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Sony Should Pay For OtherOS Removal, Says Finnish Board 319

Posted by timothy
from the seems-only-fair dept.
x*yy*x writes "According to Consumer Board in Finland, Sony should pay up 100 euros to a console owner for OtherOS removal. The board said that the removal of OtherOS crippled console features that were present at the time of purchase and agreed that consumers should be compensated. Sony tried to point out that the user agreed to the PS3 EULA, but the consumer board noted that such agreements can't go around consumer laws."
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Sony Should Pay For OtherOS Removal, Says Finnish Board

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  • by boaworm (180781) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:20AM (#35913586) Homepage Journal

    I've been looking around a bit, but I haven't been able to find a good explanation to why Sony is removing the feature in the first place.

    Does it allow hacking the console? Does it cost too much to maintain? Anyone knows?

    • Probably because the content creators were uncomfortable with it, as they might imagine that it could potentially provide a route to more easily bypass DRM.
      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        It also stops you from building your own supercomputer.

        Maybe US DoD was involved?

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I'd say nope, and I'll probably get flamed but here goes: Sony had to kill OtherOS because they were bleeding to death, full stop. Hell there was a site set up showing how to make clusters out of PS3s and every single day a new cluster was highlighted 24/7/365. Now up until recently Sony sold the PS3 at a loss, and I'd wager now the margin is so razor thin they probably are lucky to get $1 after covering the BOM and shipping. The BR drive was stupid and kept their prices higher since they never really took

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @11:28AM (#35914912) Journal

          If they were breaking even on the PS3s, then that doesn't really hold water. Even if they were making a small loss, it doesn't for several reasons:

          Firstly, the number of people building PS3 clusters is tiny compared with the total number of sales. They've sold about 50 million PS3s so far. I'd be very surprised if even 100,000 of those were for clusters. A typical small cluster only has about 100 nodes, so even if every university in the EU and USA had one (most don't) then it would still be quite a small percentage of total sales. Most universities that were considering buying them for number crunching just bought one or two as Cell development machines (oops - no cheap way of doing that anymore, I bet IBM and Toshiba are really happy about that), they didn't build complete clusters. The PS3's lack of Infiniband or any equivalent and tiny amount of RAM make it pretty useless for most cluster problems. These days, you can probably get better performance out of GPGPU or some other normal CPU, depending on your workload than from a Cell.

          Secondly, if you think that a cluster of PS3s means no game sales then you've never worked in a university research group. I've talked to people in a couple of places where they did build PS3 clusters (a few years ago, when the price/performance actually made sense) at conferences, and their cluster designs had one thing in common: they were designed so that it was really easy to pull a couple of the units out and plug them into projectors for postgrads to play games on when no one was using the cluster.

          Thirdly, the 'PS3 is used in supercomputers' meme was great advertising for Sony. No one was building clusters out of the XBox 360 or the Wii. Any time the USAF or anyone else talked about their cheap supercomputer built with PS3s, it was free advertising. The total losses from all of the sales of PS3s for supercomputers are tiny compared to the advertising budget for Sony's PS3 division.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @02:47PM (#35916192) Homepage Journal

          I, for one, simply don't give a rat's ass if Sony were losing money on those PS3's. If indeed, they were, they had several options.
          1: sell a new model that didn't have the OtherOS enabled
          2: simply raise the price on the original PS3 so that they made a profit
          3: change the existing PS3's into two lines, one optimized for the clusters, the other optimized for gaming, and price them accordingly
          4: design, build and sell yet another PS3 that was even better for clustering, and price them accordingly - and remove the gaming features from that machine
          5: just leave things alone, and when the cluster market was saturated, the gamers would eventually do what gamers do - keep buying consoles for gaming.

          I'm sure that others can come up with other ideas. Bottom line - Sony had no right to remove or disable features that they sold. That's right, SOLD. EULA's mean diddly shit - they are coercive in nature, and the only people who "agree" to them are those who simply don't care. I'll click through EULAs all day long, in order to get to the end that I have in mind. I just don't give a shit. Microsoft, Sony, websites, I don't care. They mean nothing to me, and I'll break them forever.

