PS3 To Drop Other Operating Systems

 in

Users will put Linux, or try to, on anything: toasters, toilets, even dead badgers. One popular non-PC locale for Linux deployment is on video game consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 3 — which will become a much less popular place later this week, when Sony is scheduled to slam the door.

The ability to install other operating systems has been a feature of the PS3 since it was originally launched in 2006, and a number of distributions — both free and paid — include PS3 support. Linux compatibility was a selling point for the console's previous generation, and the PS3's owner's manual specifically mentions that Linux use was deliberately included:

[I]t was fully intended that you, a PS3 owner, could play games, watch movies, view photos, listen to music, and run a full-featured Linux operating system that transforms your PS3 into a home computer.

Those intentions have apparently changed, as the company unceremoniously revealed that third-party operating systems will soon be shut out. In a post to the company's PlayStation Blog on Sunday, Corporate Communications director Patrick Seybold announced that a mandatory firmware update will be pushed out to all users on April 1 — appropriately enough — and will sever support for alternate operating systems. Seybold cited "security concerns" as the motive, saying:

This feature enabled users to install an operating system, but due to security concerns, Sony Computer Entertainment will remove the functionality through the 3.21 system software update.

In addition, disabling the “Other OS” feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.

Users have the option to forgo the update, but will suffer sizable cuts in feature availability if they do. In addition to forfeiting improvements introduced by the update (3.21) as well any future updates, users will no longer be able to play access the company's PlayStation Network, severing their ability to use online features of their games. In addition, forthcoming titles may require the 3.21 firmware, rendering games and even Blue-ray movies unusable on the system. Seybold's post also indicates that the ability to play copyright-protected videos from a media server will be lost.

The move is an interesting one, considering some of the ways the PS3 is being used. Beyond playing games and hi-def movies, the PS3 has been appropriated for use in high-performance computing. The United States military has been clustering the systems for some time for supercomputing use, and as of late-November, was planning to more than sextuple its use of the device. Seybold did not address whether the company considered the system's use for non-entertainment purposes in deciding to eliminate the feature.

Displeased users — and we suspect there will be plenty, including some wearing stars, bars, birds, and clusters — can contact Sony via the company's support contact form or by calling Customer Service at 1-800-345-SONY. Operators are standing by — and likely very busy.

Image courtesy of William Hook.

______________________

Justin Ryan is the News Editor for Linux Journal.

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I have been playstation fan

joey-us's picture

I have been playstation fan since first console, however this has soured me for good. to think of the $1000's I've spent over the years buying and playing games and consoles from sony. no more. They have created a powerful be it relatively small group of anti-ps3 linux guru's who will only gain strength as linux is becoming more well known. (I got my grandma using it) It is so sad. Open is the way to grow. You cannot stop tinkerers from learning how something works (and hacking it)... only slow them down. ps3 with native linux os's (no gameos) are next.

PS3 Class Action

Jerome Noll's picture

To participate in the class action against Sony please contact me at (914) 517-5000, extension 221.

Sony Steals

Anonymous's picture

I paid $500+ to play cool games and run Linux. I will never buy a Sony product again. My PS3 has just been smashed and thrown in the trash bin. No games will ever be played on that hardware again. I thought about donating it or selling it but that would mean some little kid getting it cheap and plopping down $60 a month probably on the latest new games -- only to fill some Sony bigwigs pocket -- sorry kid.

I was one of your fans Sony but never again ... You are a thief no doubt about it.

-- Bye Bye Sony.

Sony Steals

Edil Justiniano's picture

I'M PRETTY MUCH RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. ANY VIDEO OF YOUR "CHRISTENING" THAT MACHINE ON ITS FAREWELL VOYAGE? MY WAY MAY BE MORE PROFITABLE. eBAY MAY BE A GOOD CHOICE. ANYBODY GOT THE NUMBER TO THOSE GOVERNMENT GUYS BUYING PS3'S FOR CODE CRACKING? SERIOUSLY, I WOULD SELL THEM MINE WITH OTHER OS INTACT. COULD BUY AN USED ALIENWARE PC WITH THE CASH.

EULA

Anonymous's picture

For all those ready to sue, did you actually read the EULA before using the PS3? here's a small section:

Without limitation, services may include the provision of the latest update or download of new release that may include security patches, new technology or revised settings and features which may prevent access to unauthorized or pirated content, or use of unauthorized hardware or software in connection with the PS3™ system. Additionally, you may not be able to view your own content if it includes or displays content that is protected by authentication technology. Some services may change your current settings, cause a loss of data or content, or cause some loss of functionality.

