Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Input Devices Open Source Hardware

USB Implementers Forum Won't Play Nice With Open Hardware 273

DeathToBill writes "Hack A Day reports on the attempts of open hardware hackers to obtain a vendor and product ID for their devices to be able to sell them as USB compliant: 'A not for profit foundation [in this case Arachnid Labs] could buy a VID, give PIDs away to foundation members making open source hardware, and we would all live in a magical world of homebrew devices that are certified as USB compliant.' The USB Implementers Forum, which controls the sale of PIDs, has lawyered up, responding to the effort with a cease and desist notice, requiring Arachnid Labs to stop 'raising funds to purchase a unique USB VID' and 'delete all references to the USB-IF, VIDs and PIDs for transfer, resale or sublicense from your website and other marketing materials.' A slight over-reaction? Or dark conspiracy against open hardware? You decide!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

USB Implementers Forum Won't Play Nice With Open Hardware

Comments Filter:
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @08:59AM (#45199593) Homepage

    So, The USB Implementers Forum is a cartel intended to make sure only approved corporations can play the game then?

    And, once again, corporations take over everything and the rest of us can eat cake. Color me totally un-surprised.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @09:11AM (#45199683)

    afaict being compliant and buying a VID ($5000) isn't even enough to use the logo, you also need become a member($4000) or logo licensee ($3500)

    I can understand that they need to get someone to pay for making the USB standard, but they could have provided something like a dummy VID so that
    you don't get conflicts from people just picking random numbers

    Seen it suggested else where that we should all just start using 0xF055 as VID

  • Clarifications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nicksdjohnson ( 1625665 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @09:20AM (#45199755)
    To clarify: Issuing VIDs, and logo licensing & compliance testing are entirely distinct things. Every USB device must have a unique PID/VID combination, used to identify a device and load correct drivers. In order to produce your own device, you must have a VID of your own (in which case you manage PID allocation), or get a PID from someone else - a practice USB-IF frowns upon outside certain strictly defined circumstances. Obtaining a VID without USB-IF membership costs a one off fee of $5000. Having a VID doesn't entitle you to use the USB logo. Independent of getting a VID, you can become a USB-IF logo licensee or member ($3500, or $4000/year respectively) and certify your devices, whereupon they can bear the USB logo. The HaD post, and my original post that it's based upon, is entirely about the issue of obtaining VIDs and PIDs for hobbyists; certification is a separate matter.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @09:33AM (#45199879) Journal
    You don't make hardware USB-compliant simply by having a PID&VID. And the process - as with most processes where numbers are assigned (consider, for example, the IANA) - doesn't admit subversion by buying up a block of numbers then re-selling.

    RTFA. It specifically mentions three licensed vendors (Microchip, FTDI, and Openmoko) that already do exactly that. So no, this has nothing to do with quality control, and everything to do with control control.

    Personally, though, I don't see the problem. VTM apparently thinks much too highly of their coveted IP, blinding them to the reality of their situation - They have "Xerox"ed themselves. Kleenex. Escalator. Genericization sucks, suckas!

    USB has become so ubiquitous, products using it don't need to advertise that fact - If something comes with a visible USB A or B connector on it, end users will just plug it in without giving a second thought about what logos the box had on it.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell