PS3: No Linux? No Issue.

Yesterday we reported that Sony were removing the option to install an alternative OS on the PS3, namely Linux.  The option would be removed this Thursday as part of a system software update, which appears to be the update’s only ‘feature’, and whilst Sony are saying the removal of OtherOS is optional, you won’t be able to install any firmware updates past 3.21 without removing Linux.

Rest assured that this isn’t an April Fools update – I’ve heard from the proverbial horses mouth that the update is real and whilst I haven’t yet had chance to browse every website’s reaction to the story (apart from a quick glance at the thousand plus replies on the US Blog) it’s perhaps worth considering a few comments from our own readers, and whether or not the whole situation has already gotten out of hand.

“I do think there’s an ethical argument here,” says illogicology, “presumably some development cost and possibly hardware cost was factored in to the price of the console. I don’t think Sony should have the right to remove features their customers have paid for. I think owners of the original PS3 have a right to expect that promise to be upheld.”  Ruinereraser thinks removing OtherOS is Sony being “too lazy to fix” the security hole.

“I think this would of been a lot easier to take if Sony included something new in the update,” said Bodachi, wishing 3.21 had something new for us gamers. “You know Sony take with one hand, give with another.”  Regular reader Erroneus claimed that Sony said they’d never “remove the OtherOS function from earlier models in upcoming firmwares,” suggesting that this is a “lawsuit, just waiting to happen.”

It’s clear that Linux is a key to unlocking the PS3’s deeper software, and a way in for the likes of GeoHot, who took the fight to Sony yesterday when he announced that we will “look into a safe way of updating to retain OtherOS support” and, if needed, develop some kind of custom firmware that will run alongside the official one and enable hackers and pirates to do their stuff.  This will be tough, I’m sure, so removing OtherOS is a good start.

RossTheBassist said “if a certain individual on the internet had not boasted a way to access the PS3 in a manner that could potentially open it up to piracy, then this feature would not be getting removed” and our very own CC perhaps sums it up best: “quit your whining and bitching,” he said to those crying about the removal, “perhaps most of the moaners are 360 owners pretending to own a PS3 and just trolling.”

The truth is, OtherOS hasn’t been used by anyone but a tiny handful of PS3 owners.  I’m writing slightly ignorantly, perhaps, but it’s the general consensus that the Open Platform (advertised here by Sony) was a neat idea at the launch but already phased out by the introduction of the new Slim models last year.  Are people still using it?  I don’t think so.  Will PS3 gamers miss the option?  Hell, no.