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Sony Agrees To Pay Millions To Gamers To Settle PS3 Linux Debacle (arstechnica.com) 232

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: After six years of litigation, Sony is now agreeing to pay the price for its 2010 firmware update that removed support for the Linux operating system in the PlayStation 3. Sony and lawyers representing as many as 10 million console owners reached the deal on Friday. Under the terms of the accord, (PDF) which has not been approved by a California federal judge yet, gamers are eligible to receive $55 if they used Linux on the console. The proposed settlement, which will be vetted by a judge next month, also provides $9 to each console owner that bought a PS3 based on Sony's claims about "Other OS" functionality. Under the plan, gamers eligible for a cash payment are "all persons in the United States who purchased a Fat PS3 model in the United States between November 1, 2006, and April 1, 2010." The accord did not say how much it would cost Sony, but the entertainment company is expected to pay out millions. On March 28, 2010, Sony announced that the update would "disable the 'Install Other OS' feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models." This feature, Sony claimed, would be removed "due to security concerns." Sony did not detail those "concerns," but the litigation alleged piracy was behind the decision. A gamer can get the $55, but they "must attest under oath to their purchase of the product and installation of Linux, provide proof of their purchase or serial number and PlayStation Network Sign-in ID, and submit some proof of their use of the Other OS functionality." To get the $9, PS3 owners must submit a claim, at the time they bought their console, they "knew about the Other OS, relied upon the Other OS functionality, and intended to use the Other OS functionality." Alternatively, a gamer "must attest that he or she lost value and/or desired functionality or was otherwise injured as a consequence of Firmware Update 3.21 issued on April 1, 2010," to get $9.
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Sony Agrees To Pay Millions To Gamers To Settle PS3 Linux Debacle

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  • Lawyers get millions (Score:5, Informative)

    by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @08:31PM (#52371131) Homepage

    So, basically, the lawyers get a fee of millions, but they have made it so hard to actually register for the fifty-five dollar rebate that pretty much all the users will get: zero.

    Horray for America.

    • by mfh ( 56 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @08:45PM (#52371201) Homepage Journal

      This is injustice handed to the people by the state. Once again, the state settles problems for corporations at the expense of the average citizen.

      The cost of actually doing all the things they are asking to the user is greater than $55 in terms of time and effort. Most people will not do it.

      So instead of claiming $55 from Sony, I will pledge never to give them another dime. I have so far paid them probably in the range of $2000 or maybe more? But I won't buy anything else from them until they pledge and prove they are a company that places a higher value on users than on their own authority over users.

      Users > Companies.

      • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @09:11PM (#52371357)

        So instead of claiming $55 from Sony, I will pledge never to give them another dime.

        You hadn't already done that six years ago, when the removal of OtherOS happened? Or before that, when they released the rootkit CDs? Or before that, when they pushed proprietary DRM'd MemorySticks instead of MMC? Or before that, when they pushed proprietary MiniDiscs?

        (I might have gotten those out of chronological order, and I'm sure I missed a few entirely... Sony is evil in so many ways it's hard to keep track!)

        • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <`ten.knilhtrae' `ta' `nsxihselrahc'> on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @10:24PM (#52371681)

          The thing to notice is that the evil stuff they did didn't really start until after their management was swallowed by Hollywood. Prior to that Sony was an excellent company producing superb technical goods.

          So, to me, this is another example of why you should never trust anyone associated withe either the MPAA or the RIAA. And that explicitly includes SONY.

        • by mfh ( 56 )

          That sure is a laundry list of things companies should never do.

          PS4 looked really good at first though... but yeah I'm not buying one now. It's not worth the hassle when some manager at Sony decides it's a good idea to try to brick the consoles so you have to buy the next one, or some other shady move.

          I am a PC gamer so I don't need consoles really. It's not like Microsoft is any better than Sony at ethics.

