Author Topic: FTDIgate 2.0?  (Read 248078 times)

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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #800 on: February 29, 2016, 12:10:55 am »
... to force the innocent end user to return their device for repair. ...

Please, don't confuse cause and effect. It's not FTDI's fault that they have to return their device.
Blame the counterfeiters.


I agree.  The blame goes to the counterfeiters.  But my response of avoiding the risk of FTDI does not assign blame, it merely assesses the risk to me.

A similar analogy.  All of the blame for terrorism in airline travel belongs to the terrorists.  But my decision to avoid airline travel because I dislike all of the restrictions and examinations has an economic impact on the airlines.  Others will make different decisions.  I know people who would not fly if all of these protections were not in place.  The airlines have bet (with government assistance and apparently correctly) that more people of the latter type exist than people who feel like me.  The only group at fault is the terrorists, but airlines and passengers acting in their own perceived best interests have impacts on each other.

In a perfect world none of the wrongdoers would exist.  In the real world, the people who are trying to behave ethically have to make imperfect choices.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #801 on: February 29, 2016, 07:39:28 am »
Send the message to the system error log, that's how drivers are supposed to report problems.

And what exactly is the gain for the "innocent" enduser? He still needs to return his device for repair.
For the enduser, there's no difference between bricking, replacing the data with a string or simply refusing to work.
The endresult is the same. The device needs to be repaired.
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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 #802 on: February 29, 2016, 10:51:03 am »
Civilized societies already have established that two wrongs don't make a right and that punishments should serve to undo damages and as an educational tool / incentive to prevent repeating the undesired (bad) behaviour.
There are no two wrongs. Just one. The counterfeiters.
I'd like you to show court cases where a company or people got away with damaging third party property because they want to settle a dispute on their own (bypassing the legal system).

Please, show me an example where FTDI physically damaged chips. As far as I know, the first time they reprogrammed the counterfeit chip and set the VID and PID to 0.
To me, that is not damage because this can be undone. The chips can still be reprogrammed via a software tool to use another driver.
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 #803 on: February 29, 2016, 11:04:35 am »
But my response of avoiding the risk of FTDI does not assign blame, it merely assesses the risk to me.

This whole thing has been blown out of proportions. The only devices affected are the ones bought or produced in shady places
where low cost is more important than quality. Those devices are mainly for hobbyists and semi-profs.
FTDI chips are used a lot in the industry and there are no incidents reported so far.
The chance that end-users of devices, produced for the mass consumer market by the big industry, is extremely low.

But because the hobbyist scene is very vocal and tend to scream and whine a lot on internet fora, it looks like it's a big deal
but in reality, it isn't.
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.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #804 on: February 29, 2016, 11:17:05 am »
Civilized societies already have established that two wrongs don't make a right and that punishments should serve to undo damages and as an educational tool / incentive to prevent repeating the undesired (bad) behaviour.
There are no two wrongs. Just one. The counterfeiters.
I'd like you to show court cases where a company or people got away with damaging third party property because they want to settle a dispute on their own (bypassing the legal system).

Please, show me an example where FTDI physically damaged chips. As far as I know, the first time they reprogrammed the counterfeit chip and set the VID and PID to 0.
To me, that is not damage because this can be undone. The chips can still be reprogrammed via a software tool to use another driver.
Don't try to talk your way out of it; just put your money where your mouth is! Ofcourse most damages can be repaired one way or the other but who is liable to pay for the repairs? So again: come up with a court case where a company or people got away with damaging third party property without having to pay for the damages/repairs.

Quote
But because the hobbyist scene is very vocal and tend to scream and whine a lot on internet fora, it looks like it's a big deal
but in reality, it isn't.
Still totally oblivious for the fact people and companies are using alternative USB UART chips as many already pointed out in this thread.  :palm:  Even I'm about to ship out a batch of units to one of my customers which would have an FTDI USB-UART chip inside if FTDI didn't intoduce so much uncertainty in their drivers.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline madires

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #805 on: February 29, 2016, 11:25:46 am »
I assume it has been mentioned before in this thread but how is this any different then how Prolific handled the counterfeit PL2303 chips? They updated the driver so it doesn't start if the chip is detected to not be genuine.

Prolific: driver doesn't work with counterfeit chip
FTDI #1: driver bricks deliberately counterfeit/compatible chips by setting USB IDs to zero.
FTDI #2: driver sends "NON GENUINE DEVICE FOUND!" to the ounterfeit/compatible chip regardless of input

FTDI should have simply done the same like Prolific. But bricking chips or sending modified data is an absolute no-go. Neither ethical nor legal (willful damage to property, computer sabotage, vigilantism).

