accurate. This myth comes from the early days of NT 3.1 and the ‘fears’ of a truly Object Based OS model and the resources of an inherent GUI would consume. In practice this was still myth as the GUI only consumed a few KB RAM and required almost no CPU cycles to maintain.

            If you will notice there are ARM based smartphones and Tablets running the ‘full code’ set of Windows 8 NT, that includes even the ‘heavier’ frameworks and the full ‘Windows’ (Win32/SxS) subsystem.

            Not only is Windows running well on ‘low’ end devices, it is beating Linux and truly tiny mobile OSes like iOS that is a very limited subset of the XNU kernel that even takes a mobile approach to mimicking OS X kernel APIs with lighter code to provide the appearance of having compatible APIs.

            Windows NT’s base OS kernel runs well in a 32mb space, and due to the layering subsystem model can provide lighter or heavier OS layers on the fly, unlike ANY mainstream OS, including Linux, FreeBSD, etc.

            In pure ‘performance’ the complexity tipping point that gave NT an advantage was 4.0 in 1996 when the extra weight of the object based OS actually created less CPU work. With a 32mb system it was 25% faster than Win95, which was a x86 assembly based highly optimized OS using a monolithic kernel.

            (The extra ‘work’ of the object nature of NT was far more efficient that the more simplistic OS model that needed a lot of redundant code to deal with more complex hardware, software and OS functionality. It was a tipping point, and it even surprised Microsoft that it happen so early in NTs life, as they didn’t plan on replacing Win9x for another 10 years.)

            Even take FreeBSD or Linux today, when feature loaded to a GUI desktop they demand more CPU resources and RAM. Windows 8 for example can truly run well on 512mb of RAM due to improvements of memory prioritization efforts in Windows 7 and Windows 8 and the dynamic loading nature of the NT kernel that has virtually nothing it must load or maintain consuming precious RAM.

            WP8 is deployed on 512mb smartphone devices, and does include the FULL OS code base, even if the full WinSxS (Win32) subsystem is not visible. Test this yourself, create a native code or DirectX App for Windows 8 and notice the frameworks and subsystems are there.

            “OpenGL is actually ahead of DirectX”

            In terms of what metric are you using for this opinion?

            DirectX 11.2 is ahead of OpenGL’s current feature set and also provides a faster and direct access layer to the GPU that was introduced in DX11.

            In terms of performance, the ONLY tests that give OpenGL a ‘win’ over DirectX is tests comparing a DX9 based game/test/software against an OpenGL 4.x variation.
            Considering that DX9 is ‘mimicked’ on GPUs since the move to the Unified Shader/DMA Bus based model, this is not a fair comparison which can be demonstrated by using a DX10 or DX11 (ground up) game/test/software that easily beats OpenGL by over 20% on average in ideal testing.
            *Also remember that Microsoft created the base architecture of ALL modern GPUs, as they all follow the architecture of the Xbox 360 designed GPU – and NO AMD did not design the Xenon architecture.

            (A subset of DX10/11 is what the Xbox 360’s DirectX is based upon, as PC didn’t get code parity with the Xbox 360 until after DX 11 was released.)

          • Sebastiaan Franken

            Windows 8 RAM usage on a computer here: 1.1GB (doing nothing).
            Arch with KDE4 RAM usage on the same computer: 344MB (doing nothing).
            You were saying?

      • fteoOpty64

        It is freaking great news. A BSD based real Unix compared to a Windows kernel that is decades old and hardly secure. The PS4 will likely be first to get a full Libux distro working and it would be exciting.

    • check

      no, i am not really in the BSD community 😀

      I use ArchLinux. But i hear a lot of Macintosh podcasts, that’s why i have this opinion.

      And even the people in the Arch community are widely open for everything. You can see this on having Steam in the main repos.

      For Debian or so, this would be an desaster.

      • Tormak

        That (my previous comment) was a joke…

      • Tormak

        BTW: Without the GPL, it’s highly unlikely running free software (BSD or otherwise) on the desktop would be either popular or realistic (in terms of normal computing environments.) We had BSD licensed software for how long before Linux came along? Anyone running a full desktop on a PC with BSD before linux? Say what you like, the GPL has been a huge force for innovation and education in the industry, everyone should thank RMS and Linus.

        • Tormak

          Oh wait… there were no free desktops on BSD before Linux came alone that I can think of and Window Manager != Desktop.

        • $6661648

          Uhhhh. You’re aware that the freely licensed BSDs and Linux both “came along” at roughly the same time, right?

        • marianne

          You forget that unlike Linux, in the early days BSD was tied down by a legal case involving ownership of some of its code (a little was still original UNIX code), and the court case scared off a lot of users. By the time the case had been resolved and the offending sections of code rewritten, allowing BSD development and distribution to resume, Linux had taken off in a big way. It’s impossible to predict how well BSD could have done without these legal troubles, which in the early days were what damaged BSD’s userbase (not the lack of the GPL).

      • tits

        Oh but you are. See a lot of the underlying philosophy behind BSD has been incorporated directly into distributions like Arch and Gentoo.

  • Sebastiaan Franken

    To fix something in the article: The PS3 was not able to run Windows, since there was no PowerPC version of Windows, the PS3 is based on the PowerPC architecture.