Sony removes PS3 Linux support; Gets sued for it

On April first Sony rolled out new firmware for the PlayStation 3 that removed the ability to install Linux on the system by blocking a feature called OtherOS. Now a class action lawsuit has been filed against the company for its actions. It doesn’t take an attorney to figure out that they removed features that were a major selling point for the system. As mentioned in our previous article, the ability to use an exploit to access the hardware doesn’t mean that every user installing Linux on the system plans to do so. The suit asserts that users had no opportunity to negotiate the System Software Licensing Agreement which is only presented to a purchase after the sale is made. The lawsuit is availble in PDF from from IGN.

Who knows where this one will end up. The suit seeks an injunction against the removal of the OtherOS feature as well as compensatory damages. No matter what happens, we still think the removal was a bad move on Sony’s part.

[Thanks Shueddue]

85 thoughts on “Sony removes PS3 Linux support; Gets sued for it

  1. @Mikey, “Toasters don’t need clock radios. Just buy a clock radio.”

    That’s like saying “What’s the point of swiss army knives, just buy 1-2 dozen different tools and carry them in an awkward sized bag that won’t fit into your pocket.”

  2. To those of you saying, “Well, you agreed with the EULA, so sop complaining”, a EULA is a contract. A contract agreed to under coercion is null and void. Forcing us to agree to this EULA or lose our online connection certainly falls under coercion.

  3. @alex dante

    “This isn’t about Sony removing a hacking vector. This is about them removing a _primary_ feature that they marketed as such…”

    No, it’s about Sony being stupid in the first place and even putting Linux on their console. Something they never should have done. Now they realize this, they’re attempting to fix it, but people are being dicks and trying to sue when really the feature *isn’t* removed unless you want to upgrade to the latest version. Don’t do the upgrade and you can keep your linux. Durr. From what I understand the linux was pretty worthless anyway without good driver support, etc… so really, what are you losing?

    @Haku

    And you carry your ps3 around with you do you?

    …Again, the linux the came on the PS3 kind of blew chunks (everyone on HAD who seems to have used it has also complained about it, just scroll up), so it’s actually like carrying around a swiss army knife where all the blades are dull and cheaply made, when you could just be carying one or two sharp useful knives.

  4. @Sal_The_Tiller,
    As for the lawsuit. this isn’t a “toaster with a clock radio.” People specifically bought these just because they can run Linux. This was a major selling point to people, who are now left in the dust because this was removed.

    MAJOR PART OF SELLING??? What are you talking about, um the major part of the ps3 is to play PS3 games, not to install Linux on the system. To be honest I never seen 1 commercial of the PS3 about it playing Linux.

    If you want Linux just install it on your computer you are using the post this message. I mean come on listen too yourselves, “Oh my Gaming Console won’t run Linux” boohoo, get over it.

    If the 360 was able to run windows would you only buy the 360 because of that..

    Um no.

  5. @spyder_21
    “If the 360 was able to run windows would you only buy the 360 because of that.. ”

    Yes, totally. I’d love to have a $200 computer to plug into my TV.. But that’s not the point. The point is, this is an advertised feature, it’s false advertising to say it can do something, then remove that functionality after the sale. It’s a bait-and-switch tactic, and it’s completely illegal. So what if few people used it? Even if it was the most useless feature imaginable, if they say it has it, and it doesn’t, that’s against the law.

    Lets say MS revoked the ability for xboxes to play DVD’s. You might say “so what, I can buy a dvd player for twenty bucks”, but that’s not the point, what if you bought the xbox specifically for its ability to play dvds? Now it’s useless to you, because it doesn’t do what it says it can do.

    What if your car manufacturer decided to break into your garage and remove the back seat of your car? Some people wouldn’t care, they don’t have kids, and don’t need four seats, yet when you buy a four seater car you should be able to expect you’ll continue to have those extra seats as long as you own it. Advertising a two seat car as having four seats is dishonest, underhanded, and it’s illegal.

    Sure, maybe you don’t use the feature, but a lot of people do, and that’s one of the main reasons several of my friends bought it. That’s what it says in advertisements, that’s what it says on the box, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that it actually does have that feature.

  6. “This “texting” generation you belong to doesn’t realize that when you communicate in the real world you need to use proper language. Try passing that stuff you wrote to your boss, see how long you last at the company.”

    Which is funny, because when I saw it it brought back memories of slow modem connections and BBS chatrooms, so I guess it comes about as a result of any form of slow-ass technology combined with teenagers.

    I guess I support the suing the shit out of Sony in general because there are too many companies doing things like this all the time, but they’re a Japanese mega-corporation and will probably buy every judge in the food chain before they pay anything.

