Sony drops Linux support from PS3

PlayStation owners will no longer be able to install Linux on their machines if they go ahead with a new firmware upgrade due to arrive this week.

PS3 Firmware 3.21, out this Thursday, will disable the ‘Install Other OS’ feature now available on those PS3 systems which came out before the current slimmer models last September.

While few people actually went ahead and installed a different operating system, those that did valued the ability highly. Clusters of PS3s running Linux have been used effectively for large computational problems, for example.

Sony is citing ‘security concerns’ as the reason.

“For most of you, this won’t have any impact on how you use your PS3,” the company claims. “If you are one of the few who use the “Other OS” feature, or if you belong to an organisation that does, then you can choose not to upgrade your system.”

Choosing not to upgrade, though, has some pretty major effects – most notably, users will lose the ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use associated features such as online aspects of PS3 games and chat.

Players will also not be able to play back PS3 software titles or Blu-ray videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later.

Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server will also go, as will new features introduced with PS3 system software 3.21 or later.