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Operating Systems PlayStation (Games) Sony Upgrades Games Hardware Linux

Geohot Brings Other OS Support To PS3 With Custom Firmware 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the that-was-quick dept.
suraj.sun tips news that hacker Geohot is following through on his promise to fight Sony's removal of the "Install Other OS" feature on the PS3. He posted a video of the work he's done so far that shows a PS3 console booting into Linux. Quoting Engadget: "While it's not available to the public just yet, Geohot's 3.21OO custom firmware will apparently be simple to install and, as you can see in the video after the break, it works just as you'd expect and simply restores the 'other OS' option to its previous place. Geohot even says that the custom firmware might actually enable the other OS feature on the PS3 Slim, but he hasn't yet had a chance to try it out."
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Geohot Brings Other OS Support To PS3 With Custom Firmware

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  • Ha. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Say hello to 3.21.01 counter-updates from Sony soon. The battle doesn't end.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Is there a chance that Sony will learn something from this? Will they embrace this as a chance to let those who want 'Other OS' support bad enough have it? If they do it let's them off the hook regarding any warranty support for the 'fat' PS3's.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cb95amc (99589)

        Learn something?......This is still Sony we are talking about isn't it?

      • Re:Ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sortius_nod (1080919) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:53AM (#31773984) Homepage

        The whole point of the removal was to thwart Gehot's efforts on the PS3 hack.

        I'm not 100% on this, but I really don't see Sony taking this lightly. They want to remain unhacked, so this is the way they see fit.

        To me, this expands the base of people hacking their console.

  • not on slim (Score:5, Informative)

    by swanriversean (928620) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:01AM (#31773688)

    I will be completely surprised if this works on the PS3 slim.
    I understood that one of the ways Sony cut the price and reduced the size for the slim was that they did not include the IBM hypervisor that made the whole thing possible.
    (see:
          http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-linux-ps3-1/ [ibm.com]
          http://www.osnews.com/story/22073/Why_No_OtherOS_Option_on_PS3_Slim_Sony_Answers [osnews.com]
    for a few more details)

    Without the hypervisor, its just not possible.

    • Re:not on slim (Score:5, Informative)

      by millennial (830897) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:16AM (#31773772) Journal
      No, that's definitely not true. The hypervisor isn't what made running Linux possible; it's what made it limited when it did run. The hypervisor is also actively involved in the regular PS3 OS. It's an essential part of the PS3, and they'd never build a retail version without one.
    • Re:not on slim (Score:5, Informative)

      by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <kai@aGINSBERGutomatica.com.au minus poet> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:26AM (#31773830) Homepage

      I don't believe they have dropped the hypervisor - that's one of the major security strongpoints and partly what has kept the PS3 from being totally pwned by now...
      From the osnews article [osnews.com] you linked, they say (with emphasis mine)

      I’m sorry that you are frustrated by the lack of comment specifically regarding the withdrawal of support for OtherOS on the new PS3 slim. The reasons are simple: The PS3 Slim is a major cost reduction involving many changes to hardware components in the PS3 design. In order to offer the OtherOS install, SCE would need to continue to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers for any significant hardware changes – this costs SCE. One of our key objectives with the new model is to pass on cost savings to the consumer with a lower retail price. Unfortunately in this case the cost of OtherOS install did not fit with the wider objective to offer a lower cost PS3.

      What I read into this is that they don't want to keep updating the hypervisor drivers for OtherOS support with the major hardware changes they made for the Slim, not that they're dropping the hypervisor altogether...

      • brilliant - I should RTFA that I referenced!

    • The hyperviser enforced the restrictions and provided a simplified driver interface, that's all. You can run Linux on a PS3 without the hyperviser, but the current firmware will not allow it.
  • Well done Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyborch (524661) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:02AM (#31773692) Homepage Journal
    I hope you are happy Sony.

    You made it this far without people building custom firmware. Now you've forced people to find ways to put custom firmware on the PS3. Next up is "indie" games followed by pirates followed by the game industry going back to PCs or over to other consoles.

    Too bad. I actually liked by PS3. Hopefully something new will come along soon so I won't have to buy an xbox...
    • Re:Well done Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:23AM (#31773816) Homepage Journal

      Too bad. I actually liked by PS3. Hopefully something new will come along soon so I won't have to buy an xbox...

      There's a little known platform called a "personal computer". It works a lot like a gaming console, except that it isn't crippled at the hardware level by the OEM and has a wider range of software available. You can even install Linux on it :)

      Seriously, I've never understood the appeal of spending serious money on a deliberately crippled computer, when I have a perfectly good one already. Doubly so from a company that even rootkits their audio CDs.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      You made it this far without people building custom firmware. Now you've forced people to find ways to put custom firmware on the PS3. Next up is "indie" games followed by pirates followed by the game industry going back to PCs or over to other consoles.

      It's probably going to take some good while before its even know that there is a viable way to install custom firmware. If / when it does happen, good luck to the pirates who run the real risk of bricking their machines, who must spend days downloading hug

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Both the Wii and 360 have been easy to mod for piracy, you'll note that both units sell rather well. The NDS is the easiest of all to run copied games, it's not exactly a sloth in unit sales either. The PSP failed because the games went shit and peoples' tasted moved away from "real" console like gaming to quicker simpler offerings, just look at gaming on devices like the smartphones. Silly little cheap and cheerful games that lots of people love.

      It's been suggested Sony may forced the issue to trigger a mo

      • Piracy doesn't directly affect system sales. Well, that may not be true, it may actually increase them.

