Most people welcomed the news that the Sony PlayStation 3 was slimming down, both in physical size and in terms of off the shelf pricing. The Linux crowd are not so impressed however.

According to SCE president and CEO Kazuo Hirai, the PS3 slim is some 36 percent lighter and 32 percent smaller than the original PS3 but retains the Blu-ray player along with a 120GB hard drive. What it has got rid of, according to reports, is the option to run Linux under an Install Other OS option that is available on the fat PS3.

Who cares, you might be thinking. After all, it's just a games console and the number of users who will be fiddling with the thing to install any kind of Linux on to it has to be fairly small in the scheme of things. Well, yes, maybe. But the small number of researchers who have been using the PS3 Cell processor by running Linux and creating PS3 clusters to further their research on a budget will see it as a big loss.

A (since deleted) forum post on an official Sony PlayStation website stated:

"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."

Oh well, maybe those researchers had better start saving up for a $35 million, 1.6 petaflops, Cell processor powered IBM RoadRunner supercomputer instead.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

Linux enthusiasts will obviously be angry with Sony, but also, they will be forced to realize that Sony intended to make the PS3 as a gaming console/home entertainment system primarily and not a Black Beast on which researchers and scientists can install open source softwares to further their research...