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PlayStation 3 Linux axed over "security concerns"

Sony disables Other OS option in wake of recent hack; any PS3's not upgraded will lose significant features

Sony Computer Entertainment has said that the latest firmware upgrade will disable the Install Other OS feature of the PlayStation 3, meaning those that upgrade will be unable to run Linux on the home console.

Dropping support for Linux is down to "security concerns" according to Sony. Last month, notorious hacker George Hotz released an exploit for the console, allowing read/write access to the PlayStation 3 via Other OS and Linux.

The PS3 Firmware 3.21 will be released this Thursday, and although users are not forced to upgrade, the console will be unable to access the PlayStation Network and play any games or movies that will take advantage of the new firmware, as well as miss out on future upgrades and features.

The Other OS feature was dropped from the newer PlayStation 3 model by default when it was released last year.

Although no figures are available on how many PS3 users have installed Linux on the PlayStation 3 – and Sony indicates that it's only a small percentage – predictably the official PlayStation blog is being swamped with complaints and disappointment.

According to Eurogamer's Digital Foundry blog, the move is a "pre-emptive strike" against the possibility of the hardware running cracked games in the future.

"In taking such a measure to counter the hack, the logical conclusion is that Sony wants to the limit overall number of PS3s out there potentially capable of running copied games - an extraordinary pre-emptive strike against the possibility of piracy," wrote Richard Leadbetter.

Sony warned that any users that currently run Linux on the console should back-up valuable data on the Other OS partition of the hard drive, as once upgraded to firmware 3.21 they "will not be able to access that data following the update."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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