Sony and PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz settle out of court

SONY vs Geohotz

After a short but rather storied history, infamous PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George “GeoHot” Hotz and Sony Computer Entertainment of America have settled their legal dispute, with a statement on the PlayStation Blog stating the two parties “reached an agreement in principle” around 10 days ago. According to said agreement, Hotz has “consented to a permanent injunction,” meaning he super swears he won’t do it again (legally speaking, of course), though no other terms are given. We were told by an SCEA rep that the terms of the settlement (beyond what was disclosed) are confidential.

Unsurprisingly, both Hotz’ legal team and Sony’s were excited to resolve the legal dispute so quickly. “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier. I’m happy to have the litigation behind me,” Hotz said in the announcement.

Previously, Hotz had strict terms for a potential settlement. “Let’s just say, I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it,” Hotz wrote on his website during the trial. “It’d be good PR for Sony too, lord knows they could use it,” he continued. “I’m also willing to accept a trade, a legit path to homebrew for knowledge of how to stop new firmwares from being decrypted.” Apparently the case spooked Hotz enough to reconsider.

The settlement announcement also absolves Hotz of any potential wrongdoing associated with recent PlayStation Network attacks. “Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites,” the statement reads.

To fully drive the point of the blog post home, SCEA general counsel Riley Russell said of Hotz, “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”

For his part, Hotz announced via his blog this morning that he is “joining the Sony boycott,” and that he “will never purchase another Sony product.” It could be that he’s mad after the legal case … or it could just be that he’s broke.

After a short but rather storied history, infamous PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George “GeoHot” Hotz and Sony Computer Entertainment of America have settled their legal dispute, with a statement on the PlayStation Blog stating the two parties “reached an agreement in principle” around 10 days ago. According to said agreement, Hotz has “consented to a permanent injunction,” meaning he super swears he won’t do it again (legally speaking, of course), though no other terms are given. We were told by an SCEA rep that the terms of the settlement (beyond what was disclosed) are confidential.

Unsurprisingly, both Hotz’ legal team and Sony’s were excited to resolve the legal dispute so quickly. “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier. I’m happy to have the litigation behind me,” Hotz said in the announcement.

Previously, Hotz had strict terms for a potential settlement. “Let’s just say, I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it,” Hotz wrote on his website during the trial. “It’d be good PR for Sony too, lord knows they could use it,” he continued. “I’m also willing to accept a trade, a legit path to homebrew for knowledge of how to stop new firmwares from being decrypted.” Apparently the case spooked Hotz enough to reconsider.

The settlement announcement also absolves Hotz of any potential wrongdoing associated with recent PlayStation Network attacks. “Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites,” the statement reads.

To fully drive the point of the blog post home, SCEA general counsel Riley Russell said of Hotz, “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”

For his part, Hotz announced via his blog this morning that he is “joining the Sony boycott,” and that he “will never purchase another Sony product.” It could be that he’s mad after the legal case … or it could just be that he’s broke.

yeah.. its nice to hear that finally this comes to an end. just put back the OtherOS and most of us would be happy to comply with Sony’s rule. don’t charge us unnecessarily though.. let’s hope everything goes well onwards. article from Joystiq.

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Sony Claims PlayStation 3 Hacker Sabotaged Hard Drive, Skipped Town

George Hotz

Sony is accusing alleged PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz of surrendering two “nonfunctional” hard drives in violation of a court order, and then taking off to South America.

But Hotz’s lawyer said Wednesday that Sony is “crying alligator tears” over the issue.

Sony is suing the 21-year-old Glen Rock, New Jersey, man on charges he violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by publishing an encryption key and software tools in January that allow PlayStation 3 owners to gain complete control of their consoles. As part of the litigation, a San Francisco federal magistrate ordered Hotz to surrender his hard drives to Sony, so files connected to the hack can be extracted and used as evidence in the case.

But Sony notified the judge that, when it got the drives from Hotz, they were no longer working. “Hotz had removed integral components from his impounded hard drives, rendering them completely non-functional.” (.pdf), the company claimed in a filing.

Stewart Kellar, Hotz’s attorney, said the issue is overblown.

“They didn’t have the controller card attached. That’s it,” Kellar said in a telephone interview Wednesday from his San Francisco office.

He said that Hotz has since turned over the cards, solving the problem.

Sony did not respond for comment.

Hotz, who is also well-known in iPhone hacking circles, so far is fighting the case on jurisdictional grounds, and maintains he should be sued in New Jersey instead of California.

As part of that battle, Sony claimed that it uncovered evidence that Hotz maintained an account on Sony’s PlayStation Network, which is based in Northern California. Hotz had denied holding a PSN account.

