Get your USB PID's HERE!! Get'em while they're hot!

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by callan, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. callan

    callan Member

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    If you're making a USB device, it's a pain (and expensive!) to get an ID for it.
    To save $5000usd in buying a Vendor ID, GIThub have scored a VID, and are running a registry that will parcel out PID's to anyone who asks.

    If you need one, there is info HERE on hackaday.

    My guess is that the The USB Implementers’ Forum will end up botting all the ID's, as they'd be pretty pissed about this, as it encroaches on their hegemony - so I'd grab an ID whilst you still can, if USB hacking is your thing.

    Callan
     
  2. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    From the rules:

    Seems like an excellent move. The USB-IF isn't likely to be able to do that. At the same time, 99% of opportunisitic people that just want to grab a USB PID for "possible future use" are also not going to get anywhere.
     
  3. @rt

    @rt Member

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    Yeah I would probably do that :D
    I’ve had FTDI (I hope) serial converters here for a while and not used them yet.
    I imagine for chips like that, and HID or bluetooth devices the chip manufacturers already have this sorted out?
    Is it only if you change the USB controller chip the new identifier is needed?

    Aslo I’ve had a read, but don’t understand the reason why the original VID can’t be revoked.
     
  4. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    Yes, or if you want it to appear as a different device to the computer.

    If you use the FTDI standard VID/PID, it'll turn up as an "FTDI USB to serial converter" (or something along those lines). Any device that has that VID/PID will appear as the same thing and use the same driver.

    Maybe you actually want it to turn up as "@artTech super-awesome USB device". This might just be marketing, or it might be so that your PC software can search for devices by that name rather than having to see if any of the "FTDI USB to serial converter" devices feel like talking to it today. To achieve this, you need a different PID/VID and appropriate drivers. If I remember correctly, you can set the PID/VID on the FT232 and then slightly modify the stock drivers to link the new PID/VID to the new description.

    The point of the VID/PID system is that unique device = unique PID/VID. You'll never (if it's working well) get a USB device that identifies as an FT232 unless it is actually an FT232. The clones don't obey this, but they're close enough (ie they'll talk to the FTDI driver in the correct manner).

    Say I acquired one VID/PID pair for "Slatye's USB3.0 to USB1.1 adaptor". Lots of people have this device/driver installed on their PC (because everyone needs to convert USB3.0 to USB1.1). Then USB-IF gets upset with me, revokes my VID, and sells it to Intel. Intel releases the "Intel USB3.0 external coprocessor" using the same VID/PID pair - but on lots of PCs it's going to be identified as "Slatye's USB3.0 to USB1.1 adaptor". That's going to seriously screw up Intel's drivers. Intel is going to be extremely cross because buying a VID is meant to ensure that all VID/PID pairs that you create are absolutely unique. Then USB-IF gets sued by Intel and the world becomes a better place.

    In short, they could revoke the VID, but they can't sell it to someone else instead. If it's not sold to anyone else then it remains exclusively used by the company that had it originally, so they can continue to issue PIDs with the certainty that nobody else will be allowed to use the same VID.

    If I remember correctly there was a group a while back that took a shortcut through the whole thing. They just said "we've decided that <vid> is ours now. It anyone else uses it, you're going to get driver conflicts with our stuff." Again, USB-IF can't issue that VID to anyone because issuing a VID is meant to guarantee uniqueness. I'm not sure whether there's even a legal basis to stop them - it's just a number stored in the hardware. No idea what the end result of that was.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
  5. mtma

    mtma Member

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    People really have to recognise this is a two way street. USB-IF will outwardly defend the terms that they offer for VID licensing. But this is part of the package as to why anything to do with USB has remained over the past two decades so desirable to users.

    The fact that a VID comes with 65,536 PID's is largely irrelevant, nor is it an outrage that they can't be sub-assigned. USB-IF don't want you in their ecosystem unless you're serious about making valuable, successful products featuring USB - because if you don't, you erode core features that make USB desirable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
  6. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    On the other hand, locking down PIDs has the effect of driving developers of low-cost or niche products to re-use existing PIDs.

    The FTDI ones are a good example - lots of stuff identifies as FTDI even though it's not actually made by FTDI. Most of it works to some extent with whatever version of the FTDI drivers was available during development. Then FTDI updates the drivers and everything breaks in a new and unusual way.


    It's a bit like the debate over pirating products that aren't available locally.
    People are going to make USB devices, whether the USB-IF wants them to or not (just like people are going to get the latest GoT episodes, whether HBO wants them to or not). If it's not practical do this in the "correct" way (ie buying a VID; subscribing to HBO) then people will do it in the "incorrect" way (re-using an existing VID/PID with dubious compatibility or making up a new VID/PID; pirating GoT).

    While the supplier (USB-IF/HBO) may prefer a third option (people don't make USB devices without paying for the VID; people don't get GoT unless they're in the USA and paying for it) that's just not going to happen. They'd have about as much luck hoping that the whole world will just band together and give them a trillion dollars for being really great people.


    The GitHub approach seems pretty logical to me. The main effect is that it removes the need for people to use an existing VID/PID in products that have a very small production run. Who cares if they don't really function well? As long as they don't break the drivers for stuff that does function well, that's all that matters.
     
  7. paulvk

    paulvk Member

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    You can always go to Mcs electronics http://www.mcselec.com/ where you can purchase a pid/vid cheaply as they have had theirs before the rules got changed and their license could not be taken back once issued.
     
  8. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    Technically the USB-IF has revoked MCS's VID too:
    As they've said, it doesn't matter; the VID/PID will still be unique.
     
  9. @rt

    @rt Member

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    Thanks for the explanation.
    I’ve got to start using 16 bit micros properly some time,
    and want the whole C environment and it’s math to be an option for anything started,
    so this will all become relevant in the shorter term I think.
     
  10. @rt

    @rt Member

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    Basically Paul, that WIB with it’s DSpic and floating point math & trig would do the trick nicely
    even though that particular thing isn’t a USB device.
    I should have written a math processor for use with lesser chips while I was playing with it.
     
  11. Thunder

    Thunder Member

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    Yeah I bought one from MCS for a PIC USB MIDI Synth project I did a while back.

    The USB-IF revoking an identifier is largely a symbolic act, they can't actually stop anyone from continuing to use it. There's also nothing to stop you from just squatting P/VID pair, apart from maybe getting a nastygram from the USB-IF (I don't know if this has ever happened to anyone though).

    The whole thing is a bit of a farce. The USB-IF is refusing to be reasonable to hobbyists, so hobbyists are just taking VIDs in an ad-hoc fashion.
     

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