And a lesson for Karel in law basics: There's the principle of keeping damages as low as possible. If someone smashes your car's windscreen, you can't demand more money than a reasonable new windscreen including mounting would cost. If the garage's invoice is higher than that, the bad boy has just to pay for the reasonable replacement. This means for FTDI, as a victim of counterfeit chips, they must not increase the damage to other by bricking chips or sending modified data which could cause havoc, besides this being already illegal anyway. But I'm sure you'll ignore this fact also, still claiming the lack of arguments and also ignoring what's written many times about the proper way to deal with counterfeit products.
 

Offline madires

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #806 on: February 29, 2016, 11:31:24 am »
Quote
Perhaps instead of just calling FTDI stupid, people could suggest better constructive steps FTDI should have taken?

I think that more constructive step has been stated many, many times in this (and the previous FTDI thread)

No, it has not.

I've written several times:
- FTDI should have simply make their driver stop working with counterfeit chips
- FTDI should have let law enforcement do their job by confiscating counterfeit chips

But you're ignoring this and many posts of other forum members.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #807 on: February 29, 2016, 11:52:17 am »
Civilized societies already have established that two wrongs don't make a right and that punishments should serve to undo damages and as an educational tool / incentive to prevent repeating the undesired (bad) behaviour.
There are no two wrongs. Just one. The counterfeiters.
I'd like you to show court cases where a company or people got away with damaging third party property because they want to settle a dispute on their own (bypassing the legal system).

Please, show me an example where FTDI physically damaged chips. As far as I know, the first time they reprogrammed the counterfeit chip and set the VID and PID to 0.
To me, that is not damage because this can be undone. The chips can still be reprogrammed via a software tool to use another driver.
Don't try to talk your way out of it; just put your money where your mouth is! Ofcourse most damages can be repaired one way or the other but who is liable to pay for the repairs? So again: come up with a court case where a company or people got away with damaging third party property without having to pay for the damages/repairs.

The counterfeiters are liable for the damages/repairs/whatever.

Quote
But because the hobbyist scene is very vocal and tend to scream and whine a lot on internet fora, it looks like it's a big deal
but in reality, it isn't.
Still totally oblivious for the fact people and companies are using alternative USB UART chips as many already pointed out in this thread.

I don't think that a group of screaming and whining hobbyists on forums is representative for what is going on in the industry.
There have always been hobbyists and engineers who have used alternatives. The question is, how much does it affect the business of FTDI.
I don't have this data. Do you? But based on what I see, it's only a (relatively) small group of hobbyists and semi-profs who are trying to make it look like
it's a big deal. When I talk to colleagues in the industry, I still haven't met somebody that has problems with FTDI.

Even I'm about to ship out a batch of units to one of my customers which would have an FTDI USB-UART chip inside if FTDI didn't intoduce so much uncertainty in their drivers.

We still use FTDI chips. We use whats best for our customers. We will not let affect our decisions by some sentiment on internet fora, mainly caused by hobbyists who buy their stuf
in shady places.




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 #808 on: February 29, 2016, 11:57:53 am »
I assume it has been mentioned before in this thread but how is this any different then how Prolific handled the counterfeit PL2303 chips? They updated the driver so it doesn't start if the chip is detected to not be genuine.

Prolific: driver doesn't work with counterfeit chip
FTDI #1: driver bricks deliberately counterfeit/compatible chips by setting USB IDs to zero.
FTDI #2: driver sends "NON GENUINE DEVICE FOUND!" to the ounterfeit/compatible chip regardless of input

FTDI should have simply done the same like Prolific.

I why should they do that? Because you say so?

But bricking chips or sending modified data is an absolute no-go.

Bricking counterfeit chips or sending the string "not a genuine chip" seems completely fine to me.
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 #809 on: February 29, 2016, 11:59:51 am »
Quote
Perhaps instead of just calling FTDI stupid, people could suggest better constructive steps FTDI should have taken?

I think that more constructive step has been stated many, many times in this (and the previous FTDI thread)

No, it has not.

I've written several times:
- FTDI should have simply make their driver stop working with counterfeit chips
- FTDI should have let law enforcement do their job by confiscating counterfeit chips

But you're ignoring this and many posts of other forum members.

No, I'm not ignoring it. I just don't believe that your writings are more constructive.

