Sony Removes PS3 Linux Support With An Update… Errrrr, Downgrade?

Sony is rolling out a firmware update for the PS3 on April 1 but we’re pretty sure it’s not a joke. What we’re not sure about is that you can call it an update. It removes features rather than fixing or adding them. In this case, it is removing the “Install Other OS” option that allows you to run Linux on non-slim versions of the PlayStation 3. It is fairly obvious that this is a reaction to the hypervisor exploit that was released back in January that breaks down the machine’s security barriers.

[Geohot], the guy who found and release the exploit, published a post on his blog expressing his disapproval of Sony’s actions. We’d have to agree. It’s pretty cold-hearted to remove functionality that was advertised with a product. We’re sure there are many folks out there using the Linux support who have no interest in exploiting the product. This is gardening with a backhoe and quite frankly it stinks.

This may bring on a torrent of new effort in unlocking and laying bare the PS3. If so, doesn’t Sony deserve it?

[Photos credit: I’m with Stupid]

[Thanks Shueddue]

172 thoughts on “Sony Removes PS3 Linux Support With An Update… Errrrr, Downgrade?

  1. Its not just about the explit.
    Sony makes most of its profits from selling software for their hardware, people buying PS3s and installing linux means that they don’t buy the software and sony loses money on each machine becauase they are selling them below cost.
    I dunno why they ever had the feature to begin with.

  2. Goodbye Sony. I don’t want to see you anymore. You had your brilliant days but now they are only gray and cloudy.

    You offered us freedom, and then you take it from us; therefore, I will follow the example of Mahatma Gandhi and stop using or buying your products.

    It is time for a new kind of revolution, a next new revolution for freedom.

    I don’t know you folk, but I am tired to have my freedoms being taken little by little.

    For now one, companies that focus on restrain their users, take advantages of them, or abuse them, are not going to get a penny from me(at least not directly but thought my taxes).

  3. There will never be a hack to fix it. Linux/homebrew people are scared of the PS3, and Geohot stumbled upon the ECC glitch by chance. He still can’t inject with it, metldr has never actually been executed.

  4. In New Zealand at least, it would seem to be of dubious legality too, and qualify people for a full refund under our Consumer Guarantees Act as a product that does not perform as stated. Unfortunately this guarantee applies to retailer, not the supplier. IANAL etc of course.

  5. @Einomies: Exactly, give it a few months and all that’ll remain are the pirates complaining cause they don’t have the talent to do anything to support their agendas.

  6. I love my PS3, but sony just keep screwing up. Without wanting to feed the old “which console is better” fire, the PS3 could be the market leader but Sony are what seems like too scared to let it happen because if it gets too popular, it will get more interst from DEV groups who want to release copy protection beating devices (i.e. modchip style addons) and take $$$ away from Sony et al.
    Next they’ll remove the AVI/DIVX playback from the machine and mine will be in the bin.
    Sony should have taken advantages of other platforms downfalls but one has to wonder what ties they have to other hardware developers and their motives for keeping the PS3 down. Something that no doubt cost millions (billions?) to develop and produce.

  7. Why not use the time that was wasted on developing this firmware and update the Online store? Talk about a POS. Come on Sony! I know its free but thats cos they cant charge for such a pile of crap…

  8. @Therian

    See MacroHards post above yours for one explanation of why using a PS3 can be better than a general purpose computer for so called computer stuff.

    I wonder if one can purchase Cell chips separately, this might spur someone to produce a low cost generic computer with several Cell processors built in. Perhaps they could corner the scientific market that Sony just shafted?

  9. I Never used OtherOS, but it was always nice to have it there. I did plan to use it one day, when i had some free time just to play around. Or even just as a “backup computer” if i broke my PC. I always thought of this support, however annoying it was to have no 3D and less RAM than your Smartphone to work with. I always hoped it would lead the way for all Game Console manufactures to open up a little bit. I appreciate they dont want everyone playing homebrew games and Emulators. (although personally i dont think it would affect game sales hugely, may even promote the console with a backhanded hey you can run a SNES emulator on this).

    I was really hoping for 3D support on the OtherOS. Along with a Software based PS2 emulator for the PS3. Both look dead with this.

    I guess we can hope a new and improved otherOS will come back in the future? Or am i just being naive?

  10. Anyone actually done the update to see if they actually have removed the feature ???? I turned mine on this mornin (uk based) after been nagged for an update I decided against after reading the speculation on various sites $ony were going to remove the feature…

  11. @ Anon – nah, the other os feature won’t be back. Look at what they did to PS2 emulation, at first it was available with hardware support, then they crippled it by running in software only, and then they removed it altogether. And heck, the PS2 emulation worked with genuine discs only so “piracy” isn’t a reason to have removed it, but “greed” is.