On another subject, those arguing piracy is ok because prices are too high, take a business class. Especially economics and marketing. There are methods to price setting and your "feeling" that a price is too high is just that. Your feeling. If you don't think something is worth it, you don't buy it. Simple.

I know, I know...

Revan343's picture

Yes, I'm commenting on an old thread, I have a nasty habit of doing that, blame stumble.

The EULA says that Sony can do whatever they want.
The Law may say differently.

If the courts side against Sony, and finally decide that Yes, laws are more important than license agreements...well, good. Hope it happens.

PS3 OTHEROS

Edil Justiniano's picture

ARE YOU HIGH? SONY IS TREATING US LIKE WE ARE THIEVES AND PIRATES BECAUSE SOME HACKER MAY POSSIBLY PLAY GAMES FOR FREE, AND ALL THAT HITS YOU ABOUT THIS IS THEIR DOUCHEBAG EULA? THEY STOLE IT OUT OF OUR SYSTEMS ON APRIL FOOLS DAY! OF ALL THE DAYS TO DO THIS, TO PULL THIS CRAP ON ALL OF US LOYAL CUSTOMERS WHO PAID FOR THEIR "IT ONLY DOES EVERYTHING" BULL WITH OUR CASH. IF I SELL YOU A CAR, THEN FOUR YEARS LATER COME BACK AND TELL YOU I NEED TO TAKE (STEAL) ALL THE TIRES AND STEREO BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO LISTEN OR GO GET PIRATED MATERIAL WITH IT, IS THAT RIGHT? TAKING SOMETHING AWAY WITHOUT GIVING SOMETHING IN RETURN IS STEALING. THEY ARE THE PIRATES ASSRAPING THE CONSUMER NOMATTER WHAT SCRAP OF PAPER OR LEGISLATION THEY PLACE IN FRONT OF YOU IN THEIR OWN DEFENSE. THOSE OF YOU TAKING THIS ACTION BY SONY LIGHTLY MAY FIND OTHER COMPANIES SELLING YOU PRODUCTS THEN CITING MISUSE AS THEIR EXCUSE FOR SCREWING YOU. .AVI PLAYABILITY? GONE REASON: PIRACY. .MKV FILE PLAYERS? GONE, LINUX SUPPORT AND OS ON PC'S? BANNED! REASON: HACKING AND PIRACY! GET THE MEANING? CONSUMERS NEED TO VOICE MORE THAN OPINION AND SCREW THEM BACK.
I'M KEEPING OTHER OS, BY THE WAY, SONY. NOT TO HACK YOUR PRECIOUS SYSTEM, BUT TO ENFOCE MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO WHAT I BOUGHT AFTER AGES OF SCRAPING UP ENOUGH CASH FOR A PS3 THAT HAD IT, AND FOR THE LEGITIMATE USE IT WAS INTENDED FOR. 3.21 UPDATES ARE THEIR WAY OF BRANDING THEIR CONSUMERS AS THIEVES BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO LAZY TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING BETTER. AS LINUX USERS, YOU SHOULD BE OFFENDED THAT SO MANY IGNORANT PEOPLE NOW THINK THE WORST OF YOU (i.e. linux is pirateware, therefore you are...), ALL BECAUSE OF SOME DICK MOVE BY SONY AND SOME GLORYHOUND HACKER.

Format war

Anonymous's picture

Sony was in a format war. (Blu ray Vs HD DVD) Sony pulled all the stops this time
They put a Player in the console that was worth as much as the console, they made it hackable like the original XBOX was to help boost popularity and a certain amount of pirating helps to ensure a strong market share.

They won the Format war (fourth time is a charm) so there is no longer any need to support the hackable versions that allow for some piracy.

Does this mean my PS3 is now

Anonymous's picture

Does this mean my PS3 is now not "as described" so I can get a full refund with my statutory rights. I'm off to find my receipt.

Already installed - affected?

John Knight's picture

Does it disable the OS if it's already installed, or simply disable the ability to install an OS, once the firmware is installed?

John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.

Does it disable the OS if it's already installed, or simply,..

Edil Justiniano's picture

YES, IT TAKES ALL OF IT OUT AND FORMATS THE DRIVE, EFFECTIVELY ERASING ANY CONTENT, LINUX INCLUDED, ON YOUR DRIVE, SO BACK IT ALL UP IF YOU WISH TO UPDATE TO 3.21. I FEEL SORRY FOR ANYONE THAT UPDATED. YELLOW DOG LINUX WAS NOT FREE, THOUGH VER. 5.0 WAS FREE OF CHARGE AFTER A WHILE.
R.I.P. OTHER O.S. WE HARDLY KNEW YOU.