    There is, also, the repeatedly brought up point of “who cares” which I agree with. The Playstation 3 had such a fucking astronomical cost when it came out that you could have put together a multi core PC and still had enough leftover for enough arduinos to blink all three of your LEDs.

  7. The only people not caring about this are a bunch of mindless 14 year olds with blackberries shoved up their collective asses.

    Seriously, it was a major selling point being able to install linux,this is why i purchased one.also it was never advertised as a game system, it’s a multimedia machine capable of playing games.

  8. What it appears nobody has mentioned yet is that Sony publicly stated when the PS3 Slim was released that they WOULDN’T remove the Other OS feature from non-Slim PS3 units.

    And then they removed the Other OS feature from non-Slim PS3 units.

    At best, that’s false advertising. I don’t know how things work internationally, but in the United States, that carries some pretty hefty penalties.

    At worst, it’s an outright breach of contract which entitles non-Slim PS3 owners to reparations from Sony Computer Entertainment. To the effect of “Replace the OtherOS feature, AND pay a hefty fine as punishment.”

  9. What about people from europe ( such as me ? )
    Shouldnt there be a lawsuit to SCEE ( Sony Computer Entertainment Europe ) ?

    Were do we sign ? :P

  10. he murdered it then ran it over with a Hummer a couple of times. Then who cares if he can speak the language, he knows how to act like us

  11. he murdered it then ran it over with a Hummer a couple of times. — was supposed to be in quotes

  12. Ah yes, the Sony ROOKIT debacle/fiasco, aka XCP – eXtended Copy Protection, where Sony where caught red-handed using pirated (“STOLEN!”) code to build their own anti-copy spy-ware.

    “If you spoke a foreigh language
    you could move to a foreign land.
    But people speak to you here in English,
    and you still don’t understand.”
    - {Too Stuffed to Jump}

    {Note to self: never make a contract with anybody from Gen-Y – “binding” seems to mean about 5 minutes Real Time.}

  13. could some one who understands retard summarize what “drew” is trying to say? My brain hurts trying to read that. I got lucky in that I keep my PS3 away from the internets. But it does mean that it becomes essentially a bluray player, and eventually not even a very good one.

  14. Sooo….Would that mean that because they are still advertising that “it does everything” that people with the fat ps3′s could sue because it dosen’t do everything anymore. And i didn’t read all the post so if someone already said this, sorry in advance.

    Since when you get a update from sony you have the option to agree to the EULA but if you don’t they take away the multiplayer aspect from the system would that not be grounds for another law suit? Not trying to be sue happy or anything but that’s basically coercion is it not?

    And to eveyone saying it’s just a gaming system it’s much more then that without the “other OS” but i bet you guys still stream videos, and music and use the browser.

    Thanks,
    And again sorry if any of this had already been said, just looked at some of the posts on here and decided to post.

  15. sorry for two posts, just thought of this example.

    What if IW decided that running the MW2 servers was to expensive and they released a patch that removed multiplayer. Now i know it says that they reserve the right to shut down the servers at anytime (but you never agree to that so that is in the grey area if you ask me) You mean to tell me that you would not be pissed at IW for it?

  16. @cmo2788 “Since when you get a update from sony you have the option to agree to the EULA but if you don’t they take away the multiplayer aspect from the system would that not be grounds for another law suit? Not trying to be sue happy or anything but that’s basically coercion is it not?”

    Yeah, I know what you are trying to say. I’m not sure were that falls into what category exactly? But I forgot that when you do not agree to their “Firmware update” You can’t access the “PSN” or other “online” functionalitys.

    While this stops the use of “hackers” using out-dated firmwares that may have exploits in it from ruining the online experience, Sony never really released the hardware to do that initially(It wasn’t advertised as going online 24/7), Its more of how they control the “PS3 OS” as you will, While Linux was a Selling point as someone above posted many FACTS to where countless people from SCE stated that it will be supported that’s why this whole thing is going into effect.

    Many are arguing that this is a “Game Console” that we are all “sue-happy” Your point could only be valid if Sony never stated that the Hardware would be released to Support Linux, and then claim that with the new release of newer PS3′s (Slims) that the Old PS3′s wouldn’t lose out on the feature. But guess what? Every one out there who bought a PS3 (phat) whether it be second hand or brand new at the time gets screwed over because that was a selling point to why they bought it and now they are finding out that a Firmware update removes it! (mind you – in order to get new features and updates via PSN you need to have the latest firmware) so you can’t even not-update depending on how you use your console.

    This is a first (in my life time) that you actually have to stop what a company is trying to make you do in order to save a feature from being deleted in the next software update, and we are talking hardware here?!?!?

  17. Just a side note too, The PS3 “phats” how ever you call them. Had such a big price tag as they came out Around 600-700$. The reason the pricing was so much was because the ability to Support “Other Os”. This was developed into the hardware and that’s why the people can sue because they spent money on a feature and a Company even after it stated it wasn’t going to remove support for it… removes support for it.

