March, 2010: PS3 OtherOS Option deleted in firmware update

Its doubtful that executives at Sony thought too much (if at
all) about their decision to rescind an obscure feature dubbed “OtherOS” that
had been added to the PlayStation 3 System Software soon after its launch. The
feature allowed other operating systems, specifically Linux, to be run on the
device, allowing users to play games from the PS3 console and use it as a home
computer with a compatible USB keyboard, mouse and VGA adapter.

Its doubtful that executives at Sony thought too much (if at
all) about their decision to rescind an obscure feature dubbed “OtherOS” that
had been added to the PlayStation 3 System Software soon after its launch. The
feature allowed other operating systems, specifically Linux, to be run on the
device, allowing users to play games from the PS3 console and use it as a home
computer with a compatible USB keyboard, mouse and VGA adapter. Just a tiny
sliver of the PS3’s millions of fans took advantage of the feature, and Sony
engineers felt it posed a security risk to the platform as a whole. Alas, the
decision to remove the feature with the PS3 3.21 firmware upgrade in April,
2010. Alas, the decision put the company at odds with a blossoming community of
PS3 hackers and modders and led to a class action lawsuit against the company
for deceptive business practices. It also set in motion a chain of events that
led to the publication of the PS3 master key and, perhaps, the eventual hack of
the PlayStation Network.

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