back to article Judge guts suit against Sony for killing Linux in PS3

A federal judge has dismissed all but one of the claims leveled against Sony for dropping Linux support from its PlayStation 3 game console, but gave the plaintiffs permission to refile an amended complaint that fixes the deficiencies. A complaint seeking class-action status on behalf of all PS3 owners was filed in April and …


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  1. Nathan 6

    Greedy lawyers at Work Again

    Let see, the lawyers stand to get millions if this is given class action status and all users would get is, well maybe the ability to install Linux. Something that almost no ps3 users care to do to begin with

    1. Anonymous Coward

      the ten

      people that actually cared about otheros won't be getting anything, clearly their case is dead in the water.

      1. Sony owns the firmware and can do what they need to do to ensure continued PSN security.

      2. Nobody forced them to take the update

      3. It was only removed as a result of hacking

      4. The ToS clearly state they could do it, which these users accepted.

      It's fun to watch these losers waste their money on a go nowhere lawsuit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the ten

        I don't own a PS3, but from this (hopefully reasonably objective) point of view it seems rather unfair.

        You're right in that nobody forced them to take the update, but either decision resulted in the loss of some feature of the PS3 - stick with the old firmware and it's bye bye PSN, get the new firmware and its bye bye OtherOS, either option resulting the loss of a feature of the console.

        As for "The ToS said we could do it", would you still think it fair if the ToS had said that the ability of the console to play games could be disabled at Sony's discretion, which they had then done?

        Regarding "it was removed because of hacking" - IANAL, but Sony do not have any kind of legal responsibility to prevent people from hacking, but they do have a responsibility to ensure that their products are fit for purpose.

        Looking back at the article, unless otherwise stated the implication is that a feature (particularly one which does not require the expenditure or loss of time, effort or money by anybody but the user) should be available in perpetuity. Its like my DVD player suddenly being unable to play music CDs - it's not the main aim of the device, but it was an advertised feature which isn't dependent on continued support or gratuity from the manufacturer so why wouldn't I expect it to be able to play CDs for as long as the device is working.

        1. Doug Glass

          Wow ...

          ... a loser.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @AC 23:39 "the ten"

        The Sony shills are hard at work again I see...

      3. Bugs R Us
        Gates Halo


        Consumers need to learn to read the small print. If they are too lazy, then it's their own fault. When are people going to learn that they don't automatically get the complete right to do what they wish with a product. In many cases they should consider it a privilege and abide by the terms and conditions of sale. As for Linux lovers, just get a ffrakking PC!

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          No, Bugs,

          If I buy something, the starting point is that it is mine to do with what I want. That presumption is rebuttable in certain cases, such as not copying something and passing it off as my own, but, in general, hardware is mine to do with as I please. If there is anything modifying that, then it should not be in small print!! It is a major factor in whether I decide to buy something, and should therefore be made very, very clear. Like it or not, the majority of people think that the software is only the stuff they buy to play the games. This means that unless there is a huge sticker on everything that says, in effect, "You only think this is yours", then the assumption that hardware and firmware goes in favour of the person who owns it.

          Out of interest, what other things would you buy that you don't have full control over as soon as you hand over the relevant payment?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            RE: No, Bugs

            "Out of interest, what other things would you buy that you don't have full control over as soon as you hand over the relevant payment?"

            All of Apple products??


        2. The BigYin

          @Bug R Us

          If the small print contains terms that are unenforceable (or should be), then those terms can safely be ignored. A term that states "We [Sony] have the right to remove any feature or impose new restriction we so choose, for any reason we so choose at any point in the future" (I paraphrase) would be one such term IMH[non-lawyer]O.

          Perhaps "OtherOS" can be used for naughty things like cheating/pirating. But then Sony should NOT have included in the first place just to get a tax break.

          As for "rights", I have the right to do whatever I like to my personal property. I can go out, buy a PS3 and set it on fire if I want. It's mine. If, however, I only have a license/rental agreement I do not have such "rights" except those granted to me by the actual owner. Perhaps Sony should consider leasing PS3s instead? Then they can contain whatever rights they want. Once they *SELL* it, however, they rescind all such rights. IMHO.

          1. Doug Glass

            "Your personal property"

            Obviously you've never murdered anyone with a candlestick you own in the library of your house. If you'd like to test your hypothesis, maybe you'd like to take 30 minutes to draw a crowd and then commit the act. It's your property right? Ya see.... there are just no absolutes such as you claim as your right.

            1. The BigYin

              @Doug Glass

              I have the right to do what I like *TO* my personal property. I don't have the right to do what I like *WITH* my personal property. I can use a hammer to bash in nails or pull them out (legal, so long as I am not causing criminal damage). I can't legally use that same hammer to kill someone. There is a subtle difference - one of these acts harms another/causes public outrage; one does not.

