back to article Creative threatens developer over home-brewed Vista drivers

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 …

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  1. g e

    Congratulations, Creative

    On making yourselves look like yet another bunch of Corporate Fuckwits.

    Nice one.

    I guess they'll be shooting their own bugs then unless the developer is big-hearted enough to show them his sourcecode amendments (and therefore presumably HIS IP). I hope he doesn't although that's a little harsh on user of the hardware. Maybe they could ebay their Creative gear and get something else instead.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    bah

    When will you people learn? Creative are not in business to give you fantastic audio, a good aureal experience or even a usable system. They're in business to take money from your pockets. And stop bitching about their products not working, you're using Vista for gods sake.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    when...

    ... did IT as an industry give over complete control to PR / Comms and Legal dept?

    Those muppets have crippled other indutries with their playground level tamtrums and are fast killing IT.

    Last creative card i buy (they were good once, but nothing special anymore unless you are running serious stuff).

    As for the developer, come to Open Source, we'll welcome you!!!

  4. John Miles
    Stop

    Avoid

    Sounds like a good reason not to use Creative or Vista

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Balders

    sounds like a bag of grapefruits to me...

  6. Matt Brigden
    Thumb Down

    Creative lost the plot a long time ago

    I run Vista and have an Sblive 5.1 Digital . The generic drivers for Vista are appalling . Creative said get an Xfi as thats compatible . I found the KX Project drivers and went from crap stereo and no microphone to full 5.1 and the card working as well as it had in XP .

    My brother in law bought an Xfi for his new build also running Vista and its bloody appalling . The drivers are dire . An update or 2 later and its still terrible . Im going to go looking for these wonder drivers . Give the man a job already . He has done what you couldnt . I think they have a bloody cheek shipping the product with these horrible drivers supplied .

    The problem as I see it is if you dont buy a Soundblaster what the hell do you buy ? . Soundblaster was feted as THE soundcard to have . So what now ? .

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fight Fire with Fire

    Maybe Creative wont be so keen to involve the lawyers if someone decides to complain that goods marked "vista compatable" are not - clearly a mis-selling of goods. Fight fire with fire!

    This attitude is one reason why I have replaced all of the creative labs products that I once owned with non creative items. A good company gone bad it seems

  8. Planeten Paultje

    Idiots

    Dit I say "idiots"? Quite. they are idiots!

  9. Cameron Colley

    Not surprising.

    Creative's portable media players only come with XP drivers by default (I'm lead to believe they supply Vista drivers online -- 2K and earlier are unsupported). I don't know how Mac fans would cope -- but if you're a penguin fan they don't seem to want your custom.

    Methinks Creative care more about "protecting rights holders" than making useable products.

  10. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Up

    Classic strategy

    Funnily enough, I am currently reading a book called "The Undercover Economist" that explains that behaviour by companies. It goes something like this: intentionally cripple your cheaper/older products so that people have a reason to buy the more expensive ones, in this case by providing sub-standard drivers for Vista. The problem when you do this through software is that a bright hacker can ruin your plans by writing good drivers. In this case, a company has two choices: 1. say thank you, distribute the better products and go to plan B to milk cash from customers another way; 2. threaten the hacker with a lawsuit to safeguard plan A, which looks like what Creative is doing here. The problem with the second solution is that there is a risk it will backfire as a PR disaster that can lose you customers and cost you more than going to plan B would have done.

    This looks like an own goal to me: Customers 1 - 0 Creative

  11. kain preacher Silver badge

    how come

    how come one guy can do what an entire company cant. Seems like creative is more embarrassed then wanting to protect their IP.l

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Overclock.net

    http://www.overclock.net/hardware-news/313210-ocn-creative-s-fall-glory.html

  13. Steve
    Flame

    Capitalism is democracy, not freedom!

    Phil O'Shaughnessy is right, in a capitalist economy those users are free to use another product. People often forget companies exist to create profit, not to help you, not to serve you...

  14. Nile Heffernan

    If only...

