An open source alternative to the PSJailbreak hack called PSGroove has been released to PlayStation 3 owners this morning.

The release takes the form of a download package that users must compile and then transfer across to a AT90USB or related microcontroller found in USB development kits such as the Teensy++ or AT90USBKEY. These small dongles are typically available for around Ł25.

The open source version of the jailbreak is effectively a clone of the commercial hack, which has yet to make it in volume to the modchip suppliers, but it features a couple of fundamental changes over the original.

Firstly, the patches injected into the PS3 to re-route Blu-ray traffic to either the internal hard drive or an external device have been removed - this means that the ability to play "backup" games simply isn't possible in the open source version of the hack, although there is nothing to stop the less scrupulous swapping in the original PSJailbreak payload.

Secondly, the developers have removed code found in the original Jailbreak that locks up the console if the dongle is removed, meaning it is safe to remove the homebrew version of the device whenever you want.

With the piracy elements of the hack expunged, what remains is the ability to install unsigned, unencrypted code onto a retail PS3 - clearing the way for homebrew development. The open source nature of this release also means that any one out there who wants to add to or improve the code in the basic hack is free to do so.

If the release of a working hack isn't bad enough for Sony, the open source code also proves publicly that no copyrighted Sony materials are used in triggering the exploit. Previously it was assumed that the hack was based on Sony's own service mode hardware, but in actual fact the hack only uses the same device identifier. This will undoubtedly have some bearing in the firm's current, ongoing legal challenges against PSJailbreak resellers.

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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