              So with a PS3, I should be able to run Linux (or set it on fire, or whatever) but I shouldn't be allowed to use it to cheat (say, by running some kind of homebrew hack). The former is nails, the latter public outrage.

            2. Tasogare


              You own the candlestick, not your victim. You can't use the candlestick to murder him or her, but you can certainly take a chainsaw to it. Or use it as a sexual aid if that's your thing. And whoever sold you the candlestick is unlikely to show up and say "hey, you're not allowed to use it in that manner." (the resulting court case might be amusing, though.)

              (speaking as a PS3 owner who doesn't run linux on it, but still thinks its removal and the attitude behind it is bovine excrement. I am reminded of what Crowley did when he discovered EULAs.)

              1. Octopoid

                In fairness...

                I think Sony were wrong to remove OtherOS, although I can see why they did it. But:

                - You can buy radio broadcast equipment, but are not allowed to broadcast on a wide range of frequencies with it.

                - You can buy a range of mains powered devices, but unless you happen to be CORGI registered, are not allowed to change the plug.

                - You can buy a plug, but unless you happen to be CORGI registered, are not allowed to fit it to anything.

                - You can buy a camera, but are not allowed to even accidentally capture a wide variety of people and things, even in the background.

                - You can buy a TV, but are not allowed to use it to recieve broadcasts without a licence, and recieve no guranteee that even with a licence broadcasts will continue.

                I'll readily admit that none of these are particularly good analogues of the OtherOS fiasco, just a few basic examples off the top of my head, but the assertion that you can freely use or modify anything you own as long as you commit no direct victim crime is very wrong. The assertion that equipment you purchase MUST retain all its original functionality is also unfortunately wrong - SHOULD, yes.

                Once again though, I agree Sony should not have removed OtherOS. Don't lose hope though - there is little to stop them restoring it, other than the fact that Sony would rather attempt to pass a Krupp Bagger 288 then backtrack on a decision.

            3. PsychicMonkey

              bit bored were you?

              taking your rather stupid argument. The candle stick is his, he can do what he wishes TO the candle stick, murdering someone with it is not doing soomething to the candlestick, it is doing something to another person.

              However he can melt the candlestick and turn it into a knife or whatever, that is not breaking the law. Murdering someone is.

        3. Doug Glass

          What kind of Loser ...

          ... down votes the need to read the fine print? Maybe they know how to click but can't read. But then they did read it so, yeah.....shills and losers.

        4. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Agree

          Was this small print even available to read between the PC World shelf and the till? I very much doubt it, and you can't impose additional T&C after the purchase has taken place.

      4. Doug Glass

        Wow ...

        ... obviously a lot of those losers didn't like your comment.

  2. Eduard Coli

    Says him

    PS3 owners were forced to choose between losing the GuestOS feature or losing the ability to play online games. I suppose to Sony no choice is still a choice.

    1. SuperTim

      Completely agree!

      I notice that the fact that Sony effectively enforced the upgrade due to preventing login to PSN is strangely absent from all of this. You had no choice but to agree the new terms if you wanted to use another "advertised feature" which is online gaming. If you purchase a game with an advertised networking feature, you cannot play it online until you agree to forego OtherOS. That indicates that you did not "choose" to lose OtherOS, just that you could not possibly have both online and OtherOS on your PS3 anymore, no matter what you chose.

      I hope the refile is successful.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    It makes a crappy linux box anyway

    I tried it ages ago and put Ubuntu on it. It was dog slow. I then foolishly allowed it to auto update from one version of Ubuntu to the next and it broke the install pretty badly and wouldnt boot anymore. Never cared enough to install it again and I'm running the latest official firmware now.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Jobs Horns


      I agree it coul be better. It was hamstringed by :

      1) Lack of ram (ok, a serious lack of ram),

      2) hypervisor restricted

      3) Limited storage options (One could say very limited and very slow).

      All in all yes, not exactly right for a noob linux box.

      BUT.... at its prime, for that money got you was a hobbyist's dream.

      A non x86 architecture, which was not too strange (after all the machine code was almost pretty much PPC 970 compatible) and then completely weird at the same time (the SPE's).

      Unwieldy yes, but pretty cool. Sure you got to pare the linux down, get rid of bloat, but it was runnable, the same way linux initially was on early x86's. If you ran ubuntu on it (what I would consider bloatware) of course, without paring it down, you're gonna have trouble.

      It is a beautifully engineered piece of kit.

      That's why I bought one. Not for the games.

      And then Sony had to spoil the fun. I don't blame the hackers, by the way, with hardware like this, WHO in the right mind with the right skill set would not want to hack it?

      But I am voting with my feet. I will not buy or condone any Sony or related products now.

