PS3: The payload mess…

Hi all,

I see a lot of people asking me some questions and I notice a lot of ignorance in the net about the different payload and the latest PL3 payload. So I want to make things clear..
First of all, people should stop talking/requesting/using the hermes v3 payload, I don’t like his work, and the payload is not good, it might crash the system in some cases, it’s not written properly, and hermes doesn’t even seem to understand how git works.
Also, PL3 already includes (for some time now) all the good stuff from hermes, it already supports installing game updates, or running games without a disc, anything else that Hermes added is useless and dangerous could crash in some situations (requiring a reboot).

Some might have seen my tweets about my new payload being released, and many are asking me what is the difference between my payload and what is already available.
PL3 doesn’t support syscall 36 anymore, for multiple reasons, first, it was bad code, it was mapping a path to a single hardcoded value (/dev_bdvd or /app_home or /dev_flash or whatever is hardcoded in the payload) which means that, since we (the PSGroove and PSFreedom developers) don’t want to support running backups, all the official payloads weren’t working with the backup manager without being patched first. The syscall 35 I added in my payload is more generic though, it is the proper way of doing things. You can map any path to another other new path, the prototype looks like this :

  syscall_35 (char *old_path, char *new_path);

This means that the payload doesn’t need to have a hardcoded /dev_bdvd path in it, or have extra code for mapping /app_home to something else.. or having syscall 36 change both /dev_bdvd and /app_home breaking homebrew when using a discless mode with a backup manager. You also don’t need a special payload to run the ‘firmware usb loader’.. It all just works because the choice of the path mapping is given to the homebrew applications themselves. This means that the backup managers will just map /dev_bdvd to what they want and they will work by default on my payload, there will be no need for a patched version of the payload to make them work.
This however means that the backup managers that depend on syscall 36 will stop working. For now Gaia Manager is the only backup manager available that is compatible with my payload. But I’m sure more will be ported to use syscall 35.
People need to understand that this new syscall 35 has to become the new standard, this is what all the payloads should use, nothing else, and this is what everyone should start using, not the old, crappy, backup-manager specific, PSJailbreak written, syscall 36.

We need to have some form of standardization for all these payloads, I’m tired of seeing about 100 different payloads floating on the internet, it doesn’t make sense. I always believed in a single payload that works for everyone, and that’s why I created PL3, that’s why it’s a project independent of PSFreedom (and PSGroove has been ported to it) and that’s where all the efforts should go. Also, by using PL3, you automatically gain support, and all the same features, for whatever previous firmwares PL3 already supports (3.01, 3.10, 3.15 and 3.41).

I have just recently seen this new payload that everyone is so happy about that includes “all the good things from 3 worlds”, the one created by Rancid, which includes the stuff from hermes, waninkoko and Mathieulh… and I was shocked to see how much people were happy about this.. people don’t really seem to understand that this wasn’t necessary at all? PL3 has had all those patches for a while now, so why did Rancid even bother making this payload that includes the patches from hermes, waninkoko and Mathieulh? Why would you spend your time doing something that already is available!

This blog post is meant to stop all this ignorance and let people know that they don’t need to look for a special payload, just use PL3 and you’ll get everything you need. It is also meant to explain to everyone what is different about my payload.

On a side, I have received a P3Hub device, kindly donated to me by the people from, and I have now tried PSGroove for the first time! I’ve also created a fork of jevinskie’s port of PSGroove which is now improved and updated to support the latest PL3 version. This means that the PL3 payload is available for everyone, those using PSFreedom as well as those using PSGroove, so there is no excuse now on not using it or relying on badly written payloads developed by people who barely know how to code (yes, using winrar instead of git is a good indication of that).

Update: I forgot to rant about peek&poke!!! So let’s do it now… well, the default payload in PL3 has peek and poke disabled, and for a simple reason : Nobody needs them! and more importantly they are misued! I’ve look at the code of the different backup managers, and it looks like all of them use poke to patch the memory to ‘fix something’ because they think that it’s their job to do it.. no it’s not! If you have a working patch, then submit it to PL3 and if people complain, tell them “use the proper payload”, don’t try to take advantage of peek&poke to go and modify the kernel’s instructions! The reason is simple.. you are a homebrew app that does X, then do X, leave the kernel patching to the payloads! Just as PL3 doesn’t map /dev_bdvd to /dev_usb000/I.Like.This.Game/ and locks it out! Also, I’m on firmware 3.15, so when you decide to poke and patch the kernel with a hardcoded offset, you’re just screwing up my kernel because the offset is firmware dependent! it’s not the same depending on the firmware you use, and I don’t want you playing with it. So.. peek&poke are really not useful to anybody, they are not even available on a normal linux pc, so why would you want them in your default payload, right?! The only people who should use a payload with those syscalls enabled are real developers, people who want to analyze and patch the kernel on the fly while they are doing some development of, maybe, a kernel driver! That’s it. Anyways, that’s enough ranting from me for today!

