Sony's PS3 Update Could Affect Supercomputer Users

"If you're one of the many scientists and researchers using a PlayStation 3 as a cheap alternative to a supercomputer, you'll want to steer clear of Sony's latest firmware update.

The PlayStation 3 has emerged as a favorite among researchers looking to create homebrew supercomputers on the cheap. When clustered, the PS3's Cell processor - developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba - can rival the power of a supercomputer, say some researchers."


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unrealgamer583309d ago

I believe sony has a custom fw update for this

Bereaver3309d ago

Or, it could still be an april fools joke.

koehler833309d ago

They've given cluster users heads up not to update. They'll retain the current firmware and all it's features.

People are treating this like a breach of contract or something. Sony has already cut off the feature to new users by removing the feature from Slims back in August. Anyone who has been using a PS3 for computational purposes prior to that can continue to do so as long as they like. They will just lose the ability to play games they likely weren't playing anyway.

And for the record, Sony has never advertised that feature.

Shadow Flare3309d ago

All they have to do is not update their ps3's. It's not like they're using them to play mag. That geohotz guy is such a twat. Who knows what sony might remove next thanks to that fool

vhero3309d ago

people who use PS3 as a super computer would never need to update there ps3 as they never play games on it.

Godmars2903309d ago

Which was more the shame.

Imagine if they had run a septate ad campaign from the game console touting it as an e-machine while at the same time creating a specific version of Linux to run on it. Offering models with it already installed that also came with a keyboard.

One MS critic was right when he said that Sony includes tons of aps in their product, then fail to develop of even support them.

sikbeta3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

This Update could affect Supercomputer Users, but IT'LL NOT AFFECT THEM because they simply will not Update, IF they use the PS3-Clusters For [Research] they don't use the Consoles For Gaming, PSN, On-Line, Blu-Ray and Such, so they DON'T need to Update, they probably never update cuz they don't use the Console for Gaming and Multimedia stuff...

Christopher3309d ago

This article is completely wrong.

People using them as a cluster farm for supercomputing never run the PS3 OS and only Linux. You can update those OS and any programs on them without ever having to update the PS3 firmware. It's the firmware that needs to be updated to account for the LinuxOS option each time, not the other way around.

So, people who are into supercomputing are not at all affected by this at all.

Darrius Cole3309d ago

Or, it could still be an April fool's joke.

Milky Joe3309d ago

Yeah, some how I dount the people using them like this will be too upset about not being able to play online xD

Eamon3309d ago

Shadow Flare, your reaction is similar to how a kid in school would react when one person causes the teacher to keep the whole class behind.

It's not that one person's fault the whole class was kept behind. It was the teacher's decision.

This analogy works here too. Sony is scared the exploit could lead to piracy and do not want to take a risk so they cut off the feature.

It's like when the US army airstrikes a spot in Afghanistan to eliminate Taliban insurgents but then civilians get caught in the crossfire. Putting the blame on the insurgents even though they weren't responsible for the air strike.

randomwiz3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

people using ps3 for supercomputers probably still have not updated above fw 1.0

but that one kid in the class has a knife that threatens the teachers life. Did the teacher make the right decision holding up the class, or should he have not done anything and let the student with the knife roam freely.

like i said before, if people had not used linux to modify files in the ps3 os partition, Sony probably wouldn't have removed this.

working4games3309d ago

Sony's firmware updates for the PS3 have always gone up by .01 every update. Why would they up the number by .05 all of a sudden just to rid us older PS3 owners of a feature? My theory is that they upped the number by .05 since 5 days from the announcement being released the update is on April Fool's Day and that they will just add features instead of removing them. I just wonder if there will be a media firestorm if this is revealed.

Microsoft Xbox 3603309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

BUT these so called supercomputers don't have to update to the newest firmware. For all we know they are probably still running the initial firmware that was installed from factory. I don't think the military or anybody that uses it for scientific research watches bluray or plays games like MAG on PSN.

LOL. Just the thought of them actually doing that is hilarious.

- "Private, disconnect one of those PS3's off the cluster and hook it up that TV, it's time for some MAG action!"

- "Sir yes sir!"

Syronicus3309d ago

Yeah, because we all know that those who use their PS3's for super computing also use them to play games on the side...

Stop the FUD about this update already.

Mr Logic3309d ago

Whatever happened to those pictures that showed FW 3.20 supporting 3D?

Ju3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

Who ever uses a PS3 as a Supercomputer got one already - long ago. New ones don't have the custom OS since they were released last September. No PS3slim has the custom OS feature. So, why would anybody bother NOW ?

BTW: A friend of mine uses the [email protected] project to run whatever code he wants on the SPUs. That's a back door to harness SPU power through a PS3 cluster - without running linux.

Eamon3309d ago


I asssume when you said "the kid has a knife and is threatening the teacher's life" you mean to say that Geohot's exploit could end the Playstation 3?

Unfortunately that is not so. There is quite a high rate of piracy for the PSP and DS and they have still survived. Also, the Xbox 360 has piracy (although minimal compared to handhelds) and it remains to have high sales both hardware and software.

It's called a business move. Sony would rather remove a feature given to the customers than risk losing a small percentage of sales. This is normal for any capitalist business.

Voozi3309d ago

This update is also affecting people who do cell based developing/coding on their PS3's via Linux AND also play games, buy stuff off psn store, etc. Especially if you're doing an independent study for college which is kind of a big deal...

