You're right, "persistent" would have been a better word. By "permanent" I simply wanted to be clear that I was talking about a change that lasted beyond the current session, not necessarily something irreversible. A change that survives a power cycle or reboot and requires specific intervention to reverse like the VID/PID change does.
Your more generic example is the situation I was describing when I said "accidental". The action has a purpose on the intended platform and inadvertently causes damage to the clone. This is as opposed to a malicious change which is specifically designed to cause the damage. It's the intent to cause harm that differentiates between accident and potentially criminal act.
If you use FTDI's VID/PID, you're trying to pass yourself off as an FTDI chip, and it is YOUR FAULT ALONE if an operation that does not cause issues on genuine FTDI hardware does bad things to your own.
These chips may or may not contain stolen IP. They may simply be engineered to mimic the interface of the FTDI chips to be used as replacements. That's perfectly legal. Chip manufacturers often make work-alikes of other manufacturer's designs, from individual transistors up to full CPUs. Think of the non-Intel x86 CPUs, made to work with the x86 interface and instruction set but containing no stolen x86 IP. Or hell, think of the whole automotive after-market industry. If auto companies could legally prevent third parties from making replacement parts, you bet your life they would.
Nope. It's fine (but dickish) to detect the other guy's product and refuse to work with it. It's a regrettable accident if a legitimate operation on your own device permanently alters a third-party replacement, but I'd consider that to be the fault of a crappy replacement part. It's not at all acceptable to go looking for such an exploit with the intent of rendering the competitor's device unusable. Intent matters, and FTDI performed an obviously malicious action which has no use other than to deliberately break a competitor's product. Whether the competitor stole the design or manufactured a clean-room work-alike makes no difference. You can take them to court but you can't play vigilante.
The distortion is strong in that one. And now he must excuse his earlier brief glimses of reality.
This. Just the case of a fan trying to justify a questionable decision. UI has become a fashion show. Helvetica is this year's hem length. Flat, primary colors are in, and they're simply FABulous! None of the changes have anything to do with usability. It's all change for the sake of change, nothing more. It's the same reason dresses and cars change their outward appearance from year to year, regardless of any substantive changes. It's done to make you think, wow, this is new, I MUST HAVE.
(Full disclaimer: I'm a sucker for upgrades. I always need to have the latest version of any software, regardless of whether or not it's actually better. Call it an OCD-ish mental disorder. I installed Yosemite yesterday, but unlike the author of the post I don't feel the need to justify Apple's fashion sense.)
Public relations. You have to get the nuclear fuel to orbit somehow. What if the rocket blows up and scatters it everywhere? What if it makes orbit but is inoperable, and falls out of the sky? What if the Mars mission fails en route, and the ship comes back on return orbit and whacks into the Earth? What if terrorists take control via the Internet and use it as a weapon? It doesn't matter if the scientists and engineers say it can be done safely. Who trusts them, anyway? Think of the children!
Remember, large fractions of people still believe that cell phones cause cancer and vaccines cause autism.
Then I found out the hotel has internet connected TVs, so I plugged my *nix laptop into one of their jacks, got DHCP, and did a (ze)nmap scan to find all the other TVs. Picked one at random, grabbed its MAC address, and spoofed it on my network card. Wallah! Free access.
Meanwhile, the guy in the other room is getting charged per kilobyte for use of the internet-connected TV. Good plan. For an encore, how about breaking into another room and raiding the mini-bar, too?