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Operating Systems PlayStation (Games) Sony Upgrades Games Hardware Linux

Geohot Brings Other OS Support To PS3 With Custom Firmware 270

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 on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:38AM (#31773568)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:53AM (#31773644)

    think it was more likely to do with the difference in tax duties between 'computers' and 'game consoles' when importing goods into the EU and other locations

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:01AM (#31773680)
    PS3 is a computer, just designed as a gaming device as opposed to a general purpose PC.
  • 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:Ha. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cb95amc ( 99589 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:13AM (#31773754)

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

  • by mejogid ( 1575619 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:15AM (#31773760)

    Their hand was pretty much forced when Geohot hacked it in the first place. Since their console is already in third place, rampant piracy could destroy the motivation for other publishers to release on their system. This firmware demonstrates that custom firmwares are possible and I'm sure it won't be long until people are allowing playback of disks from external HDs or whatever.

    I'd rather this hadn't happened but the Other OS feature is of little use besides the option to run code on the Cell, and in that case the latest firmware is probably not needed. Ultimately Sony reached out to the hobbyist community with better access to their hardware than any other recent console has provided, and somebody has come along and ruined that.

  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:15AM (#31773766)

    PS3 is a GAME CONSOLE, not a COMPUTER.

    Mustang is a MUSCLE CAR, not a VEHICLE!

  • 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 fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:30AM (#31773848) Journal
    "Somebody", specifically "Sony".

    I'm getting tired of this "But that insolent peasant just wouldn't know his place and show proper gratitude for the scraps he'd been given, so poor Sony was forced to retroactively remove a feature; let us all shed a tear for Sony." crap.
  • 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 ) <> 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.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:40AM (#31773904)

    The PS3 was the only console not hacked for piracy. I bought my fat PS3 because of Linux support, Sony was underhanded and took that away. I think they deserve to lose out on some profits because of the disrespect they showed their paying customers. IMHO, no one hacked the PS3 because Sony was being semi-open and allowing people to use a piece of hardware the bought for something they wanted to use it for.

    I won't be spending anymore money on Sony products or PS3 games in general, but I'm pissed off they took something I have already paid for away.

    I sent e-mails and complained in forums and to the BBB. What I got back from Sony was a quote of Section 11 from the EULA saying they have the right to change the way their console, that's taking up space in my den, at anytime. The BBB sent me response saying "We're investigating".

    Dispute what Sony did to screw me and all other PS3 Linux users over if you wanted to continue to hack the PS3 all you had to do was not update. So did what they do really effect someone trying to open the console for piracy? NO.

  • Re:Well done Sony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:52AM (#31773968)

    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 move towards piracy to sell more units, now that they're stripped down the hardware and are showing profits. Of course, they could just be dumb and believe they can control this fight. All they need to do is reinstate linux and give it a better video-driver to make the small army of techs bashing away on the device to go back to their caves. There's no point hacking it when it already allows decent control. The modders won't come up with anything, they're not skilled enough.

  • 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.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:53AM (#31773988) Journal

    Hacking the PS3 to run 'backup' games would be a suitable punishment for sony imho

    Which would be precisely the reason they made this change in the first place and does nothing but prove them right.

    I'm inclined to believe that the 'Other OS' functionality did more to prevent copyright infringement than it did to assist it.

    There are plenty of very skilled hackers out there who have no interest in copied games, they just want the freedom to use their hardware as they wish, or even just the challenge and the kudos for breaking a supposedly secure system. Once the work is done, however, it is often a relatively simple matter for the same exploits to be used by others to run copied discs.

    By giving the hackers (used in the traditional sense of the word) what they wanted in the first place with the 'Other OS' functionality, Sony prevented them from needing to bother cracking the security, and that meant that the pirates didn't have anything to build on. As soon as Sony took that function away, we see exploits to restore it - I don't know how much this is linked to the DRM on the game discs, but my instinct would be that some of the work there has already been done now.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chatterton ( 228704 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:58AM (#31774024) Homepage

    Sorry, but at the time he bought his console, he had access to the Sony network, can plays all of its bought games and OtherOS. Patching it's console mean that he keep access to the network but lose the OtherOS, not patching mean that he lose access to the Sony Network and some of it's games (how insist to access the network), but keep the OtherOS. In the 2 case he lose something that he had pay for.

