Sony faces legal challenge over Linux block

Sony has been hit with a lawsuit over its recent decision to block the installation of Linux on its Playstation 3 console. The suit, filed in a San Francisco district court, accused the company of breaching its sales contract with users of older Playstation 3 systems when, in a recent firmware update, it disabled the ability to run a Linux partition on the console.

Along with Linux enthusiasts, the "other OS" feature appealed to researchers looking to take advantage of the unique multi-threading abilities of the system's Cell processor chip.

Sony has argued that the feature creates security holes and leaves the entire console at risk for attack. The ability to install a Linux partition had been removed from newer versions of the console, but was only locked for older builds with a Firmware update posted on 1 April.

After the update was posted, Playstation 3 owners were forced to either install the update and lose the ability to run Linux, or refrain from update and be left unable to access the console's online content and features.

The plaintiffs argue that the move disabled a feature which had long been used by Sony as a selling point for the console.

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