Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

Summary: Ignoring a call for his resignation at Sony's latest shareholder meeting, CEO Howard Stringer blurred the line between installing Linux on the PlayStation 3 and pirating software.

SHARE:

Sony CEO Howard Stringer told shareholders that his company was the target of hacker attacks in April "because we tried to protect our IP (intellectual property), our content, in this case videogames."

In April Sony was forced to take its PlayStation Network (PSN) offline for several weeks after hackers broke in and stole information from more than 70 million user accounts, finally relaunching it in May. A similar attack also affected Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) servers, which control Sony's online role-playing games. Combined, more than 100 million user accounts were affected.

The hacker or hackers responsible for the security failure have not yet been named, though Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Kazuo Hirai - Stringer's presumptive successor - implicated the hacker collective "Anonymous" in a letter delivered to a U.S. Senate subcommittee.

"Anonymous" targeted Sony earlier this year after Sony proceeded in court against George "GeoHot" Hotz, a programmer who attempted to enable the PlayStation 3 to run the Linux operating system.

The ability to run Linux was originally supported by the PlayStation 3 using an "OtherOS" function built into the console. In fact, Sony's early marketing for the PlayStation 3 actively promoted the capability to install and run Linux. Sony removed the capability from the original PlayStation 3 in a mandatory firmware update when its "slimline" model debuted, even after promising the feature would remain. The company claimed "security concerns" were the cause for the change.

Sony ultimately dropped its suit againt Hotz. And earlier this week, it was reported that Hotz has been hired by Facebook.

Now, with Stringer's comments, Sony's trying to blur the line between installing Linux on the PS3 and pirating software. There's little question that some PS3 owners used exploits exposed in the OtherOS function to run pirated software, but Stringer's comment casts a wide net that unfairly implicates many PS3 owners who simply wanted to run another operating system on their consoles.

Stringer ignored a shareholder call for his resignation during the meeting.

Topics: Linux, Hardware, Mobility, Open Source, Operating Systems, Piracy, Security, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

28 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

    Bottom line, the Geeks win!
    bjames3
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @bjames3 Exactly how did the geeks win? Many of us "geeks" own PS3s and had our private information stolen. And we still don't have an "Other OS" option. In fact, this whole debacle means it's less likely that corporate officers will allow an "Other OS" option to be included in proprietary appliances in the future. No, I'd say the geeks lost big on this.
      bithooked
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @bjames3
      They have? please explain. This i have GOT to hear lol. Linux OS will NEVER be supported on a Sony Game console ever again in my life time that's a guarantee. In fact this made What Linux is all about allot more out in the open. Don't do things our way,don't allow us to do what we want, We will break laws to try to bring you down. That is what the Hacks did for linsux.
      Stan57
      • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

        @Stan57
        I don't agree with bjarnes3, much more with bithooked, but your intepretation is beyond reasonableness. Over the years there's been bad blood for many reasons. If Sony doesn't change their policies, and stop misleading their customers, it will continue to attract these kind of attacks. It has very little to do with Linux per se.
        KimTjik
    • Sony just lost a long time customer!

      @bjames3
      :-(
      kd5auq
  • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

    Stupid headline, ridiculous article.

    Leveraging a known OS made it easier for hackers to compromise PS3 security. So Sony removes the feature to protect from attacks against future firmwares.

    How on earth does that 'blur the line between Linux and piracy'?? What is this 'wide net' you speak of?

    Linkbaiting @ zdnet strikes again.
    wendellgee2
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @wendellgee@... My thoughts exactly...
      mobstar
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @wendellgee@...

      Ridiculous comment, given it is false to believe that non-owner locks on hardware reduces copyright infringement.

      Beyond the fact it doesn't help the infringement problem, it isn't Sony's property to manipulate this way. For no other type of property would we tolerate this type of attack by the manufacturer. If the builder of our home refused to give us the keys when we purchased, we would have the full force of the law to deal with these bad actors. We currently live in a world which treats IT property rights with disrespect, and I hope we as a society will mature soon an fix that problem.

      http://flora.ca/own
      russellmcormond
      • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

        @russellmcormond , this society has a lot of problems. The very immature way of Sony to handle this is just a scratch on the surface. I guess the war between these proprietary giants and the open non proprietary information world will continue several decades, but finally the world will be free and start flourishing, when everyone is free to develop/improve/create without any worries about infringements upon patents or arbitrary decisions from these giants. I see Sony as fighting for it's death since long. They will most likely die, as they seem not to be able to adapt and learn. I consider the things Sony has made to be completely unforgivable.
        aim2free
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @wendellgee@...
      So PS3 network was compromised after the capability of installing this OS was removed? Hmmmm....
      kirovs@...
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @wendellgee@...
      the hacking did not occur because of Linux but because of some compromised windoze server.
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

        @Linux Geek <br><br>or maybe it was because Sony didn't have an internet security policy never mind a good one. <br><br>Linux is incredibly secure when its properly configured and patched, when its installed by a dumb ass its as open as everything else.
        the.nameless.drifter
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @wendellgee@... Err? Are you even pretending to pay attention?

      Sony marketed the ability to run Linux, then removed it (after people had bought the product). Then claim "we had to because of piracy". Well you don't want a feature on your console, don't market it as having that feature.

      Sony are scum. They installed rootkits on customers computers without their consent. They tried to charge customers extra for NOT installing bloatware on their laptops. Now they wonder why a group of customers hate them enough to hack them? Morons.
      jeremychappell
      • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

        @jeremychappell

        My thoughts exactly. Bait and switch strategy.
        rich3800
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @wendellgee@... Is there a homily about the stupid pig squeals the loudest? There is now.

      You even repeated the angle in your own statement. Sony actively promoted the "otherOS" feature and misled buyers about it's availability on slimlines. Now, it infers that Linux is a security risk and a threat to intellectual property. Got it? Sony has gone from freedom of choice to freedom means piracy.
      His_Shadow
  • Some sharp lessons here ...

    The first and most important lesson: you don't really own the hardware you bought and paid for. Sony still controls it and can tell you to go to hell whenever they feel like it. If there something that they don't like or something they want to make more money on, it's all in their power, you the consumer have no rights left. And anything that Sony tells you is subject to change, even after they have your money. This is why I don't own any Sony products.
    terry flores
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @terry flores Anyone who owns an iPhone already knows this. :)
      NCWeber
      • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

        @NCWeber Difference is Apple didn't claim they'd allow you carte blanche to do whatever you choose with your iPhone. Sony claimed exactly this. With Apple you know what you're buying - and it's locked down nature has an upside (security). Sure that's less relevant in the case of the iPod touch... but on the phone - locked down is probably a good thing (you don't want your phone to "go rogue" with your account do you?).
        jeremychappell
    • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

      @terry flores You own the hardware and you can do whatever the Hell you want with it. You can jailbreak it, crack it open or throw it off a bridge. But you license the OS, and therefore do not own the software that allows you access to Apple features and services.
      His_Shadow
      • RE: Sony CEO blurs line between Linux and piracy at shareholders' meeting

        @His_Shadow nor can you install your own software to control the hardware.
        DearJohn