    If only there was some organisation devoted to the new frontier of electronic freeedom, or someone advocating free software and backing up their beliefs with legal muscle... Nah, it'll never happen: none of these cases will ever go to court. Nobody serious about computing would do anything like that.

    Still, it's a shame, because seeing that one go to court would make fools of Creative Labs. The document discovery required in such a case might also reveal that Creative are forced to act this way in order to retain their Microsoft certification: their board live under the threat that every single Creative Labs device will one day be 'decertified' and prevented from running protected media under Windows.

    I wonder how that would play in the press... If there still is a free press: much of the mass news media is owned by people who have an important financial interest in the in the next-case-but-one, where we establish a legal precedent that states whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a license to ignore the antitrust laws. Do Microsoft, or the content owners who now seem to be Bill's paymaster, have the legal right to selectively 'freeze out' hardware manufacturers who don't toe the line?

    It occurs to me that Creative Labs might actually gain more than they lose from taking this case to court. Unless, of course, their legal team are as badly-managed as their developers: given the clumsy way that they have behaved so far, this seems all too likely.

    And what do Creative Labs have to lose? We already know they're fools and their hardware drivers don't work particularly well anyway.

    Of course, a court case might also permanently blacklist and burn our promising young programmer's career - at least, in the world of large corporations in partnership agreements with Microsoft. But there are worse things than starting out in a department which ships bad code, learning to accept working that way, ending up managing the process and forcing it on a new generation of recruits, and eventually directing legal operations against the the sort of promising young programmer that you used to be.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Should have posted a torrent

    I think this guy should have told them to piss off and started a torrent containing the drivers. Once something like that is started it cant be stopped easily.

  16. John Merryweather Cooper

    Creative Death Wish

    Let's see . . . Creative Labs sells hardware, right?

    Yet Creative Labs has long been extremely hostile to extending its hardware to platforms it lacked the imagination (and the will to profit!) to port drivers for. MacroHard must have the cattle prods set to incinerate for Creative Labs to deliberately engage in actions that will rapidly sound taps over it as a business enterprise.

    So, what next? Is Creative going to go after the Linux and BSD drivers?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fail

    The best idea is to just avoid Creative products. The bit I liked the most was (from Creative);

    'Ok, I see a lot of negativity here. Please lets cut the bad talk. We try our best to get working drivers and sure we might not be the best coders but god knows you're really only paying for the low end cards anyway, if people want the professional stuff they would be getting the true pro stuff, its a get what you pay for thing, so don't complain so much, we'll get the drivers working eventually.'

    Paris, because she could write better drivers.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Typical of the way things seem to work these days

    My soundcard was so quiet under Vista it was unusable for the Media Center even on full volume. I downloaded the official drivers and it made no difference. I was going to try daniel_k's drivers, but after I uninstalled the official ones in preparation for installing his the volume returned to normal (the same it was under XP). So I decided not to install daniel_k's drivers but I really appreciate his efforts, the Creative drivers and software for Vista seems to be an utter pile of shite - what a lame company, maybe they ought to merge with BT, Virgin Media, Talk Talk and Phorm, they can probably analyze what kind of music you're playing through the soundcard so they can target you with adverts. Seems like the kind of thing Creative's management would be up for given their recent disregard for their customers.

  19. Timbo
    Alert

    Give the guy a job...or pay him a few dollars

    This sounds like a typical "the company knows best" attitude when in actual fact, it's a complete farce......

    If Creative really were that "creative", they would have dealt with the situation long ago, by providing the very drivers that their customers needed...which would have prevented the situation from happening in the first place....

    But due to their failure, this has prompted someone to do their job for them...and made them look very stupid in the process....

    Wise up Creative....give the guy a break...he might help you to save your business (coz with so many mobo's now coming with onboard sound, who needs an add-in card these days ??).

  20. rgsaunders

    Creative's attempt at market manipulation exposed

    One thing that this furor over the Creative Labs drivers has done is to widely expose their attempt to force people into a hardware upgrade cycle through deliberate failure to support their current hardware under new operating systems. They have been doing this for several years now, the only thing that has really kept them in the sound card business is the gaming industry, certainly the quality of their products and their customer support has not.

