Sony announced this week that its latest PlayStation 3 firmware update (v 3.21) would remove the console’s celebrated ability to run Linux–a feature used in many research facilities to string together several of the gaming machine’s powerful Cell processors into a relatively cheap supercomputing cluster.

Thankfully, the update can be bypassed, but it will cripple the machine’s gaming functions. I guess all those protein folders will have to invest in a new machine for late-night Call of Duty breaks while the cluster hums warmly on the latest data set.

Security was the reasoning provided by Sony, potentially in light of the first full-on exploit (or “hack” if you will) of the system that came to light in January. The same gentleman responsible for finally cracking the PS3 has vowed on his blog to release code that preserves the “Install Other OS” feature.

[Yahoo, Ars, GeoHot]