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March 25, 2011 // 5:43 pm - Although Sony previously admitted and then apologized for removing PS3 Other OS functionality due to security concerns, today IGN reports that according to the ongoing lawsuit Sony states the PlayStation 3 Other OS removal was due to cost not security.

To quote: An amended class action complaint filed against Sony Computer Entertainment America this month is claiming the company removed the 'Other OS' feature from the PlayStation 3 to save money and not for security reasons.

In April 2010, SCEA removed the Other OS feature due to "security concerns." The complaint says the statement is a "fabrication," saying SCEA gave those reasons as a pretext so it could argue the Warranty and Terms of Service allowed for the removal of the feature.

In reality, SCEI and SCEA removed this feature because it was expensive to maintain (as they previously admitted when the feature was removed from the "slim" models - but which they conveniently removed from SCEA's website); they were losing money on every PS3 unit sold (due to poor decisions in the planning and design of the Cell chip as noted above and given the PS3's extra features); SCEA needed to promote and sell games to make their money back on the loss-leading PS3 consoles (and there was no profit in users utilizing the computer functions of the PS3); and IBM wanted to sell its expensive servers utilizing the Cell processor (users could cluster PS3s for the same purposes much less expensively).

The complaint also says it's "virtually impossible" to use the 'Other OS' for piracy.

When the 'Other OS' feature is enabled, the software prevents the proper operation of the gaming feature to avoid allowing the features to interplay. In order for a hacker to pirate a game, it is necessary to perfectly emulate the operating system for which the game is designed, including the API, which is the interface for the game OS that supports all of the features of a game.

However, when the Other OS is in use, the API and other hardware features are blocked, including the graphics chip in the PS3, which makes it impossible to run a pirated game on the Other OS. As of January 2011, Sony had yet to identify a single instance in which someone used the Other OS to pirate protected content.

Last month, the court dismissed all but one claim from the original complaint filed in April 2010. The judge still allowed the plaintiff's "Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" claim because Sony could not show that its use of the firmware update to remove the 'Other OS' feature was authorized.

"Sony's actions are like a car manufacturer telling a buyer that it is going to remove the engine because it does not want to service the part anymore and then telling the consumer, 'tough luck, we are not going to give you a refund,'" said Co-Lead counsel James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld in a statement.

"This type of activity is exactly what our country's consumer protection laws were designed to protect against."

SCEA has until this Monday, March 28 to issue a response. A copy of the amended complaint can be seen here.

Sony Lawsuit: PS3 Other OS Removal Due to Cost, Not Security

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#21 - GrandpaHomer - April 4, 2011 // 12:55 pm
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Quote Originally Posted by Pretikewl View Post
Who's to say Sony can't manipulate the data on their drives afterwards to make it look like they were trying to do something illegal?

Afterall, Sony is the only one with full access to everything that could be on there...

They can indeed but they'll be digging their own grave and nobody sane would give them their own hard drive in a first place and if yes then not without making a "forensic" (exact) copy / image of it's content first. This would then backfire bact at Sony if they will be proved tampering with the evidence.

#20 - Pretikewl - April 4, 2011 // 12:19 pm
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After reading this, it seems Sony will use the "you might be a hacker" defense towards anything that people may try to sue them for. They want them to hand over their hdd's. Who's to say Sony can't manipulate the data on their drives afterwards to make it look like they were trying to do something illegal?

Afterall, Sony is the only one with full access to everything that could be on there...

#19 - B4rtj4h - April 4, 2011 // 8:11 am
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Haha... funny to see that the truth (Sony does not want to pay for Linux anymore) is still not clear to a lot of people. And if you take the numbers from people that are using OtherOS. Guess how much that is ... 1,3 % of ALL ps3 users!

Thats like nothing. And yes. There will also be security measurements with Linux. Because linux is a open book to the most of us here... We can exploid all we want with it. Problem is that IF you support a machine that in a way can support Piracy your dead meat! So yeah... it sucks that it's gone... but it's not that strange.

