Creative Labs has enraged customers by threatening a developer with legal action after he wrote drivers that allowed its products to run smoothly on Vista. Soundcard maker Creative accused the developer, known only as daniel_k, of theft and warned him not to infringe its intellectual property. Daniel_k has created a number of …
So what are the going to do next - sue the ALSA team ! Who the hell buys Creative cards anymore, probably the same people who buy magic beans.
Daniel you have my deepest sympathy.
"Creative Fail Limited (SGX: C76) is a listed manufacturer of inferior computer multimedia products based in Singapore"
You want to keep using your OLD hardware?
"By enabling our technology and IP to run on soundcards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are, in effect, stealing our goods."
So Creative have the right to cripple a product they sold you by refusing to release the drivers that would allow it to continue working?
The whole field of IP law stinks. If a product is obsolete, then the associated IP should be released to the public. If the IP is still that valuable to a company, then it should be forced to demonstrate its viability by supporting the associated product. Then we wouldn't need to use up land fill to throw away perfectly serviceable gear and it's environmentally friendly.
But that would go against the mantra of our (enforced) consumerist society - Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade!!!
Dalek icon, anyone?
Are these drivers really homebrew? If so send them to me and I will host them AND take Creative on if they try to force me to take them down. If you own the hardware, there is nothing to stop you creating software to do what you want with it because it's yours, you own it.
If on the other hand these drivers are modded creative drivers, then they have a point.
I remember trialling Vista on my old PC which it run well but the creative soundcard sounded well shit. It was so flat and sounded rubbish on the official Creative drivers. Now I know why, hand on heart I have sworn by Creative for over 15 years even with built in sound I have opted for a creative soundcard.
My current PC has a Creative X-Fi inside and it sounds good but it has some issues clicking occasionally especially when playing sounds from one app and going to another it will click. Before it used to make a screech after a few hours of use and stop working.
Sorry creative, next time I will stick with built in sound instead of the shite you are pushing out.
I remember when the Audigy was reasonably new I bought one to use while studying music technology.
The drivers sucked. The latency I got from ASIO was horrendous.
The only way I got it working was using some 'dodgy' drivers from a forum. (Very possibly Daniel_K's I cant remember what they were called)
Guess not much changes over at Creative HQ 'cept those cats getting fatter.
Sadly after an intial out pouring of venom and maybe losing some sales in the short term eventually people will forget and they'll be pimping their shite to some other sucker.
Its a shame
I picked up this story on neowin earlier today, and have read around slashdot and now theregister.
The general consensus is the same - a PR disaster.
The fact remains, however, that these were third party drivers distributed on creative's own forum and the drivers were 'reverse' engineered to some extent to get them to work.
However, creative had advertised their products as working with Vista, and clearly this advertising was misleading.
Two rights do not make a wrong, regardless...creative should have turned a blind eye...solved the problem that the third party developer was solving and eliminated the demand for the third party driver.
I congratulate those that have put this in the headlines.
As a further note, I've been a loyal purchaser of creative for YEARS...my recent kit in use are a 6.1 set of speakers, 2.1 set of speakers, a soundblaster external USB card. I've remained "loyal" because the products have ALWAYS worked. However, I recall that a webcam I had didn't work properly with its drivers once, however, I was able to get a third party driver to make it work.
Clearly if Creative are going to take this measure in future, I'm going to have to research and think twice about buying their hardware.
now i'm wondering if that fatal1ty x-fi audio card i ordered yesterday is going to work wih my vista system.
Interesting. Where's the lawsuit against KX Project?
Essentially they do the same thing, only the compatibility isn't with an operating system but is instead geared towards making Creative products more robust for use with audio software. It falls foul of Creative's accusation of "allowing a product to interact with hardware/software it was never intended for."
But, really, what's the basis for a legal threat here? This is a serious question, but has a case against a developer ever been made based on their developing drivers/workarounds for hardware/software? One would think that if you can modify a car with aftermarket parts and/or do custom work on them you would think you could write code for software/hardware. I realize analogies to real world examples and intellectual property often fail, but it does seem to be quite the same thing.
