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Sony Should Pay For OtherOS Removal, Says Finnish Board 319

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 jimicus ( 737525 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:30AM (#35913620)

    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 networked play if someone can use an aimbot? The whole benefit of networked console gaming is that you're all on a level playing field."

    Sony say "We don't care what you bought, our EULA allows us to add and remove features as we wish."

    Legislators say "Consumers can't relinquish statutory rights, that's the whole point of consumer statutory rights. We don't care what your EULA says."

  • 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.

  • Re:Good move (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:19AM (#35913800)

    In my experience (as a Finn) both small and large companies follow their "suggestions" without even complaining. I don't know why they have such power, it could be a desire to avoid getting on their public "blacklist" or maybe courts are very likely to come to the same conclusion. For instance, I got a washing machine replaced five years after the two-year-warranty had expired simply because I mentioned that I'll contact the consumer rights authorities, if they don't at least don't give me a substantial discount on a new one. I had a recollection, which turned out to be correct, that consumer rights authorities have guidelines for how long certain products are expected to last so that they at least function reasonably well. A warranty by manufacturers is only seen as an extension of what is required. That is, a warranty guarantees flawless operation whilst consumer rights authorities decide how long it's reasonable to be able to use a product you've bought. Once I also found an interesting statement by the consumer rights authorities, they said that you can essentially tell software companies to take their EULAs and shove them. So whenever I have a problem with a product I've bought, I certainly don't hesitate to contact them because companies do respect their decisions.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • You also lose the ability to play new games, not just PSN...

  • by WhirlwindMonk ( 1975382 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:09AM (#35914490)
    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.
  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @02:05PM (#35915928)

    Here is an interview [] 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."

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"