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.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #810 on: February 29, 2016, 12:01:36 pm »
I don't think that a group of screaming and whining hobbyists on forums is representative for what is going on in the industry.
:palm: So now we are all hobbyists here?  :palm:
Any luck finding a court case backing your statements yet? Come back when you do and we'll have something serious to talk about instead of going around in circles.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Boomerang

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #811 on: February 29, 2016, 02:22:47 pm »
Karel,
hobbyists are small customers individually, but they are many and collectively influence the industry a lot. Most of the people who hear about this (and previous) story are very disappointed from the FTDI actions and will reduce significantly their interactions with the company's products. This negative feeling will spread among the people in the industry (hobbyists and professionals) like a domino row.

FTDI chips are used a lot in the industry and there are no incidents reported so far.
You seem to have inside information, so you can report this to the FTDI management: the long term effect after the two FTDI-gates will be negative for the company finances. People who make one error twice I can call simply stupid and irresponsible. They are irresponsible in front of their employer and/or investors.

No matter how hard you try to defend them and no matter how many times you repeat "aim your anger at the counterfeiters" - you won't change anything. The anger will be pointed to FTDI and the counterfeiters (we don't even know who they are) will either switch to other "model" chips or will start to make better copies that will pass the genuine test. Whatever they do - they will not buy more than few 10s of original chips and they will not stimulate the increase of FTDI sales.

In short: you are wasting your time.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #812 on: February 29, 2016, 02:44:21 pm »
Quote
Perhaps instead of just calling FTDI stupid, people could suggest better constructive steps FTDI should have taken?

I think that more constructive step has been stated many, many times in this (and the previous FTDI thread)

No, it has not.

I've written several times:
- FTDI should have simply make their driver stop working with counterfeit chips
- FTDI should have let law enforcement do their job by confiscating counterfeit chips

But you're ignoring this and many posts of other forum members.

No, I'm not ignoring it. I just don't believe that your writings are more constructive.

Talk a lot, don't you!  :popcorn:
Chris

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Offline zapta

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #813 on: February 29, 2016, 03:06:24 pm »
I'd like you to show court cases where a company or people got away with damaging third party property because they want to settle a dispute on their own (bypassing the legal system).

Like this?




(this is not an opinion about FTDI actions, already did it many posts ago)
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 03:07:59 pm by zapta »
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Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #814 on: February 29, 2016, 03:10:31 pm »
... the long term effect after the two FTDI-gates will be negative for the company finances.

Maybe, maybe not. That has still to be determined. Maybe FTDI concluded that other approaches should be more negative for the company finances.
Some people here seem to forget that FTDI is a victim here as well. They can't allow counterfeiting. They have to do something.
And bricking the chips is the best approach to prevent that people continue to use the counterfeit chips by using an older driver.
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 miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #815 on: February 29, 2016, 05:04:04 pm »
It doesn't matter what anyone says in this forum. FTDI made a decision five months ago and if it was hurting their bottom line, they surely would have reverted their decision but they have not.

They are not publicly traded, but I wonder how their financial statement from 2015 compares to 2014, since the new driver was released at the end of September it would only account for 3 months which is not enough to account for their customer base reactions, so I guess we'll have to see how it affects their 2016 bottom line.

Use it or don't use it, stating that they are crap or not has about the same weight as any other this vs that discussion.
Myself I prefer Cypress anyways for my USB-UART needs, but that was the case even before the Oct 2014 original FTDIgate 1.0

Edit: I just noticed that even Wikipedia has the dates wrong. The "NON GENUINE DEVICE FOUND!" driver was not released or discovered on Feb 2016. But you know how new media is and they picked up the story probably based on this thread, so now the facts are all distorted. If you search for that string you can find that it pre-dates February and was discovered shortly after it was released (Sept 29th 2015) around Oct 2nd 2015.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 05:12:01 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #816 on: February 29, 2016, 05:13:20 pm »
What makes me hard to understand is, FTDI already plans to phase out the old FT232, as this can be seen from their new alternative products, cheaper, smaller and more power efficient.
FT232 serves only legacy compatibility purpose, IMHO. Why a company is willing to ruin its reputation for a model that is being phased out?
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #817 on: February 29, 2016, 05:23:00 pm »
What makes me hard to understand is, FTDI already plans to phase out the old FT232, as this can be seen from their new alternative products, cheaper, smaller and more power efficient.
FT232 serves only legacy compatibility purpose, IMHO. Why a company is willing to ruin its reputation for a model that is being phased out?

Some see it as they are ruining their reputation, others see it as they are strengthening their position. To some it seems its enough to switch manufacturers and re-spinning their boards, while for others they are happy that they don't have to compete with cheap clones.

