By Jared Newman | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 10:13 am
Although I never found much utility in Other OS, a Playstation 3 feature that could turn the console into a basic computer running Linux, my heart went out to people who used Other OS before Sony scrapped it.
Sony said it removed Other OS in March to “protect the integrity of the console,” possibly because one hacker came too close to exploiting the feature in a way that would allow piracy. But now, OzModChips claims to have the first PS3 modchip on a USB stick. In theory, this allows people to play bootleg and homebrew games and make disc backups. Supposedly, it can also bypass firmware updates that Sony might use to banish the hack.
If Sony’s piracy safeguards have indeed fallen, I propose that Sony should bring back Other OS. After all, once the integrity of the console is lost, there’s no point in protecting it at the expense of users who did no harm.
A typical argument against draconian anti-piracy measures goes like this: Such attempts are pointless, because they eventually fail, and the only people who suffer are paying customers who have to jump through hoops. That argument didn’t apply to the Playstation 3, because it was rock solid against hackers for almost four years, and legitimate customers were none the wiser.
With the removal of Other OS, everything changed. A feature was lost, and now it appears that Sony’s previously unhackable machine is defeated through unrelated means. I’m skeptical of OzModChips’ solution, which costs $170, until it’s verified by an independent source, but if it’s legitimate, why should Sony pretend that removing Other OS keeps the Playstation 3’s integrity intact?