PS3 Firmware 3.21 Coming April 1st

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PS3 Firmware 3.21 will be available this Thursday. It will disable the “Install Other OS” feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models, launched in September 2009. This feature enabled users to install an operating system, but due to security concerns, we’re now removing this feature.

For most of you, this won’t have any impact on how you use your PS3. If you are one of the few who use the “Other OS” feature, or if you belong to an organisation that does, then you can choose not to upgrade your system. However, doing so will mean that the following features will not be available:

  • Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat.
  • Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later.
  • Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings).
  • Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later.

If you currently use the “Other OS” feature and you wish to update to system software 3.21, make sure you back-up any data stored within the hard drive partition used by the “Other OS,” as they will not be able to access that data following the update.

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  • Huge step backward. This is one of the features I bought the paystation for. You may need to offer a ‘send your playstation in for a full refund’ choice, as you are REMOVING functionality that was part of the base product.
    I hope you are at least balancing this with something good?
    like a proper music player (searchable, queueing, still using media servers, but storing library info..)?

  • What a waste of time and resources… all this time, working on a FW update that will ONLY disable ‘other OS’ feature? Seriously sony!?

  • Will this enable cross game chat?

  • TBH I don’t think we are ever going to get cross game chat witch is a shame.

  • April fools :P

  • I can understand why they are doing this. This all ties in nicely with the recent news about the PS3 being ‘hacked’. Looks like Sony are trying to cover their backs with this one before it has any chance to escalate.

  • True I remember reading about that. When is the 3D update anyhow?

  • Great. Presumably this means i now have to choose between having 10Gb of disk space completely wasted or having to reformat and losing everything i currently store on my HD?

  • I’m so disappointed. You’re taking a part of the integrity of my PS3.
    Soon, backward compatibility will disappear :-(

  • @Dannehkins

    Oh, you’re right :O

  • I don’t think it will night. Backwards compatibility does not seem to raise a security concern. However, the operating system does.

    I think it would take a pretty big security concern for Sony to pull out a firmware update like this. Let’s not over exaggerate should we?

  • @Guillermots

    It would suggest that, but there may be something that we all don’t know. Nevertheless, it’s still a definite shame for those who have the original PlayStation.

  • This is terrible news… I use the Other OS functionality a few times a week, but also enjoy playing games online… plus what happens if my system breaks and I need it repaired? Don’t they require you to have the newest firmware (or will upgrade it themselves)? Willfully removing functionality that we paid for is not a very smart move… (oh, but we can still have it, as long as we don’t want to play games online or access the PSN…)

  • @Dannehkins

    Yeah, I was exaggerating.
    I rarely play with my old PS3 since I got the slim (which don’t even have Other OS), but still, this update bugs me.

    That not even considering the hacking issue, because surely, if the hackers want, they will find another way to do their deed…

  • @Dannehskin sure ;-)
    I’ve never installed Linux on my 60GB PS3, but i have a couple of friends who use it instead, and I’m sure will not be very happy now :(

  • Really crazy to be honest.

  • @Night

    I can completely comprehend that it bugs you. Especially after you’ve paid for such a feature.

    Hackers always find a way. However, maybe Sony are trying are trying to stop something escalating into… let’s say the PSP issue. As previously mentioned, this is just being all based on the fact that it was the recent hack that has prompted such a response so it could be something entirely different.

    However, many original PlayStation owners are definitely in a difficult situation.

    Not the firmware update you intended, am I right?

  • They came, saw, and took something from you… and then expected applause.

    Sony, as a fan, I tell you now: you failed hard here. Just looking a few weeks back when there were multiple dementi when this rumor came up. I can only say: you deserve the upcoming sneer.

  • I bought a gen 1 PS3 only last week partly to play around with the Other OS feature and now your removing it? Lack of Other OS is the reason I didn’t buy a slim.

  • I’d keep watching this space guys. I anticipate a lot of disapproval when every one wakes up and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are further responses explaining the situation more.

  • @Raging_Red

    Ouch :(

  • Gee, thanks. What a waste of bandwidth.

  • So people who bought their units specifically because it said there on the box it can do all these things, including OtherOS (it’s a wonderfully cheap system to experiment with Cell programming techniques) are now left high and dry?

    I paid for the ability to run Linux, AND for the ability to access the entire library of games, PSN and movie content. So simply saying ‘if you like it, dont update’ is NOT good enough.. either way you are forcing me to surrender 50% of my use cases.

    So I can not “choose not to upgrade your system”, thank you very much. Sure, I know not to purchase a slim ps3, but that is known in advance of any sale. Removing functionality after the transaction has taken place, after you have my money is not on. Where does it say somwhere that I could have been made aware of prior to purchase that “Sony reserves the right to remove advertised functionality at any time in the future” ? I must have missed that one in the small print.

    For shame.

  • Very disappointed. No more PSN games for me :(

  • We want cross game chat not this worthless fw update sony!!

  • cheriff, you summed up my thoughts much more eloquently than I could manage.

  • Time to trade PS3 for a XBOX I think.

  • @Guillemots it does hurt….

    What hurts even more is that I won’t be buying anything off the list of games I was putting together to buy off the PSN.

    Sorry to the gamedevs I won’t be supporting

  • Blame the hackers, not Sony.
    they’re just protecting their system.

    I’m sure when Sony figure out how to fix the exploit,
    Other Os will return.

    And does anyone with a pc really use that feature?

  • Umm… Anything else in this update? It sucks for the people that used this feature, but if it combats the threat of piracy, I’m certain that you made a good choice here.

    Keep on Keeping on :-)

  • I’m sure that it had to be something pretty serious for Sony to start removing features…

    Maybe that is something to bear in mind? Shame we couldn’t get a bit more information on the matter.

  • This is just ridiculous!! Sony have to tell us why they ignore so many early adopters with PS3 launch price… We bought a ps3 because it could run linux too… This thing thats happening now is unacceptable! Someone has to tell us OFFICIALLY WHY this is happening…

    If its for security reasons us some said before, you guys MUST find a better solution… Come on!!! We definitely need some serious answers here…

  • @wiiman07

    So your going to get an xbox? Does that have a “install other OS” option…..?

  • I would love to see an extra option for deactivating online/offline notifications, but keeping message notifications. Right now I only have the possibility to activate/deactive both at the same time.

    For example: I am not interested in seeing people go offline all the time, but I do like to see my messages at the top of my screen. Should be an easy add-on :-)

  • bravo9zero: Yes, I agree this was most likely done to quash the hackers. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the answer either. Said ‘hackers’ even mentioned explicitly how the hypervisor could be fixed to completely close the attack vector in use.

    And yes, I do have a PC, and a media center attached to my TV. Neither of which contain a Cell BE processor! The majority of people may not need nor care about this, but for hobbiest programmers, academics and perhaps even entrepreneurs trying to come to terms with programming in a heterogeneous multicore environment do – very much so. (I am in the 1st group, for what it’s worth)

    Disabling the OtherOS feature completely is nothing but a panicked knee-jerk reaction. Especially after: – through an engineer, SCE managment has EXPLICITLY said:

    >> Please be assured that 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.

    Attempting this is bad enough, backflipping on an official statement is worse.

  • Charlotte Panther is definitely the coolest name I’ve heard on this blog yet.

  • @25
    I don’t understand..
    How does Sony removing Other Os, stop you from buying PSN games?

    It sucks that It’s gone.
    But I’m guessing everyone here has a PC, Did you even use the feature?

  • knew that would come,
    still that just shows how stupid the person/people is/are that ordered this disable process…. wai?
    1) ‘hackers’ already used the otheros feature
    2) lvl2 dumps have already made and ppl are reversing them
    3) this is no reason for protecting anything since the “damage” already took part.
    4) an update just for removing 1 feature? and that took you several MONTHS? – lol

    instead of doing useless things, do somethin productive:
    + more cheap sales on psn store!
    + ps2 games support!!!!!!!!!!!!! damn
    + more + better ps3 games…this is the only way to beat the xbox
    + more video-codec support (mkv anyone?)
    + more games that feature sixaxis, but no sony has to copy Nintendo (too late and meh)….

    —–if sony takes this in their considerations, it would even rise their image as more customer friendly..instead get more blinkered, great success!—-

  • I understand where people are coming from, I do. I have a 60GB myself.
    But if Sony had to remove this feature to protect their system.
    Then they have to do it. Any Company would.

    I’m sure once/if they figure out how to fix this exploit.
    It will return.

  • @bravo9zero

    from the post:

    “you can choose not to upgrade your system. However, doing so will mean that the following features will not be available:
    Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat.”

    If you can’t log in to the PSN you can’t buy off the PSN

  • this exploit is not fixable, its a “construction bug” in the RAM
    it has no error correction etc.
    thus it will NEVER EVER return, never!

  • Dear sony: you would have saved your self alot of bad press if you atleast added some features when you removed Other OS.

    I dont fault you removing Other OS. better off stamping the hackers out early but god damn it. GIVE US SOMETHING when you do it.

  • @38

    If you use otherOS more often than the gaming side and are faced with the choice of one or the other, some folks may well choose not to update in order to retain the feature- thereby cutting them out of the PSN + PS store ecosystem.
    Not to mention that future BR games + movies are now a crap-shoot as to whether they will work on not the latest FW, so someone who took that option would presumably stop spending money there.

    Now granted the amount of money they’d loose from stands like this is probably trivial, but its still non 0. If the only voice one has is to vote with one’s wallet, then so be it.

    ALSO: any one else notice that it used to spell out ‘no this is not an April 1st joke’ and now the OP’s been edited?

  • @38

    Because I need OtherOS (academic research) – it’s why I bought the PS3. PSN games were a bonus and I won’t be able to purchase any more of them because I won’t be installing this update.

  • well to all of us that did purchase the ps3 with the other os functionality in mind, DON’T UPDATE! i know its not going to make a lick of difference to them, because the number of us that do care would be insignificant to them, but i hope they do lose at least some of us loyal paying customers. was looking forward to afterburner climax :'(

  • Dear Playstation: I got myself a ps3 but someone keeps removing features. what should I do?

    Kevin Butler VP of feature removal: well Niall we hear at playstation like to offer Playstation gamers the very best features avalable from Blu Rau playback to trophies and much much more.

    Niall: yeah but you just took one away. just like when you took Ps2 BC away.

    KB: WUTH A STICK!!!!

    A STICK!!!!

  • @43

    The lv1 api and implementation could have taken steps:
    * don’t allow untrusted code to specify the location for the mapping tables in new contexts
    * do readback+verify in SW that the invalidate process did in fact write invalid hashtable entries all the way to RAM – if the readback is not what was expected the hv could panic and shutdown.

    So whilst not ‘fixable’ per se, steps can be taken to a) mitigate the usefulness of a bus glitch, and b) detect and respond if it does happen.

  • Okay sony bad news but how about telling me what will happen to my 10gb partition ? will it just be a wasted section of my drive ? am i ment to backup my ps3 and reformat ?. Also you better have tested this update.

    Why do you use open source software for the your blog and website then not support it back ?

  • Lol, this has to be an April Fools joke. Yeah?!

    If true,…meh.
    Never used the feature and obviously never will,lol.

    If indeed there’s one coming on April 1st..

    Me wantz 3D,
    Me wantz cross chat,

    Me wanna,
    give Sony a big hug if/when you put these in as i’ll be set,lol

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