You might remember back in November when we reported on the Air Force's plans to purchase more than 2,000 PS3s to create a PS3 cluster. The USAF already had a cluster of 336, and they were looking to expand that by adding 2,200 more PS3s. While Sony decided not to offer Linux support with the PS3 Slim, the older models came with Sony's Other OS feature, allowing users to install Linux and do all kinds of neat things with their consoles -- including stitching together thousands of consoles to form one huge, monster cluster.
While the removal of Linux is not an immediate issue for the Air Force because they're not relying on Sony for its firmware updates, it will be an issue when it comes to repairs. Ars Technica reached out the the Air Force to ask how they felt about the removal of Linux and the USAF said they would continue to use the PS3s they already have but admitted that the removal of Linux will make it difficult for them to replace any systems.
"We will have to continue to use the systems we already have in hand," the lab said, before adding, "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 use to have it.