Linux locked out of PS3 from April 1

The next firmware update for the PS3 console will disable the "Other OS" feature due to "security concerns". Owners who opt out will lose PlayStation Network access.

(Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment, Larry Ewing)

When the PlayStation 3 debuted in 2006, Sony played up the fact that alternate operating systems could be installed on the console. However, when the PS3 Slim was released last year, it lacked the "Other OS" feature, causing some grumbling from the Linux community. That grumbling turned to outrage today, when Sony Computer Entertainment announced the April 1 v3.21 PS3 firmware update will disable the "Other OS" option altogether.

On the PlayStation Blog, SCEA director of corporate communications and social media Patrick Seybold said the move was due to "security concerns". Though no specific concerns were named, the move comes almost exactly two months after American hacker George Hotz, who famously unlocked the iPhone, announced he had hacked the PS3's operating system. In an interview with the BBC, the software wunderkind said the effort took five weeks and would allow hacked systems to play pirated games. Sony's PSP has suffered from similar exploits, leading to widespread piracy on the portable device.

Seybold emphasised that the v3.21 firmware update is optional for current PS3 owners with Linux on their systems. However, consoles that do not have the update will no longer be able to log onto the PlayStation Network, play games online, use online features of games, play newer Blu-ray discs or play copyright-protected videos from media servers.

The "Other OS" feature allowed technically savvy gamers to legitimately install the open-source Linux OS on the device, turning it into an alternate home computer. The US government also took advantage of the feature, with the Air Force ordering 2200 of the powerful consoles to use as a linked supercomputer. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes Center is using a similar system to crack encrypted child pornography.

Via GameSpot

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jadekris posted a comment   

make that can't use region coding. sorry


Gregaruss posted a reply   

Yeah, the same argument can be used to stop people playing games because they may become serial killers - sorry Sony, but the rationale of changing an existing product to remove functionaluty because of what someone MAY do could be used for anything. Credability FAIL


Jadekris posted a comment   

Such a cool function had to be removed to stop people who want to do the wrong thing or get something for nothing (you can use region coding as an excuse this time). Ahhh Piracy and you thought it only screwed game developers.


Gregaruss posted a comment   

Seriously - What have the execs in Sony been smoking? This coming off a major stuffup where a large number of us couldn't use their PS3's due to a software issue.

I mean, the PS3 is good but it is this kind of thing that I will take into account when my game meachine dies...not good long term thinking


SWICK posted a comment   

I agree ratface...I dont see how that is optional! Its either update or use your PS3 as a paper weight!


Ratface posted a comment   

I like the 'it's optional to install' but if you don't install it then you're screwed!


lame lame posted a comment   

so lame..

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