Author Topic: FTDIgate 2.0?  (Read 244435 times)

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Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #325 on: February 03, 2016, 06:45:41 am »
I haven't seen anyone suggest a viable alternative to fight clones.

- Sell cheaper (that's really overdue, FTDI is overpriced, and their design is old and amortized)
- upgrade your products, and make your customer like the non compatible new features ( by being useful, not the actual kind of upgrade from FTDI)
- get to new markets when your product line is dying off (and don't get angry customer when you need them to design in your new products)
- in case of FTDI, stop being a malware company

Also, if you really don't want to be copied/cloned/counterfeit, there's a simple and very effective solution:
- Be mean, stay small : cloners concentrate on top seller products with very high margin
- Be cheap : reduce the margin of potential cloners by using cost effective solution on your side, with a reasonable quality

Yeah, let every product compete with the prices of the crap you find at Walmart. Why buy quality tools when you can buy cheap crap that might work for a while? I guess I should be able to purchase high quality Swiss tools for the same price as the cheap tools out there.

Just because you want them to be cheaper, it doesn't mean they should be cheaper.
 

Offline matseng

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #326 on: February 03, 2016, 06:49:34 am »
I ran a quick 24hr vote on Twitter. This was the result:

 

Offline marcan

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #327 on: February 03, 2016, 06:49:56 am »
The windows event log takes a few fixed parameters, to make sorting/filtering easier, and then a raw string.
Apart from a list of standard error codes on the fixed fields you can put whatever you want into the raw section, which is assumed to be human readable text.
The messages in question were logged using a code, though (ErrorCode), the string wasn't directly passed in.

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff550571(v=vs.85).aspx

Even with custom error code strings, though, it does support percent-substitution, so yeah, this is just FTDI's shoddy coding.

I haven't seen anyone suggest a viable alternative to fight clones.
How about just failing device enumeration? Or even just refuse to TX/RX any data? They already log a message to the system event log saying that the device is counterfeit. The utterly retarded part is where they corrupt data instead of just refusing to work altogether.
 

Offline f4eru

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #328 on: February 03, 2016, 06:50:26 am »
No, I don't want them to be cheaper.

I only say if you really want to not be copied, don't be in the top range. Somebody else will be in the top range and will be copied.
Top products will be copied, that's just life, you cannot avoid it.

But it should not matter to you, because you're in a different price and quality segment than (legal) clones. Learn to sell that quality to your customers who always look at the low price low quality alternative.
 

Offline f4eru

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #329 on: February 03, 2016, 06:53:40 am »
I ran a quick 24hr vote on Twitter. This was the result:
The thing is : they don't "send a warning text", which would mean dropping an error window.

No, what they do is not sending a warning, What they do is intentionally corrupting data. And that's potentially very dangerous. It's a nogo.
Never use a product that will willingly corrupt your data !!!
 

Offline RFZ

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #330 on: February 03, 2016, 06:57:54 am »
I haven't seen anyone suggest a viable alternative to fight clones.
Really? Choose one:
*) stop the driver from working with generic error code (like Code 10 / 43 / 48)
*) stop the driver from working and display a user-friendly notification referring to a website that explains what caused the problem and who to inform (if possible)
*) let the user continue using the device (for some time) and display a user-friendly notification referring to a website that explains what caused the problem and who to inform (if possible)
 

Online Ian.M

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #331 on: February 03, 2016, 07:00:08 am »
Of course FTDI have a right to restrict their driver to their hardware, but they don't have a right to screw with 3rd party data or hardware while doing so.

What's wrong with simply making the driver reject clones with an error code like any sane company would?  e.g. Prolific used error code 10 (device cannot start).  There wasn't this level of outrage against Prolific - Smart users just avoided unbranded cables/adapters with Prolific drivers.

Even if you think it was OK to tamper with the data on the end user's wire to read "NON GENUINE DEVICE FOUND!", it was a dick move not to use: "NON GENUINE FTDI DEVICE FOUND!"
 

