Sony kill PlayStation 3 Linux support

Sony has announced that it is going to remove the PlayStation 3's "OtherOS" feature in the console's next firmware update on 1st April. Anyone wanting to keep OtherOS can opt not to install the update but will lose access to PSN and therefore, online gaming.

In an official blog post, the company cited "security concerns" and confirmed that all models of PS3 will no longer be able to run Linux. This contradicts a previous statement, following news that the PS3 Slim would ship without the feature, that OtherOS would not be removed from so called "fat" PS3's via a future update.

Although opting not to install the update will still allow people to play offline, Eurogamer reports that some newer PlayStation titles will require installation of the update prior to playing the game.

Not installing the update will also prevent the playback of copyright-protected videos streamed from a media server.

Those who have Linux installed on their console, but want to upgrade anyway, have been warned by Sony that they should first remove any valuable data from the OtherOS partition, as it will be impossible to access the data once the update is installed. It is unknown whether the hard disk space occupied by OtherOS will be reclaimed.

It is understood that the "security concerns" are an exploit that uses a hardware memory glitch via OtherOS to give access to all areas of the console's RAM, with the hacker responsible posting that he has been making progress in breaching the PS3's game security - a move which could have made pirated games playable on the console.

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Geohot showed off a 3.21 hacked update that will update and still give access to install otheros.
He has it posted on youtube.

I've just got off the phone to Sony customer services and they are definitely removing the Other OS feature. Stated in the T&C's of PS£ they have the right to add or remove any of the features on the PS3.
Before you ask, they have nothing in place to offer any kind of good will gestures for the inconvenience of loosing this feature, i already asked..

Really not happy about this!! :@

Face it Sony hates Customers, they are this annoying thing that tries to use their products in ways they do not like

But all joking aside, The PS3's a powerful console and its a shame to see the Linux side go away. I hope they allow institutions to acquire PS3s with Linux options for creating powerful server farm type arrangments, as done before

It's not about defending Sony.... Taking away the option to use Linux will annoy 0.0000001% of their userbase + any other consumer that wants to whinge about a feature that they will NEVER use!

Look, when you sell a consumer a product with certain features and then snatch it away later for ANY reason, then you are wrong, but because corporations run the planet, SONY will have no problem doing so. I have a PS3 slim, It's not nearly as good as I had hoped, but for $300, I'm not complaining too much. But if it weren't for Gamestop and the ability to take back a crap game that otherwise would have cost me $50, I would probably feel differently. As for those defending SONY, would you wake up already, we are nothing more than sheep with cash to them, they could care less what's right, wrong or whatever, it's whatever pays. the end.

Good....Everybody seems to have missed the fact that the PS3's 'Other OS' Linux support is fact a crusty pile of steaming emulated turd. It's just some kind of Hypervisor ******** with no hardware acceleration. Practically useless for anything other than surfing the web, which of course you can do to a reasonable extent with the PS3 browser. Hey once it's finally removed it may free up a smidgen of available resources for something more useful.... erm.... like MKV support


This all seems counter productive to me, a large part of why the PS3 has remained "unhacked" is due to Linux being supported on the fat models. Most serious endeavors in circumventing a consoles security seem to primarily come from the Linux community trying to run Linux on closed hardware platforms.

I would imagine some players in the Linux scene are going to suddenly become attracted to undoing what Sony is about to do. As of yet there is not a single method of playing pirated content on the PS3. Maybe sony know more than we do about how far the current players have gotten behind the scenes with the GameOS / LVL2 stuff, but this seems like a premature decision to me since nothing (so far) has come from the Geohot hack.

They probably want to extract some more juice out of the machine and freeing up one SPE and possibly memory could help. I have the Slim so this doesn't affect me, not that I would use a PS3 as a PC anyways.

To be honest, I'm getting sick of Sony axing feature, tell me another game console that has removed features after it's launched. (I own all 3 system and have more ps1, ps2, ps3 games then any other system).

(Quick Recap) - Playstation 2 BC, Memory Card Readers, SuperAudio CD Support, -2 USB ports, Install Other OS on newer model, now to remove them from ALL models.

Unless the PS4 has BC with all previous versions, I'm not going to bother with it for a few years.

