PS3 Loses Linux Support

Ever since it launched in 2006, one of the neater features of the PlayStation 3 has been its ability to run operating systems other than its own. Like Linux. Next month, however, the console will ditch that compatibility.

On April 1, Sony will release the next firmware update for the PS3, bringing it to v3.21. It seems the sole purpose of this update is to remove the "install other OS" feature from pre-Slim models of the console. SCEA's Senior Director Corporate Communications & Social Media, Patrick Seybold, says the move is "due to security concerns".

He also says that disabling the 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."

Of course, Sony is quick to point out the install is "optional", but then, if you refuse to upgrade, you'll no longer be able to sign into the PlayStation Network or play any PS3 games (or Blu-Rays) that require v3.21 (or higher). So no, for many people, it's not really optional.

This of course doesn't affect owners of a "Slim" PS3, as the feature was never present in that model in the first place.

The "security" reason is an interesting one, given that, around the time of the initial announcement of the PS3 Slim losing Linux support, Sony promised that "this feature will not be disabled in future firmware releases".

We've asked Sony for clarification on just what the "security concerns" are, and will update if we hear back.


    I hope sony likes getting sued, because doing this would break the TPA.

      I would also like to point out that it does not matter what a EULA says because the TPS is the law and the law overides everything.

      Is it really breaking the TPA? You still have the option to use OtherOS, you just choose not to update. I agree that it's a terrible solution, because it stops you doing so much other stuff, but I'd be surprised if that wasn't enough to cover their behinds.

      What's a TPA?

        Trade Practices Act.

        Most commonly everyone who refers to it in something is an undergrad law student.... like me.

        Then they'd probably be wrong. I'm making an assumption here, but the terms of use for the Playstation Network would probably have a clause to the effect that use of the Playstation 3 online limit/restrict capabilities of the machine etc. Anyway:

        a) who would bother suing over a $700 machine in an action that would cost millions. and some might scream 'class action' but its not that easy.

        b) There are jurisdiction issues anyway as it would be an action for the ACCC. Unless a person can show damage then they would have weak grounds for any compensation anyway;

        c) Nobody really cares that much.

        c) The REAL BLAME lies with that dork who hacked the PS3 to get big noted on the internet. This is clearly a response to that jerk opening the PS3 up to piracy.

      its optional so they arent breaking anything

      so long as its never a feature of a mandatory update it wont matter

      but really what do u need linux on your ps3 for thats legal

    I don't see this as an issue. Install Linux on a damn PC if you want to run it.

      GeoHot hack maybe?

      The Cell architecture is fairly unique, and the PS3 is pretty much the only affordable hardware available.

      While installing Linux on an x86 PC is probably the best option if you want a Linux desktop, it won't help if you want to have a go at Cell programming.

    I'm conflicted, on one hand i could not give a rats ass, because the linux support was pretty bloody useless anyway, with no access to the rsx.

    And the other is i bought it with the feature and feel i should be compensated for having it removed without my consent.

    Unless its a purely optional update that will not affect my ability to access PSN multiplayer etc.

    No, I hadn't used it, and no, i probably wasn't going to. It was nice to have the /option/ though... and yeah. That 'optional' line is complete BS. Oh yeah, just ditch MAG... LBP... COD **... sure.

    I don't know why they supported it in the first place, Sony's kitchen sink marketing cost far too much for too long. For both Sony and the consumer.

      The supported it because its a out of the box POWERFULL SYSTEM! You link these up with a desktop OS in a office you'll have a non-upgradable, but very powerful system.

      At the price, you cant go wrong.

      They supported it, because they wanted to encourage Linux fans to get a PS3. Unfortunately, they are now alienating all those fans that bought a PS3 with the idea of also using it for Linux.

      I'm one of them, and you can definitely say that I am pissed off. I'm hoping that there's a backlash against Sony for this decision. Who knows what will happen. Maybe nothing. Or maybe it will accelerate the effort to hack the PS3. Sony have now, after all, given a large number of very technically gifted people a reason to do so.

    Very Disappointing Sony

    This is the only feature that made me comfortable buying my PS3 80 GB HDD vs the newer Slim models.