Offline RFZ

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #332 on: February 03, 2016, 07:02:45 am »
I ran a quick 24hr vote on Twitter. This was the result:



I've seen this vote but I think it's completely missunderstandable.
What does "send warning text" mean?
a) Send a warning Text in 7/8bit ASCII via RX/TX lines which won't be visible to a end-user in 98% of applications?
b) Show a readable warning text/notification to the user on the computer?

Sure, "send warning text" won because "Hey, lets send out a warning" is obviously the best thing you can do. And I agree. But the way this warning is sent out has to be specified and understood by those voting. And I doubt that they did...
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #333 on: February 03, 2016, 07:08:39 am »
The market demands that higher prices are justified by better quality, features or marketing. It appears FTDI has determined they are not competitive on that basis.

If FTDI can't find a way to protect their IP non destructively and without malware then they must compete in the market or fail.

IMHO the approach they are currently taking will fail.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #334 on: February 03, 2016, 07:17:25 am »
On the survey there was no option for don't work with clones.

So that 24hr vote doesn't mean much because you took off what they actually did.

As for destructively or malware, no one has shown any evidence of that.

If your product accepts anything that comes from that COM port, then whoever wrote the device code is to blame since any other program can talk to that COM port.

 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #335 on: February 03, 2016, 07:28:04 am »
Well, after seeing the latest Mailbag:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-847-mailbag/

I guess you are all right, we should just buy the counterfeit "Arts of Electronics Third Edition" screw the authors!

Of course I kid, but that's what I'm hearing here. They should provide the real book at the same price as the fake ones!
 

Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #336 on: February 03, 2016, 07:34:10 am »
Also the assumption FTDI present and future detection algorithms will never be wrong is a false one.
Can you provide a link to a documented event that shows that FDTI wrongly detected a non-genuine chip
while in reality it was genuine?
I think ... blahblahblah...

No link? Thats what I thought.
The difference between theory and practice is less in theory than
the difference between theory and practice in practice.
Expensive tools cannot compensate for lack of experience.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #337 on: February 03, 2016, 07:38:57 am »
FTDI could easily kill the clones by selling at a lower or equal cost.

How do you know that? Are you friends with the bookkeepers of FTDI?
Can you share your inside information?
The difference between theory and practice is less in theory than
the difference between theory and practice in practice.
Expensive tools cannot compensate for lack of experience.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #338 on: February 03, 2016, 07:41:27 am »
Why in the world do people let Windows update device drivers in the first place?

Why in the world do people use Windows in the first place?
The difference between theory and practice is less in theory than
the difference between theory and practice in practice.
Expensive tools cannot compensate for lack of experience.
 

Offline Boomerang

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #339 on: February 03, 2016, 07:47:29 am »
I ran a quick 24hr vote on Twitter. This was the result:



My choice (if available) would be "do nothing - just don't work with the chip"
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #340 on: February 03, 2016, 09:12:04 am »
My question will be, why would a company develop a product that uses the manufacturer's default VID and PID, knowing that any program that can talk to a COM port could cause damage or be dangerous?

Nah, those products are done by cheap and hobby level products and won't invest in making sure their device is bullet proof.

Regardless of FTDI or whatever other chip is used.
If the product uses the FTDI chip, it is the simplest way to use the manufacturers VID and PID, because otherwise you would have to provide an INF file (which needs to be signed for newer Windows versions), which would simply reference the ftdibus.sys driver anyway. As I've tested, the standard Microsoft usbser.sys doesn't work with the FTDI chips.

