cphite wrote:They advertised it as a system that could run Linux, so the folks who bought it for that purpose have a point.
As I did, and I wouldn't have bought it at all had I known they would remove the capability the first time it became a minor inconvenience to them.
cphite wrote:In order to keep the option, Sony would need to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers regardless of what new hardware they used in the console; so any new hardware version (the PS2 Slim for example) or any new source of hardware for later production lines would be constrained by having to ensure that drivers were available, which adds a significant cost to development. The company decided that the number of users actually using the feature was small enough that it no longer made sense to incur that cost, or pass it along to their overall customer base.
That's a valid argument for new hardware, but why would it be applicable to existing consoles? What extra cost is there? The drivers and hypervisor already existed and just needed to be carried over in new firmware updates. They could have stopped providing support for the feature without disabling it entirely.
The extra cost is in having to maintain that capability in future OS updates, despite it not being in new hardware. The extra cost is in testing every update to ensure that it works whether hypervisor is there or not. The extra cost is in dealing with customers who don't understand why the PS3 they bought last week doesn't work the same way as the PS3 their friend bought a few years ago; and customers who can't use Google to figure out why their new PS3 isn't letting them boot to Linux. The cost is in keeping programmers and testers on staff who know hypervisor in and out, and how it will effect future development.
They certainly could have handled it better; but it's really not all that surprising. No company is going to spend resources on something that gets them nothing in return; and the truth is there is really nothing they get in terms of revenue from the system running Linux. Maybe a teeny tiny number of people buy the machine for that reason, but in the grand scheme of things, it ended up being a net loser for them. So they cut their losses.
drewder wrote:But, But, But, you say they didn't have to remove a feature, why not just leave it as is. Perhaps they didn't realize how big the geek market was going to cut into their profits, although I doubt it, it seems more likely that making their system HDCP compatible was more important to them than mollifying a few geeks and no system is secure against intrusion when it actually has a jailbreak button built in.
That's beside the point. Why should I, as a customer, care how much money they make from the sale or how much they need to spend to secure and support it? That should be reflected in the purchase price and if it isn't then that's on Sony since they, not I, had the power to set the retail price
They care because they're a business, and that's how business works. The whole point is to make money; and part of that is cutting costs, especially for things that return no value. Very, very few companies are going to hang on to something that gives them no return just because it's the nice thing to do. And supporting hypervisor turned out to be a loss for them.
In all seriousness, even if folks don't want to hear it, it's not like a bunch of Sony executives were sitting in a smoke filled conference room thinking up ways to f*** their customers. It's far more likely that someone said "Hey, why are we paying for this?" and when nobody could come up with a legitimate answer, the decision was made to kill it. I have no idea what the actual overall costs were; and I can't imagine they were all that high - but someone decided that it was worth the PR shit-storm, and that's generally not something that's taken lightly.
Ultimately, my problem with Sony's handling of this issue was that they sold a device capable of being a game console and running Linux, then after the sale forcing the owner to choose which one of those they wanted to keep. If they discontinued the feature for new sales and/or the new "slim" version because it didn't drive enough sales to justify the cost (like they did with PS2 compatibility), then fine. But removing features from devices customers already own is a violation of the purchase agreement.
Well, actually no... the EULA includes this: "These contracts specifically provide PS3 purchasers with a license, not an ownership interest, in the software and in the use of the PSN, and provide that SCEA has the right to disable or alter software features or terminate or limit access to the PSN, including by issuing firmware updates."
As the judge who presided over the case says (paraphrased) it was a dick move, but still within their legal rights.