back to article Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers

A Brazilian developer threatened with legal action by Creative for making its soundcards work better with Vista has had his work reinstated on the company's website. Daniel Kawakami, better known by the moniker Daniel_K, modified a range of Creative's drivers to make the company's soundcards work smoothly with Windows Vista. …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Power To The People!

    Ive been following this mass anger for a few days now, really quite entertaining watching a company destroy there previously fairly good reputation and stock price!

    i do own 2 of their products however and haven't had a problem myself

    that said he, (Daniel k) does deserve a job or at least a decent amount of recompense for his time and effort of all the work he has so obviously put in,

    and the hounds were far to quick to jump on the "IP" subject.

  2. Darren Coleman
    Boffin

    Questionable motives

    I like Daniel_K, without his modded drivers my Audigy 2 ZS card would be floundering more than it already does in Vista.

    That said I don't entirely agree with this position and think he is being a little bit juvenile about the whole affair. Creative - idiots that they are - not only have the right but also the obligation to persue copyright infringement cases.

    However, like most monolithic companies, they approached the whole thing with little tact; publically calling out Daniel_K and covertly threatening him with legal action. It never ceases to amaze me how even in this day and age there are still companies out there who seemingly have no clue as to how quickly and incisively the Internet can move against them when people perceive a wrong-doing taking place. It's classic David & Goliath - no one roots for the big guy, they see a corporate giant picking on a indie developer and mobilise en massé to cut the company to shreds. And oh boy have Creative been hoisted by their own petard.

    Creative's big mistake in this whole affair wasn't so much stating that Daniel_K had illegally bundled in binaries not intended for older SKUs (i.e. financed as part of the cost of the newer units), but in stating that - in so many words - they consciously cripple older hardware in newer operating systems by virtue of purposefully inadequate or buggy drivers. What's worse is that the features withheld from Vista users are ones that the cards were originally sold on as having, at least in XP. There is no excuse for this at all, and to come out and basically admit to this practice on a public forum is corporate suicide.

    Anyway, Daniel's reaction to his own press has itself got a little out of hand. Whilst he admits he shouldn't have bundled in binaries that Creative had decided (as is their right) to be part of a new SKU, he seems to be in danger of disappearing up his own backside. Creative seem to be on the back foot, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to take them up on an offer of collaborating on driver builds, or even a job offer. It wasn't so long ago after all that Daniel_K was soliciting donations from the public so he could - in his own words - buy a soundcard to work on.

  3. Goat Jam
    Happy

    Good reputation

    Since when has Creative enjoyed a good reputation amongst the geekosphere? Not since the 90's I would think. It was about then that they gobbled up Aureal (who made a better product) and became known by most well informed geeks as being a bunch of fat, lazy, arrogant scumsuckers. They have long had a lousy reputation regarding the quality of their drivers as well as their complete disdain for providing customer support. As far as I can tell they have shown no sign of changing for the better part of a decade.

    But I do agree, yay for "Power to the People"!

  4. Nick Stallman
    Stop

    I suspected

    I always suspected that it was partially Microsoft's fault this problem occured.

    Creative obviously doesnt have a problem making drivers, their XP drivers work fine.

    The entire thing must have been because of a contract between Microsoft and Creative forcing them to obey Vista's new rules and DRM.

    Thats the only reason I can think of which explains why their Vista drivers suck and why they tried so hard to remove the XP hacked ones.

  5. leslie
    Flame

    buy something else.

    I'd sooner go on ebay, and buy a cheap soundcard for $1 with $9 postage from HK than buy a creative product ever again, and I said similar in 1999, about the last time I bought a creative soundcard after they failed to provide XP drivers instead wanting people to just *buy* a new soundcard for xp..........

    No I'll stick with other offerings.

  6. Vendicar Decarian
    Alien

    Too late

    Yesterday

    "I hate you and I'm going to kill your children and burn your house down."

    Outrage

    Today

    "What I really meant to say was is there anything I can get you?"

    Intollerable deceit.

    The decision is made. Creative Labs, never more....

    Period.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Keith T
    Coat

    Creative should pay him for his work

    Creative should pay Daniel K for his work.

    In any event, thanks for the heads-up on this. I am looking at buying a Dell this week, and I was going to pay the extra for a Creative sound card. Obviously that would have been a big mistake on my part.

  9. Keith T
    Gates Halo

    This has nothing to do with MS

    @Nick, how do you explain that so many other companies were (eventually) able to come out with good Vista compatible drivers?