        • by rmav ( 1149097 )
          Not to speak of the SACD copy protection schemes (both HW and SW), that helped inflict heavy hits to the concept of high resolution audio (luckily, DRM free legal downloads are coming now to the rescue)
        • Or before that, when they pushed proprietary DRM'd MemorySticks instead of MMC?

          Secure Digital cards didn't exist when Sony created MemorySticks. MS was created with the intent of selling digital music (this was pre-iTunes) and wanting some way of protecting that music. Also they aren't "quite" proprietary since 3rd parties make them.

          Or before that, when they pushed proprietary MiniDiscs?

          Not proprietary, Sony DID license MiniDisc to other manufacturers...however said manufacturers often didn't release said products in the States.

          • MS was created with the intent of selling digital music (this was pre-iTunes) and wanting some way of protecting that music.

            Like I said, evil. Records, cassettes, CDs and even MP3 downloads have proven over and over again that selling music does not require "protection."

            Not proprietary, Sony DID license MiniDisc to other manufacturers...

            If it requires a "license" then it's still proprietary (unless said license qualifies as FRAND [wikipedia.org]).

      • which is nothing. We've recently had even this taken away from us. Corps can now force us into arbitration. Want it to stop? Start voting for economically left wing candidates. Corps will always use gov't to their advantage. They're run by the ruling class, and the ruling class has _always_ made good use of the gov't. Either you band together with your fellow 99% and get a piece of that action or you get bowled over.
        • which is nothing. We've recently had even this taken away from us. Corps can now force us into arbitration. Want it to stop? Start voting for economically left wing candidates.

          I'm sure we will get into the No True Scottsman argument but as a country we have been voting for left economically wing candidates. The more we try to get government to control businesses, the more intertwined businesses and government get.

      • This is injustice handed to the people by the state. Once again, the state settles problems for corporations at the expense of the average citizen.

        The average citizen never gave a dawn about Linux on the PS3. Best guess I heard at the time was about15,000 --- based on downloads of a PS3 distribution. That is why you take SONY into court on your own. But you are bound by the way you frame your case and the remedies which are available. If you are suing for damages you have to prove you've been damaged. I'm sorry you can't do that, but now it's too late. You're stuck for it.

      • "The cost of actually doing all the things they are asking to the user is greater than $55 in terms of time and effort."

        That means your 'loss' due to the change was a frivolous one, at best.

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        Devil's Advocate time: How would you have handled it? To claim the $55, the user would have to show real proof, and a "uhhh yeah, your honor, I totally bought this with the intent of using OtherOS" isn't going to cut it.

        I'm eligible for the $55 (I am pretty sure I still have the OtherOS image installed on my PS3 hard drive), but I'm not yet sure how I'm going to prove it, and I know that they can't just take my word for it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @09:48PM (#52371531)

      That's how it's meant to work. A class action is not for making money - it's a way to challenge a company's behaviour without spending years of your life in court, without spending a fortune in legal fees, and without assuming personal risk. You're barely involved at all, while the lawyer does all the work, takes on the financial burden and isn't even guaranteed to get paid at all. If you're looking into making profit from suing people then you have plenty of other options to use instead.

    • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @11:48PM (#52371947)
      The joys of law.
        - Sony loses lawsuit regarding a change they made in 2010
        - Six years later, you have to show proof that you bought a game system probably 7 years earlier... which you didn't keep because you bought the slimmer model or a PS4 or traded it in for something at the game store.
        - The terms required to collect the $55 recompense are more or less unachievable except for that one guy who got the PS3 for Christmas and his mom actually saved the receipt for her accounting.
        - The amount of time required to earn the $55 is about the same as McDonalds pays their french fry cooks.

      So... for the $55... who would give a shit? This will cost Sony $2,000 in recompense and $1,000,000-$10,000,000 in legal fees.
      • - The terms required to collect the $55 recompense are more or less unachievable except for that one guy who got the PS3 for Christmas and his mom actually saved the receipt for her accounting.