I think there is nothing wrong with protecting the IP. I really like the functionality of the FTDI chips, especially the modern versions, like the FT2232H, which you can use as a JTAG programmer as well (supported out of the box by the Lattice FPGA programmer).
Every USB-UART bridge has I/O pins so that JTAG programmer functionality can be implement by any of those. It is not an FTDI specific function.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline westfw

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #341 on: February 03, 2016, 10:02:54 am »
Just as an aside, I hope that people are feeling really warm and fuzzy about the fact that all these devices with counterfeit FTDI chips are being SO well tested (not!) with the latest FTDI drivers on several operating systems, before they get shipped to you.   AFAIK, the "latest FTDI driver" has not supported counterfeits since FTDIGate 1, about a year ago (windows just stopped pushing the latest to your PCs...), so I think that old stock should be mostly gone.   Vendors have known about the problem, but they apparently haven't done anything about cleaning up their supply chain OR testing their devices.
(If you're buying one of those hypothetical safety-critical products, I hope that EVERY unit shipped gets enough testing to detect this sort of issue!)
 

Online all_repair

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #342 on: February 03, 2016, 10:09:32 am »
It is a Moore's law industry, FDTI has actually milked out much more than what a typical company involved in this industry could have done.  To expect to have the same or more shall be wishful thinking.  They are not fighting the compatible, they are fighting Moore's law.  The most valuable thing FDTI had was probably their brand, and if they had been studying IBM and wanted to extract the most value out.  It was to sold their brand away to the lower cost manufacturer when their brand was golden.  But it is too late now after their move of killing compatible chips.  Their chips are finally used by people like me down in the chain, buying for installations and deployment.  It is a lost cause now to me.  I used to spec ONLY FDTI to banning FDTI.  No point thinking about stopping the compatible now, because the whole FDTI well is poisoned.  If I was part of the team, I would want to move all new businesses to another company and show no trace of FDTI association.  Do the protection ahead and not later.  When FDTI is actively poisoning their own well, likely they must have judged there are not much left inside for them.   So Poison it, screw everyone.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #343 on: February 03, 2016, 10:10:05 am »
Also it should be mentioned that FTDI is not a big corporate company, they are quite small and work (as in overwork their employees) hard to gain a measly $10M or so annually.  Edit: for the whole company not for each individual.

So buying fakes is just adding more working hours for those overworked employees. So go ahead and boycott them so their under 200 employees have to find some other way to earn a living.

 :palm:

Edit: I'll repeat, buy the fake Art Of Electronics 3rd Edition, or make the authors bring the price down to be the same as the counterfeit copies. :palm: :palm:

Yeah like all_repair says, screw everyone!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 10:25:51 am by miguelvp »
 

Offline westfw

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #344 on: February 03, 2016, 10:29:37 am »
Quote
- Sell cheaper (that's really overdue...)
- upgrade your products, and make your customer like the non compatible new features
You mean, like the new FT230/FT231 products.  Smaller, cheaper, additional features...

Quote
- get to new markets when your product line is dying off
The the VNC2 dual USB-host chips and the EVE display driver?

Quote
in case of FTDI, stop being a malware company
They seem to have TRIED to be a "better driver company", offering a driver that worked better and on more platforms than most of their competitors.  (I remember getting a bad feeling when we were looking at another vendor's USB chips, but they ONLY had windows drivers...)  But that was part of what got them noticed by the counterfeiters, probably.
AFAIK, FTDI drivers/chips still have features that aren't available on many alternatives, or not as easily.   (although that "not as easily" may be irrelevant.  Sure, it's theoretically easier to update the EEPROM fields in an FT232 to customize it for your product, compared to having to do a new firmware image for a dedicated microcontroller.  But not THAT much easier...)
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #345 on: February 03, 2016, 10:38:09 am »
I can picture this:

Yeah, you are all awesome and have achieved in our little Glasgow company what other bigger companies couldn't do. I would love to cut your working hours of 12 hours a day for little compensation and give you all bonuses for all your hard work, but the community is in favor of us cutting the price to compete with companies making clones of our devices, so no bonuses, no raises and I'm sorry to say you have to work 14 hours a day and 8 hours on weekends.

But it's not all a lost, we can all go soak our sorrows at the pub, that is if we can get out of work before last call.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #346 on: February 03, 2016, 12:11:26 pm »
Also it should be mentioned that FTDI is not a big corporate company, they are quite small and work (as in overwork their employees) hard to gain a measly $10M or so annually.  Edit: for the whole company not for each individual.