No matter how many times people post their opinions here they are not based on the actual numbers, FTDI is the only one that has the answer to how their decision did affect them positively or negatively in the long run.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #818 on: February 29, 2016, 06:05:04 pm »
It's apparent from reading this forum and others that FTDI has ruined it's reputation among at least some in the electronics community (both hobbyists and designers).  What percentage is an open question. It's a good question regarding how this will affect their bottom line - particularly if they are phasing out the 232 chip anyway.  But that is a question that will only be answered over a longer time period.

Listening to the most recent embedded.fm podcast which featured an interview with Bunnie Huang - I found his take on Chinese cloning of electronics very interesting. It is a cultural thing- that is how the value of designing and producing a cheaper compatible alternative to an existing product is perceived.

IMO there is no excuse for outright counterfeiting - that is in this case stamping chips with a fake FTDI logo and trying to pass them off as real FTDI chips. But, there are also many FTDI compatible clone chips out there - that have no FTDI logo and are only sold as FTDI compatible - they are not "counterfeit - they are clones.   As far as I know there is nothing illegal about those and after hearing Bunnie's take on why the Chinese often do this kind of thing I'm not so sure I would even consider it unethical. It's a complicated topic with distinct cultural factors.


 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #819 on: February 29, 2016, 06:14:54 pm »
Apparent to some, only the people voicing their opinions usually are the ones that have something to complain about, while the silent majority seats on the sideline unfazed.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #820 on: February 29, 2016, 06:20:02 pm »
But, there are also many FTDI compatible clone chips out there - that have no FTDI logo and are only sold as FTDI compatible - they are not "counterfeit - they are clones.   As far as I know there is nothing illegal about those and after hearing Bunnie's take on why the Chinese often do this kind of thing I'm not so sure I would even consider it unethical. It's a complicated topic with distinct cultural factors.

If they're piggy-backing off of a driver that another company developed, distributed, signed, and supports, after that company has made it ABUNDANTLY clear that they do not appreciate that kind of behavior, then yes it is unethical in any culture.  Those "compatible" chip makers are MORE than welcome to use their own VID, and write, distribute, and maintain their own drivers.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #821 on: February 29, 2016, 06:37:11 pm »
But, there are also many FTDI compatible clone chips out there - that have no FTDI logo and are only sold as FTDI compatible - they are not "counterfeit - they are clones.   As far as I know there is nothing illegal about those and after hearing Bunnie's take on why the Chinese often do this kind of thing I'm not so sure I would even consider it unethical. It's a complicated topic with distinct cultural factors.

If they're piggy-backing off of a driver that another company developed, distributed, signed, and supports, after that company has made it ABUNDANTLY clear that they do not appreciate that kind of behavior, then yes it is unethical in any culture.  Those "compatible" chip makers are MORE than welcome to use their own VID, and write, distribute, and maintain their own drivers.

A valid opinion for sure - but just an opinion as all responses to ethical questions are.  Many have questioned FTDIs ethics in their response - again - only opinions.
 
FTDI's concerns are not relevant to that question IMHO since of course no company wants competition -  from legal cloners or otherwise. I'm sure FTDI would appreciate it if no other chips makers made competing products - but they don't get to determine that.
   
Were the IBM PC cloners unethical?  Is it always unethical to "clone" an existing product if done legally?  IMHO these are not black and white questions.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #822 on: February 29, 2016, 06:40:56 pm »
But, there are also many FTDI compatible clone chips out there - that have no FTDI logo and are only sold as FTDI compatible - they are not "counterfeit - they are clones.   As far as I know there is nothing illegal about those and after hearing Bunnie's take on why the Chinese often do this kind of thing I'm not so sure I would even consider it unethical. It's a complicated topic with distinct cultural factors.

If they're piggy-backing off of a driver that another company developed, distributed, signed, and supports, after that company has made it ABUNDANTLY clear that they do not appreciate that kind of behavior, then yes it is unethical in any culture.  Those "compatible" chip makers are MORE than welcome to use their own VID, and write, distribute, and maintain their own drivers.

Who cares how clear they made it? If they put the software on my computer I'm going to use it however the hell I want. At no point did I ever agree to only do things FTDI likes.
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Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #823 on: February 29, 2016, 06:43:14 pm »
Regarding PC clones, they did have to write their own compatible BIOS. It's not like they did the clone and tell people to use unmodified IBM ROMs.

Edit: I do recall some IBM software that actually checked the BIOS to make sure it was running on IBM hardware. It was a paint program but I bet that BIOS check was in some of their offerings.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 06:45:34 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline Karel

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #824 on: February 29, 2016, 06:50:06 pm »
Were the IBM PC cloners unethical?

Probably not, as long as the PC-clone doesn't use a copy of IBM's PC-DOS without a valid licence.
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.
 


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