          Now, as for that cash settlement - I find that to be unsatisfactory. Any rational court of law should force Sony to restore those features that the original purchasers paid for, AND give them the cash in consideration of all the inconvenience a bunch of jackbooted Gestapo wannabes caused the owners of those PS3's.

          Auto analogy? General Motors sold half a zillion cars with turbochargers, then decided that they didn't like their cars running so fast. So - GM recalled all those vehicles and removed the turbochargers. But, rather than just a recall, they sent a mechanic to every home that had a car in their driveway, jacked the car up, and forcibly took out those turbochargers. The owner of the car had zero say in the matter, because each mechanic was accompanied by enough force to ensure that the owner didn't interfere.

          Totally wrong, no matter how you look at it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jimicus (737525)

      You must have been living under a rock for the last year.

      It was used for hacking the console, making it possible to run your own software, hacked games and backups of games. Those in favour say "and? I bought the console, I can do what I like." (These people make up the bulk of /. commenters, but by and large are in a minority if you look at various PS3 forums).

      Those against say "Games are expensive enough as it is, if there's more piracy they'll get even dearer. And hacked games? Where's the fun in ne

      • by Spewns (1599743) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:57AM (#35913718)

        Those in favour say "and? I bought the console, I can do what I like." (These people make up the bulk of /. commenters, but by and large are in a minority if you look at various PS3 forums).

        Rational people generally are in the minority like that.

        • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:55AM (#35914148)
          Well, all sides are acting rationally:

          The hackers want Other OS because it's something they paid for and that the console was advertised with. That's rational.

          The regular gamers are happy with Other OS being taken away because not only it it something they don't need, it's actually detrimental to them (as it forces them to deal with cheating to a greater extent). It's rational to be in favor of something exclusively detrimental to one to be removed.

          Sony shut Other OS off because it makes it easier to run unlicensed copies of games and to run homebrew that wasn't sold through PSN. Since game sales are essentially what makes the platform profitable it's rational for Sony to try to protect their bottom line.

          The legislators point out that the PS3 EULA contains unenforcable provisions and hence Sony didn't have the right to turn off Other OS in their country.


          All sides have good arguments. There's no sense to let people run arbitrary code on a device which you use precisely because people can't run arbitrary code on it (while a game is running); I can understand the regular gamers in that regard. On the other hand it's not okay to sell something with a certain feature set and then remove features you decide you don't want on the market after all so the postion of the hackers and the legislators makes sense as well. Ultimately I'd side with the hackers (Sony just handled the whole thing very badly) but I wouldn't call any side in this argument irrational. They just happen to have different perspectives.
          • OtherOS had no detrimental effects to regular gamers, it did not permit cheating in any way...

            OtherOS did not make it easier to run copied games...
            It did make it easier to run homebrew, but that was the whole point of it in the first place, and the homebrew it could run was intentionally crippled so it could not compete with profit generating games.

            Successful hacks against the ps3, which do make it easier to both cheat and run copied games only became available long after the OtherOS feature was removed.

            • by Jesus_666 (702802)
              You're right, I did get some things in the wrong chronological order in my head. Sony shut off Other OS because it lost them money (hardware sales to people who didn't intend to buy games while the console was a loss leader), then the hackers got angry and hacked the whole system until they got far enough that they're losing Sony money in entirely new ways (copied games).
              • by yodleboy (982200) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:51AM (#35914714)
                i bought my PS3 (fatty) because at the time it was one of the best blu-ray players available AND was cheaper than stand-alone models. Might as well get a game console thrown in. I got mine cheap (defintiely a loss leader) and bought 1 game. 1, which i failed to even play more than a couple of hours. Just decided to stick with PC gaming. So yeah, the effort to entice me with a cheap console never paid off with game sales.
          • I'd suspect that it was more about economics and the fact that the console import duty for the EU is at 0% now.