    This is the story that needs to be investigated and followed up, Daniel_K's drivers exposed the the fud that Creative has been generating wrt to their hardware and the Vista OS. It is time for the technology press to fully expose the truth in this issue, let the chips fall where they may.

  21. James
    Coat

    Definite PR disaster

    Creative should be thanking the guy for doing what they couldn't. Instead they want to force new hardware sales onto the unlucky souls who have been duped into "upgrading" to Vista. This puts Creative into the same anti-consumer league as companies like Sony, M$ and BT.

    Fortunately, pretty much all of the recent Creative hardware has been rubbish, along with all the software ever supplied with their products, so I won't be missing anything by never buying from them again.

    The good news is that this wanton upsetting of existing customers makes space in the market for new companies (who want happy customers) to spring up. Roll on some competition.

  22. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    I've come close to purchasing Creative products before...

    Some nice sound cards and USB-boxes. Very tempted a few times. Never got around to buying any so far, but I'm still in the market. Now their name is poised to be flicked into the boycott bin beside HP.

    Over to you Creative...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Business as usual for Creative

    So the same company responsible for the SLI Screech of Death fiasco is more interested in forcing customers to buy new sound cards than solving the issues with their own drivers.

    Sounds like business as usual for Creative, yet another example of a company giving it's customers the shaft whilst it exploits its monopoly position......

  24. Dimitri
    Dead Vulture

    170,000 usrs can't wrong!

    The enraged thread on creative's forum numbered 160 pages this morning and clocked over 170,000 page views! And that was just over the weekend, before it was picked up by the news sites.

    Calling this a PR disaster is puttting it mildly, but to those of us who have suffered at the hands of Creative's senseless disregards for its customers, it's nothing new...

    I personally returned the last creative product I bought when the vista drivers proved flaky since last time I checked I was not getting paid to be their beta tester...

  25. Henry Cobb
    Gates Horns

    They are legally obligated to criple their products

    If you go to this site called "The Register" you can read about all the legal hassles M$ has imposed on its hardware providers so that they cannot provide drivers that allow the digital content of DRM protected files (which as The Register has noted are going out of fashion with the content providers) to be extracted.

    Just remember that content is king and the users are presumed idiots or they wouldn't be M$ customers, now would they?

    -HJC

  26. Brian Allan

    Way to do Daniel!

    If Creative cannot put out a good set of VISTA drivers, I salute anyone with the smarts to do so. Shame on Creative for being a "prick" in this matter.

    I'm a developer and really appreciate all the assistance I can get to arrive at a great product. Creative should take the same mindset!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Remarkable decision

    Just going by what I read here -

    Has anyone ever done a study on what point a corporation begins to behave as if it is brain damaged?

    If the guy is producing a better product then your own developers then hiring him should be a serious consideration I would think.

    Also - considering the way executives move around shouldn't we have some kind of exec monitoring service? I for one would like to know if any of these guys get hired by the nookyoolar industry so I can nip down to my bunker.

    Just going by what I read here.

  28. Lou Gosselin

    He probably did not write his own drivers...

    I am *guessing* that this developer reverse engineered the drivers (nothing illegal btw), and then patched the drivers with bug fixes. Then he distributed the modified drivers, against creative's copyright license agreement. As opposed to say, releasing his own proper drivers for the sound card.

    If it really is the case that this developer released his own "home brewed" drivers as the article implies/states, then creative would not have a leg to stand on and their actions are shameful. This goes much further than not publicizing the interface specs; it is actively preventing others from interfacing with the device using their own implementations (think linux drivers). In which case creative really deserves a beating here.

  29. Gareth
    Thumb Down

    Mr Shaughnessy's e-mail is on creative's website

    As per e-mail:

    Dear Mr Shaughnessy,

    I have been a Creative customer for nearly 2 decades, from my first SoundBlaster PRO card in the early 90s to my current Creative MP3 player. I am the manager of a technical consultancy firm and in the past I have not hesitated to recommend your brand to my clients and colleagues.