      Boycott them.

      No evil sony Icon, so evil jobs. Same difference.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait

        "That's why I bought one. Not for the games."

        if that is the case then you were _NOT_ effected by any of Sony's updates. You could have stayed with your 3.30 update and never moved beyond that. The only needed to move beyond that if you connected to PSN to play online games.

        So, I honestly don't see what you problem is. If games were not the reason you bought the bloody brick for, then why did you apply the update that removed the only functionality you used on the said brick?

        The 3.31 update was optional and all the games release after that update did not require the update for a single player game. And this was true until the release of the USB Jailbreak, after which games required the 3.41 update. And now you can be sure that future games will require the 3.56 update. This forced update on new games is there to protect against piracy (if possible), but before those cracks where out, the update was optional for single player games.

        1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

          Re: "The only needed to move beyond that if you connected to PSN to play online games"


          Think harder, my friend.

          I've had my PS3(s) for YEARS (since release, I have acquired 2 fat ones), and while as stated, the reasons for said purchases were to mess with linux and the cell, inevitably I have bought games for them, so I am naturally annoyed that Sony has taken back either (exclusively) the ability to play games or do linux legally.

          I paid money for those damn games that I can no longer play as I would rather keep the linux.

          Would *YOU* not get annoyed if that were you?

          Bottom line - if Sony are going to get nasty with me, I am going to get nasty with them.

          I am NOT buying any other Sony products and have not since that fateful April fool's day.

    2. Bill Neal


      I ran Fedora on mine and it ran just fine. The only downside was I had to go back to version 5 for PowerPC. I never used it for evil, just Firefox. If Sony would allow Firefox on their unstable OS, then I wouldn't miss OtherOS.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      In case you actually understand Linux and computers,

      please have a look at It even has a nice picture that you might understand.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Obviously you would have to be a retard

        or a news writer for Ars Technica to think the Air Force uses their PS3's to log into PSN....

        Clearly they DIDN'T update their firmware, but then they are not pikey pirates that want it both ways....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You put Ubuntu on it?

      And you're blaming the hardware rather than the system administrator? Hahahahaha.

  4. Loosewheel

    Crappy? I'm not surprised..........

    Ubuntu will never correctly run on the PS3. The flavour you needed was YellowDogLinux, written specifically to use the Cell processor. I had it running ok on my fat one, as a spare comp / console in the spare room -it was still a wee bit clunky though, but did most thingslike KVM, wifi, external storage etc really quite well.

    Alas'tis no more..... Cheers Sony - you backpeddling buggers.

  5. Dazed and Confused


    So is the judge saying that if I buy a car and then take it to the garage for a service that I have no right to expect it still have wheels on it when I go to collect.

    What ever happened to the principle that if you advertise a product as doing something, you are expected to make sure it does.

    Or is it a case of the Sony has more money than the PS3 owners and so can do what the hell it likes?

    1. LuMan


      No. At least not entirely.

      (I can see flames and downvotes coming, but here goes)

      When you buy a car the manufacturer of the car has very little need for you any more. They may want you to buy add-ons, servicing, extras and those little bobbles that you put on the aerial so you can find it again in a crowded car park, but that's about it. In fact, most add-ons and servicing can be got cheaper from other manufacturers who sell 3rd party equivalents. When you buy a games console, you pay relatively little for something because the manufacturer knows that you will most likely be spending lots of money on software. Printers are also a good example of this; cheap printer - expensive inks.

      Now, if BP made a car that runs ONLY on BP fuel and you found a way of using another brand of fuel (unlikely, but stay with it), you can guarantee that you'd either (i)lose your warranty or insurance, or (ii)find that ability strangely missing when your car goes for a service and they stick that computer lead into the engine.

      Sony, in real terms, are only safeguarding their future income. Perhaps if they were more honest about their motivations they'd get better press. But jailbreaking leads to piracy. We all know it does. Even those who want to run Linux for legitimate reasons. If there was any way Sony could profit from OtherOS it would still be an option.

      FWIW I don't much care for running OtherOS. I use it as a games console and as a media/on-demand player. If the console goes under because a group of people keep crying about something they can't use it for any more, we'll be left with one less option. And that will result in even more shit games from a vendor with little competition.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adverts


      First of, the wheels are _NOT_ extra to the car, without wheels the car will fail to operate as it was manufactured to do. This is not the same for the OtherOS. The OtherOS was an extra functionality that was added on a _gaming_ device.

      Second, when did Sony actually advertise for the OtherOS as being part of the PS3? They did talk about, but it was never in any of their adverts. This is what the lawyers will need to talk about now, can they consider a presentation, made to a group of people, as an advert?

      I'll get my coat, my view of the OtherOS removal is an unpopular one.

