Sony has invoked the anger of open source and user rights groups with a recent decision regarding Linux on its gaming platforms.
The company said earlier this week that it will remove the option to run Linux on versions of its PlayStation 3 (PS3) console released prior to September 2009.
The feature had been popular with Linux enthusiasts as well as groups looking to use the PS3's Cell processor for general computing tasks.
The 'Other OS' hypervisor tool allowed users to create a drive partition on which a Linux build could be installed and run. However, the feature will be disabled.
The company said that a new version of its firmware, to be released on Thursday, will be required to use the console's online features such as internet multi-player features and the online PlayStation Store.
Sony said that the move was prompted by security worries, arguing that the partitions put the console at risk of damage and data loss.
Not long after the announcement was made, user advocacy groups spoke up on the matter. In a posting issued on Tuesday evening, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) accused Sony of deliberately removing features from its console and downgrading machines that users had already paid for.
"Sony is effectively downgrading PS3s already sold and in the hands of consumers. When you bought it, it could play games, play Blu-ray discs, and run GNU/Linux," wrote EFF senior technologist Peter Eckersley. "From 1 April, it is an inferior product."
Researchers are already seeking to develop a way around the ban. George Hotz, the researcher who as a teenager unlocked the Apple iPhone, advised users not to install the firmware update and said that he would be looking to develop a workaround for the new restrictions.
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