In its filing, Sony also pointed out that Hotz has left the country.

“Hotz conveniently traveled to South America in the midst of jurisdictional discovery, including his court-ordered deposition,” Sony said.

“I don’t want to comment on that stuff,” Kellar said. “He has done nothing to make himself unavailable.”

Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero has signed off on Sony subpoenas (.pdf) to Twitter, YouTube, Google and PayPal as part of the console-maker’s scorched-earth litigation tactics to win an unspecified amount of monetary damages from Hotz. Spero has also granted Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited Hotz’s website from January 2009 to the present.

SoftLayer Technologies, which counts psx-scene.com among its hosted sites, is objecting to a records demand seeking server logs and other information related to Hotz’s account on the online PlayStation forum.

The DMCA prohibits the trafficking of so-called “circumvention devices” designed to crack copy-protection schemes. Hotz’s hack provides PlayStation 3 owners the ability to run pirated and home-brewed software or alternative operating systems like Linux. Performing a similar hack on a mobile phone is not unlawful.

funny story though.. sony should’ve been well versed on this electronics stuff. don’t they have experts on HDD? if its not functional as said prove it with technical evidence then.. i still don’t see the benefit of Sony doing this. just ensure your console is good enough and make us users stick with the original instead of jailbreaking it. i must say that a portion of us only wants otherOS. i myself haven’t update it to the latest firmware just so that i can enjoy otherOS. and nope i’ve not jailbreak my PS3. i don’t see the needs yet. hmm.. article from Wired.

PlayStation 3 code signing cracked

Dongle-less jailbreaking

Hardware hackers claim to have uncovered the private key used by Sony to authorise code to run on PlayStation 3 systems.

The hackers uncovered the hack in order to run Linux or PS3 consoles, irrespective of the version of firmware the games console was running. By knowing the private key used by Sony the hackers are able to sign code so that a console can boot directly into Linux. Previous approaches to running the open source OS on a games console were firmware specific and involved messing around with USB sticks.

The same code signing technique might also be used to run pirated or counterfeit games on a console. That isn’t the intention of the hackers even though it might turn out to be the main practical effect of the hack.

The group, fail0verflow, who also run the Wii’s Homebrew Channel, gave more information about the crack and a demo during the annual Chaos Communication Conference hacker congress in Berlin. Sony’s weak implementation of cryptography was exploited by fail0verflow to pull off the hack, as explained in a video on enthusiast site PSGroove. More discussion on the console jailbreaking hack can be found on a PlayStation forum.

lalalalala… seems like the hackers are getting the otheros back on PS3. good job guys. im still waiting and have yet to update my PS3 since otheros was removed from the console. article from The Register.

PS3 Firmware (v3.21) Update

The next system software update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) system will be released on April 1, 2010 (JST), and will disable the “Install Other OS” feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models, launched in September 2009. This feature enabled users to install an operating system, but due to security concerns, Sony Computer Entertainment will remove the functionality through the 3.21 system software update.

In addition, disabling the “Other OS” feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.

Consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, although the following features will no longer be available:

  • Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat
  • Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later
  • Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings)
  • Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later

For those PS3 users who are currently using the “Other OS” feature but choose to install the system software update, to avoid data loss they first need to back-up any data stored within the hard drive partition used by the “Other OS,” as they will not be able to access that data following the update.

Additional information about PS3 firmware updates, including v3.21 (once it becomes available), can be found here:
http://us.playstation.com/support/systemupdates/ps3/index.htm

PS3 owners who have further questions should contact Consumer Services:
http://us.playstation.com/support/ask/
800-345-7669 (800-345-SONY)

the news is outdated.. but its heartbreaking. people hate it so much. most of us had to endure this and move on. some decided to sacrifice the feature and some reluctant to do so. im in the second group. hoping for either sony opens back the otheros feature or hackers to find a way to elude the blockade. ever since this update was up, i have yet to connect my ps3 to the net. the online gaming is quite a loss for the moment but im not playing much game lately. a couple of months passes by and still the update is still there. despite thousands of comments on the net expressing their anger, distrust and all sort of frustration, sony remains quiet on this matter. i bet the hackers are working hard as well. took geohot 3 years to break the ps3. how long would it take to break this firmware? hope… article from Playstation.Blog.

Firmware update will strip Linux support from the PlayStation 3

Sony removing the ability to run third party operating systems such as Linux on the PS3. Is this the final nail in the coffin of the PS3 as a general computing device?

Sony’s PlayStation 3 started out life as more than just a gaming console. When first announced Sony played up the importance of the Cell processor inside the system, using the ‘supercomputer in the home’ analogy.