Really, how could they possibly hope to win a court case based on this unless the judge and/or the jury were complete raving lunatics/morons? Wait, America, nevermind. Anyway, easy joke aside, does the EULA, which could include some clause preventing users from doing just this, not apply unless you install the software? Would the EULA even stand up in this case? Why haven't they been challenged and successfully overturned in US courts for being abusive? - which they are.
What a sad state of affairs. Creative need to pull their heads out of their asses, or someone should step up and challenge their dominance over the sound card market.
I've never bought a Creative card...
I don't think they were ever particularly great, were they?
I have bought a couple of old cards from RME in the last couple of years - a DIGI9636 and a DIGI96/8 PAD. Both are fabulously well-engineered, and have genuinely good GPL ALSA drivers. As far as I'm aware, the Windows drivers are as good as you might expect too.
"Once again another major company shows it doesnt give a damn about the quality of its product or customer experience. Instead they want to milk you for everything they can and provide rubbish in return, how the mighty have fallen."
Welcome to capitalism as the gods intended it!
Creative? What is that? Oh, they made those SoundBlaster thingies I used to have in my Windows 3.1 computer, that's right. I haven't had one of their products ever since. And now, with this little piece of news, I will not even consider them in the future. Unless they start behaving really well; like "FOSS-well", to compensate for this. Which I doubt will happen.
Now, how long until somebody else puts these drivers out there in the anonymous downloading wild, for the sake of poor customers out there who are still stuck with Creative sound cards?
StumbledUpon the forum a while ago
Quite the mess of people who will never buy another Creative product again. As for me, I hadn't ever heard of them until I heard about this, but just because of their idiocy I'll never buy one and I'll make sure to check to see if any machine I get comes with one...
Creative should treat the guy like a god, getting something to work on Vista at all is an achievement of deities.
&$#@ you, Creative!
I quit buying Creative products after they sued Aureal into bankruptcy, bought them, and then killed off their *MUCH BETTER* technology (eg, A3D 3.0).
Soundcards are ancient history
Creative soundcards are dead in the water anyway.
Basically the market for an add-on soundcards has all but dissapeared in the last 2 or 3 years since the vast majority of motherboards made now have audio (even high-def) on board as standard.
For example, A couple of years ago I bought a new AsRock 775 motherboard for $49 . I was amazed to find its HD audio output is very clearly way better than my Soundblaster Platinum soundcard which cost over $300 back in the day.
I bet Creative must already be hurting badly and barely hanging on just by supplying an increasingly small niche mostly comprised of home-recording musicians. I'd be surprised if any 'proper' studios use Creative soundcards.
Consequently I wouldn't be surprised if Creative drop making sound cards or even totally dissapear soon.
@ Matt Brigden
Soundblaster has never been THE card to buy.
They started by copying the widely used adlib soundcard (FM synthesis) and slapped on some crap digital audio circuitry which lacked anti-aliasing filters.
The Gravis Ultrasound was doing wavetable synthesis whilst the soundblaster line was still making "blip blop" noises.
I foolishly bought an AWE64 in the expectation that it would offer soundblaster compatibility for older DOS games. What a waste of money. The GUS was much more soundblaster compatible.
But the soundblaster was cheap, and that seems to be all that anyone gives a fuck about nowadays.
It's a shame...
It's a shame that all the hard work, sweat, and blood put into developing this product by the hardware and software engineers at Creative can be undone in a few minutes by some idiots with over-inflated salaries and egos. People that only chose their profession to make money, mostly by stepping on the backs of others, and likely only because they just don't have the minds or souls to handle the very work (done by other, more significant beings) that made them rich. Creative should be forced to change its name, as it clearly no longer is. Someone please forward this blog to (un)Creative?
What about the authorised hardware platform?
I trust Creative will be producing a list of all the motherboards (manufacturer/model no.) and all the PCs (manufacturer/model no.) each of their cards is intended to run with. We don't want to be stealing their IP rights by installing one of their boards into a PC it wasn't intended for, do we?
So until they have produced a list of each and every piece of hardware each of their soundcards is authorised to be installed into, we will all have to play safe by installing some other manufacturer's soundcard instead.
Sorry Creative. I really wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of your legal department so I can't take the chance.
I just have to add my bit to the pile!