    Do you think Creative has some kind of different contract with MS than the other companies?

    MS wants to sell copies of Vista. MS stands to profit by the existence of good Vista-compatible drivers. MS has been pushing vendors to develop drivers. In a few cases (XP drivers for Aureal products after Creative bought Aureal) MS developed drivers where the vendor refused.

    I think what we are dealing with is vendor laziness and vendor greed.

    Greedy vendors who take a short-term view of their customer relationships (not all vendors) would rather sell us new products, than provide enhancements to products we already own.

    It is short-sighted greedy hardware vendors who see no business reason to provide us with enhancements to products we have already bought.

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge
    Linux

    Read the license...

    People got a license to use the drivers with their sound cards. I have lived in penguin land for a long time, so I have not read such a license for years. At a wild guess, distributing a modified driver is illegal. Distributing a replacement driver is probably legal. Distributing a program that modifies a driver might be legal. Using a driver that has been modified by such a program stands a remote chance of being legal. Get legal advice, or better yet, get a sound card with driver that has a better license.

    In penguin land, I assume anything with a binary blob driver will not be supported when the manufacturer wants to sell more hardware. Vote with your wallet.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coporate can't yet one man can

    "The huge task of developing driver updates to accommodate the many changes in the Vista operating system and the extensive testing required, including the lengthy Vista certification requirements for audio, makes it very difficult for Creative to develop updates for all past products."

    So this large company's statement basically says that they are incapable of supporting their own products. Cute.

    "Going forward,..."

    Pet peeve: argh! I *hate* that phrase! Anyone who uses it should be put up against the wall and shot.

  12. Dave Harris

    Fair play to Creative on this one

    Yeah, to be sure they screwed up big time, but it's not very often that you see a company like that hold their hand up and say "yeah, we got it totally wrong, here are the drivers back".

  13. Diana Artemis

    Creative sees the point of FOSS???

    Creative say

    "The huge task of developing driver updates to accommodate the many changes in the Vista operating system and the extensive testing required, including the lengthy Vista certification requirements for audio, makes it very difficult for Creative to develop updates for all past products."

    Mmm... Clearly the business model is creaking! Does this mean they are going to GPL3 their drivers, and let the community help??? They might even recommend to M$ that it should GPL Vista!

  14. Matt Haswell
    Unhappy

    Creative were sunk ages ago

    They are the only hardware company I know who charge money for their software drivers. Oh - you can get the card working without it - the XP microsoft drivers kept my Audigy 2 ZS going but the software that tweaks the 7.1 surround sound, graphic equaliser, Dolby, etc is chargeable.

    Unfortunately I lost the original CD in amongst the thousands of CD's in my study so thought I'd just go to their website and download the latest ones after having to reinstall XP - however it's "upgrades to the original software" only. I looked at the old Windows install (always install into a new directory!) but it needed too much hacking around to pick up all the bits.

    Screw them - I'm using the motherboard sound from now on - my Asus motherboard has SPDIF out, Dolby Digital, 5.1 surround sound anyway.

    The only thing they had going for them was EAX support for games - and they have to software emulate that now anyway since Vista cuts you off from the hardware.

  15. mike
    Thumb Up

    the internets strike again

    Another company cowers to the power of the people on the net. First scientology gets a drubbing over being a cult and goes into hiding, then walmart gets pounded and decides to let a brain-damaged woman keep her insurance settlement, now creative lets its users have working drivers that it can't even provide itself.

  16. Diana Artemis

    Creative sees the point of FOSS???

    Creative say

    "The huge task of developing driver updates to accommodate the many changes in the Vista operating system and the extensive testing required, including the lengthy Vista certification requirements for audio, makes it very difficult for Creative to develop updates for all past products."

    Mmm... does this mean they are going to adopt FOSS methods, and GPL their drivers???

  17. punks unite
    Thumb Down

    Good to see that people power works

    Still wont buy another Creative product tho. Once you lose me as a customer, I'm never coming back! I think alot of people think along the same lines, and Creative may find that even with the recent change in tune, they have still caused a huge amount of damage to the brand.

    Although the senior manager responsible for the original post wont be "punished" in anyway. He will either:

    1) be given a promition and a big payrise for the amount of publicity he has created (remember folks, no suck thing as bad press, especially now they've tried to look like good guy's!).