    I'm gonna say it's because of the PS3 getting hacked by George Hotz.

      Is it possible to downgrade firmware on the PS3? IE - if I don't like the new 3.whatever that takes away 'other os', can I revert back to an older one?

    This may be a countermeasure to the GeoHot posts on his blog about having Full memory and HyperVisor access to the PS3.

    Sony has seen what hackers can do (with the PSP), and i don't think they want a repeat.

      Too late. They've gotten into the SLIM models as of a couple of weeks ago.

      Yeah, but the hack is already out there. Hackers have full access to the PS3 memory. How is stopping "Other OS" going to prevent them? Hackers will not upgrade. Legitimate users will upgrade. It is those who use Linux that will suffer.

      I wasn't terribly interested in a hack for the PS3 before. I am now. If a hack is developed from what is discovered, you can bet I shall use it to run Linux.

      Poor showing by Sony. This makes me feel quite negatively about them. I was thinking of buying a Sony camera for my next digital camera. Not any more. I was curious about the PSP. No longer. By taking away a feature that I like using, they have lessened my enjoyment of the PS3, and my respect for the Sony brand. There is a consequence to that.

    Thanks to the Playstation hacking community for this one. Screwed it up for everybody.

      That's like blaming the boy that broke the rules when his abusive father beats him and every one of his siblings because of it.

      If sony gave them access to the GPU they would have had a lot less reason to go hacking around the hypervisor.

        so you're saying if only Sony let these guys explore the vault of their bank, then they wouldn't feel like they need to break in and rob the damn thing? Great logic there.

          So you're saying that it would be perfectly fine for the author of your favourite book to rip out a few pages, just because you're describing the story to a few people? Great logic there.

        If they want access to the GPU then they should go and get a goddamn PS3 development licence.

        Actually norp, it's more like punishment of the masses (AGAIN!) for the likelihood of being screwed over by dickhead exploiters.

        Granted that there's a certain sense of achievement to have defeated something that's preventing you from achieving something but the question is, what is it that you really want to achieve in the end?

        And never is the question asked, "what will happen as a result of my actions?" because despite best intentions, there's always some bastard who will exploit it for personal gain at the expense of others.

        Sure it might have been cool to get more juice out of the GPU but this hack isn't simply about being able to run Nintendo emulators on the PS3 (and I ask, wtf would you want to?) or what have you.

        I liked to have my Other OS feature available to use Linux.

        I don't want to play pirated PS3 games.
        If you wanted all the latest games for free, you have to have no life to play them all to the fullest extent - and the other half of your no life copying them.
        Seriously, when you see the top players on any game who've clocked up 130+ hours in less than four weeks - no life.

        I don't want some spotty-kid inadvertently giving scammers a crow-bar for them to leverage into my PS3s security.

        Move over Pandora, here's George...

    another reason why the PS3 is lame. I play mine for FFXIII, but 70% of the time it fails to login to PSN, giving an error... never had the network problems with my 360

      Lol I reckon you don't even have a PS3.

      So... the PS3 is lame because it no longer supports Linux? How much use do you get out of Linux on your 360?

      You know, the 70% figure for connection failure to PSN would be a credible reason to knock the PS3 if it was as prevalent a problem as the RROD for the 360 or YLOD for the PS3.

      But this is the first time I've heard of it and I'd suggest that you look for issues elsewhere with your network or for electro-magnetic interference before condemning on entire console design on an inability to connect with PSN.

      Your post is also off-topic and smells a little of fan-boyism.

      It is therefore invalid ;)

      metalisticpain is a troll obviously

      The PS3 is lame because for years it did something the 360 didn't? I don't follow.

      I've only ever had one failure to connect to PSN in two years, not sure what the problem is at your place. Haven't had any network problems with my 360, but I let my live subscription lapse last year so can't comment on how it is today.

      I'm sorry your incapable using google to solve an small error, no doubt caused by a fault on your end. Perhaps it's best you sell your PS3 and stick with the 360...because we all know that it won't give you an error at some point.

      I've never, ever had a problem with PSN. Ever.

    Never known anyone to use Linux on their PS3. Always makes me snigger when I see someone rant about how they'll never get one now that Linux support was removed from the Slim etc, when everyone knows full well that they wouldn't have bought one anyway.