Blame the pirates. Trying to crack the consle has forced Sony to remove the Other OS feature. They can't ignore it, just look at the effect piracy had on the psp.

McDave said,
Blame the pirates. Trying to crack the consle has forced Sony to remove the Other OS feature. They can't ignore it, just look at the effect piracy had on the psp.

They are just delaying the unavoidable. The more you tell somebody not to do something...the more they want to do it - it's human nature.

McDave said,
Blame the pirates. Trying to crack the consle has forced Sony to remove the Other OS feature. They can't ignore it, just look at the effect piracy had on the psp.

No one FORCED Sony to do this. They have a choice, just as Nintendo and Microsoft do. They also could have found some other way to disable the possible exploits other than completely removing a feature.

McDave said,
Blame the pirates. Trying to crack the consle has forced Sony to remove the Other OS feature. They can't ignore it, just look at the effect piracy had on the psp.
Can you point to ANY cracked game? Much less one done through their Linux, which has no direct video hardware access?

I'm guessing not.

schiz-o-phren-ic said,
Look at all the April, Fools!

April 1st isn't for a couple more days. Just because the update isn't scheduled till then doesn't mean this is an April Fools joke.

good bye HTPC...it was nice having you while it lasted :-(

I hope this update also includes support for ALL video formats... that would be nice :-P

Does anyone know yet if they will remove the partition and recover the space to be used again, or will they simply lock everyone out of that partition making it lost space? They say you should back up Other OS data, but they don't warn yet about backing up your PS3 OS data in case they screw it all up... so that makes me think they will just lock us out of that partition and not recover the space.

one321 said,
Does anyone know yet if they will remove the partition and recover the space to be used again, or will they simply lock everyone out of that partition making it lost space? They say you should back up Other OS data, but they don't warn yet about backing up your PS3 OS data in case they screw it all up... so that makes me think they will just lock us out of that partition and not recover the space.

Actually noting the date something tells me we are being setup for a joke but who knows.

shinji257 said,

Actually noting the date something tells me we are being setup for a joke but who knows.
It's hard for me to believe they would do such a negative publicity stunt just for an April Fool joke. Why not make some crazy claim about the Sackboy or something that doesn't look so bad?

one321 said,
It's hard for me to believe they would do such a negative publicity stunt just for an April Fool joke. Why not make some crazy claim about the Sackboy or something that doesn't look so bad?

I agree, this isn't even remotely funny, a joke like this would be in bad taste. This is most likely going to happen.

$n!pR said,
The T&C is not legally binding.
Likewise, I am struggling -- and giving up -- to think of anything legally-binding that says that Sony needs its wrists slapped for doing this. Morally? [A big] maybe. Legally? Very much doubt it.

I'm sure Ts & Cs say somewhere that Sony is allowed to do that. People have been informed of what is going to happen and the consequences -- now they are able to make an educated decision whether to update.

vanx said,
I'm sure Ts & Cs say somewhere that Sony is allowed to do that. People have been informed of what is going to happen and the consequences -- now they are able to make an educated decision whether to update.

The T&C's allow them to patch exploits that are used for piracy, but that doesn't mean they are legally allowed to completely remove a feature that was advertized as a selling point. The T&C's also allow them to disallow access to PSN, but only when a user has violated the T&C's.

roadwarrior said,

The T&C's allow them to patch exploits that are used for piracy, but that doesn't mean they are legally allowed to completely remove a feature that was advertized as a selling point. The T&C's also allow them to disallow access to PSN, but only when a user has violated the T&C's.


The update is optional, thus you can keep your "selling point" if you wish to

Sony is setting themselves up for legal action if they do this. Removing features that were a selling point of the system (even if it was only used by a small minority) is certainly illegal in some countries.

roadwarrior said,
Sony is setting themselves up for legal action if they do this. Removing features that were a selling point of the system (even if it was only used by a small minority) is certainly illegal in some countries.

Not only that but they are contradicting an earlier statement they made indicating they were going to keep the feature in the original line that had them.

roadwarrior said,
Sony is setting themselves up for legal action if they do this. Removing features that were a selling point of the system (even if it was only used by a small minority) is certainly illegal in some countries.

