Sony has proposed a settlement in a long-running lawsuit over their removal of “OtherOS” from the Playstation 3. OtherOS was an option on the original model of Playstation 3 that allowed users to install their own operating system such as Linux or BSD on the PlayStation 3. However, Sony later removed that option in a firmware update, and never supported it at all on the two slim revisions of the console.
OtherOS was a touted feature on the PlayStation 3 when it launched, with some entities buying them in large quantities to act as servers. The removal prompted a class action lawsuit for removal of advertised features. Sony argued that OtherOS had become a security risk, and that Sony “had the right to remove the Other OS pursuant to its terms of service and other purported agreements, and that the Other OS was not a functionality that was material to the vast majority of purchasers.” Sony also noted that the update was voluntary, however the plantiff noted that it effectively cut off other aspects of the PlayStation 3 such as support for newer games, Blu-Ray movies, and downloads from Playstation Network.
The proposed settlement is still pending the presiding judge’s approval, but Sony as proposed that anyone that purchased a PlayStation 3 and installed Linux would be eligible for $55. In addition, they have proposed that anyone that purchased a PlayStation 3 based on OtherOS as a feature would receive $9. However, there is some proof needed to receive the larger settlement.
“Consumer Class A claimants 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.”
Sony has also agreed to use the PlayStation Network email database to inform potential class members of the settlement. The judge still has to approve the proposal, but users of Playstation Network on the original PlayStation 3 model should be alerted via the emails used to sign up for the service if the settlement goes through.
What do you think of the proposed settlement? Was Sony in the right to remove a feature over security concerns? Is it ever right to remove features? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.