  12. Anyone I’ve ever known to buy a PS3, has done so because of it’s other OS feature. While others have stated that Sony has alienated a minority customer base, I would have to disagree. It is my belief that Sony has alienated the majority of their customer base. Who will knowingly buy a piece of hardware that is over $300 that has been downgraded to no longer support one of it’s most popular features? The last generation of gaming systems started off getting my hopes of for more functionality and customization. Allowing users to continue using the cookie-cutter system or completely reinvent the device with their own hacks mods and custom software. But I guess the folks at Sony just aren’t ready for users of that degree.

  13. Although this is a bad thing I have a feeling all the people crying that the sky is falling in have no idea what they’re whining about. The other OS option is a novelty for most people and I doubt there are more than 50 or so people using PS3’s as a Cell dev environment at home (Those people probably just won’t upgrade their machines).

    The other OS option has gone in the slim and that was before Geohot managed to unlock the hypervisor.. Very limited amount of users + potential backdoor == Good candidate for removal.

    For those that are bitching that “It’s my hardware, I’ll do what I want with it?!?!?!111”.. You can do what you like with your hardware Sony isn’t stopping you from doing that; If anything laws like the DMCA would be your major blocker not Sony. You have to keep in mind however that Sony didn’t sell you a devkit so they don’t have to support you in running your own code on that hardware. There’s nothing to stop you hacking the PS3 and do what you like with it as Geohot has done.. alas most of the people shouting their heads of would be hard pushed to get hello world working in basic.

  14. BYPASS 3.21!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You can go to customize your network settings from XMB, and get to the part about DNS nameservers. Select custom, and enter the following IP as your Primary DNS:
    click ok then finish then you should be able to play online, NO UPDATES! NO COMPUTER NEEDED ON ALL THE TIME ASWELL!!!!

    This will do until geo gets his cfw out

    works a treat spread the word….

  15. I must admit that loading another OS and also trying to keep the default XMB seemed like a pain in the ass, but it was one of the reasons I bought my PS3 (I have an old school PS3 so I still have PS2 compatibilty which I still use for lots of [original] PS2 games and Boot Other OS) I just think its a bad move by Sony. I dont see what Sony have got by removing it? Were firmware updates getting so large they needed the space? Think not.

  16. I think all of the companies could learn from the original XBOX and all of the good that came out of hacking that :) I understand the need for security and applaud the fact that I have never had a console down due to a virus lol BUT really Sony!!! First rootkits, crappy support, overpriced consumer electronics with a continuous downslope in quality and innovation, and now you are removing the very thing that many people bought the PS3 for (besides a cheap Blu Ray player). Who is in charge over there? A magic 8 ball???

  17. I “WAS” a sony fan. I have 2 LCD TV sets, a 360 and other smaller stuff. When my car radio went south, I replaced it with a sony.

    If this is true, I will never purchase a Sony product again. This includes their music and movies.

    They just roasted the golden goose…

  18. i dont see how they are doing anything illegal im sure if you read the eula its says they can do stuff like this. yeah you own the hardware but the software is theirs.

  19. Meh. I didn’t buy a PS3 “phat” because it had Linux support, nor do I (or is that did I?) ever intend to use it. It’s a non-issue for me.

    I just wish they’d upgrade the XMB to make playing media files easier. I hate having to navigate through four folder levels just to get to the movies stored on my media server.

  20. Evil, evil.. For all those who say Sony are the next SCO, you are absolutely right.

    Taking away a paid for feature with a compulsory firmware update is theft, plain and simple. This sort of behaviour is unforgiveable.

    Class action lawsuit in 3..2…

  21. I’ve said it for years, Sony will only let you have the fun they want you to have, legal or not. I won’t be getting this update…If I end up with a dusty(more so), bulky, black box of uselessness than so be it. For the amount of money I was raped for several years ago, I fail to see how that doesn’t entitle me to keep the features that came, and initially were hyped-up with. Yes, I’m pretty sure that could fall into the bait and switch category.

    Wow, there are a lot of Sony reps commenting on this post. Get back to work and tell your bosses I said thanks but no thanks. I seriously hate Sony.

  22. In the psp world every time sony pushed harder citing “piracy” the homebrew community just put 10x more effort into their art

    now the psp for most models is a wide open platform that you can do anything you want, except get on psn

    is that what sony wants for its neogeo er I mean 3do, dammit! I mean expensive meh game console?

    (what was it called again colecovision 3?)

