Byzantine Reality

Searching for Byzantine failures in the world around us

Setting Up Linux on the Cell (Part 2)

So…Yellow Dog Linux doesn’t like SDK 2.1 very much. Turns out I must have done something wrong while trying to install it because it only wants to work on Fedora and I fucked up my ability to compile code for the SPEs and PPE while doing so. So I reinstalled Yellow Dog and this time, followed the very simple explanation at the RapidMind website which said just to install the libspe2 rpm and not mess around with anything else. It worked great, but let’s step back a second here.

SDK 2.1 (and I presume the new SDK 3.0) install a Cell Simulator on your machine. What the hell is the point of that? Why is it installing a Cell Simulator on my Cell? Yes, this works fine if you’re on a Fedora box that you want to develop code for Cell on that isn’t a Cell box. But if I want to develop on my Cell with the new SDK, don’t make me go get another box that isn’t a Cell to go do it! To quote what I’ve been hearing a lot lately, “What were they thinking?” The IBM official instructions say I can do this on a Cell box, but what the hell is the problem here!

So reinstalling Yellow Dog and RapidMind by their instructions works fine. But I do have a couple gripes which may just be standard Linux issues that I never realized until now for some reason:

    If I sudo up to root, then I should be able to do anything that root could do if root logged in! But I can’t! I can’t boot into the ps3 game OS, I can’t even add groups! What the hell! Completely ridiculous.
    (Not a Linux problem) X/Gnome looks like shit on my monitor. Holy crap I never realized how bad the analog connections on the PS3 look until I fired up X. If you have the choice and can get a digital connection and a monitor that suports HDCP, buy it. I’ll put up a screenshot of how miserable this looks sooner or later.

I’m sure there are other things, and I’ll put them up as I remember them. Asides from those little gripes, the environment is actually very nice. Here’s a nice how-to that helped me out a bit: CellPerformance.Com. I’d link directly to the RapidMind page too, but you have to login for that (although it is free to sign up).

Anywho, we’re gonna benchmark the Cell versus a slightly-faster-than-average PC and do some other cool stuff with that. Check back later for how that turns out.