            In the UK, even the PS2 had a disk included in the original box that allowed the owner to code in BASIC in an attempt to be classified as a computer (import duty 0%) and not a games console (import duty 2.2%). HOWEVER, the UK HMRC looked in detail when SONY tried to get £50m in tax rebates and decided (not surprisingly!) that it was a sham and charged them 2.2% import levy anyway [bbc.co.uk]). The sam

          • by Maestro4k (707634)

            Sony shut Other OS off because it makes it easier to run unlicensed copies of games and to run homebrew that wasn't sold through PSN. Since game sales are essentially what makes the platform profitable it's rational for Sony to try to protect their bottom line.

            Congratulations, you've fallen for Sony's propaganda on this issue. I don't even own a PS3 and I know this is bullshit. What actually happened was Sony removed OtherOS from the PS3 slim. Hackers, Geohotz among them, started looking more seriously at the PS3 to try to find a way to enable OtherOS on the slim (note: playing copies of games and cheating online were not reasons they were trying to do this). Geohotz published some info that suggested he might manage to pull this off using OtherOS to access t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eyenot (102141)

        It's great how you've presented each POV. I am entirely in the dark on handheld gaming right now.

        You might not be surprised that I (and some) would argue all four sides independently.

        Full ownership, good. It's yours to fuck up as you please, including the quality of your gaming experience.

        And yeah, it sure sucks competing against the borg. You shouldn't be allowed on the network with a hacked console, or, if the parent company feels generous, you shouldn't e allowed on the mainstream network with a hacked c

      • To go into more detail on the hacking thing...

        The intent of OtherOS was to allow you to run your own software. (Although, some say that the intent was to try to get the PS3 legally considered as a computer for taxation reasons.)

        There are two groups that were wanting to hack the console: Those wanting full access or access at all to the console's hardware for their own software, and pirates/cheaters. The pirates/cheaters are basically script kiddies, though - in other words, they don't have the technical ability to actually hack it.

        I believe there was minor progress, early on, made towards using more of the console's hardware within OtherOS than Sony allowed, but not much was done with it.

        In any case, Sony's attempt to get the PS3 classified as a computer failed, so they removed OtherOS from the PS3 Slim.

        That pissed off the people who were wanting more access for their own software, not none whatsoever, so they began hacking the console, to see how to get OtherOS back onto the Slim. An impractical exploit for normal use, but one that exposed more info about the console, was used by Geohot.

        That scared the crap out of Sony, and that's what caused them to remove OtherOS from existing consoles.

        • by Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:13AM (#35913966)
          You're missing the biggest point. Sony didn't just remove OtherOS from the Slim, they removed it from all current and past PS3s by a forced PSN update. This forced consumers to either keep OtherOS and lose PSN access, or give up PSN access to keeo OtherOS
          • You also lose the ability to play new games, not just PSN...

          • by sjames (1099) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @03:07PM (#35916354) Homepage

            That is the crux of the issue. People bought their older PS3 complete with OtherOS. At least some of those people saw OtherOS as the key determining factor in their purchase. Then Sony effectively stole that value from those buyers by altering the device after the fact without discussion or compensation of any kind. The practical effects are indistinguishable from outright theft.

            It's sad that thus far, only Finland has seem fit to do anything at all about it abd even then has only managed to make a "recommendation" and it doesn't involve any kind of criminal proceeding. This is hardly the first time Sony has done something on a global scale that would be treated as a serious crime if an individual did it even once to a single person.

      • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:42AM (#35913888) Journal

        Its those against that are the problem with society today. I have nothing against people acting in their own self interest. I would never ask or expect someone to act against their own self interest. What I find sad about most people is short sightedness. Its not at all in their self interest to let Sony get away with abuses like this just because it does not effect them and it means a cheaper video game today. Tomorrow when they become the victim of such practices they will have discouraged those who might have stood with them, and they will have created precedent against themselves.