        What it does is get the publishers to release less exclusives for it.

        Seriously, though, the PS3 is the least pirated current system because it uses Blu-Ray discs. Your two options there are to 1. buy a Blu-Ray burner (expensive) and writable BD-ROMs (expensive?), or 2. have an HDD connected (internal or external) with images of games that could be up to 50GB each.

        • by Megane (129182)
          When the PS2 was new, writable DVDs and burners were expensive too. And HDs were in the 10GB range.
  • It says FF:FF:FF etc in the info screen. Thats not right. I wonder if his "firmware" has any side effects he's not letting on about.

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:08AM (#31773714)

      It says FF:FF:FF etc in the info screen. Thats not right. I wonder if his "firmware" has any side effects he's not letting on about.

      You mean that maybe it stutters?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Thanshin (1188877)

        You mean that maybe it stutters?

        First time I've ever missed not having mod points.

    • FF:FF:FF

      Scorchio!

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      If he discloses the MAC address of his device then sony would be able to identify him... If i were him i wouldn't want to disclose it.

  • I don't know if America has anything like the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission [accc.gov.au] but if you do, I'd urge you to raise this issue with them (and if you're in Australia, please get onto the case).

    This is a simple case of a company changing the specs on a product that you have bought, after you've bought it and changing it in an adverse fashion. It is removing a feature that you have paid for and have possibly had for years, without offering any workaround or compensation.

    Sony claim that the update is not mandatory, and that it is entirely your choice if you wish to install it or not, but the simple fact is that by not installing the patch, you lose even more functionality than if you do install it. No PSN. No Playstation Store. On online gaming. No access to new games that require this or a newer firmware. No access to bluray content that requires this or a newer version of the firmware. Etc.

    Here's the text of the submission I made to the ACCC (you're limited to 1500 characters)

    Sony have recently released a firmware update for the PlayStation 3 Games Console.
    From what I can see, all this update does is remove a feature from the console. The feature removed is the "Other OS" support - the ability to install another operating system, such as Linux, on the PS3 and use it as a general purpose computer.

    Sony claim that the update is not mandatory, however by not installing this update, you lose access to the PlayStation Network, so any games that require this for online play will no longer work. One of the main reasons for owning a PS3 is the online gameplay component.

    More information about other features that will be locked out are here on Sony's web site: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2010/03/28/ps3-firmware-v3-21-update/ [playstation.com]

    "Consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, although the following features will no longer be available; Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings) Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later"

    • by dmiller (581)
      Thanks for the pointer, I have been meaning to do just that. Here is mine:

      Sony has just issued a firmware update[1] that disables the "OtherOS" support that is used to run alternate operating systems such as Linux on the Playstation 3 (PS3) game console. This was an advertised feature of the PS3 and was a factor in my decision to purchase the product. The firmware update is effectively mandatory; the PS3 will not support online play or game updates/downloads via the Playstation network without it (these are also advertised features).

      That a major consumer electronics company can unilaterally remove advertised features from a product that I have bought and paid for is chilling to say the least and appears misleading and deceptive in the classic "bait and switch" style. I request that the ACCC investigate this matter.

      [1] http://blog.us.playstation.com/2010/03/28/ps3-firmware-v3-21-update/ [playstation.com]

    • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:40AM (#31773900)

      Reply from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission:

      Crikey! Thank you for bringing this egregious behavior to our attention. Effective April 30, 2010, the Sony Playstation 3 is hereby banned for import, sale, and possession in the states and territories of Australia and surrounding lesser islands.

      This is why you can't have nice things.

    • by moniker (9961)

      The American equivalent is the FTC, Federal Trade Commission.

      You can complete a complaint form at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ [ftccomplai...istant.gov]

      Not sure the best address to use on the form, but here is one of them:

      Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
      919 E Hillsdale Blvd 2nd Floor
      Foster City Ca 94404-4247

      Appropriately, the PS3 blog considers FTC to be a swear word [imageshack.us].

      Complaining to the BBB is pointless. SCEA already has an F [bbb.org]... I don't think they can get an F-.

  • Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reisrdok (1361907) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:33AM (#31773866)
    I bought PS3 mainly because of OtherOS. Now they remove it. Can I get my money back, the product does not have the features I paid for and wanted? Oh well. Probably there is a paragraph in sony EULA that allows them to do this. There's probably few lines about my soul too..
    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <kai@aGINSBERGutomatica.com.au minus poet> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:39AM (#31773898) Homepage

      You're right, there is a paragraph in the EULA that Sony are using to justify this "upgrade" however if such an upgrade conflicts with the law, then I'm afraid that it's the law that wins out over the EULA.

    • by NorQue (1000887)
      Then simply don't update? As long as you don't update you keep the Other OS feature. If you don't need your PS3 for anything else there's no reason to update, too.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I bought PS3 mainly because of OtherOS. Now they remove it. Can I get my money back, the product does not have the features I paid for and wanted? Oh well. Probably there is a paragraph in sony EULA that allows them to do this. There's probably few lines about my soul too..

      First, it is not clear how enforceable a EULA is, largely because you are not forced to sign it before using the product. Second, it is not clear where the law will treat the boundary between software and hardware. Third, you cannot sign away your legal rights. This one could take a long time and make a lot of lawyers very rich. I sure fucking wish they would start already, Sony could use some come-uppance.

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:11AM (#31776568)

    from "It only does everything" to "It no longer does everything"?

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:47AM (#31777202)
    Does this mean Sony can no longer sidestep EC import taxes [theregister.co.uk]?

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