      1. bobbles31

        I suppose

        When that group of people are members of the press that you are expecting to relay that information to the public then yes, the presentation would be classed as part of advertising and marketing.

        There is enough uncertainty in that statement though to have lawyers funding the economy for the next 50 years while only costing Sony money that they could have spent on games and infrastructure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: I suppose

          "When that group of people are members of the press that you are expecting to relay that information to the public then yes, the presentation would be classed as part of advertising and marketing."

          Sir, that is where the problem is, you and I will see this as an advertisement of features available on the device (I am pre-ordering 3DS and NGP based on what I read on articles and blogs). But since it was never on an official advert does that mean that the feature is not _officially_ supported? this is where it get muddy.

          the judgment passed on this will ship the future view on advertisement. If a company is not sure that it can support a certain feature, should they advertise it or should they depend on articles and blog to do that for them. Both methods will deliver the news to the buyer, but the later will supplying them with an escape clause!

      2. Anonymous Coward

        mmmm not sure that entirely sensible though

        I hear what you are saying about the wheels, but think of this :-

        Lets assume you take your car to the garage and when you get it back you have no radio/CD/MP3 player. Apparently some people had been using their cars not for driving but to listen to music and this was not the primary use, so <car maker> gets no revenue from it and seeks to stop it going on.

        Worse still these "music lovers" might have been publicly broadcasting music illegally! OOOH.

        This would be hugely unpopular. It would also be removal of a functionality that had been paid for. I'd be pretty narked if a device I bought suddenly had functionality removed, or expressly requiring a functionality decision.

  6. Majid

    Its not about linux, its about creating a judicial president

    Sony advertised the PS3 to be able to perform a certain amount of functions:

    - gaming

    - surfing/browsing

    - blueray player

    - running another operating system. (turning it into a 'real' computer).

    - media player.

    - etc

    They even made commercials advertising it as such. So if you buy such a product, it should perform as advertised. And it should continue to perform as advertised.

    I have a PS3 and I never even bothered to install linux, because thats not why I bought it, but I can understand if you bought it 'partly' for that, and that function is now denied to you as a consumer you would feel cheated.

    If this stands, then what is to keep sony from disabling the ps3 from being a media player? (and yes I do use it for that, next to gaming).

    You can say that you dont have to agree with the eula, but that is not really an option, because they advertised the ps3 to be a multipurpose machine, and if you don't sign the aggreement you can't go online anymore, disabling another purpose: Being online and doing online gaming.

    So Sony basically offer you the choice of chopping of your hands, or your feet.. Doesn't sound like a nice choice you offer people who are supposed to be your customers.

    1. Captain Underpants

      Off-topic but what the hell

      A judicial president, you say? But lawyers are shifty and politicians are shifty, so surely the combination would mean doom for us all!

      On topic, though, I'm seriously intrigued about the impact that Sony's own "The games are just the beginning" ads will have on their claim that it's primarily a games console whenever this whole mess finally gets to court.

  7. veramin

    sony == shits

    Its simple - if people keeping buying the crap products and sony keeps shitting on them then sony will happily carry on. I for one think everything with sony on it is pure evil.

  8. Bill 2

    Yup YellowDog wasn't bad

    I'm not a techie by any stretch of the imagination but I enjoyed mucking around with Linux on my fat old Ps3. I dont know why other people didnt like it - it was simple enough - even for me and it was also useful - at the very least you could browse the internet properly without using the pathetic PS3 browser, but it could also be used for so much more.

    I agree with Storng - I wont buy any more Sony stuff and I will discourage as many people as I can from buying their stuff. It wont make any difference of course - Sony have never given a damn about the people that buy their products - but at least I will feel a bit better about not giving my money to such a shit wipe of a company.

    If anyone has any suggestions of good companies that produce decent electronics equipment I would be very grateful. It seems to be the way of the world now that most companies are shit and getting worse every year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      writing 3 minutes for YDL to boot, wasting 10gb of hdd space and using a clunky ram hobbled version of FireFox was such a great experience.

      The built in PS3 browser is way better than that.

      Paris, because even she can see the agenda going on here....

      I'm guessing all the Microsoft shills are out in force here, its clear mini here actually USED otheros, if they had, they wouldn't be pretending otheros was the best thing since sliced bread.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Way better than Firefox how?

        It can't play Mafia War (in fact, all Zynga Facebook games fail, even HTML ones), it crashes when you try to run the Acid3 test, many, many pages break on it.

        How is that better than Firefox?

        Even the Opera browser on the Wii can do better than that.

        And oh, there's no Angry Birds in the Malaysian PSN store. Imo, that's just pathetic as said game is available in the US store.

      2. Danny 14

        the sarcasm is strong with this one

        Yes because microsoft shills always use linux and firefox.

      3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        Now wait a minute...

