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Sony Sued For Removal Of Linux Support From PS3
'Other OS' feature the center of a new class action lawsuit.
by Jim Reilly

April 28, 2010 - A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sony Computer Entertainment America for the removal of the 'Other OS' feature from the PlayStation 3.

In March, Sony released firmware v3.21 that disabled the feature, disallowing users from installing the Linux operating system. The update was not mandatory; however those who chose not to download it were cut off from a number of other features, one of which included signing in to PlayStation Network.

The suit, filed on April 27 by Anthony Ventura of California, seeks to redress Sony for the "intentional disablement of the valuable functionality originally advertised as available" for the Playstation 3. The disabling of Linux support is not only in breach of the sales contract between Sony and its customers, the suit says, but also a deceptive business practice "perpetrated on millions of unsuspecting customers."

Sony publicly stated the removal of the feature was for security reasons, however, the lawsuit says the company was more concerned with potential piracy.

"On information and belief, contrary to Sony's statement, the 'security concerns' did not involve a threat to PS3 users, but rather reflected Sony's concerns that the Other OS feature might be used by 'hackers' to copy and/or steal gaming and other content."

The suit also alleges Sony violated California's Unfair Competition Law by restricting the PS3's functionalities by "forcing consumers to choose between the Other OS function and the Other Advertised Features impaired by Update 3.21"

The suit states those who purchased a PlayStation 3 had "no ability to negotiate the System Software License Agreement's terms which was only provided to them after they purchased their PS3s, including the terms allowing Sony to remove functions at will, allowing it unilaterally change the System Software License Agreement at will and forcing consumers to either accept any changes in the System Software License Agreement or cease their use of their PS3."

This class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of a nationwide class of all persons who purchased a PS3 during the period of November 17, 2006 to March 27, 2010 and who did not resell their PS3 before March 27, 2010. The suit seeks, among other things, compensatory damages, and injunction relief. No specific sum was listed, however the suit says "the amount in controversy is in excess of $5 million."

IGN has contacted Sony for comment. We'll update this story when we hear more.

A complete copy of the lawsuit in PDF form can be viewed here.

Source: IGN
 

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Looks like Sony is slowly whittling away the feature set as they go. Things like the removal of SACD playback, PS2 compatibility, USB ports, etc. To be fair, they have added bitstream capability to the new model but I think the general trend is to reduce the feature set. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
 

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I understand Sony's position by removing features that the vast of consumers don't use, it was a way to get back into the red. Now they should have keep USB ports at four, I also know that Sony can do PS2 compatibility with software emulation. The removal of the Other Os feature caught alot of PS3 Fat owners by surprise at least with the Slim you know right off the bat this feature doesn't exist. My cousin owns a Fat and he is mad about this he was ranting:rant: to me about it the other day, I had to remind him he doesn't even use the feature, so IMO it was pointless for him to get upset about losing a feature that he never used in the first place. My personal opinion is the only PS3 owners who should be upset by this is the ones who used this feature not the ones who never had an interest in this feature till it was removed.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of Ares and are not the views and opinions of HTS.)
 

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True enough. I personally am not upset about it since I never intended to use that feature.
The only feature omission I was somewhat upset about was the fact that my 40GB PS3 does not support SACD playback but I believe that information was available and I didn't do enough research. Besides, it was a feature that was never there and was not removed.
Of course Sony is not the only company that removes little used features to realize cost savings on newer models.
Since I ended up buying an Oppo BDP-83 anyway, the lack of SACD playback is no longer an issue either.
I think it will be interesting to see how this turns out, nonetheless.
 
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