Sony Class Action

Jerome Noll's picture

Edil,
Contact me to participate in the Sony class action at (914) 517-5000, extension 221.
Jerome Noll

Sony PS 3 60 GB faulty

Chris Pantophlet's picture

I have been a sony fan for many years and there customer service for this is horrable. Let me start from the beginning. I purchased my PS3 60 GB due to all it's playback when it first dropped in 2006. I spent that day close to 900 dollars for it. As soon as my warranty was done it went out and wouldn't turn on. I contacted sony spend another 150 dollars and it took 2-3 weeks for me to get it back. They sent me another refurbished 60 GB. After 30 days the damn thing started to reset itself and I called back and the reset it after almost 2 years the damn thing went out again. Now let me tell you everything in my house is sony my TV's, my camcorder,dvd's,blu-ray and not including all the games i got the supervisor wanted to give me a game and there was only two games that i didn't have from them on there list. That's just to show you how much money i spend on this system. I also had all there systems as well. They charged me the second time I sent it to fix 180 something dollars and I just got it back in a few days probably 4 days ago and now it doesn't even show me my games or title. The supervisor had the nerve to think I did something to the system. I am in school for IT technology and the act like I am stupid and don't know what I am doing. I have been building PC's and troubling shouting Pc's for sometime now. My boss knew my skills that it is my job to keep all the CPU and software and stuff running for the hospital. Yeah, I think I know the problems when something doesn't work. I already will have a position in the IT department due to my skills when I get my degree in a higher up part due to my skills. I could have fix the3 problem but respected sony wishes and send it in due to warranty reasons and all it does it cost me money.Now I got to wait for it to bev fixed again another 2-3 weeks and they think this is fine. what if the other one happens to break when my 90 days is up I have to pay that money again for the same problem of it over heating or any other problem. it is ridiculous that this is happening and costing die hard fans like us all this money. Oh let me tell you something funny the 60 GB you can still sell for at least 500 dollars or so due to it's rare and they have the nerve to tell me i can swap it out with 120 GB and pay 200 dollars to get it. first of all I got the 60 GB for the playbacks,2nd the material is cheaper on the 120 GB system why would I want to do that for. I am sick and tired of these major cooperations trying to take advantage of customers.What ever happened to the customer service. The goverment need to stop letting these companies dictate these messed up policies and leaving customers high and dry were the ones who made them big and they shouldn't forget it. Please contact me for this class action suite. I am tired of this. I told them someone from hire up better contact me by tuesday when I get home.

Don't buy from Sony.

Alex Stone's picture

The finest words in existence won't change this decision. The only thing that will, is if millions of customers boycott Sony and buy something else. I can't see that happening, but who knows. Maybe enough users will have enough integrity, and lasting indignation to come together and launch a "don't buy" Sony campaign that is vocal and lasting.

Seems to be, on this report, that Sony have shown their true colours (again), and corporate affiliations (again), and users will need to decide accordingly.

cool

freng's picture

So this is very cool increasingly of playstation3, the PS3 has been appropriated for use in high-performance computing

playstation or computer.

zygmunt's picture

Must be something to do with a tax system change on playstations versus computers.

oh btw the link to gamespot

Anonymous's picture

oh btw the link to gamespot seems messed from here:
instead of

@polymath lol the r stands

Anonymous's picture

@polymath
lol the r stands for restrictions (it doesn't, obviously)

i agree that this is ridiculous (selling a feature, then removing it), however i'm pretty sure Sony can avoid the consumer rights regulations, or they wouldn't have tried to pull this off

sell it, pulverize it, return it

Anonymous's picture

Sell it on ebay. Sell all the games you have on ebay. Cancel your subscription to their online gaming features. Take back everything which you gave them - you're only returning the favor. If you can afford it - pulverize everything - games, system, controller, power supplies, cables, guide books - the whole damn thing - put it in a box and mail the powder to Sony postage due (put 10 cents postage on the box and no return address).

As for whether or not someone cracked their copy protection *yawn* who cares? I've been watching these idiotic copy protection wars since the Apple ][ days. Basically if you can run the code on the machine, you can't protect it - what one fool created, another fool will reverse engineer.

