Sony kills Linux on Playstation 3

Sony intends to release a patch which will prevent the installation and use of third-party operating systems.

The 'Install other OS' feature, which is widely believed to be the route by which well-known hackers are attacking the as-yet impenetrable console, has been removed 'for security reasons' by the update according to an official Sony blog.

Other OS allowed PS3 geeks to install a Linux OS kernel and run various distros of the systems GUI including Ubuntu, Yellow Dog and Suze. Some hardy souls even tried to run a Windows XP emulator within Linux but it was so flaky as to be useless for anything other than bragging rights.

The PS3 is the last of the major games consoles to be cracked, with both the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii able to easily play pirated games, and Sony is obviously keen to keep it that way.

But some users are calling the move a huge step backwards. "This is one of the features I bought the paystation for," said one angry poster on Sony's forums. "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."

The official Sony line is that users aren't forced to install the offending upgrade. "For most of you, this won't have any impact on how you use your PS3," says the Official PlayStation Blog. "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."

What they don't mention is that not following the official upgrade path to version 3.21 of the OS will cripple many of the console's online features including the ability to play multiplayer games and buy stuff from the Playstation Store.

The upgrade will be distributed on April 1st, which may raise a few eyebrows, but we are pretty sure that this move is genuine.