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PS3 update to rid all consoles of Linux support

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Sony will release the next PlayStation 3 firmware update this week, the company has announced.

But the software - version 3.21 - will disappoint Linux buffs. It will remove the 'Install Other OS' option from older consoles.

The update goes live on 1 April. A fair few Linux fans will hope Sony's announcement is an early April Fools gag.

Anyone who has a PS3 Slim - reviewed here - knows that this option is already missing from this latest version of the hardware, introduced in September 2009.

But older versions have maintained it through all previous system software updates.

Sony said it had made the move because of "security concerns", though it did not elaborate as to what it's specifically worried about.

The consumer electronics giant said that the update will be optionally, but it cautioned that failure to upgrade will lock users out of the PlayStation Network. They will also be prevented from playing DRM-encumbered videos stored on a media server, and from viewing any Blu-ray Discs or PS3 games that require firmware 3.21.

The decision also appears to go back on past commitments to maintaining the option, at least in older PS3s.

Slashdot points to an email allegedly sent by a Sony staffer earlier this year to open source developers that "Sony Computer Entertainment is committed to continue the support for previously sold models that have the "Install Other OS" feature and that this feature will not be disabled in future firmware releases". ®

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