        As a consumer its impossible for me to understand how anyone else thinks its a good idea to create a trade environment where manufacturers are free to materially alter products after sale without my consent. There is just no way that is going to work to my favor over the long term. If people won't exercise enough sense to oppose it now wherever they spot it while its relatively benign, its going to be much harder later.

        • I, too, am glad for this decision, because it kept a bad policy from becoming an accepted precedent. If Sony won, it wouldn't be a stretch to envision a world where networked appliances might have their settings overridden by manufacturers in support of some internal policy or due to external pressures:
          • To comply with a push to conserve energy, refridgerator manufacturers implements an override that keeps the temperature from being set below a certain temperature (i.e., no more ice-cold milk for you!)
          • Simil
      • It was used for hacking the console, making it possible to run your own software, hacked games and backups of games.

        That's a downright lie right there: OtherOS NEVER allowed for playing backups or hacking games. First of all, the PS3's own filesystem is encrypted and on a separate partition from the OtherOS partition, so there was no access to the files there in the first place. Secondly, there was no access to GameOS functions whatsoever. OtherOS was absolutely not used for running PS3 games, not then and not now.

        • OtherOS was used for making images of Blu-Ray movies which you can accomplish with nothing more than dd on a ps3 because of the way the drivers worked, but for which you need to use more complicated programs on other systems. Or so I have read in multiple fora; I've never owned a PS3 because I swore off Sony when they killed Lik-Sang. Thus my last Sony experience was Gran Turismo 3 and 4 on the PS2 Slim. Byebye, Sony. You will not be missed.

          • OtherOS was used for making images of Blu-Ray movies which you can accomplish with nothing more than dd on a ps3 because of the way the drivers worked, but for which you need to use more complicated programs on other systems. Or so I have read in multiple fora

            OP claimed the issue was backups of games, and those cannot be copied with a simple dd. The Blu-Ray drive doesn't allow any access to itself if there is a game disc inside.

        • by peppepz (1311345)

          That's a downright lie right there: OtherOS NEVER allowed for playing backups or hacking games

          No, that's a downright truth. *ALL* PS3 exploits started on Linux. Hotz found a way to tamper with the firmware, from Linux, as he proudly demonstrated with screenshots from his blog. He didn't manage to go beyond some unuseful demos, but he showed the way. AFTER the encryption keys were dumped, from Linux, by other people, it became possible to hack even the PS3s lacking the Linux feature.

          The result is that now hackers own the platform, there's no point to play online anymore because of cheaters, and you

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by whiteboy86 (1930018)
      How many users buy a game console and use it for anything else then gaming or entertainment?
      • by JohnRoss1968 (574825) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:10AM (#35913768)

        It does not matter how many people buy it for games or whatever. What does matter is when a customer bought a PS3, they were told that it has the ability to use the other OS. And then Sony took that ability (that the customers paid for because it was a part of the package they bought.) and removed it without the customers permission. If that is allowed than what else is allowed.
        Dear Customers we are disabling the ability to use 3rd party controllers.
        Dear Customer we are disabling the ability of your PS3 unit to save games.
        Dear Customer we are disabling the ability of your PS3 to play videos
        Dear Customer we are disabling the ability of your PS3 to play games.
        Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to use 3rd party hardware, and its only $19.99*
        Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to now save games, and its only $24.95*
        Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to now play movies and videos for only $10.99*
        Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to Play GAMES ITS MAGICAL at only $49.99**
        * These features may be removed at any time. No refunds. If these features are reintroduced you may need to purchase them again.
        ** Sony has the right to introduce features into its system to 'refinish' the surface of your game disks. Sony is not responsible for any damage done to your game disks.

        PS Sony would like to thank our customers for their hard earned cash and would like to thank them by saying "SUCK IT"

      • s/game console/computer with TV outputs/

        FTFY
    • by neokushan (932374) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:47AM (#35913680)

      Basically, because the PS3 was "unhackable", George Hotz decided to take a look at it and came up with a really convoluted way to unlock a tiny bit more memory access within Linux. This "hack" involved soldering a chip to your PS3 and triggering it at the right time. It was really trigger happy and a bit of a faff to pull off, but it did work eventually. You had to do this EVERY time you restarted your PS3.

