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Purported hack brings Linux back to the PS3

A video showing off a new hack for the PS3 should give hope to Linux users. Hacker demonstrates on video a PS3 with the latest firmware, that still have the alternate OS install enabled.


Sony PlayStation 3 owners who held off on updating their systems in order to keep from losing the option to install alternate operating systems have a new glimmer of hope. Hacker George Hotz (a.k.a Geohot) has released a video of a new hack that promises to keep the alternate OS install feature, even with the 3.21 firmware update that was released last week.

Hotz says the hack is nothing more than a custom system software update that can be installed without having to do any hardware modifications, but users need to be on version 3.15 of the PS3 firmware or earlier. This means that if you've already updated to the latest firmware, you're out of luck--at least for the time being.

One exciting tidbit to come out of this news is that the hack could enable alternate operating system installs on the PS3 Slim, the latest version of Sony's game console. It shipped without the feature, something Sony never fully explained.

Hacking your game console violates Sony's PSN terms of service, as well as your console's warranty. Firmware hacks also often carry the risk of bricking your precious machine. That said, it's impressive that it took less than a week to get a fix working.

Hotz has given no timeline for a public release, or further proof of it working. In the video (embedded below), you can at least see that the other OS install option is still present on the 3.21 firmware, along with the Linux boot loader.

Thanks to reader Abdullah for the tip!

Correction at 3:20 p.m. PST: Wording changed in the first paragraph to note that the hack will only be useful for those who haven't yet upgraded their PS3 firmware.