This article post serves as a repository of what I know so far about PS3 Jailbreaking, specifically for people who aren't savvy enough to break their own system, and have to rely on them usual shops in Greenhills.
I finally bought a PS3 this weekend after three years of long contemplation. Contemplation involved reading up on the current events in the PS3 homebrew community. After late last year's revelation of the PS3 primary keys, I figger it's only a matter of time before the PS3 as a whole is fully cracked, and there'd be not much need for shady solutions to *ahem* direct drive loading of games. It's a very interesting time to be involved in the community.
I won't bother to explain the jailbreaking history so far. Right now, however, jailbreaking your PS3 simply means you can play games that have been copied directly to your hard drive, or games stored in an external hard disk connected to your PS3. This means you can get backups of games from certain shops, load them into your PS3 or HD, and you can play them already as though you had an original disk inserted in your PS3. To add icing to the cake, backup games are loaded faster than the originals, although they tend to eat up more space. I'll take the time now to say that the best unit for jailbreaking are the large hd models like the 320GB and the 500GB, because while you can store the games in a portable hard disk, storing it inside the PS3 is actually much faster.
So what PS3 models can be jailbroken? The answer is everything, except R2 (Europe). From what I learned from the peeps at Greenhills, some units tend to reject the Jailbreaking tool. I don't know a lot of details though. In any case, any variation of the Fat/Slim units in any disk size should be fine.
To jailbreak, you only need to buy a jailbreaking tool, which is a USB dongle. I haven't memorized the procedure yet, but I'm sure you can find the exact procedure online. The most popular version available in the Philippines right now is the Amazebreak, which isn't the original, but works just as fine. It costs about 1500 including "labor", if you call it that, in Greenhills. It's noninvasive, so you shouldn't have any problems with warranties as long as you uninstall the software before sending it to Sony if ever anything goes wrong.
Backup images can be downloaded in Greenhills at about 100 pesos a pop. Not bad, but do consider that some games may have certain compatibility issues. You can check online listings to see which these games are. Metal Gear Solid is already one of them. https://spreadsheets.google.com/lv?key=tqjzdwQGOhsHl_KH0KiEC3w&toomany=true
The downside of JB'ing your PS3 is that you will not be able to access the PSN. The PSN requires the latest version of the firmware. Amazebreak requires, at the moment, only 3.41. If you upgrade to 3.55 or higher, it will disable amazebreak and if you're SLIM, as mentioned above, you will have no choice but to avoid jailbreaking the unit again. In the future, the required firmware of newer games will be higher than 3.41 such as GT5. Currently, Amazebreak manages to spoof the version by telling the PS3 it's already in 3.55 even when it's not. This allows games like GT5 to be played, but it can't work for all situations. For more concrete solutions, we're relying on the community to provide something in the near future.
As of writing, downgrading from firmware version 3.55 to 3.41 is only available for the FAT models. Attempting to do so in SLIM models will BRICK the model. So if you updated via PSN or GT5, you gotta just sit tight and wait for better solutions to come up.
So that's about it. The future of bootlegged software in the PS3 is brighter than it ever was for the last four years. Even with the limitations today, there's a lot more in store for the community, and it's only a matter of time for even the exceptions to be removed.
As a last word, I'd still say I'm buying original whenever I can, partly because I want the best games to be played stable, but also partly because I want to support the games development community. How you go about things, however, is entirely up to you.