      That's it. That's the entire reason why Sony removed Linux. This "hack" didn't enable piracy, it didn't grant access to any encrypted files or anything like that, it didn't even give you total control over the PS3 like recent hacks have, it basically allowed you to poke around the memory a bit more. So Sony panicked and removed it from all FAT PS3's.

      I should point out - Sony had decided that the PS3 slim would never have OtherOS support long before this happened, but that's ok - that's a refresh of the console line and nowhere did Sony claim the Slim would have OtherOS support. The issue is the Original, "FAT" PS3's that had this feature advertised on the box.

      It's quite ludicrous as well, as anyone interested in hacking the PS3 simply didn't update, poked around all they wanted and 6 months later, PSJAILBREAK was released, allowing people to do little more than play backups on (what was at the time) the latest PS3 firmware - which had linux stripped from it. This allowed other teams to REALLY explore the PS3 as it was effectively in Debug mode and the rest is history - all the CFW stuff that's going around now came as a result of this.So it was a pointless move, the cat was out of the bag and rather than just patch the flaw, Sony removed Linux and pissed off a lot of people, giving them a "valid, righteous" reason to push further into the PS3 and unlock as much as they could. The original Geohot exploit never really got that much attention and probably would have died down if Sony had just left well enough alone.

      Of course, that's all the official reason. The real reason was probably just to save money. Less support costs, less development costs, less testing costs, etc.

      • I'm not a PS3 owner but I noticed that there seemed to be no hacks for the PS3 (that I heard of anyway), and I assumed that was because having Linux was "good enough" for most people. I recall hearing about hacks shortly after hearing about Linux removal, and I assume the two were related.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Absolutely. The people skilled enough to hack in general are not pirates. They want homebrew, a powerful development platform, etc. Linux on the PS3 gave them that. Then, once that was removed, they hacked the HECK out of the PS3 to get it back, and then the less skilled pirate hackers took what they did and finished the job, allowing piracy that likely never would have happened (or at least taken nearly until the end of the console's life-cycle) had they just left the feature there.
      • The issue is the Original, "FAT" PS3's that had this feature advertised on the box.

        It's not mentioned on the box, never was. I don't know how that "rumor" got started, because it's not true. Show me a picture.

      • I should point out - Sony had decided that the PS3 slim would never have OtherOS support long before this happened, but that's ok

        It isn't OK, actually. Not because it's illegal or wrong (they have every right to do it), but because they lied about their motive. It that further confirms that they lied about why they removed Linux on the Fats.

        They claimed they removed Linux from the Slim due to cost saving reasons, but now we know that Linux "just works" on the Slim because it runs on top of the same hypervis

    • Sony gets a cut from the games sold. Sony would therefore like it if people buy lots of games, and particularly would not like it if they buy a console to get a powerful graphics processor for their own purposes, and particularly not 1760 of them in order to build a high-performance cluster [physorg.com]. (For the military to do something as unorthodox as using gaming consoles for serious computing probably means that it must be significantly cheaper this way.)

      The claims about hacking and piracy and so on are shaky, and

    • by DrXym (126579) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:19AM (#35913988)

      I've been looking around a bit, but I haven't been able to find a good explanation to why Sony is removing the feature in the first place.

      Does it allow hacking the console? Does it cost too much to maintain? Anyone knows?

      It became an attack vector to break the hypervisor and gain control of the box. Other OS was entirely absent from the slim models, probably as a cost saving measure.

    • Does it allow hacking the console?

      Yes, and this is the excuse Sony apologists have been using for its removal.

      Does it cost too much to maintain?

      In a sense, yes: people who use OtherOS are far less likely to buy games for the PS3, and so Sony does not get as much money from game publishers. This is probably the real reason Sony wanted to remove OtherOS, and the hacking incident was just a convenient excuse for doing so.

      • people who use OtherOS are far less likely to buy games for the PS3, and so Sony does not get as much money from game publishers.