There were visions of the future in which Cell was able to communicate and pool processing resources with other Cell powered devices in the home. This was a byproduct of Cell being a joint development effort between Sony, Toshiba and IBM.

The vision – more than a gaming console
In order to facilitate this Sony launched the PlayStation 3 with a function called ‘Install Other OS’. This allowed owners to install a cut-down version of Linux on the system and use it for more than gaming and media consumption. Sony’s website still promises that “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.).”

Over time these grandiose dreams have waned. Cell never really made it into other consumer devices, and while Linux did end up on the PlayStation 3 it was mainly leveraged by research institutions rather than home users. Sony removed the ability to install Linux on the second generation Slim PS3 models, however enthusiasts and tinkerers still actively search out first generation consoles for two reasons – ‘Install Other OS’ and backwards compatibility with PS2 games.

Sony’s new firmware update
Unfortunately the ‘Install Other OS’ option gained notoriety in January this year when noted iPhone jailbreaker Geohot announced that he had made serious inroads into hacking the PS3. Using Linux he was able to penetrate the supposedly secure ‘hypervisor’ software that acts as a low level protector of the system. While he didn’t get far enough for the feared flood of pirated PS3 games to hit the internet he did manage to lay the groundwork for future attempts.

To combat this Sony announced overnight that it was removing the ability for consoles to ‘Install Other OS’ in a firmware update due on April 1 (confusing the heck out of commenters on its website who are convinced it is an April fools joke). To add insult to injury it also announced that not upgrading to the latest firmware would lock users out of a lot of PS3 functionality such as access to the online PlayStation network. It would also mean that future game and Blu-Ray releases will be unplayable on un-updated systems.

The PS3’s future
While this will have little impact on PS3s employed as supercomputers, it is the final nail in the coffin of the PS3 as a general computing device. This has all happened despite assurances given late last year that the Install Other OS function would not be removed from older model consoles.

As for the hacking situation Geohot is unsurprisingly advising people to not update their firmware. He promises that he will come up with a workaround, which likely means that Sony’s solution will have little effect on those wanting to keep their options open for future piracy.

damn… so no firmware update for now. is sony becoming microsoft? i’ve been using linux happily ever since i bought the PS3. with this update, this feature shall be disabled… bad news for us linux users.. hopefully this remains as rumors alone.. article from Australian PC Authority.

No Linux on PS3 Revisited

nolinux

When the PS3 was launched Sony included support for what was called The Open Platform. The Open Platform supported the ability to launch a Linux bootloader via what was called the Other Os from the XMB. Although the Hypervisor (GameOS) prevented full access to the system components when the Linux OS made a hardware call (i.e. such as the Reality Synthesizer) , it did allow access to the Cell Broadband Engine and 7 of the 9 processing elements being made available for use (1 reserved for system use, 1 is disabled) which for the technology involved was unheard of at the price point.

Over a relatively short period of time, the PS3 Linux side of things went from being a utilized as a secondary computer with various distributions being available, (such as YDL by Fixstars formerly Terra Soft Solutions being available at launch) to  being used as a supercomputer to utilize the amazing processing power of the other elements in Cell Broadband engine known as the Synergistic Processing Elements (SPE’s). UMass Dartmouth Physics Professor Gaurav Khanna and UMass Dartmouth Principal Investigator Chris Poulin created a step by step guide on how to use the PS3 for supercomputing, and advanced their research on Binary Black Hole Coalescence using Perturbation Theory by building a 16 node PS3 cluster.

playstation-3-supercomputer-400x445

Researchers who were renting supercomputer time by the hour now had a viable option to build their own supercomputer and advance their projects. NC State’s Dr. Frank Mueller created an 8 cluster PS3 supercomputer, the first in academia for students to use in research.

And even recently a real-time H.264 encoding solution such as Fixstars CodecSys Personal emerged and the power of the Cell Broadband Engine via the PS3 entered the commercial arena. All of these examples generated amazing publicity for Sony and served to distance itself in a niche way from it’s other console competition. PS3’s were now ending up in places that they would not normally have been before.

With the announcement of the PS3 slim, it was mentioned that the ability to boot to an Other OS had been removed. This caused concern and questions as to why this was done: Was it cost, a security hole being removed, what would happen to current PS3’s or was it just a corporate decision?

The earliest answers we were given came from an interview with John Koller, Sony’s Director of Hardware Marketing. In a conversation with ars technica, he was asked about why the ability to install Linux was removed. His answer was:

“There are a couple of reasons. We felt we wanted to move forward with the OS we have now. If anyone wants to use previous models and change the OS, they can do so. We wanted to standardize our OS.”

