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With PS2 Linux, a user can program their own games that will work under PS2 Linux, but not on an unmodified Play Station 2.
Free open source code for games are available for download from PS2 Linux support sites.
The slim SCPH-70000 Play Station 2 model does not work with PS2 Linux at all, due to the lack of a hard drive interface, though a very few early models in this revision had solder pads of an IDE interface on the motherboard that could be used (but required modding of the console, thereby voiding its warranty.) Even so, it is possible to network boot from a PXE server PS2 Linux installation DVDs are region encoded, as are all other PS2 game discs.
A European/PAL disc will be rejected by an NTSC Play Station 2 game system; however this is only at boot time: if the user has a mod that allows them to load a PAL disk, then the PS2 Linux boot loader supports both PAL and Linux (read the documentation to determine the button presses), so once they are past the "DVD not supported", they can boot Linux and then later start X Window in NTSC mode.
The PS2 Linux distribution is based on Kondara MNU/Linux, a Japanese distribution itself based on Red Hat Linux.
PS2 Linux is similar to Red Hat Linux 6, and has most of the features one might expect in a Red Hat Linux 6 system.
Some incorrectly speculate it was used as an attempt to help classify the PS2 as a computer to achieve tax exempt status from certain EU taxes that apply to game consoles and not computers (It was the Yabasic included with EU units that was intended to do that). The kit was released in the spirit of the earlier Net Yaroze.
Later versions of the PS2 Linux kit use an interface very similar to the HDD interface/Ethernet sold later for network play (the later released Network adaptor was also usable with the kit, including the built-in 56k modem.) This kit locates the hard drive internal to the PS2, in the Multi Bay.
With this kit, only the SCPH-30000 model of Play Station 2 is officially supported.
Noted open source software that compiles on the kit includes Mozilla Suite, XChat, and Pidgin.
Lightweight applications better suited to the PS2's 32MB of RAM include xv, Dillo, Ted, and Abi Word.
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The Network Adaptor included with the kit only supports Ethernet; a driver is available to enable modem support if the retail Network Adaptor (which includes a built-in V.90 modem) is used.