But guess what the TOS you agree to to use the console states that any changes can be made to the console and I'm sure a line gurantees it for console security.

S00N3R FR3AK said,

But guess what the TOS you agree to to use the console states that any changes can be made to the console and I'm sure a line gurantees it for console security.

Terms of service and EULAs don't override state or federal law though.

roadwarrior said,

Terms of service and EULAs don't override state or federal law though.

Can you point out some state and federal laws that this is in direct conflict with? OtherOS is no longer an advertise feature for the PS3 system. The slims and fats use the same OS. As it is the same this is what will allow them to cancel it as they can simply say they are updating their software to match the needs of the hardware and that because they no longer advertise it as a feature they can drop it.

S00N3R FR3AK said,

Can you point out some state and federal laws that this is in direct conflict with? OtherOS is no longer an advertise feature for the PS3 system.

It violates various breech of contract, and probably bait-and-switch laws. They are removing a feature after sale that the system was advertized to have. It does not matter that they do not CURRENTLY advertize OtherOS as a feature, it was advertized as a feature when people bought fat systems. No one is talking about the removal of that feature from slim systems, as those weren't advertized as having the feature.

In other words: no, you can't state any actual laws that are being violated, only some questionably binding concepts you read about on the internet long ago.

roadwarrior said,
Sony is setting themselves up for legal action if they do this. Removing features that were a selling point of the system (even if it was only used by a small minority) is certainly illegal in some countries.
Negative! I'm sure something along these lines were agreed to via the TOS.

roadwarrior said,

It violates various breech of contract, and probably bait-and-switch laws. They are removing a feature after sale that the system was advertized to have. It does not matter that they do not CURRENTLY advertize OtherOS as a feature, it was advertized as a feature when people bought fat systems. No one is talking about the removal of that feature from slim systems, as those weren't advertized as having the feature.

Sony has been through the courts, their TOS are written fully within the confines of the law. As this is the exact same software available across the board they can claim they are no longer adverting it. A court might hear it in the west coast or east Texas but that's as far as it will get.

Also still waiting for some laws or previous cases that have set a precedent to back up you claiming it's illegal.

I didn't read anything about them offering to buy back PS3's that people no longer want now that they are crippling them. You would think that is only right LOL

Funny how when PS3 first came out it had all these nice features such as linux/windows install and backward compatibility. Now they're just taking features away from it all bit by bit. The more I think about it the more I think 360 was a better choice minus the fact it requires many disc changes for certain games I rather play on the PS3 & the limited HDD space.

Morisato said,
Funny how when PS3 first came out it had all these nice features such as linux/windows install and backward compatibility. Now they're just taking features away from it all bit by bit. The more I think about it the more I think 360 was a better choice minus the fact it requires many disc changes for certain games I rather play on the PS3 & the limited HDD space.

PS3 never had windows install capability, but it is a shame about backwards compatibility etc. etc. I am just grateful that I own the original 60GB model, still going strong.

Morisato said,
Funny how when PS3 first came out it had all these nice features such as linux/windows install and backward compatibility. Now they're just taking features away from it all bit by bit. The more I think about it the more I think 360 was a better choice minus the fact it requires many disc changes for certain games I rather play on the PS3 & the limited HDD space.

What does these features change? The backwards compatibility one was removed very early, you can't complain about it because PS2 were still in production. And why do you need to install Linux there. It says it is insecure, why risk it?

Glendi said,

What does these features change? The backwards compatibility one was removed very early, you can't complain about it because PS2 were still in production. And why do you need to install Linux there. It says it is insecure, why risk it?

Typical naive consumerist attitude that lets them get away with stuff like this. The insecurity isn't to the user--it's to Sony! Users gain literally nothing out of this.

Glendi said,

What does these features change? The backwards compatibility one was removed very early, you can't complain about it because PS2 were still in production. And why do you need to install Linux there. It says it is insecure, why risk it?

Linux itself is not insecure. It is the way that Sony implemented it. The backwards compatibility would of been nice to have. To this day they still have the ability to create PS2 memory cards in the firmware but you can't use it since the functionality doesn't exist to take advantage of them. They removed it to save on money rather than keep with what they had started. It was Sony that did full backwards compatibility first when they released the PS2. It was backwards compatible with all previous PSX games yet the PSX was still in production...

omni1 said,

Typical naive consumerist attitude that lets them get away with stuff like this. The insecurity isn't to the user--it's to Sony! Users gain literally nothing out of this.

