Sony-contributed patches aimed at adding machine-specific features for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) have been merged into the stable 2.6.20 kernel tree. The patches should greatly simplify maintaining Linux kernels for the PS3, which is already supported by at least one Linux distribution.
Linux gained generic support for the Cell processor, on which the PS3 is based, with the 2.6.13 release in June of 2005. The new Sony-contributed patches to the 2.6.20 kernel appear to add machine-specific support for technology such as the PS3's memory architecture, DMA (direct memory access) model, and SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) model.
A Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) distribution has been available for the PS3 since October, thanks to a development deal between Sony and YDL publisher TerraSoft. However, YDL so far has not been bundled with early PS3 shipments, despite earlier indications from Sony Entertainment's CEO, Ken Kuturagi.
The new PS3 kernel patches should make supporting the PS3 under Linux much simpler, since no external patches need be applied when creating kernels for the machine. Applying such patches can complicate the kernel build process, or even lead to conflicts, where more than one set of patches is applied.
The PS3 patches can be browsed in Linus Torvalds's kernel tree, here. A discussion about the patches can be found at OSNews.com, here.
This means in the future, there is a high probability that more and more gaming console will use Linux for the OS or can be installed with one of GNU/Linux distribution with full features like in the computer system.
The downside of this inclusion is that the kernel size will become bigger and bigger as the result of new features being added into the kernel. But as usuall, you can always compile your own kernel and throw away unneeded modules in the configuration step.