  23. To the people who say “You hacked it, you deserve it to be taken away” and things of that nature, F U. FCKN losers.. I didn’t hack anything, ever, I just used my PlayStation, and that’s all. I bought and paid for this feature, what they are doing is a crime, it is consumer fraud, and it violates our rights as American citizens. The fact that they would like to punish everyone for things that a couple of people did is ridiculous as well, the part that gets me the worst is that they are unwilling to offer anything, anything at all, to make up for it. I called sony support, and they treated me like sht, basically told me I was SOL, and all 3 people I talked to were rude as hell, when they go out of business I will laugh, because I’ve always been the biggest PS supporter, and this is what I get in return for being a loyal customer. Never bought an xbox, or a wii, or anything else, I had PS1, 2, and 3, and I was gonna get the next one whenever it comes out, but screw that. I’m currently looking into a class action lawsuit, but am debating on whether to just sue alone, class action will hurt sony bad but won’t really benefit any of the people in it. A 10 dollar settlement doesn’t make up for the loss of at least half, if not more, of my systems functionality. Again, I can not say enough, this is completely, 100% illegal, and its also 100% BS. F U SONY!

  24. I am sorry for the people this affects.

    Luckily it shouldn’t affect those running PS3 clusters, just don’t connect the machines directly to the Internet and you won’t have to install the upgrade, or am I missing something?

  25. nope, that sounds about right lol. But who’s to say those scientists don’t wanna play some ps3 when they’re taking a break from all the science? Who’s to say they don’t have a right to watch blu-ray just because they’re using the ps3 for something that has purpose?

    I read that in the agreement of the update, you agree to remove linux and nullify all previous agreements with sony. This is supposed to protect them. In fact, what they have done here is Coercion. Still a definite lawsuit.

    Another interesting thing I didn’t understand about CFW and how it is actually a good thing was explained in a post I saw on another sight. I’ll post it here in quotes below. Not all of the hacking is done for pirating. Some of it is done for creation of new software, indie software so to say. Apps that the system should have had, or could be useful, a better browser and so on, nothing malicious or illegal.

    The worst thing is still how all 3 of the sony reps treated me. I started off with each person, polite, good tone, not rude. I was very irritated by the situation, but given the fact that I worked in a call center, And had to deal with all types of crazy people and still stay calm, I did so. I was basically brushed off. As I persisted, The sony employees started getting rude, which is unacceptable, in any professional call center. This wasn’t just one person. I talked to 3 people. 2 were very rude, one was just rude. At least if they’re going to do something this drastic, they could compensate their customers, even if it was a little, just to show effort. Send me a video game of my choice, or give me some credits on the PSN, maybe refund part of my money for the ps3 since you’re taking away part of its function. nothing, not a single thing, i think out of 3 people there was only even 1 “I’m sorry” in the whole call. That was the slightly less rude guy lol.

    anyways, here’s the post I saw on the other site.

    “I understand why you dislike CFW (I’m not going to lie and say piracy is not a problem, I’m a mod on PSP mod forum, and I can not tell you how many people ask about downloading games, despite the very clear rules posted everywhere), however homebrew coders are not all piracy advocates, there are a huge amount of apps that the PSP should have had, but Sony did not jump on (among them, universal IR remote for Fats, a faster web browser that uses ALL the ram of the PSP, a pdf/comic book viewer, and a youtube/flash video viewer application). Now none of those apps are malicious nor in any way piracy, to be honest I don’t understand why Sony continues to ignore these apps as if they don’t exist. Can you honestly tell me as a PSP owner you wouldn’t want any of those apps (don’t bring up the Official Sony comic book viewer, it only supports proprietary formats, and has a very limited library)? Open source pushes creators all the time, that’s why the PSN has PS1 games for download (as well as digital versions of many PSP games), all of these were “borrowed” from CFW applications. Before you judge my choice to use CFW I own over 40 UMDs, and have had a fat PSP since its North American launch, I made the switch to CFW for more features so I would my PSP more, not for piracy. Anyway the PSP is breathing its last breaths, Sony’s PSP GO is an example of their current business plan to remove features and charge more (no UMD drive, and a new memory card type requirement, just to push the sales of the new MSProDuoMini). I hate when companies require all proprietary accessories, simply put I don’t know how long you had a PSP, but when they first came out memory sticks were extremely expensive, while they have gone down, for people like me with a huge amount of digital media the sizes are still too small, and expensive, for a 16gb MSProDuo I could get a SD card that’s 2x the memory size. Just food for thought.”