    However, I recently read about your heavy-handed legal assault on a volunteer developer who had produced working Vista drivers for your products and I am dismayed by your attitude towards hobbyist developers.

    These developers often spend hours poring over the inner workings of your company's products out of a love for the technology - hours which are completely uncompensated and technology which they often purchase at their own cost from your company as soon as it is released (complete with "early adopter" price premium). They are also the kind of people who are called upon by friends, colleagues and business owners to recommend technology products.

    Mr daniel_k's work did not in any way allow himself or any other users of Creative technology to deprive Creative of revenue or offer a means for them to do so. In fact, they'd need to have purchased Creative technology to use Mr daniel_k's modified drivers.

    Neither did daniel_k's work attempt to mislead people into thinking his product was authorized by Creative. Sure the drivers may not have passed through Creative's own internal quality control process, but the kind of people who scour bulletin boards looking for homebrew drivers are fully aware that they are using third-party code - even if such code is unstable and crashes their computers they will know that it is a problem with the author's code and not the Creative product itself.

    Openness and ease of modification/programming have always been one of the best things about Creative products - I seem to remember the SoundBlaster becoming a de-facto standard which others emulated because of this ease of programming. Similarly, the most open products in today's marketplace become the most popular - look at the success of the Tivo, the Asus Eee and the Linksys WRT54L[inux] series of routers - all leaders in their respective categories in part because they allow and even encourage tinkering.

    I urge you and your company to reconsider your approach to hobbyist developers - your most loyal brand ambassadors in a highly competitive marketplace.

    Incidentally, I modded the hard drive in the MP3 player to 100Gb - does this mean I am considered a thief rather than a loyal customer?

    Kind regards,

    G.

  30. Richard Read

    Reading between the lines...

    >> We own the rights to the materials that you are distributing. 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.

    Translation: We intentionally didn't provide decent drivers for existing products so that users would be forced to upgrade their soundcards after installing Vista. By providing working drivers you have deprived Creative of these potential sales.

  31. James Yeomans
    Linux

    Incredible..

    ..that intelligent people are made into criminals but companies who are just too lazy to properly support hardware that's getting on a bit. I have a Live! 24bit External box which I really like but the support and software is shocking. Once I get it working on a machine (which can take a good few minutes), I relax in the knowledge that I don't have to go through the painful process again for a little while!

    Same thing with my Canon scanner - perfectly good hardware and no Vista drivers - shocking.

    Oh, and if you read this, daniel_k, I could do with WM6 for my HP iPaq 6915 - HP clearly don't give a toss about it.

  32. Rick
    Gates Horns

    Then they need to get a move on

    What about all the "home brewed" drivers for Linux? when are they gonna get a move on those people? This is another asnine attempt by a company to get in good with the beast from Redmond. Second it does not specify if he wrote his own code or just modified their code? Third and what everyone fails to see is that how is he stealing the IP? did he charge for his driver? Those F#@ktards at Creative need to pull their head out of there a$$es and realise that all he was trying to do was to get something to work on an OS that doesn't work!

    BillG because high powers forbid something actually work on VISTA!!

  33. James
    Paris Hilton

    Talk about poor customer relations

    How dare you produce software for our hardware thats better than the stuff we produce. We were forced to cripple it, had to make it integrate with vista seamlessly.

    Guess I'll be avoiding creative then.

    Paris for the intellectual aspect

  34. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "Creative"...?

    Well it's certainly a creative way to shoot your own business in the foot!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This guy got something to work properly on Vista?

    Microsoft should employ him!!

    But seriously, Creative, you should learn the difference between friend and foe

  36. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  37. Aaron
    Paris Hilton

    Sign

    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.

    Paris because well she was feeling a little unloved ;)

  38. Jamie Davis
    Go

    I think we should come up with a new term - lititards

    noun.