        YDL is (ok, was... RIP YDL PPC 6.2) a distro that was intiially rolled for macs and support was extended to other POWER/PPC machines, which included their own monster 970 duallie they once were selling (RIP that too) and the cell (ie PS3).

        This means, although it is possibly the best all round PS3 distro out there short of you rolling your own, it is also somewhat bloated. Coupled with the 256 megs of RAM you're going to find that you'll swap a lot of if you don't optimize. (And even then, you will swap but it will hurt slightly less!).

        If you WANT YDL to boot fast, just cut out ALL the non-PS3 specific crap. Find out what you need and do not need. For example, do you really need RAID? Unlikely . Do you need NFS (maybe)? All that apple specific stuff? Probably not. Rebuild the kernel with only the stuff you need. Also, find out what is starting and maybe you might find a few services you do not actually need that actually are loading anyway. Cut these out, and your machine could boot faster.

        Also, make sure you have that patch that allows the RSX memory to be used as a swap file. I think 6.2 comes with it by default, but can't recall off hand if you need to activate it manually.

        Enlightenment is overrated. It's slow. Try xfce which also conveniently comes with YDL 6.2. Some folk I know like fluxbox. Or boot into runlevel 3 and just start X if needed. One more thing: I don't recommend doing a major build of anything substantial (ie kernel) with X loaded, for obvious memory constraint issues.

        One thing you will find is that YDL is based on an older RH version, so building anything new is always a bit of a challenge, but... let's face it you did not install linux to expect OS X did you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So ... (@ Bill2: Yup Yellowdog wasn't bad)

      Are you going to refuse to buy any Microsoft stuff for all the illegal things they have done in past? You know, things like drive competition out of business, steal other peoples products/ideas, lock people into their products, provide poor products that are fixed in a new version that you have to pay for. What about releasing extremely poor hardware that they deny has problems but then miraculously extend their warranty (for the US/Europe as the UK was covered anyway) to try make themselves look good (which fooled a lot of people) - yes, I am talking about the XBox 360.

      No?! Thought not. That makes you a hypocrite then. Don't worry as you are not the only one. I work with someone who kisses Microsofts backside despite proven evidence of the above, yet will slag Sony off all for removing one feature. Want to know the worst part about this guy - he doesn't own a PS3!

      1. Bill Neal

        Yeah, actually...

        I'm not "Bill2" but the fedora guy, and YES I gave up on m$ products since before the first xbox. XP was the last windows os I owned. Its not hard to be devoted to linux.

      2. Goat Jam

        "Are you going to refuse to buy any Microsoft stuff "

        Why yes, yes I am.

        Have done so for many many years now in fact.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Please just kick Sony in the nads

    Thank you.

  10. Joe Montana

    Not just PSN...

    If you refuse the firmware update because you want to keep OtherOS it's not just access to PSN you lose, you also lose the ability to play any game which requires a newer firmware... And to make matters worse, there is no indication on the box that such games are incompatible with the older firmware, nor will you get a refund if you bought such a game in error.

    1. P Zero


      If you don't update, you may miss important additions to the blu-ray player, effectively rendering the console proper gimped.

  11. system

    Description of goods

    "Seeborg said such statements can't reasonably be construed as a “promise,” an “affirmation of fact” or a “description of the goods,”"

    How can any statement in which the goods (PS3) were described not be a description of the goods?

    1. Anon E Mus

      lawyer fu

      Simple, "description of goods" is written in an arcane form of some english-like language in which "description" is a word for "summoning spell" and goods translates as "cthulhu".

  12. Anonymous Coward

    sounds like the White Star Line

    "we never said it was unsinkable"

    what about this promotional blurb for the Titanic that you printed?

    "yeah, but we didn't really meeeeeeeean it"

  13. Lars Silver badge

    What are you afraid of Sony

    I just cannot see your logic, and I do not think you have any. Run bye lawyers, I suppose, but then again why such a stupid decision.

    What are you afraid of.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Stop buying consoles and pretending they are PC's.

    Problem solved..

    Games devs will start PROPERLY deving for PCs again, and console kids will have to go back to whining at their moms for some pocket money..

    Everybody will be happy, except the soccer moms..

    1. Bill Neal


      Simple. I can't buy a PC for the same price with all those features.

      1. Daniel Palmer

        @Bill Neal

        The hardware is subsidised by game sales.. ergo Sony don't want you to use it as a PC and locked out the RSX in OtherOS and made it a "toy computer" from the start. They need you to buy games from licensed publishers that are paying them for the rights to put games on the PS3. If you need something to compare against; Mobile providers lock those "free" phones you get with a new contract to their network exactly that reason. They can't have you paying for the lowest contract and using the phone on a different cheaper network.