        "Or serial number", seems doable to me.

    • The point is that Sony gets punished for these shenanigans. A better resolution than Sony sitting back and thinking they can do whatever they want with those suckers who buy their products.

      • Where do they get punished? This is even WORSE than the settlement for when they distributed rootkits where they were required to give everyone who bought the content with the rootkit a rootkit-free version. Provided they asked for it, of course.

        This time they get to pay pennies provided you play the circus lion for them and jump through impossibly high hoops.

        Where the FUCK do you see any kind of punishment?

        You know what a punishment would be? Give everyone who provides proof of purchase of a PS3 a new PS4

        • Where the FUCK do you see any kind of punishment?

          Having to put up with lawyers waltzing in and out, hoovering up fees and distracting execs for years. See, lawyers do have some beneficial purpose, I am sure that there is some beneficial reason for roaches to exist too.

    • So, basically, the lawyers get a fee of millions, but they have made it so hard to actually register for the fifty-five dollar rebate that pretty much all the users will get: zero.

      Yep. That's the way virtually all of these class action lawsuits work. The lawyers make millions and the victims get some shitty coupon for a free car wash or basket-weaving class.

      The car wash is only valid on alternate Tuesdays from 2am to 3am in months that end in "S", and the basket-weaving class requires you to travel to Namibia twice a week.

  • $55 is a pathetic recompense for losing the ability to rip one's own SACDs.
    • Well tell the court that you want sony to re-enable linux capabilities as its more valuable to you because with linux you can commit crimes with it.

      • Well tell the court that you want sony to re-enable linux capabilities as its more valuable to you because with linux you can commit crimes with it.

        Format shifting falls under fair use in some jurisdictions. Not a crime.

  • YDL 6.1 on the PS3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @08:37PM (#52371163)

    Installing YDL 6.1 on my PS3 was my first Linux experience. I ran it over composite RCA to my TV so it wasn't much to look at, but it was step one in me becoming a computer guy.

    I latter put YDL 6.2 on it and that had a much easier install, as I recall.

    I went without upgrading to the OtherOS firmware for a year or so, but eventually some game I wanted to play required a newer firmware so I bit the bullet and installed it. I manually removed the Linux partition before the upgrade so I can't confirm whether the tales of the system not reclaiming the Linux partition if upgraded with it still in place were true.

    Still have my PS3, only replaced the original 60GB HDD a few months ago. Didn't realize at the time I bought it in January 2007 I would be getting the most capable version of the hardware... early adoption went well for once. Only real downside compared to the newer models is how loud the cooling fans are.

    • by uolamer ( 957159 )

      I still have my PS3. I used YDL at one point then I had the insane idea of installing gentoo. The emerge world command took over 24 hours from what I remember due to Sony locking out most of the CPU cores. I won't bother trying to get my $55. Not sure what kind of proof I could come up with. I damn sure don't have my receipt from when I bought it or any proof it had Linux on it at one point, besides the fact I am not sure it is worth my time...

      • The emerge world command took over 24 hours from what I remember due to Sony locking out most of the CPU cores.

        Sony didn't lock out "most of the CPU cores", the PS3 has only ONE PPE that's hyperthreaded. You've got full access to that.

        You're thinking of the SPU's which are not "generic CPU cores", a gentoo "emerge world" wouldn't use them anyway.

    • Installing YDL 6.1 on my PS3 was my first Linux experience.

      Installing Sony's wacky Kondarized Red Hat on the PS2 was mine.

      I ran it over composite RCA to my TV so it wasn't much to look at

      I feel your pain, having run PS2 Linux via composite/s-video. I ran YDL on the PS3 via HDMI.

      I went without upgrading to the OtherOS firmware for a year or so

      I only lasted a couple of months.

      I manually removed the Linux partition before the upgrade so I can't confirm whether the tales of the system not reclaiming the Linux partition if upgraded with it still in place were true.

      They're not, it reclaims.

