Those using Linux on PS4 are well aware of LLVM. If you would remember, we fixed Cyberpunk on PS4 Linux by downgrading the LLVM version. Now, it seems PlayStation’s Paul Robinson (pogo59) has made commits to the LLVM project on GitHub to add basic support for PS5 hardware. So, does this mean anything good for the homebrew community? Maybe.Keep reading.
What is LLVM?
Let us quickly see what LLVM is. Here is how the official page of the project defines it:-
The LLVM Project is a collection of modular and reusable compiler and toolchain technologies. Despite its name, LLVM has little to do with traditional virtual machines. The name “LLVM” itself is not an acronym; it is the full name of the project.
While some of us might not be familiar with LLVM itself, most of us are atleast familiar with the term – clang. Clang is a C/C++/Objective-C compiler that is based on the LLVM project itself. This compiler is pretty popular for its faster compilation and useful error messages.
Why has Sony added LLVM support for PS5?
Well, this isn’t perfectly clear, as of now. But, this is probably for the same reasons, as for the PS4. Yes, PS4 already had LLVM support. Just check this commit which added PS5 support. Above the code for PS5, we see the one for PS4.
Anyways, as for the reason for adding it, many speculate it’s just to reduce the workload on their dev team. By adding the commits specific for PS5 to the main tree, Sony doesn’t have to worry about maintaining their own fork for the LLVM Project. Wololo also thinks that there is a chance that Sony might legally be required to add these patches to the main tree, due to LLVM’s licence obligations.
What do the LLVM patches for PS5 do?
No matter what else we discuss, it all boils down to this question, right? What are these patches capable of? Well, for now, the patches are minor. And, if you are wondering, these patches don’t give away a vulnerability that could be used to jailbreak the PS5. Atleast, not for now!
Sony has infact been committing to the main tree since some weeks now. These patches are mainly for the clang compiler. To put it simply, this could be a stepping stone to PS5 homebrew or a PS5 SDK, both of which can help devs bring 3rd party software and games to the PS5. But, all of this is dependent upon a PS5 jailbreak being made available. Till then, it’s all mostly hearsay.
Is Linux coming to the PS5?
I am sure, as soon as you learned of this, many of you would have jumped to the conclusion that PS5 is getting Linux support. You are not wrong, but, not right either. See, as already said, the Clang compiler support for PS5 is only a single step towards a PS5 SDK. As for Linux, LLVM forms a small part. We still need a PS5 Linux kernel, the drivers and payloads. Again, all of this is contingent upon a PS5 jailbreak.
For now, let us just hope for the best.
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