        ...and can you use a PC with only 256MB of ram for anything useful these days?

        For a few hundred quid you can get a multicore X86 box with gigs of ram, hundred gigs of storage, a newer Nvidia GPU than what is in the PS3.. oh and its all open and shit so you can use it as a generic computer!! woo

        1. Bill Neal

          @Daniel Palmer

          In the US I use a pay-as-you-go phone which uses several networks and even gives me a choice which one to use for internet. The whole package costs $40/month.

          Yes you can do alot if the ram is FAST enough. in the ps3 it is VERY FAST.

          and it is basically a single core PPC with an 8 core GPU integrated in 1 chip!! woo

          suckit sandy bridge.

          1. Daniel Palmer

            @Bill Neal

            >>The whole package costs $40/month.

            Thats fairly expensive for a phone package... maybe your provider aren't subsidising your phone hence the cost. My shiney new 1Ghz Android phone is less than that a month.. but is locked to the providers network.

            >>Yes you can do alot if the ram is FAST enough.

            Ok,... so how do you load something bigger than 256MB into memory? I mean into memory not into mostly paged out to disk... if its paging all the time RAM bandwidth means nothing, you need IO bandwidth. I have 3GB of data resident in memory on this 1.6Ghz Atom machine, massive disk caches etc.. how do you do that on the PS3?

            People built HPC clusters out of PS3's only to find that 256MB of ram isn't enough for their datasets. doh.

            >>in the ps3 it is VERY FAST.

            The Cell is fast for code that can be parallelised..'s_law

            Can you name a single binary in YellowDog linux that uses all 7 or 8 (I think only 7 are usable by user code with the original OtherOS setup) co processors? They aren't full CPU cores and as such aren't suitable for everything...

            >>single core PPC


            >>an 8 core GPU integrated in 1 chip!!

            No, it has 8 small vector co processors... imagine a 386 + 8 387's ;) They aren't GPUs.

            For standard desktop usage I think you will find a bog standard X86 box is cheaper and works a lot better than a PS3. From the fact that you don't even know what the Cell is except that "It's FAST! AMAZING!!! WOOT! XBOX360 sucks!" I'm guessing you don't write a lot of highly parallel code that fits the Cells architecture.

  15. Lars Silver badge


    This is a nice topic but the things that happen in North Africa beets any other topic on El Reg this year and perhaps last year too.

  16. Lord Zedd

    Advertised feature

    Removing a feature the owner paid for means decreased value of the machine. Opting out of the update means they can't play online games and possibly can't play future games, decreasing the value of the machine.

    In either choice the owner has lost a feature that was part of the machine's price. The only option I can see if Sony refuses to reactivate the OtherOS is refunding part of the purchase price to every console buyer.

    1. Bugs R Us

      You miss the point entirely

      The consumer is not purchasing a product with promises. The consumer is purchasing a product **AND** agreeing to a set of conditions that determine the product's future feature set and functions. This can include reduced functionality too. So in other words, the consumer agrees to pay $600 or whatever for something that might have improved features or less features over time. WHY is it that people just don't understand this simple thing. The price you pay is for the product and the T&Cs, not for a right to use it as you see if. I have a PS3 and I UNDERSTAND that Sony can turn it into a heap of useful plastic and metal if it wanted to; that does not give me the right to ask for my money back BECAUSE I agreed to the terms of the sale. It's so easy to understand. People should stop crying foul and wake up to the real world.

      1. wim

        could not agree more

        "Sony can turn it into a heap of useful plastic and metal if it wanted to;"

        So what you say is that it has the potential of being useful but it is useless now ?

        spot on my friend. Allowing linux on it will make it more useful I guess.

      2. longbeast
        Thumb Down

        re: You miss the point entirely

        Contracts can't override the law.

        If you bought a product that could explode and kill you, that came with an agreement saying the manufacturer had the right to detonate it anytime they liked... it would still be illegal for them to blow you up.

        I don't know how strong consumer protection laws are in the US, but certainly in the EU, the same principle would apply to disabling advertised features. Terms and conditions be damned - laws take priority over them.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        When did the customer/buyer agree to the terms and conditions? You go to a shop and hand over cash, deal done. The shop assistant never took me to one side and explained the crap you said in your post.

        When you get the machine home you hand it to a 10 year old. He hooks it up and begins to play a game. Even if the child accepted the Sony conditions on screen, how is this enforceable? Minors cannot enter into contracts. If your post contained any truth then Sony and other console makers would ensure that in the box was a paper contract, that had to be signed by an adult, BEFORE they allowed the PS3 to function. But if they did that no body would accept it.

        It is Sony's fault if they choose to sell the PS3 at a loss or a cash cow. NOT the customers.

  17. oliver Stieber


    You can put anything you like in a contract, it doesn't make it either lawful nor legally binding.

