[time-nuts] If any of your USB devices have stopped working lately...

Bob Camp kb8tq at n1k.org
Fri Oct 24 07:10:59 EDT 2014


Hi

Licensing a legit USB ID costs money, both up front and ongoing. Writing drivers that keep up with the OS rev’s costs money. Supporting all this stuff with web sites and on the phone costs money. FTDI supports their products much better than the “other guys” you could buy from. That’s why they counterfeit the FTDI parts.

If FTDI continues to support “all the old stuff” forever, then the counterfeiters simply dupe the old parts. Free ride / lower price / fewer costs. FTDI does all the support for their products. They have *no* responsibility to support stuff that was stolen from them.

How much does the silicon cost on a typical chip - a few cents. How much does all the support stuff cost - a buck or more. The difference is not a small one at all.

Bob

> On Oct 23, 2014, at 11:47 PM, jim s <jwsmail at jwsss.com> wrote:
> 
> Petty BS.  If they want to disable the competitors, rev the device to have something that they can use to id their devices, and leave the other driver alone.  USB supposed to put the widest support in the host end, and the secret sauce in the device.
> 
> If they have a problem, they will not produce anyone with a dead device wanting to ever do business with them by disabling infringing devices.  If they put out a message or such, but still worked with their driver fine.
> 
> Else I will expect a generic unsigned driver to be out, which can be installed and will again work with all.  That isn't desirable for anyone, but if that is what it takes to get going,  most will install the unsigned driver, then mark FTDI devices forever off their list.
> 
> They aren't the only ones with the secret sauce.  I've seen several others, and had I known about them planning to do this would have gone with them, and not FTDI.  There are only a few things that I have that have incorporated FTDI in, and I'm going to look at dumping that code and device now.
> 
> Jim
> 
> On 10/23/2014 8:01 PM, Paul Berger wrote:
>> Unfortunately the issue that FTDI is trying to combat is counterfeiters, and I think you will find that the counterfeit devices will report the same product and vendor id as the genuine ones.  The product and vendor ids are how the OS identifies a device and how they decide which device driver should be used.  Apparently at least some of these counterfeit devices are not perfect copies or else a device driver would be unable distinguish them from genuine.  It is like a number of years ago when cable TV companies where having a lot of trouble with counterfeit cable descramblers, they found a flaw in the code used in them and transmitted what became know as a "magic bullet" that caused them to fail.
>> 
>> Paul.
>> 
>> On 2014-10-23 11:30 PM, Chris Albertson wrote:
>>> On Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 7:05 PM, paul swed <paulswedb at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Umm I think its profoundly hard to know one way or another what chip you
>>>> have in a widget.
>>> Before you buy it yes, you can't know.  But it's trivial to find out
>>> after you own it.  For example click the Apple logo then choose "about
>>> this Mac" and the data is there.  For example it says this random USB
>>> thumb drive I have is
>>> 
>>>     Product ID: 0x3260
>>>    Vendor ID: 0x0aec  (Neodio Technologies Corporation)
>>>    Version: 1.00
>>>    Serial Number: 20040602032741578
>>> 
>>> This same exact information is logged every time the device is
>>> inserted to my Linux system too.  I assume MS Windows will tell you
>>> all the vendor info as well.
>>> 
>>> The vendor IDs are handed out to manufacturers by an outfit at "usb.org".
>>> 
>>> So, check your devices.  It's not hard to find out about the ones you have.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> This is pretty insane actually.
>>>> I buy products that I believe are legit no way to know just as if the cpu
>>>> in my acer or emachines not legal. Heck I have no idea.
>>>> Regards
>>>> Paul
>>>> WB8TSL
>>>> 
>>>> On Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 10:02 PM, Bill Dailey <docdailey at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Well..if they didn't properly license the technology...  They should be
>>>>> disabled.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Sent from my iPad
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Oct 23, 2014, at 8:45 PM, Mark Sims <holrum at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Happened to a friend of mine.  All his Arduino stuff died.   This could
>>>>> be the reason:
>>>>>> http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/ftdi-driver-kills-fake-ftdi-ft232 
>>>>>> Short story:  FTDI released a new version of their USB driver (via
>>>>> Windows automatic updates no less) that bricks other vendor's compatible
>>>>> versions of their interface chip.   They also updated their license file to
>>>>> indicate that this may happen...  except you never get a chance to decline
>>>>> the new license with automatic driver updates.  I can just hear the class
>>>>> action lawyers drooling...
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