      Still have my PS3, only replaced the original 60GB HDD a few months ago.

      I upped mine to 320GB in 2012, game caches were killing me.

      Didn't realize at the time I bought it in January 2007 I would be getting the most capable version of the hardware... early adoption went well for once.

      I wasn't a quite so early adopter. I bought my CECHE in 2008, knowing it would be the last of the backwards compatible models. But I also got the DualShock3 as part of that. The CECHE MGS models were the first to ship with the DS3 inste

  • I'll bet Sony wish they had stuck with Linux. What with M$'s major missteps on Windows huge invasion of privacy, a Sony playstation computer with Linux running for all you other needs, Libre Office et al, would have quite a good marketing advantage but of course the morons got stuck on the idea of how to charge console licence fees for free open source software, so went full blown greed driven stupidity and killed the idea. They could have actually sold playstations for a profit and eased up on licence fee

    • Sony uses FreeBSD now. And after stuff like this, it probably makes them glad they have nothing more to do with Linux or allowing anybody to do stuff with their own hardware.

      • Sony uses FreeBSD now. And after stuff like this, it probably makes them glad they have nothing more to do with Linux or allowing anybody to do stuff with their own hardware.

        And I'm glad, too, because we don't need them.

      • Sony uses FreeBSD now. And after stuff like this, it probably makes them glad they have nothing more to do with Linux or allowing anybody to do stuff with their own hardware.

        Sony uses Linux (Android) on their handsets, so there goes your troll.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @08:41PM (#52371177)

    Get all PS3 owners to Object to the settlement and demand the remedy of Specific Performance. Sony will be ordered by the court to restore 100% of the OtherOS functionality present before the update, which we paid for.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      It is 2016, the IBM cell is horrible compared to any machine out there. Do you really still care about running linux on a PS3 ?

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Cell is still a hellaciously-capable performance CPU architecture.

        The 1st-gen PS3 Cell had almost 300 GFLOPs performance.

        To put that in perspective, the i7-4770K is ~100 GFLOPs. The i7-6700K is ~113 GFLOPs.

        So, no, you add a better GPU and more RAM (which is clocked at the processor's base speed,) and the Cell-based PS3 would still stomp the shit out of any PC system built today for the most part.

        • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Thursday June 23, 2016 @03:10AM (#52372413)
          Vastly different architectures, so those comparisons, despite being in the same units, is still not worth a lot.
          You see, the Cell is RISC, while the Intel chips you mentioned are all CISC.
          If you don't know the difference, look it up.
          Short version, they do very different things well, so a pure measurement of flops is pretty useless to compare.
          • by Khyber ( 864651 )

            "while the Intel chips you mentioned are all CISC"

            Intel has a RISC-like micro-core translating x86 instructions and has had it since the Pentium Pro. It has not been a CISC processor for AGES.

            " PlayStation 3's Cell CPU achieves a theoretical maximum of 230.4 GFLOPS in single precision floating point operations and up to +15 GFLOPS double precision using iterative refinement for the solution of linear equations."

            With the right programming, Cell will still stomp the shit out of current-gen processors.

            I progra

        • by godrik ( 1287354 )

          The 1st-gen PS3 Cell had almost 300 GFLOPs performance.

          To put that in perspective, the i7-4770K is ~100 GFLOPs. The i7-6700K is ~113 GFLOPs.

          What are you talking about ? The cell in the PS3 gets about 250 Gflop/s single precision.

          a i7-6700K comes with 4 cores at 4 Ghz, support AVX2 and FMA extensions. There are 2 (?) FMA unit on that thing. so you should get about 4(cores)*4Ghz*2(FMA)*2(2units)*256/32(AVX registers)= 512Gflop/s.
          And in case you wonder, yes you do get about that in gemm computation.

          If you are looking at the memory subsystem, a skylake processor has almost has much L4 cache as the PS3 got in main memory. And a skylake machine wll

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Can you not sue them individually now? In the UK people were getting over $100 for the loss of this feature directly from the retailer. For example Amazon paid £86 without too much hassle or need to sue them.