    I could put a line in that said you'd let me kill your mum. I don't think it would stand up in court if I then killed your mum, and used the contract as my defence... especially if I was a corporate entity.

    Of course, if I happened to be a euthanasia clinic then that would be the service you would be expecting, so you'd have a hard time saying that you where forced into accepting that condition.

    If I was a car salesman however, and I remotely cut the breaks killing your mum I think you'd have a good case against me.

  18. oliver Stieber

    good move by the judge if u ask me.

    1: cut all the crap to save time and cost and so get it over and done with cheaply and quickly, but sill allow those things to be used in the future (if and give some clarification)

    2: pick the one thing that is really gona cut the mustard, can Sony lawfully modify your system in a way in which you didn't give formal consent. that's a very good case to get on the books. if it goes Sony's way expect all hell to break loose. All I'd have to do is slip one line into my EULA saying I own your sole, credit card, hard drive etc... n I own u and your machine and can do what the hell I like with it. And they will.

  19. Successunderflow

    Not what I paid for

    As an owner of a 3.15 FW PS3, I do feel kind of cheated. Not because I upgraded (because I didn't), but because I cannot access PSN or run any of the latest games because I decided not to upgrade.

    It's inconceivable that something you bought for an outrageous sum of money no longer works as intended because you'd rather not have one of the features taken away from you.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Why do you expect to be able to connect to PSN with a unsecure system?

      Either use it for Linux (why? OtherOS is usless), or update your firmware.

      1. Anon E Mus


        The PS3 was sold for BOTH, it should do both. A "security" update for PSN really shouldn't affect the unrelated other OS feature.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          not unrelated

          The Security issue what OtherOS itself. It was removed because GeoHot was using it to try and crack the PS3 to open Piracy (sometimes called Homebrew).

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            not the same

            homebrew is home coded apps/games. Piracy is something different.

  20. John F***ing Stepp

    Actually, perhaps we can sic Homeland Security on their ass-ets

    * ted at


    Sony really broke a few Government Defense projects when they locked down their firmware.

    Wait a f*, if I had bought that crap you mean Sony still owned it? The hard ware? The parts you get to kick across the room?

    Well screw those un-American (and I bet they don't like your lot either) traitors.

    I mean with this and the rootkit thing they are beginning to make Microsoft look good.

    Sony, why do you hate America?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't they just put OtherOS back these days?

    Given that the whole root key thing is out of the bag, isn't the potential OtherOS hacking loophole pretty much irrelevant now? Pirates will now go down the root key route, whereas the OtherOS feature would only be used by genuine Linux users.

  22. paulc

    Who actually owns the box?

    this is a fundamental question upon which this case and the other one hangs on...

    If the customer "owns" the box, then Sony are dead in the water in BOTH cases as they have committed an unauthorised intrusion upon the customer's hardware and also the "hacker" cannot possibly commit unauthorised intrusion upon his own system in order to jailbreak it....

    1. boltar Silver badge


      "If the customer "owns" the box, then Sony are dead in the water in BOTH cases as they have committed an unauthorised intrusion "

      No they didn't - when you update the firmware from the final version with OtherOS it specificially mentions the loss of the functionality and you have to click a confirm button. Besides which the firmware update is not automatic , you have to make it happen so I don't see how you can possibly claim the update is an unauthorised intrusion. Unfair maybe, but unauthorised? Not a chance.

  23. Tom Melly

    Stupid Sony

    The really dumb thing was offering it in the first place without a clear strategy to cope with the PR fallout when they (inevitably) had to remove the feature.

    They should have never offered it, and, if for some reason they felt they had to offer it, they should have shouted from the rooftops what was going to happen when it got hacked...

    1. John G Imrie

      Offering Other OS

      Gave Sony a tax break. That's why they did it.

  24. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Heres an upgrade for your car

    It'll take the left front wheel of mind. And if you don't upgrade the front right will fall off.

    Either way this car isn't going down all the roads you thought it would when you bought it you thieving little freebie bastard.

  25. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    After 18 months of use, the PS3 suddenly explodes with tremendous force, killing the user usually by disembowelment, and probably demolishing their home. This is a standard feature and all units are designed to do it. Of course it falls outside the warranty period and therefore no liability arises.

    Or perhaps not.

    1. Andy Jones


      Standard warranty in Europe is 24 months no matter what the seller or manufacturer says. In the UK it is 5 years under the Sales of Goods Act (always keep the receipt).

      1. EvilGav 1

        Not quite right

        The 24 months is the guarantee period under EU law (which so many people blindly forget about).