        Or so they think. There doesn't seem to be any viable way to prove it, though.

    • by Steeltoe (98226)

      No problem. I imposed a Never-Buy-Anything-Sony-Again rule on my own person ca 1999, after buying a crippled digital camera with inferior and propriertary Memorysticks. They've never been there for MY NEEDS, so I will never buy anything Sony again no matter what!

      Same with Apple ca some time after iJail came out.

    • People are going to reply that either 1) it was used to break into the console and pirate games/break DRM/hack online games, or 2) it was costly to maintain. Those are what Sony would like you to believe. However, both of those are lies.

      It is true that the first remotely notable break in PS3 security occurred through the use of the Linux functionality. This was geohot's original hypervisor exploit. However, that exploit required hardware (a RAM glitching setup), was extremely unreliable, and didn't get you any further than hypervisor access. Nothing ever came out of that hack directly, it was more of an academic thing. This has never had anything to do with piracy and has never been used for piracy.

      The next big PS3 hack (which was actually designed for piracy) was a GameOS exploit (PSJailbreak), and later the core of the PS3 security was compromised, with the goal of running Linux, but without depending on any existing Linux functionality (which had been removed by then). So, in fact, OtherOS has never caused security problems from the PS3. In fact, the only thing it clearly did was prevent attack by giving power users a way to run their own code. The vast majority of people who I know participated in developing PS3 hacks (myself included) did so after Sony removed OtherOS, and wouldn't have done so otherwise.

      So that takes care about option #1. What about #2? That's what Sony implied when they removed OtherOS from the PS3 Slim (which, remember, happened before any PS3 security issue at all). And we bought it at the time. And then the PS3 security was broken, Slim included, and we found out that GameOS uses the same hypervisor interface as Linux, and that Linux happily ran on the Slim with trivial modification. The truth is that GameOS depends on the same hypervisor as Linux, and OtherOS is nothing but a launcher and a different guest profile in the hypervisor. The amount of code required is insignificant, and the maintenance required just about nonexistent. By maintaining GameOS they are implicitly maintaining OtherOS. High maintenance cost? My ass. This also exculpates geohot's original hack, since that happened after Linux was removed from the Slim, and we now know that the given reason for removing it from the Slim was bullshit.

      Then there's the whole selling PS3s at a loss deal, but we all know that Sony is now making a profit on all PS3s, so Linux doesn't hurt there either.

      They turned it off because they WANTED to turn it off. The real motive? There clearly is one, but we don't know what it is. The only mildly plausible explanation that I've read is that Sony wanted to push emulated PSN games a la Virtual Console, but studios were concerned about unofficial emulation via Linux. But that's still not terribly convincing.

      Note: I was one of the people named in the Sony lawsuit for bringing Linux back on the PS3, so I think I know what I'm talking about.

  • Good move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:22AM (#35913590) Homepage

    That's should stop a lot of companies from removing features at will..

    • If Amazon, Apple and Sony get the message this would take care of a hefty share of offenders.
    • by syousef (465911)

      That's should stop a lot of companies from removing features at will..

      Sorry if this sounds like a flame but are you insane or obtuse? All this will do is jack up the price of consoles, dev licenses and games, so that games companies can cover their losses when forced to pay punitive damages.

      • by nschubach (922175)

        Effectively shooting themselves in the foot as people move to XBox?

      • If this costs Sony a ton of money, then the console makers will stay far away from ever trying this sort of blatant, anti-consumer, post-purchase downgrade again.

        Jacking up the price of the consoles and games will just make people not buy them. They can't just charge whatever they want, that's not how economics works. Jacking up developer licenses would cause the console to die entirely as new games would be few and far between.

      • I see posts like this all the time. "We can't punish the companies, because they'll just jack up prices to push the cost on to us!" That's what the companies want you to think, because that way they don't get punished.

        The truth is that the price of a good has very little to do with the cost to make it. The price is set based on how much people are willing to pay -- and if that price isn't high enough to turn a profit, the product doesn't get made.

