Why No OtherOS Option on PS3 Slim? Sony Answers

The recent release of the PS3 Slim brought about joy for those who were waiting for a less expensive/smaller gaming system and indignation for those who were waiting for a Linux experimental machine of the same type as there was no “OtherOS” or Linux option on this model. Why? we cry sadly. Because, the deep, omniscient voices of two Sony representatives boom back.We were left to guess just why there was no OtherOS option included with the PS3 Slim.There didn’t seem to be much of any explanation as to why it was left out. Did Sony feel threatened by people using Linux instead of buying games? Doubtful, as they’re sure to still make quite a bit of money selling even just the PS3s, and there surely aren’t enough people who even use only that feature enough to threaten the sale of games. Why take the feature off? Sony has said that “the new PS3 system will focus on delivering games and other entertainment content, and users will not be able to install other operating systems…” Well, the answer’s pretty simple, and not much beyond that.

A fellow from Games I Like did some digging and found the quotes of two Sony Computer Entertainment representatives that clarify the reasons why completely as well as give those who use the original PS3 for alternative operating systems an “all’s well” signal.

The explanation (in response to an unhappy forum-goer):

I’m sorry that you are frustrated by the lack of comment specifically regarding the withdrawal of support for OtherOS on the new PS3 slim. 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.

We may not particularly be happy with it (especially those in Europe with that ridiculous 299EUR price thrown in the bargain), but at least we have an explanation.

Some who use the PS3 as an alternative OS machine may have been worried at the Slim’s drop of OtherOS support meant that future firmware updates to the previous PS3 models would also drop support for OtherOS, but another representative qualms those fears:

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.

There is a good thing or two about the Slim’s arrival, though: previous models’ prices ought to be cascading to new lows pretty soon (if not already), so those really interested in OtherOS-supported PS3s or even just one for the sake of gaming can get one on the cheap while they’re still being sold.


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