There is some bittersweet news for PlayStation 3 owners. The good news is that on April 1st, Sony will be releasing a newer firmware for PS3; a new firmware is always good news as it promises improvements in the older firmware. The bad news is that it will no longer be supporting the OtherOS options which many PS3 owners use to run Linux.
Disabling the OtherOS option is a result of a security concern which Sony has. The OtherOS option presents a hardware memory glitch into the PS3 console; hackers can exploit this glitch to gain access to all areas of the console’s RAM. The hacker responsible for this hack has recently been claiming to get increasingly closer to successfully breach PS3 games’ security. This could possibly enable users to play pirated games on the console.
Users of PS3’s current firmware who are taking advantage of the OtherOS feature and want to continue to do so can choose to not go for the firmware update. Sony has defined that clearly. However it has also made it a very difficult decision to stay with the current firmware. While users of the current firmware will be able to play games offline, they will not be able to play games online. Furthermore it has been rumored that upcoming games will require installation and will be compatible with the upcoming and newer firmware versions.
Another point to note is that the new firmware will render inaccessible the files used by OtherOS; therefore before you upgrade, make sure to backup your data. It is still unclear whether or not the disk space occupied by the OtherOS will be recoverable.
Sony’s official statement can be read on its blog here.