    Meaning those who act like they would rather sue than act sensibly about something esp. when this is patently not in their own interests either on a PR, financial or intellectual level. I would list some well known lititards but I fear their litigious wrath may be poured upon me. I'm sure we could all name some though.

  39. The Mighty Spang
    Unhappy

    so many alternatives out there

    theres...err...

  40. hj

    you buy crap, we give you crap

    http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=Vista&message.id=23909

  41. Alexander
    Alert

    pure greed

    It seems creative got caught in a game of greed ,deliberately making drivers for older cards with reduced functionality so everybody would jump on the band wagon and buy their new line of cards out later this year.

    Seems like they are using Phorm's PR team , 1792 post since friday on the one topic

    ...anybody want to buy any Creative or Phorm shares they are going cheap funny how in this technological fantasy land we live in words cost money, maybe they can get gerald rattner as their next CEO.

  42. Claire Rand

    of course

    this is a way to get people to buy new cards, but consider this.

    what if he mearly made and sold a fancy case to put the sound card in, maybe a bit pointless but he is still making money from their design.

    as indeed are the companies that make speakers.

    if Ford made two versions of the mundano, where the only difference was a small tab of plastic in the engine bay, that when fitted doubled performance, and someone found a way of making the same thing.. would they be allowed to sell it.. not a different design, but it happens to work.

    unless he is downloading creative code, 'hacking' it and then passing it off as his own why is this even a story?

  43. etabeta
    Thumb Down

    Retards..

    Calling these people retards is being very kind. Everybody that purchased these "vista ready" cards should demand a full refund.

  44. Mike Morris
    Stop

    Don't own any creative hw..

    ... but I certainly won't be buying any in the future as a result of this stupidity. Any possible loss of their IP has been totally wiped out by this massive PR fiasco.

    In the US this sort of nonsense is happening more and more frequently. A seeming injustice is thrown out to the public with almost universal condemnation of the perps. It seems the bean counters and pencil pushers are so inept they just don't understand the market they are in any longer.

    Power to the people - after all, we pay the bills.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Still hope?

    Are these improved drivers still available anywhere?

    I have an Audigy 2 ZS and it's the only piece of hardware left in my machine that the manufacturers haven't bothered producing proper Vista drivers for. I can't even use EAX on it because it forces itself into software mode. I've given up hope for Creative producing working drivers and think I'll be voting with my feet when I look to buy my next soundcard.

  46. Brian Miller

    Please interview daniel_k

    The Register needs to get in motion and have a real interview with a "rogue" developer, like daniel_k. Let's find out how he went about developing the drivers, and what he will be doing next.

    As for Creative, I have no idea what is going through their heads. They have Vista drivers, but the drivers don't work. Creative *intends* their hardware to function under Vista, so that is a target OS. daniel_k creates drivers which enable the function of their hardware for the intended OS. Creative then claims that the drivers enable their hardware to function on an OS where it was not intended to work.

    So let me get this straight: Creative really *doesn't* want their hardware to work under Windows Vista.

    Maybe they want to go out of business.

  47. Eddie Johnson
    Dead Vulture

    The answer is obvious folks...

    Creative now joins other crap companies on the list of people I will never do business with. I'm quite good at holding a grudge thank you. I haven't bought a CD since the RIAA started suing people, I won't buy Sony products since their rootkit debacle, its a long and ever growing list. I remember the day (way back in the Win31 days) when Soundblaster was a great name. By the late 90's when they couldn't provide decent drivers to keep their crappy products working under NT4 I knew they were done. It only took about 100 BSOD's to learn that lesson.

    I guess a dead bird is the closest icon I'll find since you don't offer a steaming pile of shit yet. << Hint, hint!

  48. Svein Skogen
    Happy

    Thank you, Creative

    Thank you, Creative, for making your policies towards your users so crystal clear. I was currently considering my options for my next mp3-player, and the list just got shorter. Thank you for making my choices easier, I really appreciate this. :)

    //Svein

  49. Edward Pearson
    Thumb Down

    Well...

    I'd just like to be the first to say: FUCK YOU.

