Sony Removing Linux from PlayStation 3 with Firmware 3.21 Update
Sony has announced that a firmware upgrade will no longer allow gamers to install operating systems such as Linux, Fedora and Ubuntu on their PlayStation 3 consoles due to security concerns.
Firmware 3.21, to be released on April 1st, will disable the option of adding another operating system to the PS3 in an effort to combat pirated games or illegally downloaded content. Priced add-ons from the online PlayStation Store can be found online for free and Sony seems to be taking steps against that.
Sony said users with the new firmware will have “a more secure system,” but didn’t elaborate.
The exclusion of Linux will affect some 20 million gamers with the “fat” PS3 console. The 33% smaller PlayStation 3 slim model, released in September, currently doesn’t allow Linux or other operating systems to be installed.
The firmware will be optional to download and install, but without it, gamers will be unable to sign into the PlayStation Network to game online, play games and watch Blu-Ray movies that require post-3.21 software, and use new features released after this firmware.
Sony has said that gamers who use the “Install Other OS” function and want to upgrade should back-up their files as they may be removed with the installation of 3.21.
Hacker Geohot Finds Exploit in PS3
In January, hacker Geohot—real name George Hotz—found a security workaround in an original PS3 by using Linux to get to it and posted instructions on the Internet. The vulnerability allowed bootlegged content to be loaded onto the system, such as pirated games, as well as PlayStation 2 games, which are not supported by the PS3.
“The PS3 is hacked, it’s your job to figure out something useful to do with it,” he wrote in a brief explanation of his hack.
Other hackers have dismissed his attempt as useless, but while the number of PS3 users with Linux on their machines is low, it seems Sony is concerned enough to remove the “Install Other OS” function entirely.