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At long last, it appears as though Sony has come to an agreement with the team of lawyers representing PlayStation 3 owners who felt wronged by the removal of Linux functionality from the last generation console back in 2010. If the agreement reaches final approval, it looks like Sony could be forking over millions of dollars.
If you've got a love of legal jargon, feel free to dive into the full accord for yourself. In short, it says that Sony has agreed to fork over a hefty chunk of change to pay legal fees for this long-running dispute, as well as compensate folks who were either outright negatively affected by the removal of Linux from the PlayStation 3 or at least felt they had been wronged by Sony's decision to ax it from the console.
When the PlayStation 3 originally came out, users had the ability to install Linux on the device. While most folks didn't utilize that functionality, some folks were big fans of it. If nothing else, one of the machine's advertised selling points was the ability to install additional operating systems. This is the OG "fat" PS3 we're talking about, not the slimmed down model that came later.
Sony eventually decided that the inclusion of Linux might be a security risk, potentially giving hackers an unexpected door to steal information or hijack accounts. To that end, they rolled out Update 3.21 on March 28, 2010, which permanently removed the "other OS" functionality.
While Sony argued that the update was voluntary, it's important to point out that your console becomes partially useless if you don't apply these types of updates. No playing Call of Duty multiplayer or utilizing any other online functionality, for instance.
It's been a long legal battle spanning multiple God of War games and just about the entire Uncharted series, if that helps put things in perspective. Heck, the PlayStation 4 launched nearly three years ago, which is only half the amount of time this lawsuit has been raging over the PS3.
Thankfully, it looks like we're only one major step away from a resolution, and that's the approval of a hearing judge.
Along with those legal fees for this whole mess totaling $2.25 million, Sony has agreed to compensate gamers in two different forms. Folks who actually downloaded Linux are eligible to receive $55 while pretty much anyone who purchased the OG PS3 can receive $9 for their turmoil.
It's not as simple as raising your hand and saying you want a payment, though. Folks wishing to claim that $55 need to attest under oath as to their installation and use of Linux on the PS3, as well as provide the typical proof of purchase of the console including serial number and PlayStation Network ID. You'll also need to provide some sort of proof of your use of the "Other OS" functionality, though details on how all of that must be provided have not been settled on yet.
If you're looking to grab your piece of the $9 pie, you must basically attest to the fact that you felt your console lost value or functionality at the removal of Other OS.
We'll know whether or not this is all official come July 19, when US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez hosts a hearing for the proposed accord.