Reply to post: Re: Linux?

Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Linux?

A patch was proposed as a joke get the driver in the Linux kernel sources to match the behaviour of the FTDI driver. That patch was not included, but a patch to detect and use bricked chips was included.

FTDI distribute binary drivers for Linux. If somebody actually uses those drivers and got burned it did not cause headline news on the internet.

The license for the FTDI driver includes a clause saying the user gives permission for the driver to break counterfeit chips. IANAL, so I do not know if it proects them from the computer fraud and abuse act. (Note to Windows users: read the EULA. If it is 5000 pages long, you can be certain 4900 or those pages are there to hide something you will regret later.)

Last time alternative actions FTDI could have taken were proposed that did not take reality into account. FTDI chips keep there USB product ID in a mask ROM. The counterfeits keep them in EEPROM. To spot the difference, you have to command the chip to write to the EEPROM. This does nothing to the genuine chip, but EEPROM can only survive a limited number of erase/write cycles. At this point, you have to decide what to do. You could write FTDI's numbers back again, and after about half a million reboots the EEPROM will not be capable of storing some product IDs. You could leave a predictable number in there, and the device will work with the open source Linux driver. The new plan appears to be to leave a random number behind. What Windows (or Linux) will do next will depend on if the new numbers match a device known to the operating system.

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