Cheap Gamecube

Linux Coming To GameCube?

David Smith

Because operating a computing device with the Linux open-source operating system is for many enthusiasts an end in itself, no matter how well the device in question might function after the transplant, a group of Linux fans has announced a project to develop a version of Linux for Nintendo's GameCube console. The project has made a home for itself at

The GameCube Linux Project features some veterans of the famous Xbox Linux Project, which came noisily to life in 2003. The GameCube Linux Project has more quietly announced its existence, with the release of a small program that displays the Linux penguin mascot when loaded onto the GameCube.

Linux, created by Finnish computing student Linus Torvalds in 1991, has grown to become a popular alternative to mainstream, commercial PC operating systems among the technically savvy. Since the Linux source code is freely available for modification by hobbyists, it can be adapted to work with a great many different computers, including game consoles.

Sony Computer Entertainment created its own version of Linux for the PlayStation 2 console, releasing it in 2001 for a small group of dedicated users to tinker with. Hackers seeking to run Linux on other game consoles, however, have to do the work themselves.

Ultimately, the goal of the project is to make Linux-powered GameCubes useful for several computing purposes: as thin clients (cheap, simple terminals for more powerful servers), multimedia terminals (media-playing devices for digital music and video), PowerPC-based servers, and inexpensive runtime environments for home-brewed Linux software. The GameCube is, after all, a powerful computer for its price, with graphics and sound capabilities well exceeding more expensive general-purpose PCs.

A good deal of tinkering will be required before any such applications become a reality, though. You can follow the project's progress, and learn more about how to get involved if you like, at

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in 1UP.

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