(This all started from a conversation started as a result of a few of the talks at HOPE. Before anyone makes any suggestions to the contrary, I'm not looking for ISO loaders or any of that nonsense.)
I've spent the past few days looking around for information on the PS3. My problem is that any time I find anything useful at all, it generally tends to delve into how to get Linux running on it. I've got Linux on it. I've been through three distros. I don't need any more information about how to install otheros.bld and insert a DVD.
What I'm looking for is architectural information. Sure, I know it's a Cell chip, and I know there's one PPE and eight SPEs (one of which is disabled). I know it runs a hypervisor -- heck, I even know what a hypervisor is! I know that otheros.bld is really just a Linux initrd system, and I'm pretty sure that portions of the NVRAM are executed before control is passed off to the boot loader. But I've only been able to turn up a small amount of useful information beyond that, and I'm pretty sure that at least some of what I 'know' is wrong. So, I'm looking for help on understanding:
1) What's the bootstrap process? Any Google for combinations of "PS3" and "playstation 3" and "bootstrap" usually turns up hundreds of pages of how to install linux. What happens when the power is turned on? What's the difference between a warm boot and a cold boot?
2) What's the hardware layout? Has anyone pulled apart a PS3 and gone through the motherboard detailing what's what?
3) What *exactly* does the hypervisor do? I keep on seeing comments like, "The hypervisor watches for <that>", but some of those claims seem kinda far fetched. What initializes the hypervisor? Does the normal game OS run under the hypervisor as well (I'm assuming yes, but I've never seen anything explicit about this.)
4) Really, I'm looking for any work someone may have done detailing what the PS3 actually is, and what it actually does, and how it does that, aside from play games and run Linux.
I feel like there's going to be some really obvious site somewhere storing all this information, but my Google skills aren't able to find it. I just keep on finding information about using Linux, which isn't what I'm after.
Any pointers, slaps, or corrections are much appreciated.