Playstation 3 Update Locks Out Linux and Ubuntu, Bricks Consoles

Apr 07, 2010

Another hardware update, another batch of bricked systems

On April 1, Sony released firmware update 3.21 for the PS3, an update that disabled the Install Other OS function on the older, bulkier PS3s. Sony's official reason: "Security Concerns."

Now, nearly a week later, consumers are reporting that the update has led to a variety of bugs, including slowed internet connections, controller compatibility issues, and resolution issues when using HDMI. And that's if the update installs at all, as there have been reports that the download cycle hits an endless loop and never fully completes.

Opting to not download the update bars the user from accessing the Playstation Store, playing games online or playing any games or Blu-ray movies that require the 3.21 update to function.

Only a sliver of the open-source community used the PS3 to run Linux or Ubuntu, but Sony's decision to cut them out is still a disappointing one, especially considering that it affects users who didn't even install another OS.

These issues only seem to affect the original non-slim (or fat) PS3s, as the option to install another operating system was removed on the newer, slim models. No word on a patch as of yet.

Update: Engadget has a workaround courtesy of Geohot.

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  • Re: Loop

    It's possible to actually boot the PS3 in Safe Mode and do the hardware update from there. Here's the link from Sony's site: .
  • Loop

    i am stuck in a Dl'ing loop and cant do anything whats so ever , even switching HDD's didnt work , turning it off and on , just brings up the Dl'ing screen???
  • Re: Workarounds

    If you live in Europe, you might want to look at consumer protection laws, as an intrepid member of the forum NeoGAF used European directive 1999/44/EC to get £84 out of

    The directive, which states that commercially purchased goods must, "fit for the purpose which the consumer requires them and which was made known to the seller at the time of purchase," fits the description of the update pretty well. It might be a little trouble to go to, if the update bricked your PS3, why not get a little pay back for your trouble?
  • Playstation 3 Update locks out Linux and Ubuntu, bricks consoles

    "locks out Linux and Ubuntu" err... what's the difference?
  • Grounds for action

    Removal, by force no less, of features and functionality by Sony from a product you purchased with these features would prompt me to send a nastygram to Sony demanding that I get what I originally paid for or a full refund. If there is no satisfactory resolution then I'd be off to talk to VCAT and the ACCC as well as the ombudsman (I'm in Australia). Where I come from, if someone sells you something that loses functionality over time, it's called a con.
  • Neverending Loops

    On my first attempt to install this update so that I could play a game online I struck the first issue I have had with a PS3 firmware update. Not only was it a slap in the face due to the removal of Install Other OS but it just started a never-ending loop at the Install OS EULA screen. It would run between a screen of grey static, then black and onto the EULA screen and continue the loop. The controllers were useless as they seemed to be stuck in the same loop whilst attempting to synch to the PS3. In the end I connected a USB keyboard and timed it right to select the cancel button and backed out of the update.

    Next I sent a whinge-mail to Sony about the issue and to express my displeasure with the removal of the Install Other OS option and the cyclic issue when attempting the update. Now the only reason I went ahead with the update is so that I could play games which was the main reason the PS3 was bought, but there was also a feature that I loved which added to the feature list of the PS3 (but this is now no longer sadly).

    I did receive a reply back inviting me to call their support line and quote the Reference number on my email, of course I took up their offer. To the credit of the Customer service person he handled my call professionally and elegantly, he could only cite the "security concerns" in relation to the reason that the update had occured. I mentioned the whole Geohot hack bit and he would not comment, can't blame him really.

    He advised me that he had not heard of my particular issue and advised me to try updating with either the USB stick in normal mode or to do it via Safe Mode if the former did not work. I must admit I had never heard of the Safe Mode and thought I had to give this one a try. I performed the update to 3.21 (begrudgingly) via Safe Mode and it worked perfectly and I must admit no issues at this stage.
  • Other workaround

    You can google it but setting the PS3 to use a custom DNS server will allow users to play online games and play BluRay as a temporary workaround.
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