    I don't know why Creative would be perceive this as a bad thing, although I can take a guess: I gather there is a class action lawsuit in progress surrounding the "Vista Capable" claim of a number of companies and Microsoft. I can only imagine these patches provide proof that Creative's customers ARE aware of the issues (proving their existence), and therefore, by definition, the hardware is not "Vista Capable".

    Who knows, they could just be bastards.

    I shall have to watch for the inevitable Streisand effect (I pity the fool who doesn't use google), and just hope this guy continues releasing his patches anonymously.

    I certainly will never buy another creative product, and with any luck others will follow suit.

  50. Mike H
    Thumb Down

    Best way to solve this

    Not buying the creative products will very quickly fix this problem!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    WTF !

    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.

  52. Steve Skipper
    Thumb Up

    Wiki vandalism

    "Creative Fail Limited (SGX: C76) is a listed manufacturer of inferior computer multimedia products based in Singapore"

    Haha

  53. Red Bren
    Alien

    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?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really homebrew?

    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.

  55. Paul Beattie
    Thumb Down

    Thats why!

    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.

  56. Dave
    Unhappy

    Better drivers

    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.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    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.

  58. mike
    Alert

    dammit!

    now i'm wondering if that fatal1ty x-fi audio card i ordered yesterday is going to work wih my vista system.

  59. Bryce Prewitt

    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.

  60. Michael Nelson
    Linux

    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.

  61. J
    Pirate

    Oh...

    "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?

  62. Jach

    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.

  63. Dustin Marquess
    Flame

    &$#@ 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).

  64. Neil Cooper
    Dead Vulture

    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.

  65. brainwrong

    @ 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.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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?

  67. Peter Hullah

    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.

  68. Joe M

    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.

  69. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    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.

  70. Joe M

    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!

  71. RK
    Gates Horns

    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.

  72. David

    Noted

    Creative. OK, I will remember to not touch their products.

    Power to the consumer.

    :)

  73. Johan Bastiaansen

    Some confusion

    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.

  74. Paul Stimpson
    Thumb Down

    Who next?

    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.

  75. Whitter
    Thumb Up

    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!

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Stupid

    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.

  77. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Vista DRM

    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.

  78. James O'Brien
    Unhappy

    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.

    http://www.omegadrivers.net/

    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?

  79. Ermie Mercer

    "Don't buy Creative!"

    Well then, what SHOULD I buy? Any suggestions? So far no one's recommended an alternative.

  80. This post has been deleted by its author

  81. Michael Hoffmann

    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?

  82. Adrian Esdaile
    Pirate

    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.

  83. avera
    Linux

    Screw Creative

    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.

  84. Ru

    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.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    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!

  86. pete
    Linux

    Hello...

    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...

  87. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    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.

  88. Dick Emery
    Stop

    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.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    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.

  90. Enormous Cowturd
    Stop

    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 ;-)

  91. Robert Hill
    Dead Vulture

    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.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=519889

    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.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=763587

    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.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829271001

    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...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829121008

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829121120

    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...

  92. Vendicar Decarian
    Alert

    The Issue

    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...

  93. Martin Usher

    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.

  94. Aditya Krishnan

    Outraged

    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.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Bravo, Creative

    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.

  96. Nexox Enigma

    cmedia

    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:

    http://code.google.com/p/cmediadrivers/

    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.

  97. Sean
    Thumb Down

    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...

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Err guys... here's why he may have been busted -- licensing

    http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&thread.id=116332&view=by_date_ascending&page=2

    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.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    What?

    Speak up, I can't hear you!

    My drivers are shot.

  100. Enormous Cowturd
    Go

    @ AC (Creative PR droid?) RE:Err guys... here's why he may have been busted -- licensing

    Bollox!

    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!

    http://www.bgears.com/b-enspire.html

    ESI offer some very funky gear, as well as Audiotrak branded cards based on Via's Envy chipset:

    http://www.esi-audio.com/products/

    http://www.audiotrak.net/products/

    And a more appropriate link for Yamaha's (PC) kit...

    http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_europe/uk/30_computer_related_products/index.html

  101. Ru

    Re: Err guys...