The backwards compatibility was what was keeping the PS3 from dropping in price. To compete with the 360 price wise things had to be cut. Also what is the point of installing Linux? I am just now looking at getting a PS3 but installing Linux has never crossed my mine. Consoles are bought for gaming, what could Linux possibly offer?

omni1 said,

Typical naive consumerist attitude that lets them get away with stuff like this. The insecurity isn't to the user--it's to Sony! Users gain literally nothing out of this.

How is it insecure for Sony and not for users? Also why the heck you need Linux on a gaming console? Do you lack a PC and have a PS3?

You're the one making this look like it's something big. I'd like to see a report of how many people run Linux on a daily basis on their PS3.

Glendi said,

How is it insecure for Sony and not for users?

It is "insecure" for Sony because it has become a POSSIBLE avenue to allow playing pirated games (although this is not yet a reality). This fact does not affect the security of actually using Linux or another OS on the PS3.

Also why the heck you need Linux on a gaming console? Do you lack a PC and have a PS3?

Some people use it as a secondary computer in their living room for web browsing, e-mail, simple document editing, and other tasks. And I actually recall some people in the forums here stating that they use it as their only computer due to space and/or money reasons, such as college students in a drom with limited space - why have a computer AND a game console taking up space when the game console can double as a computer?.

Glendi said,

How is it insecure for Sony and not for users? Also why the heck you need Linux on a gaming console? Do you lack a PC and have a PS3?

You're the one making this look like it's something big. I'd like to see a report of how many people run Linux on a daily basis on their PS3.


Turn you PS3 into a real computer with lots of media/Internet capabilities? The security reason Sony points out is a big dirty pile of BS. And you can bet many users will be very disappointed with this move from Sony.

Glendi said,

What does these features change? The backwards compatibility one was removed very early, you can't complain about it because PS2 were still in production. And why do you need to install Linux there. It says it is insecure, why risk it?

So how long have you worked for Sony?

Riggers said,
After the PS2 debacle Sony seems to be doing as much as it can to stop games being pirated. Shame about this though.

Piracy has a price. Unfortunately it is the legitimate consumers who usually pay that price.

I would assume it would. Anything involving Linux has security issues because everybody knows how to change the way it functions compared to Windows. It doesn't do much of anything very efficently and secure like Windows, but the same standards that come with every distribution of Linux, it's how they can replace/rewrite/delete files to make Linux work the correct way. Jailbreaking an iPhone wouldn't be close to what it is now if it wasn't for the iPhone having such close ties to Linux. Windows can be locked up, just like that. Linux on the other hand can't and because it can be changed so easily, anything using it is vulnerable to the vast amount of tools/utilities it comes built-in with.

Electric Jolt said,
Jailbreaking an iPhone wouldn't be close to what it is now if it wasn't for the iPhone having such close ties to Linux.

The iPhone is in no way related to Linux. Besides that, most of what you just typed is so far out in left field that you sound like Steve Ballmer!

Electric Jolt said,
I would assume it would. Anything involving Linux has security issues because everybody knows how to change the way it functions compared to Windows. It doesn't do much of anything very efficently and secure like Windows, but the same standards that come with every distribution of Linux, it's how they can replace/rewrite/delete files to make Linux work the correct way. Jailbreaking an iPhone wouldn't be close to what it is now if it wasn't for the iPhone having such close ties to Linux. Windows can be locked up, just like that. Linux on the other hand can't and because it can be changed so easily, anything using it is vulnerable to the vast amount of tools/utilities it comes built-in with.

Wow. That was a load of mis-information. Linux is just as (if not more) secure than Windows. The only reason why an iPhone can be jailbroken or a PS3 can be exploited is due to flaws at the hardware level. If you follow the iPhone jailbreaking scene at all you would know that the jailbreak is 100% reliant on there being a flaw in the boot rom which is not part of the OS. This allows them to load unsigned modifications to the OS.