    So you can kinda see why they are getting sued, It doesn’t take much for the avid Consumer to realize when a company is trying to limit your hardware you paid for, especially considering you paid for the Feature to begin with (Whether you intended on using it or not).

    If you don’t know what Linux is or ever wanted to put it on your PS3 that’s fine, by a slim.

  18. Its like paying 500$ for an app and then one day they upgrade all systems and sense the app is gone now they can sell the item for 200$ which realy means u just burned $300 dollars on an app that was going to be taken away in the future…… SONY has failed

  19. @bobdole your analogy is very well stated.

    There seem to be a lot of people in this thread saying that loss of features isn’t important as it still plays games. I have a question for them. Would you be upset if Apple released an update for your iPhone which you had to accept to continue being connected to the network and which removed all functionality of the iPhone except the ability to make and recieve phone calls? Would you be roaming the internet making snide posts along the lines of ‘It’s a phone, not a pager. If you want to recieve text messages buy a pager.’ and ‘It’s a phone not a computer, if you want to run apps or look things up online but a laptop.’? I think not. Just because using linux or even understanding the reasons why linux on the PS3 has value is beyond you do not attack those who can understand it.
    If the feature is there when you buy the device and it is documented (i.e. you’re not exploiting a bug) then it’s something the company has supplied you for a price. If that function is removed by the company then the consumer is well within rights to feel that they have been the victum of fraud or theft.
    To say that it still functions as a game console so you’ve lost nothing is ridiculious. Even those people out there who only play games on their PS3 have been ripped off. They have had the potential to install linux stolen from them, and they’ve had the resale value of their hardware slashed too.
    This is not a case of the ‘sue-happy’ generation trying to get rich, it’s a case of angry consumers trying to get what they paid for. I doubt any of the people who are participating in the law suits are expecting to be able to retire on any damages they could possibly be awarded.

    One last question… why the hell does this site have so many closed minded people who want their hardware locked down and unable to be used for anything other than simple mindless gaming?. Isn’t this a site for people who like to think outside the box?

  20. I’m sick of reading all these poorly written statements calling Linux a useless feature.
    If you 15 year-old “hackers” as you call yourself had any sense of what Linux can do, then maybe you would change your mind.

    What is HackADay’s servers running?
    Microsoft?
    Oh, how about Apple.com’s servers?
    That’s right. Linux.

  21. That’s true, I can’t see any of those posts any more either. Linux has proven to be the swiss knife under the operating systems and from what I can tell, this is absolutely true. There is NO other operating system out there that lets you configure so many different settings and runtime options. You can build each kernel version by hand, get the latest programs off the web using packet managers (hell, who needs an app store there?) and even rebuild most tools manually if you really need to (I’m not talking about Gentoo here, compiling everything is a must for Gentoo users).

    Anyhow, the more I think of this, the more I get annoyed about Sony because they basically attempted to bury their users’ freedom by removing such an important feature. Even though I have not used Linux on my PS3 yet, I use it frequently on my notebook. However, there may be other people out there using Linux along with the whole caclulation potential the PS3 offers and for them, this only appears to be a really bad joke.

  22. I’d like to start by saying two things. First, I do not, and have never, owned a PS3 (or a PSthree, as I like to call the slim version). However, I do have about half a dozen friends who do own them (and they all have launch models). Three of them actively use the Other OS feature, which means they have been disconnected from PSN since the 3.21 update was released. Secondly, I would like to whole-heartedly wish the best of luck to anyone filing any kind of litigation against Sony. You deserve what you paid for, so go forth and fight for your rights as consumers.

    The only reason I have an Xbox 360 sitting next to my TV, and not a PS3, is that my dad was banking on HDDVD winning the format war. (Yeah, I still live with the ‘rents. I’m a student, it’s cheaper than an apartment or dorms.) I kept pleading for him to get a PS3. Then Microsoft announces an HDDVD attachment for the 360, and dad jumps on the Xbox. You know how the story ends–Bluray wins the war and Dad’s super bummed–but by then, most of my friends had 360s anyway (the three who are still running old PS3 firmware also have Xboxes), so I’m still dancing to Microsoft’s tune, for now.

    Also, I agree with Colecoman1982. If you own a fat PS3, are living in the U.S., and want the Other OS feature back, file a complaint with your state’s attorney general. Possible criminal charges from multiple states should tell Sony, loud and clear, that you’re not gonna put up with their bullshit.

    And to everyone making the “it’s a game console” argument: one thing I think only one person has pointed out in a comment, is that Phil Harrison, the then-president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, stated that “the Playstation 3 is a computer.” While this could be said of any game console, I think you can better appreciate the words of someone high up on Sony’s corporate ladder.

