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Sony faces class-action lawsuit for removing 'Other OS' feature from PS3s

Lawsuits against Sony for remotely deactivating a small but, to some, important feature of the PS3 have been combined and granted class-action status, allowing everyone with a "fat" PS3 model to join the litigation action.

One of the defining features of the PS3 when it first launched was that it was a very open platform. It was so open, in fact, that users could even legitimately install another operating system on it. Users could partition the PS3 hard drive to run Linux and basically use the console as a powerful computer.

It's not difficult to believe, then, that PS3 owners got upset when Sony decided to remove that functionality altogether through a firmware update earlier this year. It's kind of like selling a convertible to someone and then sneaking into their garage later and welding the top of the car shut.


Above: Users who have connected their PS3s to the internet since March of this year will no longer see this option

Sony hasn't released any official statements about the lawsuit and appears to just be waiting until it has to hand over a settlement to the millions of PS3 owners affected.

The rationale behind disabling the feature in the first place was that piracy was becoming an issue for those with Linux installed on their PS3. But so what? Piracy is always going to be an issue.

An initial court date is set for September. Around that time, gamers should expect to hear details on how to get involved and reap some sort of reward. Anyone with only a PS3 Slim will not be eligible, as the "Install Other OS" feature was removed from the redesigned version of the console from day one. You can see a PDF of the official forms here.

Source: Ars Technica

Jul 23, 2010

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24 comments

  • CH3BURASHKA - July 26, 2010 2:44 a.m.

    Apparently, the US military bought up a bunch to use as a cheap PC farm. They're probably pretty pissed too.
  • Deegee01 - July 26, 2010 1:21 a.m.

    you guys are missing the point. for normal gamers 'other os' might not be a big issue. But some companies have bought many ps3's and linked them using the other os feature to have a substitute for a supercomputer. These companies have spent lots of money and should get what they were advertised.
  • WC_EEND - July 24, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    This seems like nice effort by the guy who sued Sony, and I can understand the people's annoyance (I never used the possibility, because I don't have a HDTV and would thus be stuck with a command prompt interface). Only one think keeps popping into my mind when I read this though: To what extent will this lawsuit affect PS3 owners in Europe? I suspect it won't, unless someone files a lawsuit at the EU court of justice...
  • JoeGBallad - July 24, 2010 11:09 a.m.

    Anybody moaning about the removal of OtherOS, especially those that are considering suing, should just fuck right off. You don't need it. You never did, so stop pretending. The only people that ever actually used it were scary organisations (*cough* US Military *cough*) that were looking for a cheap supercomputer chipset, and to be honest I kind of prefer a world where games consoles aren't used for pure evil. Honestly, fuck off. If too many people sue and Sony has to pay out to millions then it can only be bad for everyone else who just wants to enjoy the console as a fucking console. Only truly selfish, greedy, horrible people will consider suing, putting themselves before all the rest of us. Just bugger off.
  • LethalDozePL - July 24, 2010 7:42 a.m.

    I wasn't pissed at all, never used it, never thought of using it, never planned to use it. As far as I know users must agree to Sony's terms, so they can modify whatever they want.
  • Thuperman - July 24, 2010 5:18 a.m.

    It only does everything...including deletion
  • dphoenix192 - July 24, 2010 2:39 a.m.

    Well, I was wondering if Sony had anything like "We reserve the right to update and change the dashboard as we deemed necessary" in their original legal disclaimer to access PSN and such. If I was Sony, I would have put that, so I would think their legal team would not have failed to mention that.
  • IGiveUFunkButt - July 23, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    Why does Sony have to keep screwing over it loyal fans? I want to support the console but it really is become just a big black plastic waste of space next to my TV.
  • therawski - July 23, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    People in the US are serious lambs to the slaughter, I'm a linux user because I know I have options other than Micro$oft. I have a ps3 slim, but I understand that in Europe linux has a much broader user base and would be a selling point for the ps3. Sony should work harder to avoid piracy, not remove functionality, It DOESN'T do EVERYTHING! Forget motion control, Linux on ps3 slim NOW!
  • AnonymouZ - July 23, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    ah, litigation friendly US of A... where do i sign up for this thing?!!?! xD
  • EnragedTortoise1 - July 23, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    Erm, if I can benefit from this, then sure, I'll support the cause.
  • Axcleblade - July 23, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    I didn't even now the option existed for my PS3 fat. I can't say that I would have ever used it if I did, however.
  • punkduck2064 - July 23, 2010 9:23 p.m.

    @chrisat928, not in the US it wasn't. At least not outside of promotional shit on their web site and in media kits. But it was advertised a bit more in the UK. Really it comes down to it it right for a company to give you a feature, and then 4 years later decide that their users don't deserve it any more. I'm not still butthurt about it, but it will be interesting to see where this goes and what the effects of this lawsuit are.
  • chrisat928 - July 23, 2010 9:10 p.m.

    @punkduck2064 Too bad OtherOS was never advertised. There was never a commercial for it, there was never a newspaper advert for it, it wasn't even on the box.
  • chrisat928 - July 23, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    There was a big notice before you installed the update that said, 'If you install this update to your Playstation 3, it will remove the OtherOS option, if you wish to retain the use of OtherOS, do not install the update.' But, when you signed up to Playstation Netowrk, you agreed to Sony's Terms of Service, and the ToS says you must have the most current update to use PSN. You could have kept your OtherOS if you didn't update. Alot of people didn't update. Mainly because they were waiting on that jackass hacker to come out with custom firmware. Guess what? Didn't happen. He failed, and it was his stupidity that got otherOS taken away. Blame him, not Sony.
  • FriendlyFire - July 23, 2010 9:03 p.m.

    @Fiirestorm21: You don't get it. Removing it for new PS3s would be okay. Retroactively removing it for ALL PS3s regardless of usage? Now that's wrong. Heard of the Amazon Kindle's book removal scandal? It's the exact same damn thing. You may not use it, but I can guarantee you more people than you might think got swayed the PS3 way thanks to that little feature.
  • punkduck2064 - July 23, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    the removal was mentioned in the update notes, but if you didn't get the update Sony locks out your online connectivity for games. The main issue is in the UK where it is illegal to withdrawal advertised features from a product after release.
  • punkduck2064 - July 23, 2010 8:58 p.m.

    That is true, but it would be like Microsoft removing their Media center connectivity from the Xbox. Not really something that everyone uses, but really frustrating to those that did use it.
  • dphoenix192 - July 23, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    Well, the big question is was anything about this included in the legal disclaimer before downloads. I have never actually bothered to read that so I was just curious.
  • Fiirestorm21 - July 23, 2010 8:53 p.m.

    Infernox is absolutely right. The ability to retract the roof is a core feature of a convertible. The "Other OS" option was NEVER a core feature of the Playstation 3. It was never seriously advertised as such. At most it would show up as more of a single bullet point when Sony was going over the different features of the system.

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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