    Original Post –

  26. To anyone saying no one uses Linux on the PS3 and other similar things, I’d just like to say I’m currently working away from home and have been using Ubuntu on the PS3 practically every day for about a month now, and will continue to do so for quite a while yet. This is my only PC at the moment as it was the only real option other than buying a laptop/netbook specifically for only a few month’s usage which would just be money down the drain.

    Anyway, I imagine my opinion on this should be pretty obvious. Especially considering I DO use it for both games and Linux, and probably about a 50/50 split in usage times really.

    I can’t afford to update because I need my PS3 set up like this right now, yet there are some games coming out soon that I want to play, but I don’t think I’ll be able to now. Maybe if they had updated the browser so it wasn’t shit and added a messenger client then I could get by, but as it is this update screws me over. Thanks a lot Sony.

    *Posted from Firefox on Ubuntu on a PS3*

  27. @xio2 Then take your shit and break it all you want. Provide your own services for your own shit and play in your own closed off world. If you want to use THEIR services you have to play by THEIR rules (we call this a EULA). If you don’t then don’t, and you have nothing to complain about.

    @thach I fail to see where anyone on hack a day are encouraging people to pirate and break eulas. >.>

    @MacroHard Right, I’m sure your university is running a PS3 cluster, and those are quite awesome. Guess what though? You don’t use them to play blu-ray movies or games, so why would you get the update? On top of that, Sony was retarded for making it a cheap computing solution in the first place, as the only way they make money is if people use the consoles as consoles. When they are used as cheap computers, this breaks their biz model.

    @João I doubt sony will give a fuck if you sue them. They’re not taking away any features. They’re telling you that if you want to keep your shit updated you have to agree to remove those features. I’m sure there’s stuff in the fine print somewhere where you also sold them your first born son, and agreed to pay their lawyer’s costs if you lose the case.

    @SuicideCraze I feel for you that a few bad apples fucked things over for honest regular people like you. I really do. But honestly, if you can’t afford to game and work, obviously the choice is clear, work comes first right?

  28. @andrew
    Yes Sony is hurting themselves they don’t seem to be able to reach a balance between fair use and protecting their IP which will harm them in the end.
    This is not the first time Sony has screwed up royally as with the rootkit CDs.
    This is indeed a downgrade I’ll go as far as saying it’s breaking the consoles.
    As for no one uses it Linux provides an infinitely superior media player and browser compared to what Sony provides.
    They break my console I’ll never buy another Sony product again.
    @Mikey you sir are just a troll

  29. @quagmire Same here.

    @osgeld I could not agree more with your point.
    Another good example of Sony being too greedy the PSP Go or better called the No Go as it was a failure because Sony expected everyone to repurchase all their games for the new console.

    If I was a share holder I would be demanding that Sony’s CEO step down as this is self destructive behavior on their part.

  30. @ Mikey

    How many times do I have to say… Fine print or not… This is Coercion.. Only reason I agree’d to the fine print is because I was coerced into doing so. If I don’t update, I’m punished. If I do update, I’m punished. Fuck that.

  31. @Mikey Yeah, I’m just going to have to wait until my situation changes until I update so I can play new games. I really shouldn’t have to though. And when I do update, I’ll not have the backup of PS3 Linux “just in case” anymore, which while not being the reason I bought the console, was really handy to have.

    It just pisses me off that I’ve been singing Sony’s praises for the past month because their console has served me far better than any other, and I didn’t even have to hack it. It never bothered me when Nintendo removed the Homebrew Channel etc, because it was never supposed to be there in the first place, but this is just a slap in the face for relying in officially supported features.

  32. “I read that in the agreement of the update, you agree to remove linux and nullify all previous agreements with sony.”

    This makes it more interesting, for me.

    If you do not argree to this conditions, then Sony have effectively removed your online gaming functionality as oposed to Linux functionality.

    There is no way they could say that online gaming is not an advertised and paid for feature, its a flipping games console after all!

  33. If you are like me and have a ps3 with linux on it and use it to game also, do like me and change your dns setting under network setting’s to primary dns this way you can still play ur games,play online,buy from the store and do everything else the ps3 is meant to do. Ive been doing this since yesterday and it working fine for me i just got done playing MAG all night and had no problems.