    You can stop reading here if you like. Normally this is where I would end my comment, but I must instead apologize for the rant I just have go on right now.

    drew: I know everyone else here has made this abundantly clear already, but for the LOVE of GOD, go back and take elementary school English again. And after that, using your new-found reading skills, actually read the lawsuit file before making another comment. (Yes, I read the entire thing.) If your brain is then still struggling to comprehend our well-written, -formatted statements, then perhaps this is not the site for you. While I don’t make any claims to completely understand anything, since the universe is, indeed, vast and infinite, I think I can safely say that I have a better grasp than you do of the facts, principles, and yes, laws, behind why exactly people are getting so pissed off about Sony’s behavior. It’s fraudulent, unethical, and illegal; and if you don’t understand why that is, you obviously don’t care much about your rights, which is exactly what companies like Sony want. The more mindless consumers they can get to buy their stuff, the better. Thankfully, Mr. Anthony Ventura of California has stepped up and taken a stand for the rights of everyone who bought a PS3.

    They say you get what you pay for. If Sony wins this suit, I guess that won’t hold true anymore, now, will it?

    P.S. Holy shit this was longer than I thought it would be. O.O

    TL;DR? Wanted a PS3, Dad bought an 360. If you live in the U.S. and you’re pissed about your PS3 not running Linux anymore, file a complaint with your state’s attorney general and maybe help bring some criminal charges against Sony. Phil Harrison, the then-president of SCE Worldwide Studios, stated that “the Playstation 3 is a computer.” So…not a gaming console, like some of you argue. drew needs to go back to grade school and learn some English. I don’t understand everything, but I seem to understand more about why PS3 owners are pissed than drew does. Thank you, Mr. Ventura for filing that suit; best of luck to you.

  23. I’m one of those who actually bought the PS3 as an almost “Full feature computer”… I activelly use Linux on it (Fedora being my flavor).

    Would anyone agree that if Sony removed some other feature instead, let’s say “GAMMING”, there would be a lot of unhappy people!

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the next FW update will disable BD drive and kill off BlueRay movies and games in one go.

    Is Sony preparing for the launch of the ps4 and this is just another agressive marketing strategy… yeah, right!

    This could just be the spark needed to ignite the hacking community…

    Your move Sony

  24. Yeah, I haven’t heard anything from the lawsuits in over a month.

    The precedent being given at this point is basically that a company can remotely remove features from any device they want at any time.

    So I guess I’m not buying a PS3. Shame, I wanted to play Ratchet & Clank Future and Little Big Planet.

    This is odd, because when Amazon pulled copies of Animal Farm and 1984 from Kindles remotely, they got slapped down so hard they actually changed their policy to make sure it could never happen again, halted the system doing the remote erasures so that anyone who hadn’t connected their Kindle to the internet yet could keep their books, and offered everyone else monetary compensation. You’d think that would set some sort of precedent about this sort of invasive behavior.

  25. hi there i dont care about linux but i do care for having 3 10,000 rpm voloci-raptors in my ps3 soo gaming be very fast i am a very hard core gamer

  26. There claim is “Security concerns of piracy”, though reality is you dont not even have to touch the firmware or operateing system to pirate games on the ps3. All it takes is a logic analyizer and a pic or atmal to trick the copy protection.

    I think there is only two logical reasons behind there choice. One is to cut patch development costs. The other being preventing people who are just buying the machine to use as a computer, who have little intrest in buying games for the system.

    PS3 for awile was being sold under production cost relying on revinue from game sales.

  27. I think everyone who purchased a ps3 should sue
    were not sue happy enough imho. Especially for sony to care about it’s actions. Those who sue may get a settlement. thats not enough, when they look at the numbers of settlement there needs to be somthing that keeps this stuff from happening in te futre. th message will be taken serious i think for other companies to not adopt this false advertisment and monopoly and bad tatics. If nothing is done about this only fear the result will be more companies taking advantage of consumers the numbers of people who have been wronged all need to stand up and act on it power in numbers people so send a message , sony wont bully or dictate us we need to start a petition to unite us this can only help the cause.

  28. The people saying about, “Oh just do not install the update, forget one thing, the people who got caught by this at first”, did sony warn everyone “Oh we are going to remove linux in this update? “, no, knowing sony, it likely said “Fixing security hole”, which means the thousands of people who just installed, then found out, never had a chance to not install the update to keep thier linux, and what about the new games, that often artificially force the new version. On the PSP, I had to get cracks, for games I legally bought, because I wanted to keep my slightly lower version CFW, funilly enough, with the crack to JUST allow version number difference, it worked fine, showing how artificial the version requirement was.

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