Hacker Throws Down Linux Gauntlet as Sony Readies Firmware Patch v3.21

As reported yesterday, Sony's next PlayStation 3 firmware update (v3.21) is scheduled for release on April 1. This update removes Linux support, partly in response to security concerns that arose with the revelation that iPhone hacker George Hotz (aka, "GeoHot" - see topstory image), had recently cracked the PS3.

On his blog, Hotz explained back in January that he'd managed to obtain "read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor." In its Opposable Thumbs column, tech-news site ars technica reports that Hotz is threatening to fight the power with a rival firmware update of his own which will allow users to retain OtherOS support. In other words, it would allow folks to keep Linux partitions on their PS3s.

If PS3 Linux support is important to you, Hotz's latest blog entry advises PS3 owners to refuse the v3.21 firmware update when it's launched in a couple of days, though refusal will prevent those players from being able to use a host of other features. "When 3.21 comes out, I will look into a safe way of updating to retain OtherOS support," explained Hotz, "perhaps something like Hellcat's Recovery Flasher. I never intended to touch CFW [Custom Firmware], but if that's how you want to play..."

Be forewarned: Access to he PlayStation Network, online gameplay, files kept on a media server, future updates, and even the ability to play certain Blu-ray movies and games will all be unavailable for those who refuse Sony's new firmware. However, if you really love your OtherOS support, don't mind a temporarily gimped system, and have patience for GeoHot's workaround, waiting a while to update may lead to a solution.