Next PS3 Firmware Update Removes Linux Support

The PlayStation 3 will lose the ability to install and run other operating systems--such as Linux--with the release of the v3.21 firmware update on April 1, Sony has announced.

Citing unspecified "security concerns," Sony says that pulling the 'Install Other OS' feature "will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system." Other OS has reportedly been used to hack the console.

Former Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Ken Kutaragi had described the PlayStation 3 as a "supercomputer" due to its Linux support and had mused that a whole new OS might be released for the console. Clusters of PS3s have actually been used as supercomputers by people from astrophysicists to the US Air Force.

The feature was trumped as a proof that the PS3 was more than a mere plaything but enthusiasm evidently waned at Sony following Kutaragi's retirement as the feature was removed from PlayStation 3 Slim--a hardware revision Sony had introduced with the marketing tagline 'It Only Does Everything.'

In February, lead PS3 Linux maintainer Geoff Levand relayed a message assuring the Linux community that, despite rumours to the contrary, "SCE 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."

Sony explains that PS3 owners can choose not to install the v3.21 firmware update, though they will then lose access to the PlayStation Network, among other features.