Sony Other OS Removal on PS3: Lawsuit Begins – Your Predictions?

By Alan Ng - Mar 25, 2011

If contending with a certain PS3 developer called Geohot wasn’t enough for Sony, the electronics giant is once again back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time we’re hearing that an official class action lawsuit has targeted Sony, demanding for the answers as to why they moved the ‘Other OS’ option from the Sony PS3.

You can view the complaint in full here, as reported from VG247 and it’s quite a read we have to say. Basically the issue here is that Sony removed the Other OS option in their PS3 Firmware Update 3.21, an option which allowed users to run things like Linux and other legal custom made programs.

However, Sony’s reason for removing this feature was ‘security’ based, while the class action lawsuit states that Sony did this to save money. Obviously if Sony are found guilty as a result of this case, it means that it’s essentially a case of false advertising and it could lead to big trouble for the company, as they were advertising features which were ultimately removed for no good reason.

What are your thoughts on this? What are your predictions for the outcome? Do you think Sony has an argument this time on the Other OS debate, or is it time for them to admit that removing that feature was a mistake last year.

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  • Alan

    If a car company sells you a car with a air conditioning fan for the inside of the car with four speeds can the maufacture just tell you to stop using the fourth speed? Can they tell you to stop using the computer thatt tells you how much gas you use? Can they tell you to stop using the radio?

  • billybillbillerson

    @necromantik, I have a slim, and i have the older style ps3. When i got my slim, i didn't see anything on the box saying it had sd card slots, or i could install linux, or that it could play ps2 games. On the older style ps3 box, i do believe it does tell you of the features you get when you but it. With that, If you use it or not, it really not the issue. If you have cruise control on your car, but don't use it, should ford come and take it away? It was a feature you paid for when you got the car. If you got the base model, then you know it doesn't have that feature and that was your choice when you got the car. Sony took that choice away when they force you to choose to pick, other os, or psn. I believe the PSN is also a feature advertised by sony, so either way, they are taking something away they shouldn't. I didn't use the linux to much, but i did use it. I also don't use the PSN to much either, but from time to time i do. Should we lose the PSN network because Sony wants to save money and not everyone uses it all the time? How much would people cry if MS took away live to save money? Many would scream very loud as it's a feature MS has for the xbox. To me sony is wrong for removing other os, but not wrong for wanting to protect it's software. I'm sure they could of done it a different and better way for all.

  • Necromantik

    @Gigabait Is that your counter argument? You do know it was removed AFTER GeoHot attempted to circumvent the ps3 hypervisor via otherOS using an exploit? Are you aware that a company has the right to secure their product and prevent piracy especially as software is where they make their money not via console sales. Barely anybody used the thing, Sony themselves knew the numbers. If you want an open system then get a pc, consoles are closed systems, everybody knows this. If you were one of the few people who networked ps3s via Linux then you don't require PSN and therefore don't update. You do have options. If you own a slim you don't have backward compatibility or even SD card slots does that mean you'll sue for removal of these features? No? It's because you listened to opinion and started screaming like all the other sheep whilst missing most of the picture.

    • Christopher

      Wrong. Wrong Wrong. All your facts are wrong. It was removed before it was hacked by geohot. As well the damn thing was designed as a computer from day one. Get your facts straight.

      • Alan

        Dear Christopher, please tell us why you say it was designed by a computer? I think a real human designed was involved…really involved

        • P61

          Alan, Read it again. Paraphrasing Christopher, the PS3 was designed (to function) as a computer…

        • Miles

          Dear Alan,

          Please explain how “designed AS a computer” suddenly became “designed BY a computer” in your reading. Because I think his statement makes perfect sense. However, yours really does not.

        • Alan

          Thank you Miles and P61. Actually I was hoping to try to help make a point which I did not note thank you. That point was something what others have helped to make now more clearly thankyou. Playstation 3 was designed as a computer. It was made as multi-media computer. And then others sought to gut part of it.

  • Necromantik

    Ridiculous headline… This was a case started when GeoHot tried to access the hypervisor via Linux resulting in otherOS removal for security reasons. There has already been an attempt to sue Sony which was tossed out of court. Their software terms feature the classic line "you cannot make copies of, alter etc the software in any way" essentially as you don't own it. However they can do anything with their property as they see fit. Including update it to protect it, especially from privacy. Most legitimate gamers respect this right so we can utilise a secure system. We have already seen the destruction run rampant on mw2 and I dare you to even try and play modern warfare 1 these days, it's a mess. GeoHot consistently discusses his final encryption code release as retaliation for otherOS removal and also how jailbreaking phones is now legal etc. Please realise though that this doesn't stop people like Apple releasing software updates to protect their ecosystem, this still occurs. It's natural for a company to attempt to make our experience of said system (in this case multiplayer) whilst still preventing piracy and safeguarding profit/industry jobs for devs. Crysis 2 came out this week, Killzone 3 recently. K3 was leaked straight after GeoHots opening of the system (the first complete ps3 game) and posted online. Crysis 2 pc version. If we want to continue seeing multimillion pound titles such as this then the system needs protecting. Otherwise we will return to late 80's/early 90's style game development of considerably smaller teams. Everyone would be affected.

  • hyu

    To Toby,
    yes but you lost then feature like PSN.

  • Toby

    If people who wanted to use the "other OS" feature cared about it so much then don't update your firmware and you can still use it.

    • gigabait

      You can't just NOT UPDATE…. You have to update- you are made to- otherwise you can't use the damn play station.
      I can't care less about other os, but it is a huge feature that Sony just scraped like that… You can't f**k people that way and Sony deserves what's coming to them just like any other fraud.

    • Whistler

      Toby — newer firmware is needed to play any games released after that update. Also, you can't play online if you don't update. This sets a very bad precedence. Imagine Blu-ray players or TVs that do software updates. How would you feel if they took away a feature that you liked just so they can save money? Wouldn't you feel bad about not getting what you orginally paid for?