    If their super-secret expensive license IP can be stolen by black-box reverse engineering of their drivers, then it was hardly protected in the first place. Perhaps they should have dropped such things into a firmware blob that ran on the board itself and never interacted directly with the host OS. Sounds like they were hardly exercising 'due diligence' here. Maybe they just don't believe he could have gotten the cards working without stealing their code.

    Problem is, I still do not believe that driver engineering is in any way illegal. Hardware companies have been obsctructive and unhelpful to open source developers, yet I do not recall and story about a driver developer being busted for 'IP theft'.

    Has he stolen proprietary Creative code, which contains software licensed from a third party? No? All his own work via reverse engineering? Then probably the best they can hope for is to hit him with the DMCA or whatever equivalent is available, for circumventing their alleged 'protection measures'.

  102. Gordon Pryra

    The guy was asking for donations

    He was selling the drivers ffs, He didnt write them, he MODIFIED them.

    If he was handing them out free then fine, (check those who mod the detonator drivers, they don't charge)

    If he takes cash for someone elses work then fuck him

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism and the profit motive

    A few people have said "Well Creative are only in it for the money; they have no desire to produce quality goods. That's capitalism."

    Which is true at a very superficial level. The problem comes when they produce such utter crap that no one buys their product, so they have no sales and no profit. In capitalism, quality and customer service are means to an end, same as PR and marketing. Looks like Creative have got the balance wrong this time, possibly because of outside pressures.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Purchased my last creative product

    And I work for a large online retailer I won't be suggesting there items to customers. And as I train the sales staff on what to sell, they wont be selling creative.

    I better speak to the buyer and get some alternatives in.

  105. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Fight back

    I think he should countersue them. Maybe someone like EFF would sponsor the litigation for him.

    Creative seem to have exposed themselves in a big way.

  106. Rich

    This happened with 2000/XP as well

    I remember being on the Creative Forums for years before they eventually released Windows 2000/XP drivers. They had beta drivers out for ages. The releases were few and far between. Creative clearly cant cope with new operating systems. Thank god ASUS and others will be up and coming with new soundcards.

    Notice how they havnt brought out anything new since 2006, old Speakers, old sound cards. A company without focus or drive.

    Bye Bye Creative.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proprietary software is very complex

    Same sort of thing happened with the guy who won the MS competition for their junior studio thing.

    Most proprietary software is licensed to prohibit reverse engineering. If you don't think that is valid then you have to get software from people who allow you to reverse engineer it.

    Most off the shelf software is about lock in, driver software is designed to give a scale on the 'different cards' which of course are actually more physically similar. Long gone are the days of technical excellence in proprietary software, that niche has been taken by the open source crowd.

  108. Nano nano

    Mr Hock Leow ...

    Inject some common sense here please !

  109. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Gates Horns

    Could there be a good reason?

    Let's say that Creative have not fucked up and everything is going to plan.

    That means their Vista drivers are crap on purpose.

    Of course they don't want anyone to fix them, they are supposed to be crap.

    BUT WHY? What possible motive?

    Is it to keep vista from gettting better? Surely someone else will have a sound card which works well in Vista.

    Perhaps they have a fantastic new product in development which is really almost the same product but with better drivers? Now that would be money for old rope.

    On the other hand maybe they are trying to devalue the company ready for a takeover.

    Someone once said never attribute to malace what can be explained by incompetance. That is how most people think. I have started to attribute malace where once I saw incompetance. It seems to explain a lot these days.

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    U-Turn from Creative

    http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=Vista&thread.id=30737&page=6

    "I checked with management, and it was decided we would bring back the Audigy Support Pack thread and allow you to continue in that endeavor. As long as no intellectual property of Creative is distributed, we will have no problem with it. I will get the thread reposted shortly."

