U.S. Air Force Comments on PS3 ‘Other Os’ Removal

The United States Air Force bought 336 PlayStation 3 consoles in 2009 as an initial purchase to create a 53 teraFlop cluster for processing data. Impressed with the power of Sony’s home console system, the Air Force decided to buy another 2200 consoles. The whole project cost the Air Force (and by proxy the U.S. tax payers) $663,000.

These PS3 systems were configured with the "Other OS" feature, allowing the Air Force to use Linux to do whatever heavy lifting the project needed, but Sony’s recent firmware update that removed that option may prove to be problematic for this work in the future.

"We will have to continue to use the systems we already have in hand," said an Air Force rep speaking with Ars Technica. "This will make it difficult to replace systems that break or fail. The refurbished PS3s also have the problem that when they come back from Sony, they have the firmware (gameOS) and it will not allow Other OS, which seems wrong. We are aware of class-action lawsuits against Sony for taking away this option on systems that used to have it."

While the Air Force made no further comment on the Class Action Lawsuit, it would probably fair to say that it hopes Sony will not prevail and it won’t have to worry about the infamous firmware update removing the features it needs to continue its work..

Source: Ars Technica

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  1. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    "Oh man, sorry about your car, Kaz.  If only our smart bombs had had just a few more brain Cells to rub together, they wouldn’t have been so far off target…"



  2. 0
    Chris Kimberley says:

    I don’t think that’s what’s being said jedi.  It reads like, "We have the PS3s and will continue to use them, but when we need to replace any, we’re screwed."  I’d suspect they can get Sony to sell them PS3s with the old firmware though.


    Chris Kimberley

  3. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    No, no, no.  The Air Force already has those PS3’s, and the firmware update removed the vital (for them) Other OS function, making their purchase of over $600,000 a complete waste, since they can no longer do what they needed them to do.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  4. 0
    Kojiro says:

    Um…. yeah I would bet that the Air Force falls under a whole different sales department, a sales department that will make sure the systems that are sold to the Air Force will work for the Air Force.  Typical company sales structure, not sure why everyone is like "oh noes the air force!"

  5. 0
    Conejo says:

    There was no contract, they just bought them.

    using PS3s was immensely cheaper than building computers from any of the contracted sources.  those guys saved the taxpayers something to the tune of $1-2 Million.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    That’s exactly what they were doing.  IIRC, they stated that it would require a $2000 investment per computer to get a system built for them that can do what they need, as compared to a $600 per-unit PS3, which already had the ability, with the Other OS function.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  7. 0
    Speeder says:

    Note: The cell processor, was developed for the Army, for the Roadrunner machine (impressive machine, actually).

    Sony, just "jumped in" and helped develop it even further.

    The Air Force, decided to design their own super-computer using PS3, like NASA do (NASA buy off-the-shelf computers and make clusters too, some people claim that the "Beowulf" cluster is NASA invention, to the point that I saw many people calling it "NASA-style" cluster). Clusters, are a cheap way to make supercomputer, they are the same, PS3 actually, work better as cluster cell, than as gaming console (because its low, but extremely fast ram for example…)


    So, a supercomputer built with PS3, IS a real computer, it is not a toy, not a bunch of gaming consoles. And it is easier to program than Roadrunner too… (Roadrunner is hell fast, but it is annoying to use, because it mixes Cell processors with Xeon, and they have diffrent architecture and way to work, and need to interact to reach full calculation speed… Roadrunner is like a gigantic Sega Saturn…)



    Actually, it is Sony that should have made a real console, instead of a supercomputer part that is hell expensive… (altough, I DO like PS3… I am dieing to get my hands in one… And do all sorts of experiments and gaming on it…)



  8. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    They were likely trying to save some money.


    If a fairly inexpensive device can do what a more expensive device can do, most would go or the less expensive device.

  9. 0
    Lou says:

    I think Sony was refering to ther general public not private and goverment agencies. we Over here we have a cluster of 30 PS3s here on College. I’m sure the Air Force can get PS3s with that feature straight from Sony.

  10. 0
    nighstalker160 says:

    I’d LOVE to get a look at tha purchase contract Sony signed with the Air Force. At the time they probably weren’t contemplating removing the "Other OS" function. There could be serious breach of contract issues depending on the language.

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