The recent buzz of release of the PS3 Slim brought about joy for those who were waiting for a cheaper/smaller/more efficient gaming system. But IT has one BIG trade-off for Open Source enthusiasts — No Linux, NoOther OS support. Why?. The Reason is obvious, they are looking to cut costs in every way possible, and that’s what made it cheap.
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.
Sony stated the console’s ability to run PS2 games wasn’t a major “purchase intent driver” and therefore not worth the cost of including, yet remained relatively silent on the missing “OtherOS” option.
As a response to rising questions, two Sony Computer Entertainment representatives clarified the reasons why completely as well as give those who use the original PS3 for alternative operating systems an “all’s well” signal.
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.
While Sony’s official line of software-related costs is reasonable from a corporate standpoint, others have speculated the company isn’t pleased with the handful of private research labs, companies, and individuals using racks of PS3s as a relatively inexpensive Cell cluster node or workstation. Because Sony sells the PS3 at a loss, any customer who doesn’t buy games for the console is bad for the bottom line.
If it’s a truly a software cost issue, it seems Sony could just slap an extra fee on those who want the OtherOS option. The cost could probably be up there before it came close to the cost of buying specialized Cell hardware.
Or Sony could open the technology up to the Linux community to maintain by Open Source-ing the existing Hypervisor. This is possible because Sony is Open source Friendly.
Or Withing few days of launch, someone gets PS3 Fat Hypervisors Drivers at random and gets a Port done for PS3 Slim. You never know!