  111. ilago
    Linux

    He wasn't selling them

    He was asking for donations to support the hours of work he had put into Creative over, what seems to be, many years. He had been modifying their drivers with their knowledge for some time if you read the thread (don't bother)

    It would appear that his drivers were enabling features that Creative had deliberately crippled. There is no excuse for this sort of behaviour from any hardware supplier.

    There's also something seriously dodgy about this where Creative appear to be charging for Vista software other than drivers for many cards.

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=1726

    The Creative forum thread is now over 2200 posts and 227 pages.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Wayland Sothcott

    "Someone once said never attribute to malace what can be explained by incompetance. That is how most people think. I have started to attribute malace where once I saw incompetance. It seems to explain a lot these days."

    Never a truer word!

  113. peter

    There a problem with Creative Soundcards and Vista?

    I've just been looking around for a new soundcard for use with my new build, but now I know there is a problem with Creative hardware, they are off my shopping list.

    (Just in case anyone from Creative reads this I will translate "The negative publicity you have created has just lost you a sale".)

    By the way Creative, which particular bit of "IP" is yours that was stolen. Trade secret? Patent? Copyright? I would love to know because I suspect you are using that term as bluff and you are full of p*** and wind, signifying nothing.

  114. Phil

    Creative (and Auzen) just lost a sale

    Was about to buy

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=SC-000-AZ to replace my Auzentech X-Meridian.

    Creatives stupid action has now hurt Auzentech, I appreciate Auzentech products are superior, but they license the product from Creative and I refuse to ever give Creative another penny.

  115. steven

    creative suck...

    yep, was gonna say "as much as apple" but dont want to repeat myself...

    where are my sblive1024 drivers!!!!!

  116. Jeremy

    Creative ?

    How relevant is Creative these days ? Personally I haven't bought a Creative product since the 90's. They can go get eternally stuffed for all I care. What we need are more people like the guy who wrote the driver, we don't need corporate dinosaurs like Creative.

  117. Glenn
    Thumb Down

    Creative blames everyone for everything

    If you have been on their forums for a long time, this sounds familiar. They never got the drivers working very well on XP either for the X-Fi cards. At the time, they were blaming Nvidia for all of their problems when in fact, their were a lot of people complaining about crackling, and very loud popping on not just Nvidia chipset based boards, but also on VIA, and Intel chipsets. I had a VIA chipset board at the time, and they ran like crap. Yet the Audigy drivers worked perfectly. The flaming got very loud, when they kept trying to blame others for their own screw ups, and they closed that forum thread if I remember right. I'll bet there are others on this comments page that remember that. So keep in mind that this is really nothing new for Creative, who has a bloodthirsty history. It just sounds like a class-action lawsuit will be necessary to get them to fly right, since they have no sense of morals.

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    If someone writes interface to allows two things to communicate together well, how the hell does the owner of one of those 2 things manage to claim ownership? What sort of world are those in power creating? And when are they going?

  119. Ben
    Thumb Down

    RE: Classic strategy

    "Funnily enough, I am currently reading a book called "The Undercover Economist" that explains that behaviour by companies. It goes something like this: intentionally cripple your cheaper/older products so that people have a reason to buy the more expensive ones, in this case by providing sub-standard drivers for Vista."

    I still recall with animosity the time when Creative bought its rival Aureal and promptly killed all the drivers for those products. It's like they expected me to buy a Creative product to replace my now driverless Aureal card (which was far superior).

    History repeats, just this time Creative is fighting itself.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daniek_K tells his side.

    http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/04/daniel_k-who-fi.html

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Was thinking of upgrading my mainboard integrated soundcard

    with a Creative Soundblaster card.

    But not any more.

  122. Gordon Pryra

    @ Fight back

    Countersue?

    What the hell are you talking about?

    1) They havent sued him

    2) he stole their code, modified it and then sold it on. Show me any ligiator who could paint that in a positive light

    Why is this so hard for you idiots to understand

    This isnt about the nasty old "Big Company" keeping the mas down, its about theft of someone elses code.

    Get your heads out of your atrse and actually read up on the facts of what your posting comments on

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