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Game Over For Sony and Open Source?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the forsaken-beards dept.

Sony 364

Glyn Moody writes "Sony has never been much of a friend to hackers, and its infamous rootkit showed what it thought of users. But by omitting the option to install GNU/Linux on its new PS3, it has removed the final reason for the open source world to care about Sony. Unless, of course, you find Google's new distribution alliance with Sony to pre-install Chrome on its PCs exciting in some way."

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364 comments

Who Cares (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288111)

Buy a damned computer, or one of the mobiles you can install Linux on.

Re:Who Cares (4, Insightful)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288149)

without the use of most of the computing power when you actually put linux on it, it seemed gimped to begin with. In other words they weren't exactly being open source friendly from the start any way.

Re:Who Cares (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288247)

From the article

Sony explained their decision on the Playstation 2 developer forum, in a post that has since been removed:

"The reasons are simple: The PS3 Slim is a major cost reduction involving many changes to hardware components in the PS3 design. In order to offer the OtherOS install, SCE would need to continue to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers for any significant hardware changes--this costs SCE. One of our key objectives with the new model is to pass on cost savings to the consumer with a lower retail price. Unfortunately in this case the cost of OtherOS install did not fit with the wider objective to offer a lower cost PS3."

And this is understable, seeing how much PS3 price has come down from its launch.

Old PS3 owners still have the option, it just affects the 'slim' model.

Re:Who Cares (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288297)

Old PS3 owners still have the option, it just affects the 'slim' model.

For how many more months will the Old PS3 remain available with a hardware warranty? I have a feeling Sony will discontinue the Old PS3 by the fall shopping season, just as it quickly discontinued the original PS2 in favor of the slim PS2.

Re:Who Cares (4, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289139)

For how many more months will the Old PS3 remain available with a hardware warranty?

If you're interested in running Linux on a PS3, you probably already own one. If you don't, Sony has given you fair warning to get a "chubby" PS3 while they are still available.

Besides, I don't think this is going to stop anyone from running Linux on the slim PS3. It's not like the iPhone comes with a "install other OS" option in the boot code.

Re:Who Cares (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288669)

Do you think? They reduced production costs from $400 to $250. How much did scrapping the OtherOS hypervisor support contributed to these costs savings?

Taking the goal of Kaz Hirai of selling roughly 16 million units (1.5e8 in 9 years), increasing the costs by 10 cents per unit will give you a yearly budget of 1.6 Mega-bucks. So, I'd wager the guess, it was well less then 5 cents per unit.

The point was simply making more profit, which is understandable.

Re:Who Cares (1)

daskinil (991205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288961)

I think you under estimate the cost of software development, test, and validation. Could easily cost a few million. Also I doubt they are counting their savings based on the optimistic lifetime expectancy of the PS3. Especially since this is only a single hardware revision, and you'd have to factor the cost of maintaining the drivers across all revisions. Either way I doubt it saves you more than a few dollars, but thats alot considering the number of ps3 users that actually plan to do this,

Actually not much of an option (-1, Redundant)

Mantle (104724) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289175)

The option to install Linux is removed in the new 3.0 firmware.

The new 3.0 firmware is required to play online.

Old owners have the "option" of retaining the ability to install Linux, or giving up the ability to play any games online.

Re:Actually not much of an option (3, Informative)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289289)

I think you might be misinformed. I installed 3.0 yesterday, and the option is still there.

Re:Who Cares (3, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288177)

A console is a computer, just with annoying restrictions tacked on.

But generally good advice, that's why I don't buy consoles in general, and avoid Sony like the plague.

No One Gives A Shit About You Fuckwad (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288291)

No one asked for the input of wackos like you.

Re:Who Cares (0, Flamebait)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288995)

This was modded insightful? He completely ignores the small fact that you can't play 90% of these games on a PC. A console is for playing games first and foremost. It's not a PC with restrictions...its an arcade machine with extra functionality.

Re:Who Cares (2, Funny)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289071)

Funny isn't it, if a console is just a small computer wrapped in a larger DRM layer.

Re:Who Cares (3, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289421)

But it's DRM that has been completely inoffensive and pain-free. That's the difference. I don't have a problem with copy protection. I wouldn't mind nailed down DRM on my pc, if it simply stopped games from being copied. The problem with DRM on the pc is that it goes further than that... it tracks you, it breaks things, it modifies your setup, it takes away legitimate functionality, it hinders free development... It ends up being the Sony rootkit, which should have put some Sony execs in jail.

If DRM meant that I always had to put the Starcraft 2 dvd in my computer when I wanted to play it, and NO OTHER RESTRICTION, I might actually buy the game. Instead, DRM seems to mean 'contact Blizzard every game for permission to play. Here's my IP, battlenet ID, etc., etc...'.

Sigh. I'm sure console games will eventually go that route, though.

Re:Who Cares (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289093)

A console is a computer, just with annoying restrictions tacked on.

But much cheaper, and with far less software glitches.

Re:Who Cares (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288181)

My PS3 IS a computer.

Re:Who Cares (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288377)

And so is your microwave, TV, DVD player, calculator, etc.

It's not sold as a computer but as a games machine cum media box. It had the option in the past to become a computer, but with its limited memory it just doesn't make sense now.

You can probably buy a more powerful PC for the same price these days. Sure, it'll have integrated graphics, but a dual-core 2GHz Pentium or Athlon II will whip a Cell in desktop tasks - unless you need to use the SPUs, but maybe a cheap graphics card will provide an OpenCL/CUDA/etc alternative that's better. Linux on PS3 never got to use the GPU anyway...

Re:Who Cares (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288449)

It's not sold as a computer but as a games machine

But there are a lot of games that the PS3 can't play because the game's developer isn't a big enough company. If a platform is supposed to act as an incubator for game studios, it needs either A. the ability to act as a computer or B. something like the XNA Creators Club. The original PS3 had A (to an extent), the Xbox 360 and iPhone have B, and the Wii and slim PS3 have neither.

cum media box.

That just sounds wrong ;-)

Re:Who Cares (3, Informative)

zindorsky (710179) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288205)

Buy a damned computer, or one of the mobiles you can install Linux on.

Maybe you should RTFA before posting ...

Of course there are a million machines you can install Linux on, but the PS3 was particularly nice because of its Cell architecture. That allowed for some super-computer like performance for a low, low price. Lots of research institutions used PS3 clusters for low cost supercomputing. Now that future is jeopardized.

TV? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288327)

Of course there are a million machines you can install Linux on

But how many these "million machines" are designed to connect to a standard-definition television? I looked at Best Buy a couple weeks ago and saw a bunch of PCs with VGA and possibly DVI or HDMI outputs but no S-Video. Or by "million machines", are you referring to any original PS3 units that might show up on the second-hand market?

Re:Who Cares (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288693)

linux on PS3 runs on a hyper-visor that hides most of the architecture, this means no access to the vetorial units, GPU and the powerPC CPU embeded on the cell chip is limited to some 600 MHz.

you can bet that those researchers using PS3s also bought a development kit from sony that allows them to develop natively to the PS3 proprietary OS, giving them full acess to all the resources.

Re:Who Cares (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288771)

Of course there are a million machines you can install Linux on, but the PS3 was particularly nice because of its Cell architecture. That allowed for some super-computer like performance for a low, low price. Lots of research institutions used PS3 clusters for low cost supercomputing. Now that future is jeopardized.

Lots? More like "barely any." The only entity that has done anything significant is IBM with their Roadrunner supercomputer [wikipedia.org]. A network of several PS3s is not a supercomputer.

Re:Who Cares (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288221)

Just because you don't have a desire to use it doesn't mean others shouldn't either.

The world isn't made up of you. That's like saying everyone should drive a 20 year old honda and live in a one bedroom apartment (also known as your mother's basement), just because you do.

I've never owned a console, but if other people want to tinker with them, it's not my place to say they shouldn't be able to.

Re:Who Cares (1, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288257)

Buy a damned computer, or one of the mobiles you can install Linux on.

Three things:

  • That's another box to buy and connect to the TV. I thought people chose the PLAYSTATION 3 to get away from having to buy an extra box for everything.
  • If you have an SDTV, you have to buy yet another box to convert the VGA signals from the PC to the composite or S-Video signals that the console understands.
  • Apart from EA Sports, there appears to be a stigma among major PC game developers against releasing multiplayer games designed to run on a single PC connected to a TV.

Re:Who Cares (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288871)

Three things:

  • That's another box to buy and connect to the TV. I thought people chose the PLAYSTATION 3 to get away from having to buy an extra box for everything.

Yes, that's why there's PS2 compatibility. Oh wait, there isn't so now I have to connect my PS2 to play PS2 games. Besides, how many people use their PS3 as the main computer anyway? I'd rather get a Dell computer that comes with more than 256 MB of RAM for my $400 thank you very much.

If you have an SDTV, you have to buy yet another box to convert the VGA signals from the PC to the composite or S-Video signals that the console understands.

And if you have your PS3 connected to an SDTV, you're wasting the entire purpose of the PS3: playing Blu-Ray and playing games in high definition.

Re:Who Cares (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289207)

And if you have your PS3 connected to an SDTV, you're wasting the entire purpose of the PS3: playing Blu-Ray and playing games in high definition.

What about playing PS3 games that happen not to have been ported to PS2? Or would you claim that any other game in the same genre is a close enough substitute?

And both users of PS3 Linux were sad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288145)

It didn't sell them any significant number of new PS3's. That they did it for the first generation was fine, but it's not a contract they signed in blood.

Cost/Benefit (4, Insightful)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288191)

RTFA. Sony has chosen not to maintain the Hypervisor for the new hardware. You can still run linux on the old systems, and they do not plan to disable that feature. This isn't open source hate, it's a practical business decision by a company that loses money every time they sell a console. They made the console cheaper.

Re:Cost/Benefit (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288441)

And stopped people from buying it that weren't going to buy games and accessories with it.

Yes, some gamers also installed Linux, but there were -many- people who bought it just to install Linux, for various reasons. Each of those sales was an absolute loss for Sony and it doesn't make sense to encourage it.

I don't blame them one bit. Besides, I installed linux and it wasn't a very good experience on the PS3, between horrible installs and slowness and general awkwardness like having to choose what to load on reboot/etc. I ended up just putting a PC in the room instead.

Re:Cost/Benefit (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289075)

Besides, I installed linux and it wasn't a very good experience on the PS3, between horrible installs and slowness and general awkwardness like having to choose what to load on reboot/etc. I ended up just putting a PC in the room instead.

Exactly. I don't understand this whole "lets stuff Ubuntu on a computer designed for gaming" nonsense. I mean, it has 256 MB RAM, no graphics card for Linux to take advantage of...what's the point?

Re:Cost/Benefit (1)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289251)

I don't think they care.

Every unit sony sold, sony lost money on.

Every unit sold that wasn't purchased with the intent to play games on, sony lost projected income on.

Either way you look at it, sony will be glad to have rid themselves of those kinds of people.

It fights piracy (2, Insightful)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289377)

The hypervisor gave homebrew developers a way to make apps without enabling warez. But now the homebrew community and the warez community are brought back together by the need to find a hack to access the console resources. And once one finds a way in, the other gets it for free, no stopping them.

Linux support seemed like an intelligent way to take a stab at piracy on the cheap, while paying lip-service to Open Source, etc, and getting a tiny amount of street-cred for it. It may be that's not worth the cost to them anymore... we'll see if that turns out to be a mistake or not.

Re:Cost/Benefit (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288527)

Comparing the cost of driver updates on a per console basis doesn't make much sense. There is a one time cost to create the drivers plus maybe the salary of one programmer to maintain the drivers. Per console, that's miniscule.

Re:Cost/Benefit (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289503)

YES, finally someone who gets it..... And with an advertising budget of 83m they can't even spend $50k on a programmer to do the job.. It's not like they even have to start from scratch as they alreayd have a 'framework'.. I just hope that Sony will update the driver because now it's known that there is no technical reason for not to update it, only financial reasons... But NOOO they'd rather spend some cash on some stupid new options for the XMB, which is also Fubar since FW3.0, I'd rather have the old XMB, which was much better.. But I guess they're using a lower resolution now internally so they have some extra mem free...

Ain't no Friend of Miiiiiiine! (-1, Offtopic)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288203)


U not my girl
U not my wife
Got a couple tips from Mike
I'm moonwalkin outcha life
I close my eyes, you outta site
Now she wanna call me conceited
Cause I'm a Smooth Criminal
I told her to Beat It
When a lil' love was all I needed
U talkin'? I call it how I see it
And now I mean it
I'm out for good
Like a lot of u into movin out the hood
But if I told u take me back u would
Too late me and P like Pac & Suge
Had you into cars with a metro
With a couple superstar from the ghetto
Now you feelin so soft and u let go
Of da T.E.M.P.A Mental


What u gonna do
U aint no friend of mine
Look what u put me through
I'm the new Gangsta


What u gonna do
U ain't no friend of mine
I can never fall in love
The new Gangsta


What u gonna do
U ain't no friend of mine
(Whatchu Gooooonnnnnna Do)
Look what u put me through

What? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288211)

Why on /earth/ would Sony care about Linux on PS3's?

And honestly, for the great majority of users, why on earth would you bother putting Linux on a PS3 (aside from 'because I can' and scientific stuff, for which there are better solutions and more interesting challenges), except to pirate games?

I'm having a really hard time finding out why I'm supposed to be as outraged as the tone of this suggests I should be.

Re:What? (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288269)

I agree. I think they were hoping that PS3 Linux would really take off with people like the Slashdot community. Since that never happened, why would they continue support?

ps3cluster.umassd.edu That's Why (0, Redundant)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288329)

Why on /earth/ would Sony care about Linux on PS3's?

And honestly, for the great majority of users, why on earth would you bother putting Linux on a PS3 (aside from 'because I can' and scientific stuff ...

Well, via a slashdot article I submitted [slashdot.org], there's a site that shows you how to make your own supercomputer with a cluster of PS3s [umassd.edu] that was about $4,000 at the time and probably less now. I think they were using Fedora 8 because of the Cell SDK support at the time. While you might call this "scientific stuff," some people might view it as a really cheap alternative for universities and hobbyists. Just a thought to consider.

Re:What? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288335)

As mentioned in other comments, PS3's architecture was great. It offered really strong computing at a really low cost. Lots of people used multiple PS3's running Linux to do a wide variety of tasks, from server farms to rendering to whatever.

Now, You are right, for a great majority of the users, they DON'T put linux on their PS3. So when they decided to lower the price, they had to drop a feature. Guess which one got dropped? Right, support for other OS's.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288337)

Why?
I'll tell you why.

The people who broke the original Xbox security were linux users. They didnt give a flying frack about pirating games but wanted to run linux on the console...
What Sony has done now is make it a challenge... and those users tend to be quite good at breaking stuff... The breaking of such things would also open up easy piracy.

Nasty can of worms to open up in my opinion... We'll see.

Also saddened by the fact that ... (3, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288217)

Re:Also saddened by the fact that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288635)

Only the first generation of ps3 would play ps2 games. They removed that option long before the slim came out.

Re:Also saddened by the fact that ... (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288659)

Yeah, well that wasn't a capability of many big PS3s either, the 40GB in Europe never had that capability. Sad, yes, but once the PS3 game library was big enough an understandable cost optimisation.

Maybe Sony will one day sort out its PS2 software emulation (not the half and half that they had in 2nd generation PS3s in some markets) so that we can load our existing games (although I suspect they would rather we rebought them in the PS Store).

Re:Also saddened by the fact that ... (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288737)

... PS3 Slim won't run PS2 discs [fudzilla.com]

I think this is a more practical thing to be concerned about, at least for some of us. I thought about buying a PS3, even though it's unlikely I'd buy many games at first, because looking forward it seemed to make sense. But heck, my daughter still plays a number of PS2 games on a regular basis - so nope, we're not getting a PS3 for a while.

I don't understand why console makers can't grasp that we don't want to keep connecting more and more devices concurrently to our televisions, or having said devices taking up more and more room under/around them...

Re:Also saddened by the fact that ... (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288767)

the "fat" PS3 doesn't already.

the last model to have PS2 compatibility was the 80GB model, and this one did this with a combination of hardware AND software, while the previous 60 GB had full hardware compatibility.

the 40GB model can't play PS2 disks nor does any other model after the 80 GB one.

They're Too Big to Write Off Entirely (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288231)

... it has removed the final reason for the open source world to care about Sony.

I thought ImageWorks (of Sony Pictures) had recently opensourced OSL, Scala Migrations, Field3D, PyString and Maya Reticle [imageworks.com] or at least made them community endeavors. I can't seem to find the source code for browsing on OSL and some of the other projects are pretty tiny but if that's true it's a good sign on ImageWorks' part.

I'm certain they by and large use GPL LGPL in their products like their TVs [sony.com] and SOE using PostgreSQL over Oracle [computerworld.com].

Writing off the PS3? Probably. They probably realized Linux support buys them little over the Wii and XBox360 despite what I and everyone else thinks. But the rest of Sony might have hope.

Re:They're Too Big to Write Off Entirely (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288369)

They probably realized Linux support buys them little over the Wii and XBox360 despite what I and everyone else thinks.

Xbox 360 has Creators Club and Xbox Live Indie Games, a business model that Apple copied for the iPhone SDK and App Store. What does Sony have to match it?

Re:They're Too Big to Write Off Entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288691)

They probably realized Linux support buys them little over the Wii and XBox360 despite what I and everyone else thinks.

Xbox 360 has Creators Club and Xbox Live Indie Games, a business model that Apple copied for the iPhone SDK and App Store. What does Sony have to match it?

Alright, I give up, what does that have to do with this topic? Are you trying to imply that XNA is open source or what? Because it's not [xna.com].

Are we supposed to get into a pissing match about features? Because I really don't care what the Wii, PS3 or XBox360 have. I know PS3's got Blu-Ray and XBox360 has Xbox Live and the Wii is just fun in a group setting. Who cares, this is about open source and Sony. No one else is supporting Linux on any of the three big consoles and bringing up XNA or Creators Club or Xbox Live Indie Games is all great but I really don't see what it has to do with this article.

Re:They're Too Big to Write Off Entirely (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289353)

Who cares, this is about open source and Sony. No one else is supporting Linux on any of the three big consoles

I was talking about code written by students and hobbyists in general, not necessarily free software. On the Xbox 360, the environment for this is XNA; on the fat PS3, it's Linux.

Re:They're Too Big to Write Off Entirely (3, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288787)

Creator's Club is simply nothing like the OtherOS support Sony had. One is for developing XNA framework games and selling them on Xbox Live, the other is for turning your PS3 into a slightly gimped Linux box (gimped as in no direct access to GPU). They're targeted at completely different people and don't even serve remotely the same purpose.

Re:They're Too Big to Write Off Entirely (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288799)

Mini's for the PSP. If that takes of I would expect to see it find its way onto the PS3.

Stupid Article. (4, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288233)

I'm in the "open source world".

Should I stop caring about Burger King because I can't run Linux on a Whopper?

Re:Stupid Article. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288479)

I'm sure that a WOPR would run Linux just fine!

Re:Stupid Article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288927)

Would you like a nice game of chess?

Re:Stupid Article. (1)

skorch (906936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288485)

Sure, as a consumer you may have an interest in whatever suits you, but that interest is not in relation to your being a member of the "open source world". Any interaction you have with Whoppers and Whopper-related products are completely independent of your status as a member of the "open source world".

Of course, the fact that ingredients and recipes for hamburgers are widely available, and I can make my own burgers at home with tools available to the public might make Hamburgers somewhat open-source. I just can't go selling it while calling it a Whopper.

I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?

Re:Stupid Article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288509)

Yes. You can't even store your files in the fries. WTF ARE YOU GOING TO BURGER KING FOR?

I'm with you on this one. (5, Insightful)

Malkin (133793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288897)

I agree. This quote really made me giggle:

But by omitting the option to install GNU/Linux on its new PS3, it has removed the final reason for the open source world to care about Sony.

Unless they -- I don't know -- like playing console games, like the vast majority of people who buy game consoles. My microwave oven doesn't run Linux, either, but it somehow manages to still be useful to me.

Honestly, I think out-of-touch rants like this only serve to further reinforce the "Linux zealot" stereotype, and drive the mainstream away from Linux.

Re:I'm with you on this one. (4, Interesting)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289331)

My microwave oven doesn't run Linux, either, but it somehow manages to still be useful to me.

*whistles innocently*

Don't be too sure about that. I've worked on embedded systems on consumer devices, and you'd be amazed at what runs Linux these days. Hardware manufacturers really like NOT paying license fees & royalties for their embedded firmware.

Units to sell at a loss (1)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288277)

Are you surprised given that Sony has acknowledged it will sell the PS3 slim at a loss? [fudzilla.com]

So yes, they've changed their strategy to boost sales of the new PS3 by selling at a loss and intending to make up the money on game sales. How many people will buy several of these and never play games on them? Probably not too many, but where do you draw the line?

Stop acting like a kid who can't get what he wants.

Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288279)

Let's see here. On one hand, you have millions upon millions of gamers that don't give a flying fuck about Open Source Software / Free Software. On the other hand, probably less than .1% of your install base cares about running Linux on their PS3. Call me crazy, but I think Sony will be able to survive.

Honestly, why would Linux be a major factor in buying a PS3? You buy a PS3 for A) games and B) blu-ray. Being able to run Linux might be a nice little extra, but if it is a deciding factor for you then I think your beard might be a little too tight.

A non-loss to super computing (1)

whatajoke (1625715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288283)

Given that today's high end graphics cards(e.g. 4870X2) offer far more TFLOPs than the PS3, I fail to see how linux not running on PS3 is a loss for the supercomputing fraternity. Machine for machine, Folding@home gets more computation out of PCs equipped with graphics cards rather than the PS3s. It is just that there are a lot more PS3s involved in Folding@Home than PCs fitted with nice graphics cards, which totals up the PS3 FLOPs beyond the gamer PCs.

duh (4, Informative)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288305)

The problem is that PS3's are cheaper sources of Cell processors than anything IBM is selling. If you want to set up (at a university say) a research cluster of 4 or 8 Cell based computers for astrophysics, datamining, or the like, it was cheaper to buy PS3's than even consider the IBM bought Cell based servers. But then you weren't buying games, and Sony wasn't getting financial credit for subsidizing academic research (if they donated the equipment it would be a tax write off likely but if you buy it they get nothing, and since they're selling at a loss they only want you to buy if you'll buy games too).

Also, as amusingly geeky as this was, how many of their gaming customers actually bothered? This was never an actual selling feature of the system, they were trying to circumvent EU import tariffs on game consoles that aren't on computers. The EU didn't buy it with the PS2, I doubt they bought it with the PS3.

Re:duh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288445)

If you're looking for fast vector processors, just use a GPU. Same restrictions on main memory access, but shader units have access to even more memory than the Cell's itty bitty 256K per-SPE. Cell is an expensive dud.

I call BS (5, Interesting)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288393)

I love my PS3.

I love Linux.

Sony is the only console maker that DID support Linux.

They dropped the support because it was an rarely utilized feature and it was cheaper not to support it on the new model.

I run Linux on all my PCs (2 laptops and 4 desktops) but never installed it on my PS3 (despite having partitioned my upgraded hard drive with room for it). I never felt the need to do so. I run a media server on two of the Linux boxes and I don't need the PS3 to be a 7th general purpose computer when that is not it's intended function as one and not designed for that purpose.

This fanboy of Linux (and fanboy of Sony as well) doesn't care about the dropped support. I thank Sony for all the support up to this point and wish this platform continued success.

Moody (3, Funny)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288397)

After reading that summary and the completely transparent hatred for Sony in it I and forced to say that, yes, Glyn is Moody. ;)

Here's an anecdote (0, Offtopic)

JoeSixpack00 (1327135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288405)

A few years back, a friend of mine needed me to format his Vaio desktop. He lost his restore disk, and he wasn't overly fond of XP anyways because of the speed difference. Everything installed smoothly, but I couldn't get a few key things working (i.e. sound). Why? Because not only did Sony not support Windows 2000, they refused to release any specs whatsoever on it's hardware. The hardware was mostly from major manufacturers, but it came directly from them to Sony, with no specs available whatsoever, thus no third party drivers (ones that worked anyways). This may not sound like that big of a deal in 2009, but at the time, no other major vendor had this problem - which wouldn't even have been a problem at all had they simply "unblocked" Windows 2000 support. After a few days of searching high and low, I just gave up and bought a copy of Windows XP off of eBay.

So basically, the most proprietary hardware vendor out decides against allowing you to run an OS that they never officially supported anyways? Seriously, is this that big of a shock?

Re:Here's an anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288675)

Not to be apologetic here. But I doubt any hardware vendor would have supported that. Basically asking them to spend 3-4 (testing and whql) grand on one customer. They may even have an agreement with MS not to make more drivers for that OS. Also 2k went EOL about 5 years ago... Sure *OTHERS* could have used it but they had only 1 request. Does it suck? Yes. Would I be pissed in that situation? Yes and have been. Sony probably do not even have all of the specs. They probably do not even really care other than does it nuke their battery life. They glued it together the chip guys provided the right drivers and they passed the WHQL. Good enough ship it...

It didn't bring people to the platform (4, Interesting)

mo (2873) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288417)

I used to work for Sony developing PS2 games. The number of people I met that cut their teeth writing code on the linux kit before getting into the business was exactly 0. I might have been the only person I knew who even had a modchipped PS2, everybody else just didn't care since they had the PS2Tool on their desk to do development. Sony is probably discontinuing offering Linux because it didn't spark the development push that they had hoped for. Still, I would think this would limit the number of supercomputer clusters that use PS3's. You'd think the marketing benefits of being a platform in the top 100 supercomputers would be valuable, but perhaps Sony is still willing to work with academic institutions to make this possible still.

Re:It didn't bring people to the platform (1)

TheVidiot (549995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288521)

You could not develop for the PS3 by using on-board Linux. There's a Cell SDK available, but that's about it.

Re:It didn't bring people to the platform (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288523)

The number of people I met that cut their teeth writing code on the linux kit before getting into the business was exactly 0.

On what platforms did they cut their teeth?

Re:It didn't bring people to the platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288629)

Probably the one that ~90% of the world uses, as opposed to the one that 1% uses would be my guess. That or their Commodore 64's.

Re:It didn't bring people to the platform (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289291)

Probably the one that ~90% of the world uses

If you mean PCs running Windows, then on which platforms did most developers cut their multiple-players-on-one-screen teeth? Or did most developers cut their teeth exclusively on game genres that fit well with a separate screen per player (e.g. FPS, RTS) as opposed to genres that put all players on one screen (e.g. fighting)?

Re:It didn't bring people to the platform (3, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289427)

It didn't spark the development push because Sony crippled the ability for Linux to use all of the hardware.

If they wanted to spark development, they should have let the OtherOS have free reign.

How do we know it's not coming back? (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288421)

Perhaps they just haven't had time to rework their Linux HAL for the new hardware?

Have they said "No, Linux will never come to the PS3 Slim"?

Re:How do we know it's not coming back? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289489)

We dont. We also dont know if they are going to sell the PS4 in 2 months because they haven't said "No, we will not sell PS4 in two months" either.

Both occurrences are highly unlikely however.

I never understood this... (1, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288475)

The big console makers are sort of Tivo-ization to the Nth degree. They give (or rather sell) you these neat computers and then tell you, "Don't worry your pretty little head about them, We will tell you (or rather, sell you) what you can and can't run on them."

Sony was trying to leverage Linux because they are enemies of Microsoft now. They are also enemies of Free Software, though, so it was a half-hearted "we'll just see what happens if we let people do this," situation. Even though they are selling these great, powerful computers, they still insist on controlling the content on them. That hasn't changed, and won't change because the console model requires it.

So, the whole thing where people would rave about Linux on the PS3 didn't make a lot of sense to me. I feel that as far as making use of a console, the SEGA decision to allow the Dreamcast to boot ordinary CDs was a far bigger deal.

The problem is, the hardware from Sony (and Microsoft, and Nintendo) is all locked down to prevent the power user/hacker/programmer from doing what they want with it. The fact that the might allow some locked down version of Linux on there is beside the point.

Re:I never understood this... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288923)

This shouldn't be surprising though. And you are right, the Dreamcast booting ordinary CDs was a far bigger deal. It is probably the major reason it failed as a console since it allowed very easy piracy.

With the exception of Nintendo, consoles are sold at a loss. If you are using it for non-gaming purposes, then you are causing Sony to lose money. So people buying PS3 to make cheap clusters are a detriment. This is simply a business decision that makes sense. They were hoping that Slashdot types would be interested in this and then also buy games. The problem is the type of person who is inclined to put Linux on a PS3 tend to be the type who doesn't buy any games. So why support it?

I don't believe they are enemies of free software. They are just friends with making a profit. That's just capitalism.

They crippled it (1)

TheVidiot (549995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288493)

I run Yellow Dog 6.2 on my PS3, and it isn't too bad for web browsing (superior to the PS3 browser) and checking email, among other computing tasks. They crippled access to the full graphics capability of the machine, however, which created a much slower experience that you would expect. Perhaps Sony should put more effort into putting common computing tasks into their XMB... add an email client and improve the browser, at least.

Mod Troll the Article (-1, Flamebait)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288731)

-1 Troll, article has nothing to do with Sony and Open Source. Not including, a closed source hypervisor on a console that fewer then a million people ever used the Linux option to lower the cost of a console.

The hypervision wasn't open source and that is what they removed so how does this relate to open source in any way?

I smell an XBOX 360 fanboy behind this train wreck of an article...

Take some lessions from the poltical world before you try a tech-hatchet job.

Better check and see if this is an M$ employee again...

At least we have Microsoft and the XBox (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288795)

At least Microsoft is friendly to Linux on the XBox and is sending the message that it cares about developers. The XBox is by far the easiest platform to develop for and the most open.

Do we really need the commentary? (4, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288845)

Just summarize the article, don't whine to me about how you don't like Sony. I am able to evaluate actions they take individually. Rootkit = bad. PS3 not supporting linux = good business decision. They are in no way related to each other since this isn't replacing Linux on the PS3 with a rootkit.

And seriously wake up. If you get pissed at Sony for the dumb things they do, then you probably wouldn't buy a product from anyone if you actually paid attention to all the crap that has gone on in each company's history.

I'll file this away under... (2, Informative)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288915)

...who gives a shit. People buy the PS3 for two reasons...to play games and to watch BluRay. I'm sure Sony's stock will plummet once the market finds out that 45 people no longer have a reason to buy a PS3.

We were warned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288981)

I bought mine when they announced the price drop, knowing this was the last chance to get a ps3 that can run linux.

I think the fact they even allow it in the first place shows they thought it would be cool.

Even then it was limited (2, Interesting)

planetoid (719535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289029)

Didn't Yellow Dog Linux and its utilities limit the hardware the user could and couldn't access if he wanted to develop? I think that said something about Sony's commitment to basic user freedoms long before this happened.

sadly... (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289169)

Sony has always seemed a many-headed hydra when it comes to innovation and marketability. The minidisc comes to mind. The engineers come out with a great product, and the marketers and lawyers drive it into the dirt and stifle innovation. Sony always breaks my heart-but my jilted relationships counseling has taught me to just say no to her seductive advances. I'll just get burned in the end.

links to sony funded open source projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29289189)

http://opensource.imageworks.com

So I guess the game isn't over is it?

Be fair, now. (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289233)

All Sony has done is reverted to the status quo for game consoles. The Wii and 360 don't allow Linux to be run. While Sony should be praised for including a (mostly gimped) linux option with the PS3, they shouldn't be condemned any more than Nintendo or Microsoft for not including it. I'm not a Sony fan at all.

There's FAR better things to criticize Sony about.

I hate you Sony, I hate you.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29289245)

You're an enemy of open source (and all that's good in the world).

Now let me buy more of your cheap subsidized hardware...

So, let me get this right, Sony: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29289301)

You're telling world-leading cryptanalysts who bought hundreds of PS3s to use in scientific computation (including, I note, hash-smashing and other related crypto-cracking) that they can't get the new, cheaper-to-buy, cheaper-to-run, cooler PS3 Slims for their cluster. You're telling them, moreover, they can't do what they like with hardware they bought.

People who now have a very strong financial interest in getting Linux - or, indeed, anything else - to run on the new models, no matter what. People who are unparalleled experts at hardware and software security. People with hardware reverse-engineering labs with tunneling electron microscopes. People with their own in-house chip fabs. People who can give full sets of notes and FPGA data to other people, not all of which live in countries covered by the EUCD/DMCA.

People who now finally have an incentive to sponsor the world's first PS3 mod-chip, and provide complete schematics, hardware, testing, readouts, and funding.

Thanks, Sony!

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