#18 - PS4 News - April 4, 2011 // 4:13 am
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Update: now reports that a federal judge has dismissed (PDF) the remaining claim by class who said Sony reneged on its promise to let PlayStation 3 video game consoles function as computers.

Similar to their previous request, Sony has now filed a motion to dismiss the PS3 Other OS Class Action Lawsuit.

To quote from Groklaw (linked above): There's news from the class action litigation, In re Sony PS3 'Other OS' Litigation, where the plaintiffs are suing Sony Computer Entertainment America for removing OtherOS from PlayStation 3s.

SCEA has filed another motion to dismiss the class action case, once again saying that the plaintiffs' newly filed First Amended Complaint is insufficient to state a claim. The original complaint's claims, except for one, were dismissed, with the judge giving the plaintiffs a chance to refile. Now that they have, SCEA says this refiled complaint should be tossed out also. There will be a hearing on all this on May 12th.

And the class action plaintiffs are asking the judge to help them get discovery that SCEA is, they claim, reluctant to provide. Role reversal. In the SCEA v. Hotz litigation, SCEA is all about discovery, all they can get. Here, it's the opposite.

There is a transcript from a February 9th hearing in the Sony class action attached as an exhibit to the plaintiffs' letter to the judge in the case, and I think you'll be amazed. Would you like to know what SCEA's lawyers think of customers who use Linux? We get to find out, because the hearing begins with SCEA asking the judge for access to the plaintiffs' hard drives.

Why would you want that, the judge asks? These are not defendants accused of anything, remember. Sony is the one in the hot seat, but here is the incredible answer: because, says their attorney, these plaintiffs say they used Linux, so SCEA suspects they were part of a hacking conspiracy, and they'd like to check. There's more, and I'll tell you all about it.

And SCEA claims in the transcript that it wasn't the entity that decided to drop OtherOS. It says in this courtroom that Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is responsible for that decision. In Hotz, SCEA says it is responsible for pretty much everything to do with PS3s in the US, or at least I got that impression.

SCEA also tells the judge at the hearing that there's been a change in the corporate setup. SCEI isn't the parent of SCEA any more. So I did a little research on that. Who are they then? And how how were they related? I have found some press releases that clarify very nicely.

More PlayStation 3 News...

#17 - naivri - March 27, 2011 // 8:32 pm
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wouldn't have cost them a cent to leave it as it was and just not support anymore.

would cost them money to develop the firmware to remove it, I smell crap.

#16 - skrapps - March 27, 2011 // 3:57 am
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the big picture now is.. how sony LIED, said it was a SECURITY ISSUE and forced people into an updated USER AGREEMENT with that LIE.

#15 - smarty94 - March 27, 2011 // 12:10 am
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the only limitation was the paltry amount of RAM (even though it was the superfast XDR type), but when clustering it could be worked around. Heck even the USAF made a PS3 cluster; they were all the rage at academic institutions around the world.

I think this was less of a security issue than Sony looking for an excuse to discontinue it under pressure from IBM. I believe that it is probable that IBM refused to work with Sony on the PS4 unless Sony stopped cannibalizing their cell blade server business.

#14 - shummyr - March 26, 2011 // 4:41 pm
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It is also extremely effective and cheap when used in a cluster situation.

#13 - corig1 - March 26, 2011 // 12:35 pm
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No it is not just a video game system. Why not do some research? Ever hear of Ken Kutaragi? Google is your friend for the uninformed.

#12 - jarvis - March 26, 2011 // 11:57 am
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Typically the only ones who benefit from a class action lawsuit are the lawyers. Any "big" payout is going to mean pennies for the customers. What I would like to see come out of this is a precedence set so that no companies in the future try to pull something like this again (taking away paid for advertised features).

Sony should give out a voucher for one physical game or a few PSN downloads for those where they took the functionality away.

The idea of putting OtherOS back is laughable. It doesn't matter if they do or not, eventually we'll have it back and a better version of it anyways.