Companies need to realize that the reason for piracy is that they charge too much. When you charge too much, people will attempt to get the product cheaper. If a 'pirate' offers the same (or substantially similar - say in the case of a DVD it just has the movie but no 'extras') then price-conscious consumers will go to the less expensive version. Reduce the price, sell more of them (because you're going to expand the market to include most of those people who would pirate it) and you'll make your money.

Offer things that the pirates can't - service, support, etc. at a decent price and people will go with your. Don't do so at your peril.

Anarchy

Anonymous's picture

"...It's time to take on the corporate pigs like Microsoft, Apple and the like by boycotting them..."

I encourage people to use opensource and freeware in all ways, from computers to game devices.

Ok, but let's encourage people to do it not only with tech companies, even else with all sort of pig corporate that only thinks in ultr-extra-big earns. Car maker who remain with old and waste unefficient crap cars; health companies - not so health, for sure; tennis maker that use slave labor; etc, etc

Absolutely! I agree with you

Anonymous's picture

Absolutely! I agree with you whole heartedly, but I wanted to keep it short or I will fill this page up with a long list of corporate bullies we should collectively resist, non-violently of coarse!

Boycott SONY

Anonymous's picture

I am tired of being treated like a pirate by corporate bullies like SONY. I am forced to pay a "pirating levy" when I buy CDs, we had to deal with rootkits, DRMs and now my PS3 is being castrated. It's time to take on the corporate pigs like Microsoft, Apple and the like by boycotting them. I encourage people to support opensource and freeware by donating to Linux and BSD organisations.

PS3 Updates

Anonymous's picture

Surely this cannot be legal, I would certainly back a motion to stop Sony removing features of my already purchased product. Surely this is stealing, it's one thing to stop piracy but its another to start your own version. Sony have basically given the green light to dis-satisfied users to try and hack their systems. Just when Sony were starting to have it all their way they go and do this, very silly.

On one side, Cell

Crni's picture

On one side, Cell architecture is (at least in my experience) real pain to program for, and I don't see that many HPC teams still targeting this kind of architecture. So I don't see this that big loss for HPC community. But on the other side, as mentioned in some comments above, having Linux installed on this kind of machine had its advantages (playing various file formats PS3 firmware is not supporting at all, etc.). So I find this (if not April Fool joke indeed) to be very, very stupid move from Sony.

10 Years?

Chris Bruner's picture

When the PS3 was first being hyped, the president (or some big shot) said that this was a system designed to last for the next 10 years. They also supplied a Linux Boot system to get Linux installed.

It appears to me that they have reneged on what they sold to millions of people.

Isn't that cause for a class action lawsuit?

I hope this a joke.

je.tucker's picture

I really do. If not, then this is a crappy gesture from Sony. No Linux? Then what is the point of me having a 60gb model. To think that I thought I had it all with the backwards compatibility and being able to run Linux. I should have known better. Sony is trying to do a good job of making their console suck just like another company I know of.

expect an april fools joke on this one

kobra stryke's picture

this whole shit sounds too planned for my liking. i may be wrong but i'm willing to bet this will turn out to be nothing more than an april fool joke.

can you say April Fools!? +1

Anonymous's picture

can you say April Fools!? +1 for originality tho!

Who's the fool now ?

Kobra Stryke's picture

well well, doesn't seem to have been an april fool(s) joke on their part. only thing sure is ... i'm the fool. ah well ... you win some ... you lose some !

Illegal Games

Anonymous's picture

A good friend of mine who would be in the know about these things said that the change is because Sony found out that someone had figured out how to run hacked (obtained for free via the net) PS3 games under Linux on the console... It is too bad Sony didn't just fix this hole instead of shutting out Linux all together.

Surprised?

polymath's picture

Honestly, what did you expect from the corporation that put multiple layers of DRM into Blu-Ray. Personally I've boycotted Sony ever since the root kit fiasco. The only way defeat Digital Restrictions Management it to refuse to buy it. Economics will take care of the corporations that refuse to grow up in the digital age.

It Seems Like a Typical Move

cmnorton's picture

I'm actually quite disgusted with the number of companies who have locked applications onto Windows OSs and DBs. This does sound any different.

One of the Playstation's selling features was that it would run Linux.

What's the problem?

Jack Repenning's picture

Sounds like those who only use the deck for non-gaming purposes really have a problem: declining the update only loses you gaming features, right?

You also loose the ability to

Chris Bruner's picture

You also loose the ability to play all the formats of files that the PS3 doesn't support. You also loose the ability to use the system as a home computer.

Some people use the PS3 for gaming as well as videos and home computing. It's like they sold a car, and gave a software update to allow you to only use their gas.

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