Somewhere in my memorabilia (i.e. junk) pile is an original Creative SoundBlaster. I picked it up at a Comdex show in Vegas many years ago. The Creative stand at the time was about the size of a kitchen table, but the talking parrot (anyone remember it?) got my attention. I gave my Visa to one of the two very eager gentlemen manning the stand and got the SoundBlaster in the mail two weeks later. The card was S/N 114 so I got in right at the beginning. A bug which froze my PC every now and then was fixed via their BBS (remember those?) a day after I posted. A small 10pF cap, and all was well for several years. I always used and recommended Creative after that, even when the MBs started to have on-board sound.
Sigh. How things change. I haven't touched Creative products for over five years now. They are the ultimate crap! The software just got worse and worse and more bizarre with each release. I slowly tweaked that Creative software was not there to run their hardware but to ensure that it would only run according to the Creative Plan. Their control freakiness was, well.. freaky.
I'm pleased that they finally got bitten by their own stupidity. Maybe now a couple of idiots in their marketing and PR departments, which have been running things for a long time, will get a small note about their futures with the outfit. Would be well deserved.
Creative may have no option
One major reason that many things crash on Vista is its DRM. One way to make things run smoothly is to bypass DRM. But whether this is what the 3rd party drivers actually do or not, Creative may have to protect itself from lawsuits by MSFT, MPAA, RIAA. I have never read the legalese in the sorts of agreements that Creative had to sign, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was language requiring them to take active steps against anyone reverse engineering and or bypassing O/S features.
PS to my previous post.
Just went to the Creative site to see what gives.
Memo to Creative: If you spent more time developing drivers and less on "creating" idiotic names for your products maybe this stuff wouldn't happen.
"Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series" indeed!
i know whose card i WON'T be buying next time around....
i hear ASUS has quite the nice sound card out nowadays. i've been 100% satisfied with their mobos for years, so i think i'll be giving them a try next time i drop some $$$ on a sound card upgrade.
you'd think that these corporate asshats would learn at some point that their customers are the reason they stay in business, especially a company that's struggling to remain relevant and riding (mostly) on it's reputation, and encourage people to be more involved in this type of thing. (nVidia and ATI both have communities of people who tweak their drivers for specific ends.) if they simply took this as a sign of the demand and got their shit together to FIX the drivers, people would likely re-install the Creative ones and there would be no loss of goodwill. instead, they treat customers like criminals and pull out the "stealing IP" card (one that's worked SO well in other situations for other companies) and end up being seen as the money-grubbing hacks they've become.
profit > customer goodwill is a losing equation. just ask Micro$uck.
Creative. OK, I will remember to not touch their products.
Power to the consumer.
Richard Read is right.
There seems to be some confusion about the IT industry. Like any other industry, the purpose is not to keep your customers happy, to provide them with the best service possible. They're in it for the money.
They WANT people to be forced to "upgrade". Buy new stuff, that's where the money is. There's no money in handing out free drivers.
Sure, they go through the motions. They pretend to care about the loyalty of their customers. But really, they couldn't care less.
I too have used Creative cards on and off for over 20 years. My first ever soundcard was a genuine Soundblaster.
This guy _may_ have used code from an official driver, he _may_ not have.If he didn't and Creative regard the method of communicating with their hardware as their "property" how long will it be before they start looking at Linux and BSD drivers as "infringing" products? How much of this is due to their desire to conform to Vista DRM and not have their card "cracked" into working as the user wants?
I use Linux for almost all my machines and I'm not prepared to take the risk that a card I paid good money for will suddenly become useless because Creative decide to attack the driver developer. Two fingers to Creative; I'm not going to be buying another card from them unless they apologise to this guy and start appreciating their community. The easiest way to protect my investment is to just not play.
IP cuts both ways
Interestingly, he's shown that the issues are purely software ones: that they could have resolved the issues if their 'cunning' marketing plans hadn't been rumbled.
But what to do now that they are?
Option 1) Keep it up. 95% of folks buying their kit won't read the IT press, so won't ever know how badly they were conned.
Option 2) Fix them. And here's the real fun bit: yer man daniel_k has copyright on the fixes, regarless of possible IP infringement when creating the required work. Read it and weap suckers!
From the way Creative act you'd think that people still needed to go out and buy their products to have sound on a PC.