  34. Sony really blew it all up. Like someone alread stated, the PS3 could have been the most widely used console, as a hardware project, it has huge potential and (talking about the CECHA01 model) could be one of the most COMPLETE devices ever, IF Sony could see beyond their damn noses. They even screwed up the launch versions (some good, the CECHA01 perfect, some worse). It would be revolutionary, a machine that could be a a HD media center, a computer, a game station for all PS (1,2 &3) games ever published, even form clusters, supported by open source devs (means that Sony would have itself even less to develop)
    practically unlimited potential! And what do we finally have? A restricted, region-locked (that you don’t even have the choice of choosing a region different from the one the device was intended to be sold) and relatively useless fart :P. Imagine what improvement would be possible if one could use all the hardware power of a good PS3, e.g. with the Emotion Engine as an supporting processor for small jobs and many other better ideas etc.
    And how much all users would appreciate the company for giving us such a device. Even with a slightly higher cost, one would know that it ould be worth the money…
    But they decided to block the linux feature (which I used although running on the restricted proccessors and memory, with no 3d support is slow and painful :P ) because there is an exploit (which btw can be activated by probably less than 100 people globally… read and learn you trolls)
    that it was not even thought for being used for piracy!!
    Well, you are on my shit-list as well, and I hope GeoHot &co. will give you a good lesson, for not showing RESPECT to your customers!

    PS. Mikey, get a life man…

  35. @osgeld
    There are ways to get on psn with cfw, only certain games though.

    Really? Kiss my hacked xbox, psp, iphone, and wii’s black asses. We don’t need a “conscience” on hackaday.

    I’m so glad Target took my ps3 off my hands. I then left the store with an xbox in hand. Haven’t looked back since :D

    Sony needs more Aretha Franklin on their walkmans:
    “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me”

  36. What annoys me, is the amount of rabid people on GeoHot’s blog. 99% of the comments there are usually “goohot ur ded u c****** i hop u die wile sucking c** in hell!!!!!!!!” or “GOEHOT THIS HACK IS FAKE U JST GLITCHED MEMORY THATS NOT HACK GIVE US ISOLOADER”.

    Sony was planning this for a while. The hypervisor was just too big and expensive to maintain. I think Geohot’s actions were a “convenient” excuse to put the final nail in the coffin.

    And I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before someone makes an installable proxy that will modify auth packets to say that it’s running the latest firmware when it’s really not.

    In the meantime, I hope the people over at Geohot’s PS3 blog cut the crap in the comments. It’s insanely childish to call someone a fake when the instructions, code and proof have been posted on several blogs and websites.

  37. If a Sony Technician walked into your home and disabled part of your PS3’s functionality that you paid for, would you stand for that? And then if they threatened you, saying they’d take away a certain proportion of your games, would you stand for that? So why it is acceptable via this method?

  38. OMG, you people are so stupid. To the people complaining about Linux, did you buy the PS3 for the PS3 or for Linux. Seriously this is retarded, “OH SONY I AM GOING TO SUE YOU”, “SONY I WON”T BUY A PS3 NOW”, “SONY, YOU CAN”T REMOVE THIS”… “SONY” “SONY”.. Shut up and use the PS3 for gaming,watching movies,and music. Don’t like it, oh well it is not like Sony will change their mind. Now if it was to remove .VOB, .DIVX. .MP3. then I would be upset, but its Linux, this is not a computer it is a gaming console, use it to game.


  39. @ spyder_21

    ur a douche bag. fuckin faggot. Just because you don’t like linux, doesn’t mean its not worth anything. And it was sold as a computer and gaming system in one, so sayin its not a computer is stupid, especially when scientists say that ps3 clusters rival the biggest and baddest super computers of all time. I almost feel stupid responding to you, because I don’t think you’re even intelligent enough to understand what i’m saying. Based on your comment, you seem to have a slight retardation. Shut da fuk up nigga.

  40. @cole after reading your comment all your insults seem to be aimed at yourself now be quite white boy. people that use the ps3 for clusters have no need to update. and im sure if anyone talked to a lawyer and then showed them a copy of the eula they would laugh at you if you said you want to sue sony.

  41. @danman
    you should read the other posts danwoman. The shyt is mad illegal. At the very least, its coercion which is a felony and the ceo’s of the company can be in big trouble over the shyt. and the word is “quiet”. moron… fuck eula..

  42. This is becoming a big bitch fest, to be honest Hackaday should lock further comments to be posted.

    First off I did not say I didn’t like Linux (I don’t know where you got that from), second when I watched previews and looked at adds for the PS3, I did not see them launching Linux on the PS3, nor did I see articles says “Install Linux on your PS3”. No they marked the console side of the machine hence Gaming.

    Now if you want to bicker back and forth saying they can’t do it. Well let you know this, I am sure Sony looked into all legal actions that would arise with the new update (if you think a company so big like Sony would look past this, then your a ra-tard).

    I for one don’t care about the update, as I never used/nor was going to use Linux on the PS3, I am too busy playing the games on the PS3 rather than running Linux. If I wanted Linux I would just install it on my PC.

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