So buying fakes is just adding more working hours for those overworked employees. So go ahead and boycott them so their under 200 employees have to find some other way to earn a living.
Being poor doesn't make it right to damage property belonging to others or corrupt data on purpose with potentially severe consequences! As others noted: it is easy to make the driver not load with a device which the driver thinks is fake. If FTDI goes out of business it is good riddance; that is the way the free market deals with companies which don't innovate to reduce the cost of their products. If you look at the comparison between real and fake you'll notice the fakes are produced on a much more modern process than the real chips! If FTDI cared to do a die shrink they could make their devices much cheaper and lower power so cloning them is much less lucrative. BTW: if the employees at FTDI work for more hours than they get paid for they are utterly stupid.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 12:16:09 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline StuUK

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #347 on: February 03, 2016, 12:27:42 pm »
Also it should be mentioned that FTDI is not a big corporate company, they are quite small and work (as in overwork their employees) hard to gain a measly $10M or so annually.  Edit: for the whole company not for each individual.

So buying fakes is just adding more working hours for those overworked employees. So go ahead and boycott them so their under 200 employees have to find some other way to earn a living.
Being poor doesn't make it right to damage property belonging to others or corrupt data on purpose with potentially severe consequences! As others noted: it is easy to make the driver not load with a device which the driver thinks is fake. If FTDI goes out of business it is good riddance;

Bit harsh, these are peoples jobs, it more likely the management you should be targeting....

Quote
that is the way the free market deals with companies which don't innovate to reduce the cost of their products. If you look at the comparison between real and fake you'll notice the fakes are produced on a much more modern process than the real chips!

Fair but where are those being produced?

Quote
If FTDI cared to do a die shrink they could make their devices much cheaper and lower power so cloning them is much less lucrative.

Couldn't disagree.

Quote
BTW: if the employees at FTDI work for more hours than they get paid for they are utterly stupid.

Calling employees stupid because they work long hours is totally disingenuous, they likely work long hours either because 1) They care about what they do or 2) because they have little choice or 3) a combination of both 1 and 2. The idea they do it because they are stupid is highly unlikely!
 

Offline amyk

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #348 on: February 03, 2016, 12:31:41 pm »
Also it should be mentioned that FTDI is not a big corporate company, they are quite small and work (as in overwork their employees) hard to gain a measly $10M or so annually.  Edit: for the whole company not for each individual.

So buying fakes is just adding more working hours for those overworked employees. So go ahead and boycott them so their under 200 employees have to find some other way to earn a living.
Their ICs are nothing special anymore. It's like TI going after everyone who clones the 7400...
 

Offline janekm

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #349 on: February 03, 2016, 01:09:26 pm »
As a developer, I love this. I always buy important ICs from reputable vendors, and on top of that now I can even properly test them for fakes.
(I also could with the previous ftdi driver that erased PID, but this is easier now.)

Also, whenever I can I've been using ft230x/ft231x in new designs instead of the common ft232r because of the price.

Really? You do realise that the next version of fake chips will be able to pass whatever check FTDI are doing in this version, and then at some random time in the future your product might fail because you depended on that oh so reassuring test...

And one day you may be building some devices on a deadline, and you find out that the FTDI chip is the only one on your BOM that only has stock with distributors on the other side of an anal-retentive customs border. And you have 4 days until CNY. You'll be singing a different tune.

BTW here's one example of a distributor that would have carried FTDI chips but now carry alternatives instead because FTDI won't sell to them: https://www.schukat.com/schukat/schukat_cms_en.nsf/previewindex/CMS2BC96E5EAB296935C1257E0000455669?OpenDocument&refDoc=CMS5AA927DF5F442B33C1256D4F005B1771

And Schukat are a long-established, "name-brand" distributor...

Like I said, FTDI seem to do everything they can to drive themselves out of business here. Businesses building million-unit quantities of their designs weren't using FTDI chips anyway (too expensive and easy to design around), with the exception of Arduino until recently.
 


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