Unfortunately for them most motherboards these days come with a sound solution built in. It may not be the ultimate but it's adequate, and generally has all the features you'd want including multiple channels and digital outputs.
So their potential market has got much smaller, and at the same time competition has arrived.
And yet for some reason their solution is to provide inadequate support for their older products - and the new ones too? - in the hope that this will create new revenue streams, though quite why you'd buy a replacement product from someone who has messed up the one you already own I don't know.
In contrast, I regularly buy studio grade soundcards from one of the major manufacturers of such things.
Not only do they provide good hardware support, and updated drivers for all their products with support for XP, Vista and OSX (and indirectly for Linux), and constantly look to improve the performance and feature set of both old and new products, but they've been happy to add features into the baseline driver code when I asked for them. (OK, the latter isn't standard, but more an OEM thing for a major buyer/user)
I like to think that this level of support is due to pride in the products and respect for the customers.
Somehow they manage this with relatively few resources, yet Creative seem unable to offer even a fraction of the service. While the cost of the products isn't quite the same they aren't enormously different, and given the volumes shifted I can only assume Creative should have more than enough engineering and support resources to do a much better job than they actually manage.
In any case I won't be in the market for another of Creative's products. With 3rd party support they were just about adequate, without they're worthless.
There's probably a little more to this than just Creative being a greedy bunch of low-lifers with little market share left and desperate to fight their old corner of the market rather than adapt and succeed. After all, 99.9% of PC users are more than happy with the audio that they get from their on-board sound chips - it's the high level gamers and audio-philes that really care for anything else. What market?
As for what else is likely to be a problem... Creative may be (or have been) under a lot of pressure from MS to tie down their drivers into the Vista DRM system and by throwing our this garbage and allowing non-DRMed use daniel_k could have given Creative a hell of a rude awakening. As for Creative being able to provide working drivers for MS Vista - well, if the specification (loosest possible use of the term here) of OOXML is anything to go by, Creative would be screwed from the start.
Another one bites the dust.
And with that statement I open myself up to IP theft from Queen (so you guys know Im poor :) )
But seriously what I find amazing is not one person here has mentioned a rather well known set of drivers where this nice gentleman takes nVidia and ATI graphics drivers and massages them to preform BETTER then what comes out of the lab for games.
Omega Drivers for those of you wondering what I am talking about.
This guys openly asked for donations to keep the site alive. He doesnt state the donations are for him doing it but becuase this is a bandwidth hog. Not only that but IIRC he also states that he edits the files and code but that the drivers for the most part are still from nVidia or ATI. So unless Im mistaken this is the same exact thing I read that daniel_k was doing. Whats the problem?
Now that having been said I signed the petition, found here http://www.petitiononline.com/crtvlabs/petition.html
And I know that this comment may not be posted due to that (Im sorry) but I for one feel strongly enough about this that I WANT Creative to know that I had been a loyal customer of theirs, working in tech support I ALWAYS reccomended their products, and also did so to friends and family. My days having used Creative go back to the old SB16. Unfortunately due to this They have lost me and also my reccommendation to every customer that I talk to about this.
Someone mentioned earlier that this may be due to the fact with the 'Vista Compatible' class action that it shows exactly what Creative has done. I would have to agree with this.
Of course now I cant wait to go back to work tomorrow, I hope to god there isnt a ton of calls about this. Time to go install the onboard sound for the MoBo.
P.S Anyone out there want to buy a X-Fi xTremeGamer Fatality cheap? :)
>>who needs F'tards when the company sues them anyway?
"Don't buy Creative!"
Well then, what SHOULD I buy? Any suggestions? So far no one's recommended an alternative.
So, err, which soundcard does work with Vista?
If you gotta use it, what's the alternative to Creative?
RealTek has problems with surround sound (try HL2 and watch your 5.1 always revert back to 2 speakers).
Are there *any* soundcards that work with the Vista fiasco and its DRM screwiness?
Thank you Creative!
I had no idea there were decent, reliable fully working drivers for the XFI under Vista, until you did this rather odd bit of self-anti-publicity!
Within 5 mins I found a Torrent, uninstalled the crappy Creative drivers, and put in Daniel_K's excellent ones.
Thank you for such brilliant un-support!
PS, for all the Vista-haters - yet again, 3rd parties fscking Vista, not MS! Just adhere to the published specs and things will work properly.