P.s: In my branch of PSGroove, I wrote a script that build the .hex file for every supported device (from the README) for every supported firmware. You can find all the hex files here : PSGroove+PL3 hex files

Update: Thanks to evilsperm, I’ve updated the archive with hex files for these devices : Blackcat, Xplain, Olimex, UsbTinyMkII, Bentio and OpenKubus.
Update 2: Some people reported crashes with my payload when running backups with installed updates. I figured out the cause and fixed it now in git. The hex files above have also been updated

Thanks for reading.

PSFreedom news, homebrew and donations

Hi all,

I suppose many people are now following my blog and you’re all eager to learn more about the latest PSFreedom news!

Important things first : Please stop asking me if PSFreedom will work on your phone, NO it will not work on any Symbian phones and it won’t work on iPhones (see next paragraph though). Stop asking and just accept that and buy yourself a Teensy board or an AT90USB microcontroller or similar and install PSGroove on it, then you’ll have your own dedicated dongle.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to business! I told you last time that NTAuthority almost had the iPhoneLinux port working, well the good news is that it does indeed work and it’s been released! Please read the instructions to get it installed from the wiki. Note however that it only works on iPod Touch 1G, iPhone 2G and iPhone 3G, it will not work on iPhone 3GS or 4G or any other iPod… so please don’t even ask about it!!!!

In similar news, we’ve added support for many new Android devices, the list almost reaches 40 models, and about 25 unique devices are now PSFreedom compatible! Again, you can see the whole list of supported devices in the wiki. I just want to make one thing clear : I made PSFreedom for the N800/N810/N900 phones, but I didn’t port it to android. Although I helped some developers port PSFreedom to new USB controllers, I didn’t port or compile any build of PSFreedom for any Android device, so your thanks should go to those responsible for doing it. This is a community effort and those from the community who helped this project should receive our thanks!

Now, what you’ve been waiting for, what’s new in the  PS3 scene, well, many things. First, I’ve recently joined the group of Mathieulh and I’ve been working with them to figure out how the kernel and payload works! I’ve also recently created a new branch in git for writing custom assembly for the payloads instead of using the hardcoded binary blob from PSJailbreak. I’ve cleaned up the payload used by PSJailbreak as well as documented it so others can read it and better understand how it works. The reverse engineering and information has been provided by the group of Mathieulh as well as some of my own reverse engineering work. You can find the ASM payload file here. AerialX from the PSGroove team is also working on cool payloads so you should check out his git repository too!

Also, Matsy and I have reverse engineered the xRegistry.sys file format and are now able to modify the XMB registry in order to enable new features (QA mode, debug options, etc..), and we’ll be working in the next few days on making a homebrew application that would allow you to change these settings safely.

Now for the sad news.. I will be forced to update my PS3 system very soon, for multiple reasons.. First, I’m getting the PS Move tomorrow and I really want to buy Tumble (PSN game) which looks like an awesome game and I can’t do that if I don’t upgrade my PS3 since PSN is locked for firmware 3.41. I also am a PSN+ subscriber and not being able to connect to PSN and enjoy the content I paid for is absurd and it feels like it’s wasting those 50$ I paid for PSN+. Finally, I had to reformat (and restore from backup, Thank God) my PS3 hardrive yesterday because as I was testing the payloads, I kept crashing the PS3 and I kept shutting it down the hard way which seemed to have corrupted my hard drive. After I restored my backup, all my content is there, but when I try to launch a game it says “To access this content, you must active this system. Go to ‘Playstation Network->Account Management’ to activate this system”, which I cannot do without connecting to PSN. This basically means that the 50+ games that I have bought on PSN are now inaccessible to me. So for all these reasons, I have chosen to update my PS3 to the latest firmware version.

As you all know by now, Sony has fixed the vulnerability we’re using to run homebrew in the latest firmware update, which means that once I update, I won’t be able to use PSFreedom or run homebrew applications anymore. This means that I won’t be able to work anymore on homebrew and custom payloads.. I could try to write something but I won’t be able to use it or test it, so the motivation will not be the same. For that, I’m asking you, those of you who used and enjoyed PSFreedom and are grateful for it or those who would like to see more of my work in the future, that you please donate a little something. Your donation will be used in order to buy a new PS3 that will be used only for homebrew and development. Note that I am not requesting you to donate, you have no obligations to do so and I’m not promising you anything either in exchange for a donation. Also note that, as stated earlier, I do not make ports of PSFreedom to new devices/phones, so don’t hope or expect me to make it work for your phone because you donated something. So only donate to me if you are grateful for everything I’ve done so far and you want to show your appreciation. If you decide to donate to me, then thank you very much! Your donations are very much appreciated and they might allow me to release something cool and useful to the PS3 homebrew scene in the future (but I can’t guarantee anything to anyone of course).

So if you want to donate some money, just click on the Donate button below! If you want to donate some hardware (a PS3 maybe, or a Teensy board or anything), contact me and let me know.

Thank you all for your support!