The main thing when it comes to an OS on a closed hardware platform is proper security. The only reason that they could gain access to the rest of the hardware was because of a hardware flaw. Rather than patch it up Sony would rather just remove the feature and cripple the system a bit. I personally have a Slim but if I had gone and gotten one of the older models instead expecting this I would be rather irritated.

Digitalx said,
Odd, guess US airforce etc gonna be pretty shafted.

Why? The guys using PS3s for that kind of thing aren't going to care about playing games on PSN so they just won't upgrade them.

Digitalx said,
Odd, guess US airforce etc gonna be pretty shafted.
Only if they play on PSN or DRMed movies.

This update completely separates the game/content function with the Linux/computing function. Your PS3 will be an XOR.

Digitalx said,
Odd, guess US airforce etc gonna be pretty shafted.

Indeed, plenty of universities are using PS3 clusters for number crunching.

thommcg said,

Indeed, plenty of universities are using PS3 clusters for number crunching.

And I'm sure those universities are gonna sacrifice this capability in order to play on PSN, right?

This is, IMO, complete bs.

I use Linux on the PS3, and I play online on it. Why should Sony be able to take away rights that I've already bought. I have a feeling there's going to be a class action lawsuit shortly unless Sony makes an insanely fast u-turn.

bmaher said,
This is, IMO, complete bs.

I use Linux on the PS3, and I play online on it. Why should Sony be able to take away rights that I've already bought. I have a feeling there's going to be a class action lawsuit shortly unless Sony makes an insanely fast u-turn.


is it a forced firmware upgrade ?

ranasrule said,

is it a forced firmware upgrade ?

It is and it isn't. Upgrade and lose Other OS. Don't upgrade and you lose PSN. It's a lose-lose situation.

ranasrule said,

is it a forced firmware upgrade ?

If you want to continue using your console as advertised, then yes. Without updating you'll lose access to PSN. Also as others have mentioned, future games will require an update to play, so they'll be locking you out of future games too.

Edited by Ryster, Mar 29 2010, 1:49pm :

Sometimes I think they let linux on the PS3 in the first place just to say look a reason to buy me! I can run other os's! oh and by the way we will kill this feature off once we have you hooked...

neufuse said,
Sometimes I think they let linux on the PS3 in the first place just to say look a reason to buy me! I can run other os's! oh and by the way we will kill this feature off once we have you hooked...

I was thinking the same thing. Promoting it as a big feature at launch, and then pulling it down the line is just lame.

neufuse said,
Sometimes I think they let linux on the PS3 in the first place just to say look a reason to buy me! I can run other os's! oh and by the way we will kill this feature off once we have you hooked...
I wonder if the TOS state they could do this. I'm sure they do.

Whoa!
I'm not even remotely a gamer, but this is going to whiz off quite a few people I know for sure.

Sure seems like they could come up with some other way around that issue.

rhlprap said,
Sony is a bitch. all that DRM wont slow down the hacking community

I beg to differ, how long has the ps3 been out now? and yet people still cant run copied games, they are doing it right and tbh i dont blame them for doing away with linux support if it helps secure it even more

Fubar said,

I beg to differ, how long has the ps3 been out now? and yet people still cant run copied games, they are doing it right and tbh i dont blame them for doing away with linux support if it helps secure it even more

People have begun running copied games here recently. Its not widespread because blueray discs (especially dual layer) cost so much, you might as well buy the game.

joshua.barker said,

People have begun running copied games here recently. Its not widespread because blueray discs (especially dual layer) cost so much, you might as well buy the game.

+1
the cost of a BluRay disk and a burner are still very high...

joshua.barker said,

People have begun running copied games here recently. Its not widespread because blueray discs (especially dual layer) cost so much, you might as well buy the game.


Source?

AFAIK, geohot didnt get too far.

souldreamer said,
April 1st? April fools?

Yeah, I'm thinking Sony may actually have a sense of humour... at least I hope they do, cause this would otherwise **** a few people off

Very, very lame from Sony.

I won't be updating. If there is a hack then I'll just wait for a custom firmware. Which might take months, or never.

Organization running PS3 cluster are probably under a different contract with Sony. Probably using custom Firmware too. Just a guess.