While I'm not a lawyer, it does seem that Creative is completely within their legal rights to request Daniel_K to remove the drivers (they did only ask and haven't sought any legal recourse to my knowledge).
I still think this is total bullshit. A user was able to mod software to do a task users have been demanding for months and Creative's developers refused to provide ("refused", because I won't believe they were not able to do so). While completely illegal and keeping consumers from buying new Creative hardware, therefore a financial hit, it was a huge benefit to many users.
I'm sure they'll pirate Daniel's work and post new drivers after the fallout. 500+ negative comments on their forums at last glance.
Where's the crime?
I see and read all sorts of things about reverse engineering... indeed, you'll find all sorts of tedious EU directives on it which are no doubt far lass draconian than the equivalent US laws. Reverse engineering for the purposes of compatibility would seem to be okay... it is only when you use this information to release a competing product that you're breaking the law, or do naughty things like decompilation, etc etc.
The fact that a EULA tells you you cannot do this will not override local law.
Perhaps Creative are in the driver software market, and occasionally throw in bits of circuitry for free?
The attitude of hardware companies towards detailed specs for their products and openness with regards to drivers continues to baffle me.
Don't slight the hardware.
What Creative did was nothing short of Bipolar. In a society that is as litigious as we apparently are, they probably thought their legal team had a good argument. For as long as I've been in the computer business, when it came to PC Sound components, Creative was and currently is at the top of "the pile".
I am in no way defending their rather over-the-top reaction and roughly equate it to Benz deciding to enforce it's original patent on the concept and use of a car's steering wheel, just because someone has changed the type of fuel requirements the auto needs.
Daniel_K one upped them and apparently they need to show the industry that "theirs" is bigger.
If Apple had any smarts, they'd hire this guy, just to screw with Creative and M$. But yet again, he probably makes more money coding than the average Creative marketing goober or exec.
Once again I chose Paris, because even SHE isn't that stupid!
Hello, I'm Dr. Sbaitso. Please feel free to talk about anything that is on your mind, anything at all.
Er, mine's the full-length black leather duster, I'll be going now...
DRM the 'REAL' culprit
Yup! It's DRM that is causing all this to happen. You don't have to look any further than Nvidia drivers to see this. Nvidia's 8 series cards are 'crippled' deliberately (Nvidia afmitted it) in that they will not allow Video Mirroring on the TV output (So no trying to record a high quality analog stream of HD video on the raw video component out. Yes I know you can display to the desktop but it looks like shit in comparison).
Creative are just another company caught between the DRM and a hard place (The MPAA/RIAA and various cartels).
I say screw the lot of them. Support the little guys who make better stuff anyhow. Oh and don't use VistAIDS.
ASIO for the musos...
...if you need low latency ASIO support and don't want to buy a fancy soundcard then check out www.asio4all.com as they have a third party ASIO enabling driver that works on many sound chipsets. I have used it successfully in Cubase with onboard Realtek chipset and the latency was just as good as on my M-Audio soundcard.
EULA vs UCC (Implied Warranty)
I am surprised that no one brought up the Implied Warranty (US) which stipulates that a product must be "fit for a particular purpose". In addition, the self-help clause of the transaction may go against any EULA despite its legal language.
Creative is in an un-winnable quandary; either defend its Intellectual Property and face breach of their Implied Warranties, or ignore this contribution and face the derivative works and any contract fall-out with "sharing" this Intellectual Property with an unauthorized third party.
I hope that an interested party goes to bat for Daniel_K's contribution and uses the discovery process to expose to the world the extent of the DRM rabbit hole.
The only criminals here are Creative
Why all the references to this guy as and his work "criminal"? He has been accused (wrongly - getting hardware which he has purchased to function MUST be "fair use") of committing an act of copyright infringement. A civil matter. Should Creative be feeling especially vindictive/suicidal they could attempt to sue him for damages. Quite what he has damaged, in the process of doing their job for them, i can not imagine.
Then there's this strange idea that there is no alternative to Creative's burnt offerings. There are plenty. Terratec http://www.terratec.net/en/ and Turtle Beach http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/soundcards.aspx for example. ...I even spotted some Linux drivers for the Spheniscidine among us!