    2) be put on gardening leave for 6 month's, then given a huge golden handshake (4th and 5th homes aren't cheap you know! most of us struggle to pay for 1, let alone 4 or 5! Think how he would feel if he had to sell one or two to get by, poor bastard)

    3) Will actually realise the damage he has done, and move onto another big name business in a similiar position, for more money of course, until he fucks up again somehow and repeats the cycle (if any of us plebs makes a MAJOR fuck up, we're out on our arses, no Golden handshake, no reference, and have to struggle to get back to where we we. These guys in the ole boy's club just play musical chairs in senior management, regardless of how badly they screw up. Once your in, your in for life!)

  18. KarlTh

    Management speak

    Any company using the phrase "Going Forward" has gone to the dogs. What's wrong with "in the future" or "from now on"? It's called the "English Language".

  19. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Open Source

    The resources out in the world can match those within Creative and for free!

    Maybe Creative could release drivers as Open Source and allow their software developers to work with other Open Source programmers. All Creative have to do is manage the software projects and sell the hardware.

  20. Daniel Silver badge
    Go

    Power to the Interweb thingy

    This is just the latest example of the power of the Internet to organise and mobilise the community, and to achieve genuine results. As Clayton Caston once noted, "The proper response to an outrage, is to be outraged". So true, but most of the time people are 'outraged' to their spouse, friends, family etc in a spleen-venting but largely impotent manner.

    The reach of the Internet has changed all that, if enough people are genuinely outraged, things can be changed. It's about time companies started taking careful note of what people are saying about them on the Internet.

    Daniel_k has generated significant goodwill, he should now be gracious in victory. Kicking Creative while they're down will ruin the moral high ground he currently enjoys.

  21. Jamie
    Linux

    Windows, yeah!!!!

    Wonder why you should switch to Linux. It was a hard learning curve when I first went over and I did spend a lot of time figuring out how to get my fist, and second setup working with linux. Now I can get it up and running with good drivers quicker than it takes to do it with XP let alone Vista.

    Use to be a time when you could modify the driver as necessary to get it to work better with your configuration on Windows but it appears that is going out the window as the companies start to suckle the teat that MS is offering and following thier business profile.

  22. Jared Earle
    Flame

    @Nick

    "Creative obviously doesnt have a problem making drivers, their XP drivers work fine."

    Now they do, maybe, but don't you remember the first few years of XP? The SBLive drivers didn't work properly for about 3-4 years after XP was released. In some games, at certain points, the sound would just start screeching incessantly.

    Creative have never been the fastest at getting their drivers to work on new OSes. It's as if they don't properly QA their work and are then shocked that when enough people try out their products and find faults.

    They've been shit for almost a decade and show no signs of changing.

  23. Mark
    Gates Horns

    So what did Daniel_K do?

    Wondering what he did exactly..

    Did he modify some inf files to hack an existing vista driver to work with other products (like Nvidia mobile inf hacking)

    Did he write his own drivers?

    or something inbetween.

    I would like to know the technical apsects, before laying blame either way...

  24. Richard Williams
    Gates Halo

    What utter hogwarts

    Now, I know that Creative do some more funky models of soundcard, and I always used to us them in the old days BECAUSE they were so well supported!

    But this recent excuse of 'how hard it is to develop drivers for Vista' is such utter tripe. Every other audio manufacturer has leapt forward and managed just fine. The first thing I did when my Dell Core2 pooter arrived last year was to disable the onboard soundmax or whatever audio (even though it still did surround, had an optical out etc!!) and plug in my SB Live something-or-other. Death! BSODs! and that was under... Windows XP (did try it in Vista too). It seemed that past a certain point even the XP drivers wouldn't work any more and the Creative site had no 'latest drivers' for my model at all. I had originally wanted both soundcards active, one for my headset and one for speakers, and dilligently disabled the onboard thinking it MUST be that one that's bugged. But no. Even disabling my creative card didn't help. It didn't start behaving until I had completely removed the Creative from the system. I've been using Soundmax onboard ever since.

    Bill with halo, cos it wasn't his fault this time...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    As if

    anyone can pirate their software (drivers) without already buying their hardware. It's not as if it was actual music that people were pinching.

    PH because it's to do with driving (geddit!!!)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Shareholder value

    Like many corporations, due to shareholder value, they have trimmed back their workforce to the point where only new products can be adequately supported.

    New products drive sales drive profits.

    Old products bleed resources, never mind the purchasers of these older items helped the company be successful.

    It is all too easy to get an automated factory to churn out millions of product, but supporting them needs resources (until we develop good enough AI to write the software for us).

    This is the commercial Catch 22 and why Open Source software development wins.