  • How would you go about proving that you installed linux on a console 6 years ago?

  • what will the us air force get for there settlement?

  • Considering all of the money that Sony's paid out to lawyers over the years fighting this plus the amount they'll end up paying out to the customers if they're going to end up worse off than they would have if they'd settled before this even came to trial. Maybe, if the total costs of the case are high enough, Sony's stockholders may decide to vote out the current management on the grounds of their failing to protect the company's assets. One can only hope.
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2016 @09:57PM (#52371575) Homepage Journal

    Pretty sure this mid-sized fiasco wasn't mentioned at the Sony shareholders meeting on the 17th. Unfortunately, my Japanese isn't that good, so I could have missed it, and I've already discarded the documents.

    Only memorable thing at this year's meeting was the late start. Some old fellow charged the stage and got in a shouting match with the CEO for several minutes before they could persuade him to leave. Not sure, but he might have been the same crackpot who was blocked about 5 rows back two or three years ago. I was seated on that side, but around the 12th row that year. In between, there were two minor ruckuses (ruckii?) at the meeting last year, but this year the overall tone of the shareholders seemed to be much more placid, if not downright bucolic.

    Actually, one more thing comes to mind. Seemed rather more intensely Japanese this year than in some past years. Still no gift for attending, but they did bring back the exhibition of new products.

    (I attended the NEC shareholders' meeting yesterday, and that one was seriously forgettable. Used to be that all of them were on the same day...)

    • Was there any point to this post other than showing off you speak Japanese and attend stockholders' conventions? Cause it doesn't have anything to do with linux on PS3.
      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        No, I do NOT speak Japanese, but was there any point to your so-called reply other than showing off you don't read very well?

        (Actually, I was quite annoyed that I couldn't even figure out what the heckler and the CEO were shouting at each other. There was a key word that I didn't recognize. However, their argument seemed much more focused that the similar event of two years ago, which basically seemed to be an argument that Stringer should retire immediately to take responsibility for the problems of that t

    • Ok, I actually do have a sincere (and off-topic) question for you.

      Why do you go to these meetings?

      I present for my company at meetings. It seems phone calls are much preferred to face to face meetings unless there's something really critical (bad) going on. Certainly, we don't get anyone who isn't fluent in English. So... why do you go to the Japanese shareholder meetings?

      Maybe they're entertaining? I've never seen any ruckii at our meetings. To have that happen almost annually would be incredible. No

  • June 21st was the day Amazon calculated how much of an eBook credit you get for Kindle books, paid for by Apple as part of the settlement...

    The fact that Apple has to specifically provide credit for Kindle books brings the tragic nature of that trial to a whole other level. Apple was basically trying to prevent a Kindle monopoly, now required by government to re-enforce it...

    My sadness over the result doesn't mean I won't use the credit though! Free books!

  • I love this.
    When an individual is sued by a multi-million dollar conglomerate of sorts (Music / Movie / Software industries), they demand hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    When it's the other way around: "Here's $55... we're all good?"
  • When OtherOS support was removed, a lot of people who were using it for Linux suddenly had an incentive to break open the copy protection in order to run their own code.

    I suspect if Sony had not removed OtherOS then the number of people interested in cracking the copy protection would have been limited only to those looking to pirate games and it would have taken a lot longer before piracy became an issue.

  • When cell came out, I was enthralled by using it for certain GPU-like computations where it would have been pretty much ideal for my purposes. But the more I looked into the security architecture, the more my gut twisted in dismay, so I never ended up buying one.

    When corporations retain these broad powers (most appliances, almost all cloud services) it's almost invariably exercised to make you less happy at some point down the road.

    If I could go back in time to offer my younger self some sage advice, it wo

  • Do mod chips cost more than $55? Maybe $9 for soldering.

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