The big killer of Creative's strangle hold on the audio PC card market however has been the disappearance of the market its self. Just about every mainstream motherboard I've seen in the last decade has come with a perfectly decent multichannel / digital capability built in. Why pay Creative for what you've already got?
And what are these references to Creative's cards as "professional"? Is that some sort of joke? If you want professional kit you'd probably be better off buying PROFESSIONAL kit, not that crap! I believe Yamaha, for example, offer some decent gear http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/List/ModelSeriesList/0,,CTID%25253D229500%252526CNTYP%25253DPRODUCT,00.html
It looks to me like some of these comments have come straight from Creative's PR department. Trying to clean up the mess they've created perhaps? Give it up guys - the horse has bolted.
So here's the rub, since Creative's business has degenerated into SELLING you the drivers you need to keep the hardware you were foolish enough to purchase from them working ( http://techlogg.com/content/view/281/ ), they are now actively obstructing their hapless customers from using the goods they bought! While I have sympathy for vendors who have the rug pulled out from under them every time Redmond decides to milk its cash cow, this sort of willful obstruction must surely be illegal. We are lucky in the UK to have strong consumer protection legislation. Any goods sold must be fit for purpose and must remain so for a "reasonable" amount of time. Reasonable has been established as at least 6-7 years. So if Creative are deliberately nobbling your attempt to use the goods they sold you, then it is Creative who are breaking the law. Sue them! ..or at least demand a refund ;-)
Alternatives to Creative...
OK, people have asked, so here you go:
Top of the price list is probably the new-ish Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card - most stuff Razer makes is actually pretty decent, even the keyboards they source for Microsoft, but their support is rumoured to be bad at times. Very gaming oriented, so not sure I would use it for the last word in audiophile music or computer synthesis, but excellent for gamers. Has some issues with 64-bit VISTA, but not 32-bit at present, apparently.
Next on the hit parade, the Asus Xonar D2X Ultra Fidelity 7.1, in two flavours of bus interface. Asus does most hardware right, and it's not too badly priced. Working 64-bit VISTA drivers, needs a well-documented registry hack with a few motherboards to avoid resource conflicts. Very solid, very good sounding, lots of features.
And a "budget" option, the HT Omega Striker 7.1 DTS Connect, which has a decent soundchip (the same as in the Razer for double the price), and supposedly good support. Has only recently had good VISTA drivers come out, but supposedly are now OK including 64-bit VISTA.
If you want computer music or HTPC use, then the M-Audio Delta Audiophile 192 are the best you can easily buy, have working VISTA 32-bit, and beta 64-bit (which they say they are committed to perfecting). Works out of box with Ubuntu and other Linuxes. I've used the older Audiophile 2496 for years, and loved it for music and synthsis. Would be using it now, but out of slots in this mobo for now...
The point is, there are LOTS of options to avoid the indefensible Creative corporate shenanigans (OK, ^$£*-ing shite). I was primed to buy a new pair of their 2.0 speakers (the T60s I think), but not after this - I'll stick to M-Audio or Altec Lansings, thank you very much. Any manufacturer who refuses to upgrade drivers to make you buy an upgrade simply deserves the loss of business...M-Audio 2496s have been out around 5 years, and THEY got working VISTA drivers...
A dead, diseased bird, because that's what needs to be put in the bed of every Creative executive...
The issue, Little Children...
The Issue, is the claim that they own the right to restrict others from seeing how their hardware works and then controlling it for themselves.
This is equilvanent to Ford telling me how to drive, or that it's a violation of their intellectual property rights, for me to change my own tires.
Fuck Em. Once I own the hardware, it is mine, and I will Bloody well do with it anything I please.
Nothing is negotiable here. My ownership rights to the things that I purchase are absolute...
Creative has got it all wrong
The developer isn't misappropriating squat. He's writing a device driver. Its his IP that Creative obviously needs -- unless Creative are saying that they deliberately cripple their products to make them unusable in newer versions of Windows. Which should be illegal -- its a form of logical vandalism.
What Vista and people who buy into Vista are saying is that the system is locked and you can only develop stuff for it 'by permission'. This is not how computers are used.
Just as well I have no plans to upgrade to it. Ever. Even if it means never buying another new computer.