    I remember a company I worked for 10 years ago had a printer/FAX with drivers for Windows 95/98/Me. No new drivers for NT 4, even though product was only a couple of years old. The company said to buy one of their newer versions. Needless to say we didn't & I have never bought one of their products since. Pity times haven't changed.

    If companies don't want to support older hardware, they should Open Source the software and let the community maintain. No extra maintenance resources for the company and happy users (who are more likely to purchase further gear from the same company in the future).

    Paris, because there's no Homer Simpson. Doh!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Go easy on Creative!

    I've had working and official Vista drivers for my 5 year old Soundblaster Audigy 2 for ages. (or am I missing something?!)

    By the way, in Vista it seems you have to amend some properties to get high quality 24 bit sound.

    From memory: Speakers>Properties>Stream / share Media at> Choose the highest your sound card allows. e.g. 24 bit 96Khz etc.

    I guess its a bug cos' it improves even my 'unstreamed media' to the point where its the best sound system I ever heard, seriously! Any early Vista adopters here should give it a try.

  28. pete

    Ass whupping

    To be honest, I'm suprised Creative and other vendors (you know who you are) aren't feeling the heat from Microsoft. Vista isn't great but the failure of these third parties to provide decent usuable drivers has left Microsoft has made the situation considerably worse for Microsoft.

    Pete

  29. Svein Skogen
    Happy

    Their reaction is a little too late, and for the wrong reasons.

    Seems Creative is sorry for the consequences of their actions, not for the actions themselves. They have already made it very clear what their attitude is.

    And to be quite honest, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. I've done a little digging on how the company has "handled" similar cases elsewhere, and I'm fairly certain thet their initial sabre-rattling is their "native self", and that the more agreeable tone is their PR-spin. Just look at how they handled the streak of people complaining that firmware upgrade broke the fm-receiver in the Zen Vision:M a while back (a couple of years). That is, if you can find the posts complaining about this on their forum at all. Seems something went wrong, and all the questions about "what happened" got deleted on their forum. Ooops. Perhaps the code keeping these in the database was mantained by the same people mantaining the functionality of their firmware.

    Then look at what they've done to the various people trying to fix Creative's lack of features on the ZVM by getting an alternate firmware to run on it.

    I hadn't dug up all this before I read about THIS developer. Reading about THIS developer made me move Creative to my "do-not-buy-from"-list, along with Apple and Sony, having dug a little deeper, I found that this case was irrelevant to keeping Creative blacklisted. There were so many reasons to keep them on that list, that I could have choked on them. I think it's time for people who know the attitude to start recommending alternatives. Maybe we can ask The Register to help us set up a site to build a "hardware compatibility" database for hardware being compatible with: (using yes/no/ not answered)

    Linux (kernel)

    Linux distribs (Userland) (for equipment needing userland software to work)

    FreeBSD

    FreeBSD/x64

    Windows XP

    Windows XP/x64

    Windows Vista

    Windows Vista/x64

    Add to that the following two bools:

    -Treats developers with legal threats

    -Has released programming info for opensource drivers

    I'm fairly certain The Register readerbase could pull together to set up a database which will more or less save us all from trouble. :)

    //Svein

  30. Paul Buxton

    @Dave Harris

    "Yeah, to be sure they screwed up big time, but it's not very often that you see a company like that hold their hand up and say "yeah, we got it totally wrong, here are the drivers back"."

    Plenty of companies do this after they're exposed. I have no respect for anyone who only relents AFTER they've been caught.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Drivers on XP are fine

    It took Creative ages to fix the crackling on XP, only within the last 6-8 months. Next card I get will be a Auzentech, any other suggestions?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Standard Policy for many peripheral companies

    It has been quite obvious that some companies selling products such as printers, scanners, webcams etc use the (now less) regular updating of Operating Systems to "obsolete" their exisitng product lines to generate a regular flow of capital.

    As a user of XP 64 I have a number of peripherals for which there was no new driver, despite them being only a few months old at the time of XP 64 coming out. A few are working as a result of 3rd Party driver suppliers. The rest are non-functional clutter.

    We are talking about device drivers where often little more than a few minor changes to an existing driver are needed. If driver developers aren't given a job code/budget to find the build/code for the old one and test and release a new one then it's not going to happen.

    Which is a Business Decision... Many enlightened companies do a wonderful job and we thank them. The rest we remember and avoid their products in the future.

    I agree with AC'Shareholder' that caring companies could Open Source their old driver code if they plan not to support a peripheral.

