HOWTO blindly install Linux (for PlayStation 2)
Lionel Lemarie -
2002-12-16 v0.2

Note: This document is available for nostalgia trips, and historic reference only! Even if you do not have a Sync on Green monitor, you can install the Linux kit using NTSC or PAL.
This is done by holding down the appropriate controller keys as follows when booting your PS2:
Video modeKey combination
VGASelect + L1
NTSCSelect + R1
PALSelect + R2

Thanks to M R Brown for noticing this. We'll leave this guide here for your own personal amusement, but you don't need to install Linux this way.

This document describes how to install Linux (for PlayStation 2) when for a reason or another you can't setup the kit to work with your monitor. In most cases, the problem is that your monitor does not support Sync On Green and you want to set up your kit to work on a TV. Unfortunatly, it means that you will have install Linux (for PlayStation 2) /blindly/, and hope that everything went alright.

This document can also help you if your monitor supports Sync On Green but you need directions to install Linux (for PlayStation 2).

I would like to thank a large number of people who submitted corrections and additions. This file is the result of a combined effort.

The timings given are approximate and minimum. You may have to wait longer than specified, especially if you can hear the hard drive or the DVD being read.

Do NOT use the numpad at any point during the installation process, it can only lead to errors and headaches.

You can use the checkboxes to remember where you were. Try not to forget which step you've just done, or you'll have to start all over again...

Ok, make sure you have installed all the hardware correctly. At the very least, you need the hard drive and network adapter plugged at the back of your PlayStation 2 and an USB keyboard and a memory card plugged on the front panel.
The memory card is dedicated to Linux and all the game saves that were on it will be deleted.

Put the Linux (for PlayStation 2) DVD disk 1 in and turn your console on. ENSURE that it is the first disk, as the second will not boot. If you have a TV plugged you will see the PlayStation 2 logo appear. After a few seconds, the screen becomes black and will stay so during the whole process.

Wait 45 seconds.
This is the boot screen, asking you if you want to intall, boot or rescue.
Press the return key to boot.

It warns you that the HDD and memory card will be formated.
Press the return key to agree.

Eject the disk and insert disk 2. Do NOT press reset. Do NOT press a key.
It loads the kernel.

Wait 20 seconds and change back to disk 1.
It loads the install software based on the RedHat installer.

Wait 25 seconds.
It asks you what language you want to use during the installation process.
Press the return key to choose English (no remorse, it's the only choice).
It asks you what type of keyboard you have.
Press the return key to choose US. If you don't have an US keyboard, well, your case is too complicated to include in this file, contact me to see what we can do about it.

Change back to disk 2, wait a few seconds and press the return key.

Wait 1 minute.
It welcomes you, press the return key.

It asks you what type of system you would like to install.
Press the return key to install WindowMaker. The installation process is easier that way and you will be able to change when everything is installed and you can see what you are doing.

Now the tricky bit.
It asks you which tool you would like to use to partition your hard drive.
Press the tab key and then return to choose fdisk.
It asks you to choose the hard drive to partition, you have only one, press enter.

Wait 10 seconds. you should hear the DVD loading.

Do NOT use the numpad to type the following numbers. It is known to have caused problems during installation already.

You are in fdisk. Press the "d" key, enter, then "1" then enter, "d", enter, "2", enter, "d", enter, "3", enter, "d", enter, "4", enter. That deletes all the previous partitions, if it is your first install you shouldn't have any, but it's just to make sure.
Press "n", enter. That creates a new partion, press "p" for primary, enter, "1", enter, for first partition, press enter for the default first cylinder. Type "+128M", that is with uppercase M, and enter. Press "n", enter, "p", enter, "2", enter, to create the second partion. Press enter for the default first cylinder and enter again for the maximum size.
Press "t", enter, "1", enter, to change the type of the first partition.
Type "82" enter, to set it to Linux Swap.
Press "t", enter, "2", enter, to change the type of the second partition.
Type "83" enter, to set it to Linux.
Type "w" enter to write to the partition table and exit.

Wait 15 seconds.
Press tab and enter to select the disk you want to install to.
Wait a few seconds.
Press the "down" arrow key then tab, tab, enter. To set the mount point of the partition.
Press "/" (forward slash) and enter.
Press tab, tab, enter to confirm.

It is ready to format the hard drive.
Press tab, tab, enter to continue.

It is asking for the host name, type the name your want for your machine (for example "ps2linux" if you can't be asked to find anything better) and then tab and enter.

It asks for the network configuration, press tab and enter to set it up to use DHCP. You can change it later if you want.

Wait 5 seconds. It loads.
It asks for the time zone you are located in.
Press tab and enter to choose GMT. You can change it later.

It asks for the root password.
Be particularly careful here, it will be all pointless if you make a mistake in the password. The password must be at least 6 characters long.
Type the password once, enter, type the password a second time, enter. Press enter again to confirm.

Wait 5 seconds. It loads.
It asks you to create a user, you can do it later so press tab 4 times and then enter.

Press tab 3 times and enter to set the security configuration to the default setting.

Wait 20 seconds. It loads.
Press return to choose the GS as your graphics card.

It says that Linux starts with the memory card blah blah, press enter.

We need to turn the swap space on, press enter.

Wait 5 seconds. It loads.
A complete log of your installation will be in /tmp/install.log.
Press enter.

Wait 90 seconds, it's formatting the disk.
Wait at least 25 minutes, it's installing the packages. Make sure both the DVD and the hard drive have stopped before you continue.

Now make sure you have the memory card you'll dedicate to Linux inserted in slot 1 and press enter. This will format it.
Wait 45 seconds.

Do not press anything just now. You have to change de display setting to have an image straight away when you restart after the installation is complete.
Press "Alt+F2"
Press enter.
Type "chroot /mnt/sysimage /bin/bash" and enter.
Type "mount /mnt/mc00" and enter.
If you are in PAL territories: If you are in NTSC territories:
Type "echo display=pal > /mnt/mc00/p2lboot.opt" and enter. (Do not forget to hold shift when pressing ">").
Type "echo display=ntsc > /mnt/mc00/p2lboot.opt" and enter. (Do not forget to hold shift when pressing ">").
Type "umount /mnt/mc00" and enter.
Type "exit" and enter.
Press "Alt+F1".

Nearly there.
Press enter.

Wait 30 seconds.

Insert disk 1.
Reset the console.

You should see the boot screen now
Select "boot"
You're done ! Enjoy Linux for PlayStation 2.


16th Dec 2002: Updated to include news about selecting video mode with the controller, at last. (sarahe)