        The SoGA gives you an expectation that goods should work as described or as you agreed with the seller (you may have discussed what you wanted to do and been told what would do the job you needed, for example), but the time is 6 years in England and Wales and 5 years in Scotland. Further, SoGA is about making sure you got what you paid for and it worked for a reasonable length of time - if it broke after 4 years 6 months, the seller could make a good argument that you'd had a reasonable amount of use from the item and would at most be expected to offer a reduced price on a new one, not a refund or replacement.

        In either case a receipt is not necessary - the only difference being that a shop *may* choose to give store credit, rather than a refund, without a receipt.

  26. Bugs R Us
    Thumb Up

    Hello? Users have the option ACCEPT or REJECT

    If people are too lazy or stupid to read the text that accompanies the updates, then they only have themselves to blame. What's that? No one reads those you say? Well, that doesn't make the claims of these idiots any more valid. It just means there are a lot of lazy or stupid people in the world.

    1. P Zero

      There are some problems with your post.

      Accept and gimp your options, reject and gimp your options. False choices aren't really choices.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      ... I think you are named after the wrong WB character - you sound more like Daffy Duck.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What about me? I sold the PS3 as a cheap linux box, gaming machine and blu-ray player. Should I be liable? Should I be forced to cough up? I earn a lot less than Sony.

  28. Shane8

    Option to update?

    I never updated my PS3 for 18 months and when i finally got Fifa 11 i had no choice but to update to latest version or lose £30....

    1 main reason i brought a PS3 was for the OtherOS, a nice IBM processor like that runs circles around the crappy intel i was using.

  29. James Cooke

    I really don't understand the law

    The PS3 was advertised as having the OtherOS feature. It was on the box in the marketing and was manufacturer sanctioned if not supported as was playing games. Sony have then given users of both features Hobsons choice.

    How is this not illegal or an abuse of position. Its not like there is a lot of choice for users who want both a games playing machine and one that can do other things.

    P.S. I have none of the current generation of consoles but find the way large companies trample over consumers rights frankly disturbing.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Epic fail

      It wasn't advertised on the box, it wasn't promoted either... It was MENTIONED sure, but never promoted.

      Clearly some people have problems with this definition.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    I don't see Sony putting OtherOS back as it was


    if the judgment does force them to put the feature back-in (in order to escape the fine*), I honestly don't see them putting it back the way it was. The only requirement is that they enable the OtherOS, the support for OtherOS is up to them. They can make the feature more restrictive or they can make it so that it would run _their_ signed OS (which can be a DOS clone). Beyond saying that the PS3 have OtherOS support, they never promised anything... or did they?

    * I don't know if that will work or not as INAL

    sorry for the multiple posts, I am getting my coat and leaving

  31. Alistair MacRae

    T&C's stupidity

    Don't like any of this

    If I bought a PS3 and read the terms and conditions. Do I have a right to return for a full refund if I disagree with the T&C's?

    Do the T&Cs even come with the PS3 anymore or are you given them first time you switch on the PS3?

  32. tony trolle

    Sony lost my money

    bought 2 Wii's for games, would of bought a PS3 or two IF I could run Linux

  33. asdf

    Sony got nailed

    The OtherOS functionality always seemed pretty cool and very non Sony corporate to me. Then I found out they just did it originially to get the lower tariffs by claiming the PS3 was a computer. After this ploy failed they dropped OtherOS quicker than a pregnant girlfriend. Sony is a classic example of a company that does very little goodwill building with their customers and focuses solely on profit. To bad in the long term this tends to reduce your profit (how much has Sony made the last 3 years compared to say Apple?).

    1. asdf
      Thumb Down

      to clarify

      Oops girlfriend comment real bad. Oh well OtherOS did linger in a coma for a long time after Sony lost tariff fights but Sony basically showed virtually no interest and obviously thought of the feature as a burden after this point.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    2012 prediction - sony locks Linux off off their laptops and desktops due to hacker...

    Hi, Sony don't turn off Other systems, you advertised it, promoted it, now fix the hack, don't just use a quick fix to permanent fix it. What are your software engineers doing? Working on PS4 no doubt. I am so tired of companies dropping support for their 5+ computers that people are using because the are still usable and not obsolete.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg, can you do this?


    we know that the PS3 reported many things to PSN every time it connected to it. We can assume that PSN have been keeping that data for research purpose.

    So can El Reg request a comment from PSN as to the percentage of consoles that connected to PSN and made use of the OtherOS function? Or at the very least, the percentage of fat consoles compared to the slim ones? (the slim console never had the OtherOS function).

    the above should be interesting addition to any new article about the PS3 vs OtherOS vs Jailbreak

  36. candtalan

    Interesting that Microsoft are

    apparently encouraging hacking of the Kinect. Maybe Sony have not learned that 'allowing', by some means or another, most of the world to use your stuff the way they want to, or even free, you trash the competition, and get pretty rich anyway.

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