This is bloody ridiculous. Not even Microshaft pull this kind of stuff. At least they try; and their tech support (here in India, at least) is absolutely stellar. To Creative Labs: My first soundcard was an SB Live Platinum. My first MP3 player was a Muvo. Till date every piece of audio hardware I have bought has been a Creative product. Me and my sister own Zen Visions and nearly 800 people in my college have purchased other Creative media players based on my recommendations (I am the President of the IT club in my college and the secretary of the Hyderabad chapter of the IEEE students branch). Nearly 2000 SBS speaker setups reside on our campus as nothing comes close to them for quality and value-for-money. Till date I have unhesitatingly recommended Creative to anybody who asked my advice regarding audio/video equipment. I believed you were different. Now you go and do something like this? I don't even use Vista (can't afford it) and I feel outraged. You should have given this guy a job, for heaven's sake! Needless to say, I will not consider your products whenever I go shopping in the future nor will I be recommending you to anyone. You've just lost a lot of customers.
P.S. Perhaps MS should consider offering Dan a job. He seems to have accomplished the impossible: getting something to actually work on Vista.
You have just made yourself world-class idiots. Your refusal to put out completely open-source Linux drivers for the X-Fi (along with Ageia) has successfully locked me down to Winblow$ on my gaming rig (what's that? you say you have a Linux driver? it doesn't even work under x86 linux! Only x64 Linux which has to be built in a particular configuration. Come on! How many distros still build their kernel with the SLAB configuration?!). I am effectively unable to upgrade to Vista thanks to your stupid reluctance to put out drivers for my well loved but no-longer-supported SBLive card. And oh, how you're ignoring customers' requests to be able to play OGG vorbis and theora files on their Zen (which had me re-ripping every single one of my CDs just so I can play it on mine).
I bought the SB cards because they were the only few in the market to still have a hardware MIDI synthesizer (I don't trust software MIDI synths that come with most cards and onboard sound systems. My experience with the Yamaha SYXG50 software and the M$ GS softsynth that comes with DirectX tells me they slow my computer down to a crawl when I need to do a playthrough, and there's a very noticable 2-second delay between the time I press a key on my Casio keyboard that's hooked up via a USB-MIDI interface and the time the tone comes out of the soundcards' speakers when I'm using software synths, not to mention the amount of hard disk thrashing that happens between the two seconds). Now I guess I'll just have to look elsewhere.
I'm looking at new sound cards, since I just swapped to 2k8 server, and my onboard AC97 skips and pops constantly. I'm looking at a card that will use these drivers:
They're nice and open, with no DRM, even though its a hassle to install on 2k8 or Vista x64.
In any case, I loved my Audigy for years, before it decided it didn't want to work in Windows any more. Had a wonderful SnR, which is pretty much all I care much about.
M/B sound from now on
Damn, and I thought it was MY fault I couldn't get the sound to work properly with my Xtreme Gamer! Glad to know it was the original drivers, and that my onboard sound actually sounds just as good. No more Creative products for me, either...
Err guys... here's why he may have been busted -- licensing
Post by JohnZS -- second from the last (post) on the page.
He thinks it may have been because of licensing agreement with another company (named in post) over the Dolby Digital feature. While I think very little of Creative Labs over their draconian act, I could see how they may have been legally forced to act.
Speak up, I can't hear you!
My drivers are shot.
@ AC (Creative PR droid?) RE:Err guys... here's why he may have been busted -- licensing
Contrary to your (clearly deluded) view of the world EULAs do NOT over-ride laws! They do not even constitute a contract (that would have to be agreed upon AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE) you simply compel the purchaser to click a button labelled "accept" before they can use the goods which you have already sold them. Whatever. Your EULA might just as well state "By using this software you commit to being a tomato and donate your soul to Donald Trump". It would be no more and no less binding.
There are also some cracking alternatives to Creative's crippleware. My links earlier were a bit ...rushed. ;-) So here are a few more...
bgear make a nice home cinema / gaming card. They even manage to supply drivers for XP and Fister in 32 and 64 bit flavours, as well as drivers for the penguin - again offered in 32 and 64 bit!
ESI offer some very funky gear, as well as Audiotrak branded cards based on Via's Envy chipset:
And a more appropriate link for Yamaha's (PC) kit...