Thanks Sony now I can't go online anymore, play any new games that will require new firmware, etc.

Next time don't brag about these features or advertise them

"One of the most powerful things about the PS3 is the "Install Other OS" option. It won't be Vista. It'll be Linux." ~ Phil Harrison

"There is more to the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment system than you may have assumed. In addition to playing games, watching movies, listening to music, and viewing photos, you can use the PS3™ system to run the Linux operating system.

By installing the Linux operating system, you can use the PS3™ system not only as an entry-level personal computer with hundreds of familiar applications for home and office use, but also as a complete development environment for the Cell Broadband Engine™ (Cell/B.E.)."

Take note of the last line; "a complete development environment for the Cell Broadband Engine™" which is what I can't do on my PC ;)

So anyone want to send me another PS3? Since I now need two of them, one for gaming and one for cell developing.

IdleLeeSiuLung3309d ago

I have a great idea, I won't even charge Sony for it.

Don't remove a feature until it ACTUALLY IS a security problem? I mean you can always close it later in a firmware update and since new games will require the update.

XxZxX3309d ago


Don't take out the cancer cell if it's not spreading.
or Don't lock the door if you don't see any thief.

Make much sense?

Neo6043309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )


you can still doing [email protected] to cure cancer, I did.

ThanatosDMC3309d ago

Idiotic article because those people dont use it for games.

DaTruth3309d ago

A tiny bit of research and even less common sense could have avoided this article based entirely on a mistake!

Nobody is updating the firmware on their supercomputers!

IdleLeeSiuLung3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

"Don't take out the cancer cell if it's not spreading.
or Don't lock the door if you don't see any thief. "

Your analogy isn't very good. Cancer has no recourse once it spreads while being deadly and locking your door has no ill effect.

Removing a feature that is in use just in case somebody MIGHT (read extremely low probability) hack your console is ridiculous considering the backlash you are getting from your current consumers. It's not like Sony has no recourse even if somebody do hack it!

This is similar to DRM, let's add the most obnoxious kind to upset your current customer in case those thief phony up the $$$ to buy the game.

Basically what I see is Sony will risk lawsuit and upsetting their user base for something that MIGHT happen with very low probability that they do have an easy fix after the fact!

+ Show (21) more repliesLast reply 3309d ago
Marty83703309d ago

scientists and researchers would use ther own networks not PSN. So they would chose not to upgrade.

Kamikaze1353309d ago

I guess who ever posted this needs to look into things a bit further before posting news.

ElementX3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

Says Geoff Levand in an email to

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.

Arksine3309d ago

The email in your link was sent in February. I'm going to guess that the folks involved did not have the right information. Either that, or they flat out lied.

This isn't an April Fools joke. Any company worth their salt isn't going to joke about something that could potentially piss customers off. Sony sent out the notice early so people with PS3 clusters for HPC use do not upgrade the firmware.

That said, hopefully Sony will add a nice feature in 3.21 to ease the pain for their gaming customers that are angry to see Other OS removed. Maybe one of the two biggies: Software emulation or X-Game chat.

randomwiz3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

that was before people touched the ps3 os partition and changed that rco file to display text.

They patched the hypervisor to access the ps3 partition. If they didn't do that, i'm sure we would have still had OtherOS.

Lumbo3309d ago

LOL, people act as if this message ewas from February THIS year, when it clearly was from BEFORE the Other-OS hack:

"> On Fri, 2009-08-21 at 09:58 -0700, geoffrey.levand at wrote:"

August 21th 2009! That was at the Slim release, not "a few days ago"

ElementX3309d ago (Edited 3309d ago )

Yes but they're going back on their word. So it was from last year, big deal. If you tell somebody something, you should stick to it. It's called honesty. So what if the game changed? These days you can't believe anything anyone says, ever.

Just look at Bioshock on PS3, they said it wouldn't happen but sure enough, it did. This industry is full of corrupt liars who change their words.

Next thing you know Sony will charge for online, even though they said they wouldn't. Anything is possible, it's all big corporations.

I don't care, because I don't use Linux, but it's the corporate morality that's at issue here. They're always saying one thing but doing another.

You buy hardware, you should be able to hack it for custom firmware or whatever. I don't do these things, but a lot of people like running custom stuff. You physically own the hardware and then they take something away from you when you bought it with the understanding that it will support another OS.

Same thing with ISPs. You buy their service, but a few years down the road they limit your bandwidth (Comcast). I don't pirate, some people do. They try to stop those people, however sometimes innocent people get screwed in the process.

nevimkdojsem23308d ago

"Geoff Levand, PS3-Linux maintainer" is not Sony employee, so Sony didn't lie. AFAIK Sony has nothing to do with the Linux distros you can install on fat PS3s, those are just regular Linux distros compiled for the Power PC CPUs; it really is "other OS" - it could be Free BSD or your own OS if you managed to compile it for the Power PC architecture.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 3308d ago
raztad3309d ago

Pretty sure if you have a cluster of PS3s running it's not exactly gaming but doing HPC. You never mess with a cluster. Once the thing is set, forget about updates unless strictly necessary, PS3 firmware updates are absolutely not required so never installed. Dont worry about scientists.

sikbeta3309d ago

Exactly, IF people that have PS3-Clusters don't use it For Gaming, there is no need for Them to Update

Vip3r3309d ago

Don't update them then? How many of those used to form a "super computer" need access to PSN?

They should be fine if you think about it.