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May 12, 2008 // 7:00 pm - First of all, readers of our Forums know (with the assistance of our Members) we have recently been doing research into the PS3 RCO file format.

Note that it is different than that on a PSP, however, contains similarities as well. We have received a few questions as to "why" we want to examine the files... it's for a few reasons. First off- We are all curious! Secondly, the RCO files, in support with other files, enable/disable "links" to PS3 XMB options.

In related news, we have now accessed the PS3 Flash's FileSystem, and among other things (to be posted in Part 2 or 3 of this article) it contains a folder called "ps1emu".

What is it for? We found out! Inside the ps1emu folder, upon the insertion of a PS2 disc, a file is copied there by the name of "ps1_rom.bin". Oddly enough, it is actually the custom made PS2's BIOS for the PS3! Why it's in the PS1 folder is unknown to us just yet, however, we can confirm it is the PS2 BIOS. An excerpt from ps1_rom.bin is attached below in the screenshot.

Finally, in regards to our PS3 Flash work thus far: Successful changes have been made to some areas, however, they are not useful just yet. Before we can change large areas of code we need to recalculate the PS3 Flash's ECC. Work is ongoing on that, with more to come, including more goodies from the flash!

PS3 Flash Goodies - Part 1

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#12 - CJPC - May 14, 2008 // 11:29 am
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Quote Originally Posted by ez345 View Post
how are you guys reading/writing to the flash? was a hole found?


No, depends what you mean. We are using a combo of a PS3 Dev unit, as well as pulling the NAND flashes off the PS3, and dumping them in an external programmer.

#11 - Mongor - May 14, 2008 // 10:34 am
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Interesting development indeed... Nice to see some people trying to do this. That remind me of the old PSP days (I got one of the first (1.00 FW)), nobody thought that a custom firmware was possible then but only a few months after the exploit was found, some people started to modify stuff and now we have some 10 different types of PSP fw.

A few months seem to be a lot of time, but remember that the exploitable PSP FW (1.5) had more than enough features, so adding features wasn't a neccesity in the first place. When I read about the missing BR playability I'm pretty sure once the firmware get cracked the development will expode

#10 - ez345 - May 14, 2008 // 8:37 am
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how are you guys reading/writing to the flash? was a hole found?

#9 - puksa - May 14, 2008 // 6:58 am
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all bootloaders (otheros.bld i mean) are under hypervisor's control, so they cant do anything *good* with system We still need some "HyperPseudoVisor" that doesnt control anything but tells system that all is ok. And for THAT we need to run unsigned code, and for that we need a TEST FW

correct me if i am wrong.

#8 - zanin - May 13, 2008 // 9:21 pm
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Quote Originally Posted by flurix View Post
B) A custom firmware most likely be out for a long time. It's completely possible eventually, but for the near to mid range future, I wouldn't hold my breath.

sorry for (possible) stupid question. however, if it takes long time to force debug firmware to work on retail machines, then it is not clear if it is worth all manpower spent.

i assume, that replacement of initial bootloader with a custom one would be easier, then modification of the integer firmware. if you can force ps3 to boot from your bootloader, then it may be better to port something like coreboot to ps3.

please, correct me if i'm wrong.

#7 - flurix - May 13, 2008 // 1:04 pm
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A) A hardware mod is still required to get the NAND backups. Either Infectus or physically removing the NANDs and dumping them with an external chip programmer will do.

B) A custom firmware most likely be out for a long time. It's completely possible eventually, but for the near to mid range future, I wouldn't hold my breath.

C) Sorta, if you want to run programs through XMB you still need certain non-public compilers I believe. Not 100% on this though, but with a TEST, you can't just pop your own code on an SD card and run from XMB.

#6 - SavageNick - May 13, 2008 // 11:58 am
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A) Ok, thats good news. Hopefully no hardware mods will be needed then...

B) Ahh, this is defo a problem for most people then... Only way we will get everything we want in one package is for custom fw to get released then, ala the psp... How realistic is that idea?

C) What I mean is, after u've managed to get the (patched) debug fw on ur retail PS3, u can then immediately start running homebrew and the like. Im pretty sure this is what u mean so that makes sense.

#5 - flurix - May 13, 2008 // 11:39 am
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A) Yes, the only firmware updates applicable to a TEST system are the debug firmwares. Retail firmwares won't install. Of course if you have a previous backup of your retail firmware, you could go back to it.
B) No movie playback, no PSN, no streaming video. Pretty much just games only.
C) The firmware would need to be patched to even work on a retail machine, so not sure what you mean by patching. You'd still need certain tools and such I believe to be able to start writing your PS3 code.

#4 - RexVF5 - May 13, 2008 // 9:59 am
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I do not know all the answers but here's one I believe is true:

Quote Originally Posted by SavageNick View Post
Lets say for argument's sake that u guys successfully manage to get debug fw onto a normal retail console (40 and 60gb).

C) Would this basically create a homebrew scene for the PS3? i.e. once the debug fw is confirmed to work correctly immediately people can get straight into writing emulators etc? Or would extra stuff need to be done (i.e. patching the debug fw etc etc)?


I believe this could be done as TEST units run unsigned code on top of the HW (don't know if hypervisor could be avoided completely or it runs somehow in TEST mode). It could also bring Linux with accelerated graphics, etc...

#3 - SavageNick - May 13, 2008 // 4:40 am
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Lets say for argument's sake that u guys successfully manage to get debug fw onto a normal retail console (40 and 60gb).

A) Would this be a permanent fixture? i.e. u can now only upgrade the fw through debug fw downloads, or would u be able to "go back" to retail fw with no side effects? Im guessing u could be able to do that nps, just checking.

B) Does this reduce the usability of the console in any way? i.e. losing the ability to play BD movies for example? and

C) Would this basically create a homebrew scene for the PS3? i.e. once the debug fw is confirmed to work correctly immediately people can get straight into writing emulators etc? Or would extra stuff need to be done (i.e. patching the debug fw etc etc)?

I would love to help u guys (have a lot of programming xp, have a hacked psp etc etc) but have MSc exams atm lol.