    ... and thanks to all the daniel-k's of the world

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @KarlTh RE: "Going Forward"

    "Any company using the phrase "Going Forward" has gone to the dogs. What's wrong with "in the future" or "from now on"? It's called the "English Language"."

    "From now on" and "In the future" can both be literally interpreted as meaning that *insert big corporate monolithic set of bastards* will change their attitude to the customer straight away, whereas "going forward" can mean that perhaps, maybe, possibly *big corporate monolithic set of bastards* will change their attitude towards the customer on a time-frame of their choosing.

  34. Neil Jones
    Unhappy

    C'mon people....

    What an insular short-sited bunch us "geeks" are - and I use the term apologetically. Are we really so self-centered to convince ourselves that we represent the wider world? No, we're a minority. Forum users are a minority, those who use the internet as a proper tool are a minority. And the big Corporates know that. Don't let us fool ourselves that because Creative's (or insert your own love-to-hate corporate monster) latest naughtiness is splashed all over the interweb that Creative will be teetering on the edge. Compared to the NASDAQ as a whole, I can't see any indication that their share price has suffered in light of this incident.

    The fact is, the majority of personal IT users do not spend hours trawling forums to research their purchases; they go into PC World and get what's cheapest, what the "expert" in there recommends, what's got the coolest and biggest box, what's been reviewed in the latest PC Newbie Monthly, or a name they've heard of (e.g. hey, Creative Labs, I've heard of them, they must be good, or the amount of people who chose AOL as there ISP a few years back just because they got a free sign-up CD). They may be the great unwashed, but they're still the majority. Most people buying a sound card this weekend won't have a clue abour Creative's attitude.

    Even when corporate sins do get a wider billing, such as Sony's DRM rootkit issue that got picked up by the non-IT media, it doesn't really do as much damage as we might like to think. Walk away from your IT crowd and ask the bloke in the street what he thinks of Sony. He'll probably say that they make some cool kit, though it's a bit expensive. Ask him what about how they've screwed their customers in the past, and I think you'll get a blank look in return.

    I know that all sounds very defeatist, and yes, the little man can always make an impression, but lets just venture beyond the end of our noses and take a reality check.

  35. KarlTh

    @Anonymous Coward

    I know. That's why they shouldn't use it. Weasels.

  36. David

    Windows is not an efficient model

    The world is just plain sick of updating drivers for new versions of Windows.

    Bring on small devices using browsers and accessing services, sites, shops, and office productivity.

    Windows is an 80s idea that has outlived it's time.

  37. Edward Noad
    Paris Hilton

    Creative's Historical Record

    Several years ago I admin'd a LAN gaming centre. When we upgraded to Windows XP I went a-hunting for drivers for our Creative soundcards. We'd already had endless trouble with them under Win98SE and I was looking forward to getting some stability out of them (this was post-XP SP1, btw)

    I downloaded the drivers for the cards and they refused to install, saying we didn't have that Creative hardware installed. Hmm. They certainly have that name written on the card... maybe I downloaded the wrong thing... nope, that version didn't work either...

    Then I found the search-by-product-ref box and typed in the reference on the card, SB0220. "Sorry, no products found." The soundcards we had owned (26 of them) for less than 15 months had caused so much trouble that Creative quietly disavowed all knowledge of their existence. And then two months later they removed anything but driver updates from their website.

    Creative FTL.

    Paris, because she wouldn't be able to find drivers on the Creative website either.

  38. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    Maybe it's in the details...

    If he's copied their software, then technically (but not morally) they have a (minor) point.

    The way forward would be for DK to write an executable that patches the Creative code without copying it. The patch would be entirely his.

  39. jeremy

    WTF!?!

    You mean there really are people who still buy the total and utter shite creative offer?

    OMG !?!?!

  40. alphaxion

    @Windows is not an efficient model

    And of course we could then look forward to constantly updating the firmware on our integrated devices every so often - You'll never, ever get rid of having to update if it uses software. Unless the company takes the decision to simply freeze the code and require you to buy a new one in order to "unlock" the "new" capabilities (that the device was capable of all along).

  41. Charles Crawley
    Thumb Down

    A shame...

    Creative have always been let down by their drivers... I have had an AWE32, SBLive!, Nomad Jukebox and a Zen Vision:M from Creative and all are fantastic bits of kit let down by poor software and worse customer support. They even stopped providing MP3 ripping capability in their Zen software and started charging for the privilege, using some feeble excuse about 3rd party licensing IIRC!