        People are willing to pay $50 to $60 for a video game. If

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Or adding features.... It could go both ways.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:37AM (#35913642)

    Because most techie types simply will refuse to buy it. Anything Sony has a bad smell about it now and that won't change anytime soon. Sure, techies may only be a small percentage of total buyers but even if its only 1 or 2% thats still a lot of sales money for Sony to lose to its competitors.

    • Indeed.

      I haven't bought any Sony branded equipment since 2005 when it was revealed that they believed that rootkit'ing their customers was a valid business practice.

      It's about time that a company as overtly evil as Sony gets it comeupance.
    • Techies may one be a very small percentage of Sonys base customers, however, I've noticed as a group that when they talk loudly and badly enough about stuff, it eventually gets through to the masses, witness the falling market share of Internet Explorer if you doubt what Im saying. The masses tend to listen to techies....when they talk about tech, because the masses *don't* know any better.
      • by rvw (755107)

        Techies may one be a very small percentage of Sonys base customers, however, I've noticed as a group that when they talk loudly and badly enough about stuff, it eventually gets through to the masses, witness the falling market share of Internet Explorer if you doubt what Im saying. The masses tend to listen to techies....when they talk about tech, because the masses *don't* know any better.

        Techies might have a bigger impact on browser use than on game console preferences. It's very simple. As a "techie", I configured my parents PC, and have set Firefox as default browser. They don't know better. I do the same with every other PC I install, for someone who doesn't know 0 from 1 in tech-country.

    • by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:22AM (#35914004)

      *grr* I sooo moderated in this, but I couldn't let your comment go to waste.

      Sony will get nothing of what I so dearly wish they had coming to them without a huge smack-down from the courts.

      A lot of these so-called "techies" have kids, partners or both, who will beg and nag and want PS4 for $LATEST_SHINY_REHASH_OF_GAME.

      Have you ever tried to tell your wife she can't have something? Go out and get a wife (or husband, but it's not quite the same) if you don't have one and then try tell them that they can't have something they want. Now imagine that they want it because the kids are dead-set on it. "No! Dear, I run the tech in this house and you are not buying Sony! The foot is down!". Tell me how that works out for you!

  • They've got 1760 PS3's in a supercomputer cluster (http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-air-playstation-3s-supercomputer.html) I wonder what happens there if they ever need an update or want to add more nodes?
    • They've got 1760 PS3's in a supercomputer cluster (http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-air-playstation-3s-supercomputer.html)

      I wonder what happens there if they ever need an update or want to add more nodes?

      They'll probably just send a few of their planes with big bombs and stuff out (they have them, right?) to circle Sony headquarters until the matter is resolved.

    • by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical.gmail@com> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:57AM (#35913716) Homepage

      Same thing we do with Cisco, Microsoft, RedHat, and any other company we buy things from; we don't buy without a good SLA.

      If nodes need to be added, we can get them from Sony with whatever firmware revision we want.

      • by pavon (30274) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @02:05PM (#35915928)

        Here is an interview [af.mil] with the guy who built the airforce PS3 cluster. They haven't gotten any special privileges from Sony:

        "The server runs on a Linux operating system that isn't available on the newer firmware of current systems," said Mr. Barnell. "We have to abide by the end-user license agreement like everyone else, so we're only able to use the systems as we get them."

        If a Condor PS3 breaks it can't be sent in for repairs because it comes back with system updates that are unable to run Linux. After an update, it's useless in the Condor cluster.

        "I have a few spares," he said. "But as they break, we'll end up removing consoles from the cluster."

    • Easy, they will buy more machines and install the properly signed software that they wrote with their DECR-1000A workstations. They weren't relying on the crippled OtherOS feature.

    • by toriver (11308)

      Well, the PS3 "fats" that supported OtherOS are out of production anyway. I am sure the people who set up the cluster knew that at some point the manufacturer was going to discontinue support for their platform and they had to do everything themselves.