  • Geohot has a tendency to overstate things to gain an ego boost and media coverage. In the case of the PS3, he is quite the novice. Throughout this whole saga, he's made numerous technical errors that he later had to correct. This is normal; he had no clue how anything on the PS3 worked when he started. Just don't be misled into thinking he knows exactly what he's doing.

    He's not an idiot, and he's learning, but I wouldn't go anywhere near any custom firmware that he puts out at this stage. He can't possibly know what he's doing. Not yet.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:34AM (#31775046)

    Oh that's certainly true, but then I can't use it for the other reasons I bought it. BluRay, Games, Media Server, PSN.

    If you think that's a choice here's one I posted later on in the forum. Would you like to be shot in your left or right knee cap? You have a choice and regardless of how painful it is you'll still be able to use the other leg or get a prosthetic one to use them both... Until Sony, I mean I decide to take that too.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdot. f i r e n z e> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:35AM (#31775056) Homepage

    However by making copying games difficult, you reduce the usefulness of the device...
    Back in the days of the Amiga, i knew lots of people who had a handful of bought and paid for games, and we would share those games between ourselves (ie copy them)... We were schoolkids and couldn't afford to buy all the games but between us we bought a fair few.
    Had it not been possible to copy the games, we simply wouldn't have had them, we would have used another platform where game copying was easy. Very few of us had cartridge based consoles for instance, unless they were old ones where the games had become dirt cheap simply because we couldn't afford to have a big library of games.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:45AM (#31775208)

    Totally agree. Geohot is out there just to brag that he cracked the PS3. His "crack" was nothing more than a useless proof of concept. Instead of trying to do something useful with it or find a real exploit, Geohot just went public to make a name for himself.

    Case in point? GPU access. Geohot stated that he had open GPU access using his crack, but he didn't do anything with it because GPU drivers are too hard (he says as much in his blog). So, instead of working with others to make the GPU useful in Linux, Geohot gives up and starts bragging about his unreliable hack.

  • Re:not on slim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:50AM (#31775284)

    I don't know about this. Look at the history of the PS3 and you will see that Sony has been steadily taking away features rather than adding them.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:01AM (#31775458) Journal

    I think you must've misunderstood my post. I don't doubt that most (but not all) modchips are used for copied games, and that the same goes for custom firmwares or softmods.

    I also never suggested that the 'Other OS' feature made anyone more altruistic. I was simply theorising that many of the most skilled hackers are actually those interested in homebrew, not those interested in copying. Once the security has been breached, the copiers then pick up that work for their own ends. If the homebrew community doesn't need to crack the security, it is quite possible that the copiers don't have the skill to do it alone (as is demonstrated, perhaps, by the lack of cracks for the PS3).

    As soon as Sony takes out this sanctioned avenue for the homebrew community, they are forced to crack security to reinstate it, as we are seeing here with this unofficial firmware. Once the security has been cracked in one way, it makes it much easier for the copiers to pick up that exploit.

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

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

  • Re:not on slim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:20AM (#31776760) Homepage
    Correction... it's a console that they're not manufacturing any more (they never supported OtherOS on the Slim), what significant hardware changes could there be with the Fat, which was the only model that supported OtherOS?
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @11:26AM (#31776854) Journal
    Yes. That's a very interesting EULA.

    Where does it say "You may not modify the software in such a way as to provide the advertised functionality"?

    And you are aware that contracts of adhesion don't give a company carte blanche to interpret it in whatever manner they see fit aren't you?
  • Re:Ha. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Thursday April 08, 2010 @12:32PM (#31777922) Homepage

    You also lose the ability to play some NEW games, as frequently, games require the most recent version of the firmware (at the time of the game's release.)

    Which is a pretty big deal, frankly. Because PS3 games aren't advertised as "Sony PS3 with Firmware XX.YY" games. They're advertised as PS3 games.

  • Re:Ha. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Inner_Child ( 946194 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:25PM (#31781410)

    Sorry, I meant to say "lost" since these only apply to fat PS3s and they've stopped making them. Source: []

    But if they lost money on the fat consoles only, where's the point in "shedding" people who bought them - they're not buying more fat PS3s, and what's done is done.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan