The PS3 Non-Update: 3.21 Firmware Takes Away Alternate OS Option

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Sony just released details about its upcoming 3.21 firmware update and Linux fans won’t be happy. It seems like the sum total effect of this update is to remove ability to install another operating system on the PS3.

The thing about removing the Install Other OS functionality is that it doesn’t quite make sense. Since you’d have to partition the PS3’s hard drive to install any alternate operating system, it wouldn’t necessarily affect the way the PS3 functions as a game or media machine. Sony cites “security concerns” as the reason for removing the feature, but the PS3’s been this generation least-hacked game console.

With this announcement, Sony backtracks on yet another ballyhooed feature used to entice buyers at the system’s launch. Backwards compatibility–seen by some as essential for bridging the transition between consoles–was wiped out with the shift to PS3 Slim. Install Other OS was one of those features that made Sony seem like a forward-thinking company that was aiming at technophiles, who’d be drawn to the power of the machine’s Cell processor. Of course, you can choose not install the 3.21 update, but you’ll risk being left in the dust as far as the core functionality of your console goes.

What do you think, readers? Is this a big deal? Did anyone out there have a PS3 running another OS?