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Linux to Remain in Older Model PS3s

Sony shares a few secrets about its upcoming version 3.0 firmware update.

The new What's New feature could be the first thing you see when you turn on your PS3.

With Linux install getting the boot from the slimline PS3, you might have been concerned that Sony would pull a fast one and make the functionality disappear from older systems via a firmware update.

Rest assured, this will not happen. Sony's Satoshi Hashimoto, in an interview with Impress Watch, said that Sony will not be removing the feature, which he refers to as "Other OS functionality." He also assured readers that there currently isn't a problem with the feature leaving a security hole with the system.

Hashimoto and a few other Sony cohorts shared a number of additional tidbits on the version 3.0 firmware Sony will be launching on September 1 to coincide with the official release date for the PS3 slim. Here are the major points.

  • Version 3.0 of the the firmware will add the ability to upconvert audio from hard disc and USB sources to 88.2KHz or 176.4KHz. This is something that was added with version 1.8 exclusively for CDs.
  • The right analogue stick functionality during video playback looks like it will be pretty powerful. When you push the stick in any direction, the video will pause You can then rotate the stick for speeds ranging between slow motion and four times. Rotate clockwise, and you'll advance the video. Counterclockwise will backtrack. The speed can be adjusted at a precision of 0.01 times. Let go of the stick, and the playback will continue at normal speed.
  • The web browser's print screen functionality can output to a printer connected via USB and over LAN. Only certain printers are compatible though.
  • This is something you might have not noticed before (I certainly never gave much thought to it). Currently, when you start up your PS3, the XMB interface begins by pointing at the games section. Starting with firmware 3.0, the interface will default to pointing at the newly added What's New section of the network column. This is true even if you have a disc in the system. You can go into the settings menu to switch back to the original behavior if you like.
  • The analogue clock display in the upper right side corner of the screen has been switched to a busy indicator. When the system is working, you'll see the clock spinning.
  • The font size and icon size for the main interface have become a bit bigger. This was implemented in order to better show what area is in focus.
  • From version 3.0, all versions of the PS3 -- old and new -- will have a change to their startup sequences. When booting up the system for the firts time, PlayStation family logo, PS3 logo, and PlayStation 3 logo will all display simultaneously. When you start up a game, the PS3 logo will no longer be shown, giving a slight boost in speed to startup time. Note that this does not apply to original PlayStation games, as they run on an emulator.
  • Version 3.0 adds support for more dynamic themes using videos and other elements. The system's base "wave" theme has also been changed to a display of fine particles. Backgrounds for such themes are created by the same SDK that's used to make games. There's a slight bit of interaction with the particle effects. If you're scrolling down, the particles will flow down. If you're scrolling left, the particles will flow left.
  • I'm certain some people have figured this out already, but the slimline PS3 does not ship with System 3.0. This was due to circumstances during manufacturing. Slim buyers will have to update like the rest of us.

We'll get to see all these new features at work on September 1!

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