  • by Jeek Elemental (976426) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:51AM (#35913700)

    sony sells the ps3 at a loss, gambling that game purchases will give profit.
    With otheros it was increasingly popular to buy them in bulk and use in clusters, with no game purchases.

    Maybe they also ran into licensing issues with the cell chip, if it was used for other than entertainment.

    • sony sells the ps3 at a loss, gambling that game purchases will give profit.

      Actually PS3 hasn't been sold at a loss for a long time now. At first it was, yes, but as time passed the parts needed for production of PS3 fat model became cheaper and that's when they weren't no longer sold at a loss. The slim model hasn't been sold at a loss at all.

    • Ps3 hasn't been sold at a loss since 2009

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:55AM (#35913706)

    Where Finland leads, the rest of the world is sure to follow.

  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:01AM (#35913738) Homepage

    A very good step in the right direction, compensating consumers who have been misled. However, I really think that what Sony did requires some kind of punishment. Require them to pay punitive damages to consumers, fine them substantially, do something.

    Otherwise, what are we saying? That it's OK to forcibly revoke something somebody's bought so long as you pay for the thing you took away? What Sony did was far more akin to old fashioned theft than piracy *ever* has been. Why? Because they're not getting something for free, they're actively depriving others of valuable things they own. They should be punished for this kind of trick (in a way that they'll notice, rather than just writing off as a minor expense) and / or made to restore the functionality.

    This doesn't bother as many people as it should - it's niche functionality, so people don't care, apparently it's OK to swindle as long as it's small numbers of people. Wait a few years and see if you find your music or video playback from non-approved disks and memory cards retroactively disabled or your car satnav is disabled because someone found out how to upload non-approved maps. Then see whether the precedents set on this case look like a good thing.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:27AM (#35913830) Homepage Journal
    "Sony tried to point out that the user agreed to the PS3 EULA, BUT, the consumer board noted that such agreements can't go around consumer laws."

    and thats the way how it is, in any decent society based on laws.

    however in usa, law, for some reason, can be undone by contracts. and then rabid corporations which get used to this in usa, try to perpetuate the same filth in other countries too, saying that it is 'standard practice' and whatnot.

    really. america is producing so much filth in the form of rabid corporations that it suffices for entire world. you people really need to put down the law there. that is, if you can.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GeneralERA (980501)
      That's a very relevant point, what with this story discussing a Japanese company in a European court...
    • by pruss (246395)
      IANAL, but it seems to me that even if you do allow contracts to do undo some consumer protections, nonetheless there is a false advertising problem. Namely, if Sony was advertising features and requiring contracts that allow Sony to remove the features, then correct advertising would have been: "You can run other operating systems like Linux, unless we choose to remove them." Moreover, it is my understanding that even in the U.S., unfair contractual provisions that a reasonable person would expect not to
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Actually, there's quite a few consumer protection laws in the varying states that you CAN'T just simply agree away your rights- you'd need a Lawyer present and the said Lawyer having advised you that carrying out the transaction voids part or all of your legal rights. Putting verbiage in an EULA of this nature would imply willful violation of the laws in question and would make it worse for the company doing it. It's a bit of a shame that my damages aren't large and you can't really use it in a Class Acti

  • by andydread (758754) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:37AM (#35913866)
    It seems that Sony takes their holy EULA to be the end-all for any legal situation more so than most. I would advise people to seek the advice of legal counsel before purchasing *any* Sony products. Or just simply avoid Sony products all-together. When you look at the history of Sony and the consumer you see that they are consistently hostile towards the consumer. Cracking down on home brew, The wholesale disablement of their customers CD-R Drives on their computers with a rootkit. They also have tried relentlessly to lock people into proprietary technologies and control media standards over the decades. Beta-Max, Memory Stick, Mini-Disc, And finally better success with Blu-Ray. And now draconian legal policies against consumer freedom to tinker with products they bought and share information. At this point avoiding Sony products should be a no-brainer. I for one will advise anyone that mentions the word Sony in my presence to stay far far far away from Sony products.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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