Larabee is approaching, so it’s a good time to learn more about coding a modern multi-core software renderer. Thanks for Sony, everyone with a retail “fat” PS3 can install some Linux distro and have fun with SPU’s. Not as fun as with a real devkit – no Visual Studio with ProDG, no access to RSX and no close to the metal SPU libs. You can’t even manually assign SPU tasks to physical SPU’s.
It took me some time to install and configure Linux (YDL 6.1). Small hint – if you have to use a window manager, use Fluxbox. It’s much faster on the retail PS3 than GNOME (slow), KDE(very slow) or Enlightenment(very slow). You can also work remotely using ssh/putty/Eclipse IDE (Linux only).
For people without the retail PS3 there is a cell simulator
on the IBM site (again Linux only). Currently only the toolchain is ported to windows (windows cell sdk
), so you can compile SPU stuff on Windows, but can’t run it there.
Be prepared for some posts about software rendering and low level SPU coding :).