    Buy a $500 console in order to...not play games on it? Pass.

      Well, the majority of people on this forum apparently use Linux on the PS3. You're kinda missing out. Not only does it have a much better web browser than the PS3 native browser, but you can read your email, open up just about any document and media type (yes, even MKV, and also plays divx files that the regular PS3 cannot play), but you can also run the MAME emulator on it, with full sixaxis/dualshock support. I'm a Galaga fan, and I've really enjoyed using the PS3 Linux to play it on a big screen. It's pretty sad that Sony are going to take that away.

      Presumably if someone bought the console but didn't plan to play games, then the upgrade would have minimal effect on them: they could choose not to upgrade (which will work until they need to get the hardware serviced).

      The firmware upgrade is really only a problem for people who want to use both PSN and OtherOS features on the same hardware. Previously that was possible, and on Thursday it won't be.

    "Sony promised that “this feature will not be disabled in future firmware releases”."

    Oh Sony, you'd make a fantastic politician. Lemme guess, it's a "non-core promise"?

    Whilst disappointed that we are losing a feature of the PS3, I never really got around to using the OtherOS feature.

    It still would have been nice to have the option...

    I wonder if "security" reasons are really "piracy" reasons, with sony worried that the OtherOS could potentially be used as a backdoor...

    And to think I was actually considering finally shelling out the cash for a PS3.
    Well Sony, I say, good day to you sar!

    Oh no! the one Linux user who has a non-slim PS3 will be so dissapointed!

    and hell, if they were stupid enough to get a non slim PS3 before the consoles were revamped, they're already getting screwed, what with them not having enough RAM to run at speed anyway.

    April 1st update?

    Information released by Director of Social Media instead of the usual Director of Network Operations?

    I smell a fool...

    its to combat the hack threat, though they didnt make much progress anyway

    I doubt this will really bother too many people, since the fact is that practically nobody used the PS3 for linux anyway.

    For for the small percentage that ARE using it, what happens when they install the new firmware? I mean if somebody did happen to be using their PS3 as a linux-based PC will that suddenly just disappear? What about all of their data that they've got on there? Will they just lose it all?

      According to the description of the update, the 10GB OtherOS partition will be inaccessible after the firmware upgrade, so they recommend backing up any data stored there before hand.

      And after the update, that 10GB will effectively be dead space that can only be recovered through a destructive format of the entire disk. I hope they have appropriate warnings in the firmware updater ...

    This is stupid, they gave us the right to install whatever OS we want in the first place, they should just let us keep it. If we screw up out PS3 with Linux its our own fault.
    It shouldn't be up to them.

    It only does almost everything.

    No SACD, no more 4x USB ports and now no Linux...

    Next up on the chopping board, PS2 backwards compatibility!

      Too late, already gone.

      Next on the block...compatability with PS3 Launch titles....

    I hold most corps with contempt but they built this as a closed platfrom and developed everything from scratch. If they don't want people poking around risking what amounts to a multi billion dollar investment, I dont think it unreasonable they take steps to protect it.

    Interestingly, the date being April the 1st for the date that this great travesty is due to occur sounds a little odd, does it not.

    And has anybody bothered to check either the Playstation Blog or what's been posted at the link that Luke has above?

    You lot must all be from Sydney... ;)

    (P.S. I don't take back what I said about hacking the PS3)

      ... and yet...

      So Luke, is it a con or not?

    bs, bs and... BS! And I still have to consider if I want to replace my YLOD PS3 or not.

    your 70% failure rate your experiencing signing into the PS network must be your own damned fault metalisticpain ... I have been to several different houses and hooked up my PS3 no problems!! all kinds of internet providers & routers .. 0 problems!

    360's suck! but hey ... whatever you want!

    If linux was "one of the neater features" of the PS3 you have to get your priorities right. I have better things to do than bother with antiquated and useless, geek OS which is made as a secondary, basic, moronic, user-unfriendly, server hack.

      I wish I could use Linux on EVERYTHING, including my phone. It's stable, easy to use, and looks nicer than some of the crapola Microsoft put out *cough*Vista*cough*

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