Sometime later, an article surfaced on Games I like about a posting made on the Offical Playstation 2 Linux Community forum by a Sony representative that has since mysteriously disappeared. Thankfully the details of the conversation were captured. In response to an unhappy forum poster, a representative stated the following:

“I’m sorry that you are frustrated by the lack of comment specifically regarding the withdrawal of support for Other OS on the new PS3 slim. The reasons are simple: The PS3 Slim is a major cost reduction involving many changes to hardware components in the PS3 design. In order to offer the OtherOS install, SCE would need to continue to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers for any significant hardware changes – this costs SCE. One of our key objectives with the new model is to pass on cost savings to the consumer with a lower retail price. Unfortunately in this case the cost of OtherOS install did not fit with the wider objective to offer a lower cost PS3.”

This was further substantiated by an article on Av Watch, by Akira Takase. When asked about the lack of the Other OS on the PS3 Slim, how it compared to the 80gb PS3 and how it affected Linux and companies like Fixstars, Takase-san stated that (rough translation):

“There would be no time in the future when the Other Os would be moved from those models (CECHL00)”

He also commented on security being an issue by saying (rough translation)

“That with respect to the Other OS security becomes the hole, but with the PS3 very firm security measures are being done, presently there is no such problem. If anything, support power is lightened”

On the Fixstars message board forums, Kai Staats (Fixstars) explained this in even greater detail in one of his many and very informative posts. I would definitely suggest you read them if you have time but here is one important quote:

“Sony was quite diligent about testing, and with each new rev of the GameOS
(which acts as the hypervisor for Linux) there was a battery of tests. Often
the GameOS had to be modified to support things which otherwise broke in
Linux, so it is not a one-way street. GameOS affects Linux, and Linux affects
GameOS.”

So it would appear that the decision was 100% cost based. This is certainly understandable from a fiscal perspective. Drive down the cost, in essence starts the console wars all over again, placing Sony in an excellent position. It is sad though that access to the Cell Broadband Engine had to be removed as it was truly pushing the limits of what could be done with the SPE’s both commercially and academically. With the price drop affecting all PS3 product lines, acquiring one of the older units is going to be a challenge.

So will the Other OS will return? Maybe. Sony recently unveiled the Academic PS3 Dev Kit. Could this lead to the return of the Other OS on a one to one basis? It’s certainly possible that drivers could be written for the change in hardware and then submitted to Sony. If feedback is strong enough they could allow the needed change to the hypervisor code. Time will tell…

i thought so that this was one of the cost reducing acts. somehow i still think that removing linux from PS3 is a mistake. i am currently typing on YDL running on my PS3. article from SonyInsider.

Yellow Dog Ships Linux Converts Sony PS3 Into PC

With rumours of a cheaper and slimmer Sony PS3 gaming console around the corner, Fixstars corporation have released a bootable version of their popular Yellow Dog Linux distribution for Sony’s platform that comes on a USB Flash drive. The installation is straightforward plug-in the USB stick, install the bootloader, boot into YDL and you’re running Linux on your PS3. Although the Playstation 3 comes with a hard disk drive, YDL runs from the USB Drive. The distribution is popular amongst developers who can can create clusters of low-cost Playstation gaming consoles for data intensive tasks. A 32 Node cluster with support and all the necessary cabling costs $32,995. The developers have chosen a 16GB OCZ Diesel Flash drive which has achieved 31.18 MBps read performance and 30.78 MBps write performance in recent DiskBench performance benchmarks. Owen Stampflee, Fixstars Linux Product Manager, stated that “‘YDL on a Stick’ is a compact and portable alternative to a full installation, Since everything runs from the USB drive, ‘YDL on a Stick’ is ideal for users who want to try out Linux without sacrificing space or having to back up or reformat their PS3.” The package also contains OpenOffice 3.0, Firefox 3.0.6, IBM Cell SDK v3.1.0.1 and ps3vram and Xfce 4, a fast and lightweight desktop environment. Customers may chose to purchase “YDL on a stick” with or without Yellow Dog Linux’s own support package. YDL is available for download from a number of Linux Mirrors here. Alternatively, the 16GB OCZ Diesel USB Flash drive version which comes with a Printed user guide and a Yellow Dog Linux sticker without support costs $59.95.

Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/oss/news/article/2009/8/4/yellow-dog-ships-linux-converts-sony-ps3-pc/#ixzz0NhvyYzTx

here caomes the latest Linux Yellow Dog LInux. with this users does not have to install this on PS3. instead users can just plug in the usb and voila.. linux running! nice one.. article from ITPro Portal.