@ Logan, yes they could in strict theory, but they won't because then people would have cause for legal action as they'd be selling a console not fit for purpose build of it's primary function. And that is to play games.
Being a developer (Linux platform included) I'm not very happy with the removal of Install Other OS at all. I'm actually very disappointed being that I do or I can now say I did have Linux installed on my PS3 system and used it in part of my games development on a daily basis. I actually relied on it for many reasons I won't explain in detail but removing it is BS especially like many other people have said that Install Other OS is a feature that Sony sold me on and had me shell out my $600 over purchasing an XBox 360 system. To me this is just another thing added to my list on how PS3 consumers have been dumped on time and time again regarding the system, updates, customer service, PSN sales, false and misleading advertisement etc. etc. etc. I do not see a PS4, PS5, PS6 and so on purchase in my future ever because of these things.
Forcing me to either remove and integral part of the system I paid for to use that feature in my daily development over accessing the network to communicate or play with friends, purchase games, movies etc. just sucks in every aspect! It has interrupted my work flow now I'm forced to purchase another PC in place of what I was using Linux on PS3 for to begin with. What will they remove next from the older systems? The backwards compatibility I also paid for?
"I still have an Atari 2600 from 1980 that has never went bad!"