How to: install Linux on your PSP

It'll bust the warranty but us hardcore hackers are unphased by that.. right?

Warning: the only major stumbling block when loading Linux on the PSP is that it voids the warranty (because you must install a PSP hack OS first), it can mistakenly 'brick' the device and make it inoperable, and it is difficult to return the PSP to its original state.

In my own tests, I bricked a PSP without even trying, likely due to a faulty MemoryStick Duo card. Pocket gadgets are not as robust as a PC so that one errant piece of code can wreak havoc on the minimal (and often flash-based) storage allotment on the device and make it unbootable.

The instructions below will only work if you 'homebrew' your PSP first. We are not going to instruct anyone to pry open their PSP battery (dangerous, potentially damaging), especially when there is a much easier route.

Just search online for a "pandora's battery" kit which includes a new PSP battery and a MemoryStick Duo with the required homebrew software pre-installed. They cost just a few dollars, and can you a lot of headaches if you do not know how to solder a battery wire.

Find the screws on your PSP, remove them, pop out your old battery, insert the new battery, and then replace the cover. Insert the new MemoryStick Dupo card, and run the new system software.

Another tip? You can buy a homebrewed PSP on eBay, or even send your PSP into a homebrew site to have them perform the surgery so that your PSP is hackable and can run Linux.

Of course, if you already own an older PSP and have not upgraded to the recent version 2 or 3 PSP OS, it is very likely you can just install the homebrew OS and Linux hack below without any trouble.

Load the hacks

We recommend starting with a brand new MemoryStick Duo card, because using an older faulty card is not advised for this install.

Connect a memory card reader for your PC, and put the MemoryStick Duo card in the reader. (You can't connect the PSP directly to your Linux machine without adding some extra software or using command lines, so it adds a few extra steps - and does not seem to work under Ubuntu Hardy Heron at all.)

Now, download a homebrew hack for the PSP. We used the Dark Run the installer From the XMB (XrossMediaBar, which is the OS on the PSP), go to the Game menu and select the MemoryStick Duo card.

First, run the M33 hack operating system install by pressing X; wait for the install to complete and reboot. If you receive an error message, you may need to downgrade to a previous version of the Sony PSP system software.

After the hack is installed, go back to the Game menu and select the uClinux file and press X. This will install uClinux on your system. Wait once again for the reboot and you will see the Linux command line.

You can now run programs designed to run on uClinux, such as instant messaging clients, browsers, games, and video utilities. Alex hack at www.dark-alex.org. Go there, click on PSP, download the latest M33-3 hack, and copy the entire UPDATE folder to the MemoryStick card.

Also, download the Linux distro for the PSP at Mo Jackson's website: http://jacksonm88.googlepages.com/linuxonpsp.htm. After loading the correct install files, and downgrading your PSP to the correct system version, plug the card into your PSP.

1.Get brewing
Use the Dark Alex homebrew operating system that allows you to install Linux.
2.Get a MemoryStick
Download the uClinux distro and save it to a MemoryStick Duo card.
3.Get it onboard
Copy the homebrew OS and Linux distro to the card using your PC.

Run the installer

From the XMB (XrossMediaBar, which is the OS on the PSP), go to the Game menu and select the MemoryStick Duo card.

First, run the M33 hack operating system install by pressing X; wait for the install to complete and reboot. If you receive an error message, you may need to downgrade to a previous version of the Sony PSP system software.

After the hack is installed, go back to the Game menu and select the uClinux file and press X. This will install uClinux on your system. Wait once again for the reboot and you will see the Linux command line.

You can now run programs designed to run on uClinux, such as instant messaging clients, browsers, games, and video utilities. Enjoy!