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Spoilers all over the question:

I've recently completed the mission on the quarian homeworld Rannoch, and I got the quarians to stop attacking the geth. Legion tried to upload the Reaper code to make the geth more intelligent. Then he said he could not finish the upload and then did something that solved the issue.
A geth prime then approaches and talks to Shepard and Tali, saying Legion sacrificed himself to give all the geth intelligence. What happened? I don't understand what he did, and why he needed to sacrifice himself.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'll try to give you more insight. It's a bit murky what's going on to me as well, but here goes.

The reaper virus allowed for the Geth to evolve to a true organic-like intelligence. When Legion absorbs the code from the dead reaper he is upgraded, signified by his referring to himself as "I" instead of "We".

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He is unable to TRANSMIT the reaper virus to the other Geth likely because of Legion's programming which makes him unique compared to the rest of the Geth (the 1183 Geth programs referred to in the comment below. Since the other Geth don't have all of this code they can't install the reaper virus until they are upgraded.

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Legion is able to "go to them" and upgrade their software by contributing his own programs to the Geth network. So in one way Legion dies ... there's only a physical shell that no longer contains the essence of Legion. Once he uploads himself to the other Geth he's no longer Legion either, rather he becomes part of their programming. I think of it like wrapping a pill in bacon to give it to a dog. The "Legion" part was allowed in and it brought the reaper code in with it.

I hope this helps clear up some of what is going on in this scene.

Picture of the line in question

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Legion had to distribute his 1183 component programs to the entire network. He ceased to exist as an individual entity, but elements of his programming survives in the rest of the Geth. This is very similar to how the Crucible describes control and synthesis. –  CaulynDarr Mar 23 '12 at 17:44
    
Thanks guys, this clarifies it very well. –  Vitor De Mario Mar 23 '12 at 19:16
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Legion had to sacrifice himself to upgrade the Geth, he is dead.

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