Say good-bye to Linux on the PS3

Less than a year after the release of the PS3 Slim, Sony says that a firmware update for older models of the PlayStation 3 will kill its Other OS option.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
PlayStation 3
This console won't be running Linux anymore. Sony

Those who own an older PS3 version and currently run Linux on the console will want to listen up: a new firmware update coming down later this week will kill that installation.

According to Sony, it plans to release PlayStation 3 firmware version 3.21 on Thursday to achieve one goal: eliminate the "Other OS" option currently available in all pre-Slim models of the video game console. The feature allowed PS3 owners to install an operating system--in almost every case, Linux--onto the PlayStation 3.

Sony said that its decision to remove the Other OS option is based on security concerns. The company contends that after installing the update, users will have "a more secure system." Those who currently use the Other OS option and have an operating system running on the PS3 will loss all data (and, obviously, the OS installation) after installing the update.

Although Sony wants PS3 owners to download the software, it said that users won't be forced to do so. That said, if users don't install the firmware, they will lose access to the PlayStation Network and playback of games and Blu-ray movies that require the new software. The console will also stop playing copy-protected content from media servers.

Sony's decision to remove the Other OS option from the PS3 isn't all that surprising. When it started shipping last year, the PlayStation 3 Slim didn't have the Other OS option included in its software. It seems that Sony is simply catching up on old PS3 models.

Many of the folks who ran Linux on the PlayStation were quite happy with the PS3's performance, so it's rather unfortunate to see the PS3's Other OS option go.

Users running Linux on the PS3 will want to backup their data before installing the firmware update Thursday.