The right to run Linux on a PS3, enshrined somewhere in the Mayflower Compact, Magna Carta and the Constitution, apparently, has been restored thanks to hackers, your friend and mine. Not that we can play games online, also thanks to hackers. But we can install Linux.
The patch now circulating is called OtherOS++ and is endorsed by figures such as Graf Chokolo, who vouches for its ability to "read/write anything in PS3 RAM." He says it is "very useful for HV hacking." It works by exploiting an older version of the firmware.
Install OtherOS has been the Don't Tread On Me cause of an extremely vocal minority of PS3 users. Through Linux, Hotz was able to make his notorious jailbreak of the machine. Sony later removed in a system update about a year ago.
Both Hotz's jailbreak and OtherOS' removal provoked highly visible legal fights, and the hacking team Fail0verflow then developed and published a means for completely circumventing the PS3's security, citing OtherOS' removal as a reason. During the legal drama with Hotz, Sony suffered several cyber attacks, and the latest one - although of a much more massive scope - is associated with that campaign, in the minds of many users, if not Sony's leadership.
When it comes back online, PlayStation Network will require a mandatory firmware update (and PSN account password change) before the PS3 is even usable. Who knows what effect it will have, if any, on OtherOS on older model PS3s.
One thing is clear: The hacktivist libertarian community's self-righteous temper tantrum over this has assured we will never see anything close to Install OtherOS on any gaming device, ever again.
Hackers Revive PS3 OtherOS Feature [Games Industry]