Hacker pledges to re-enable Linux on PS3
Sony anti-hack firmware to be hacked
Hacker George Hotz, the guy who opened up the Sony PlayStation 3 earlier this year, has vowed to find a way to allow Linux buffs to install their favourite OS on the console after an upcoming firmware update renders this impossible.
Hotz wrote on his blog this week that he will devise a "custom version of 3.21 that doesn't lose Other OS support".
His reference to "Other OS support" is the option in the current PS3 firmware which allows older versions of the console - all those released before the introduction of the PS3 Slim in September 2009 - to be loaded and booted with Linux.
Sony announced this week that tomorrow's Firmware 3.21 will remove this option for security reasons.
Ironically, it's Hotz' hack that may have led Sony to decide to remove Linux support. The PS3 Slim - reviewed here - has never had this option. Undoubtedly, Sony fears the hack being used to play ripped off games.
Hotz, however, says putting Other OS support back "isn't about getting what you didn't pay for, it's about making sure you do get what you did.
"This is about more than this feature right now," he writes. "It's about whether these companies have the right to take away advertised features from a product you purchased. Imagine if an exploit were found in Safari on the iPhone, but instead of fixing it, Apple decides to pull web browsing altogether. Legally, they may be within their right to do so, but we have to show them it's the wrong move for the future of the product and the company." ®
Feature removal: it must be fought
We can let them have a precedent. What if you buy a DVD player and 6 months later it loses the ability to play DVD-Rs because it reduces piracy? We cannot let this happen.
I applaud the guy
I think he has the right attitude. The companies think of us not as their customers, but as a collection of bank accounts to be leached at all costs.
The big corporations need a massive wake up call to tell them that customers are people and deserve some friggin' respect.
The paying customers are the ones who have to put up with this crap; with having to watch an enforced five minutes of advertising when a DVD is played; with Sony installing rootkits on to peoples hard drives when they play a music CD .. that thing with the memory sticks ... Sony need to be taught a lesson ... that's why I don't buy Sony kit any more.
My feet have voted. How about yours?
Ah, they are creating two violations in one go..
First off, you're changing a sold, documented feature of a device without permission of the owner (I don't want the upgrade) under duress (you potentially won't be able to watch newer Blueray titles). AFAIK there are some questions here that could hit (a) the Trade Descriptions Act as we're talking about misleading consumers (it's the equivalent of selling someone a full stereo set and than disable the radio on remote) and (b) the Computer Misuse Act as this update is NOT doing things that are desired by the owners. The last one is harder because I bet you're asked to accept the license, but Sony's problem is that their announcement makes that acceptance "under duress" ("or you may not be able to watch future titles") which AFAIK invalidates it. You could also hit the Trade Descriptions Act in that nobody told you that in order to retain one functionality you'd have to disable another one - it means you're always going to be one short of the features you were sold.
Personally, I think the biggest brick is the Computer Misuse Act, because you are forced into an agreement under duress. That is blackmail, whatever explanation they may furnish, and the invalidates your apparent "agreement".
Imagine you buy a fully equipped car. You selected this model because the set is cheaper or more attractive. A few months later you will find that you cannot get your free annual service unless you allow the garage to change your alloys for steel rims. There, for those that need car analogies :-).
No, no, no, and no. I will not install this update. I bought the device for Bluray and games, but I like the idea of an alternate OS, even though I may never use it. The moment I can no longer access Blueray disks I vow to bring every law, violation and anything else I can find to bear on them. I'm not a thief, pirate or criminal so I'm not going to be treated like one.
BTW, did I mention this is the very last time a Sony device has ever made it past the doorstep? I don't want to have to worry about what they decide to disable later. Well done Sony, you may have saved the world from a couple of pirates, but you lost my complete household. May many follow until you finally get it into your thick heads that the only thing that really sells is a customer focused approach (and no, that doesn't mean I'll return as a customer - I have forgiven too much already).
Now, being the irritating sod I am, I called Consumer Direct, and they are going to brief Trading Standards. According to them, as the device post this update will no longer have all the features as sold you are in principle entitled to compensation - in the UK it will be considered as "no longer matching the description as at the time of purchase". The lady agreed that it was going to be a long haul to get it, but your first step should be to contact Sony in your country and ask for compensation. Do this in writing because you need to keep a track record for Trading Standards and a judge to act upon.
Anyone any idea how to get data on how you could nail them under the Computer Misuse Act?
This would seem to be a fairly straight contravention of the Sale of Goods and Services Act, which states that goods sold in the UK must be fit for the purpose for which they were sold. If the PS3 was advertised as being able to run other OSs, or even discussed as having this capability anywhere near a Sony representative, then removing the capability makes it not fit for purpose.
Note that the SoGA applies past the warranty period. You need to contact the retailer who sold you the console in the first instance, they have a legal duty to give a refund.
All as I understand it, I am not a lawyer. And if you're not in the UK, this is all irrelevant, of course.
AC is the idiot.
"And his army of clueless idiots waiting to install this piracy tool will have dwindled to nothing as they can't log in to PSN..."
Don't be a moron.
This is not a piracy tool - it does not in any way permit the playing of copied or downloaded games - it just allows you to run Linux as a second OS on the box.
This is about retaining an advertised feature that thousands of people purchased their PS3 specifically for.
What if you purchased a HiFi, then a year after purchasing it, it loses the ability to listen to FM radio, due to a patch that the manufacturer forces upon you. If you refuse to allow the patch to install, then you lose the ability to listen to CDs instead,
This is utter utter craziness - I await the class action lawsuit. Come on you Yanks - you normally sue people for sneezing the wrong way - get the lawyers rolling. Sony needs to learn that they can't simply remove features from their products that they have already sold.