    I am voting with my wallet and will not purchase any more Creative kit, although it may be difficult when / if the new Zen Share is released.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Enough is enough

    It's taken a few years for the majority of the public to finally realise what sort of company Creative are.

    Lets hope people walk with their wallets and actively stop buying Creative cards until they go out of business or a better competitor comes along.

    I've had Creative cards from sb16 to awe64, as well as a voodoo2 based board from them. All was happy until I realised their buy-out-the-competition technique, where they effectively killed the opposition completely (Aureal) and released substandard technology.

    But then, people know all this (and much more) now, so lets hope Creative are knocked off the top spot and something better comes along.

  43. vytas
    Thumb Up

    Looks like

    CL's VP of Corporate Communications is bucking for a job at the RIAA

  44. Ben
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Aureal had a doomed product.

    To go into why I'd need to talk about sopme years of bus development and such, but basically graphics cards improvements neutralised the entire A3D way of producing sound, and indeed the in-dev Aureal cards at the time they were brought out were using a system close in concept to EAX"

    Rubbish. A3D was developed for NASA simulators and was so good, that there was a time that using Aureal cards on Counterstrike was considered a hack (as you could "see" around corners and through thin walls). A decade on, even the latest EAX is poor by comparison.

    Just shows how lazy Creative have been on top.

  45. Trevor Watt

    Pay him? Offer him a job?

    You fools, do you not realise that the minute they payed him or employed him he would have no say in anything?

    Better to be stood outside pissing in, than inside trying to piss out.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still in business?

    How do they manage to stay in business? Their drivers and updates have always been behind the curve for the last 14 years. I am convinced they do not update drivers, or post drivers on their website to force consumers to buy new products frequently....

  47. Steve
    Flame

    They should appologise

    He should post the chat session online.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    all the way back to Win 2K

    Sh*t, Creative had this kind of problem in Win 2K with pissy drivers.

    They used to have their own newsgroups to post on, before forums took over. Comments from customers got thick, and creative turned a blind eye by turning off the newsgroups.

    You would have thought that they learned from the bundleware snafu and the Win 2K probs. I wasn;t aware that they had hosed drivers in Win XP too, I had given up on creative sound cards.

    They make a right nice, simple, mp3 player, though, as long as you get one of the models that require no drivers. (MSC style: Neeon, Stone Plus, etc.)

  49. Steve Walker
    Happy

    As well

    I must say I had an Audigy (original) card in my machine until I "upgraded" to Vista and found it always crashing or just not working and so junked it for the onboard audio which has worked well (for me).

    Then I read about all this going on this week and thought what the hell, downloaded the drivers from d_K and installed the card back into the machine, used his drivers and I must say I was impressed that it just worked LOL the feature I wanted was audio out over SPDIF which did not work ever with the Creative drivers. First couple of clicks with the d_K version and I had digital audio out ... No problems. No crashes. Wtf could Creative not have shipped these last year ...

    Helped me out :-)

  50. Eduard Coli

    Creative burning

    At one time Creative had an strange almost religious following that they arguable did not deserve.

    They would get Creative with the specs on some of their products and could not decide if they were a reseller, a commodity sound card maker or a audiophile board maker.

    With thy advent of decent enough integrated sound from one side and high end card makers coming down or at least Creative coming up to meet them Creative has more or less become moot.

  51. Vance P. Frickey

    Now if we could only get him writing Handspring Visor drivers.... :-(

    DanielK could pave an entirely new path to fame by writing drivers to make Handspring Visors work with Vista... (I guess I'll just have to break down and write my own).

  52. J
    Linux

    @Questionable motives

    "However, like most monolithic companies, they approached the whole thing with little tact; publically calling out Daniel_K and covertly threatening him with legal action."

    Ah, OK. The big company can behave like that and, when they back down because the fecal matter hit the spinning thing, the little guy has to be the one being magnanimous in victory. Riiiight. He could, of course. But why shouldn't he want revenge? He is not gaining anything anyway, so what has he got to lose? Just refuse to further distribute the modded drivers, with a big notice on his site explaining why. And let the geeks go complain to the manufacturer. Does not solve the problem of the people, of course. But Daniel_K has no obligation towards the people to begin with.

    @C'mon people....

    That's true, mostly only geeks must have heard of this. I don't know. Why are Creative even backing down, then? What I do know is that many lay people come to their local geeks asking for advice, no? Hell, I'm not even a "card carrying geek", just a biologist who works with computers a lot, but people keep asking me all kinds of questions about hardware and software. Now, what will I say to them if they ask me about which sound card to buy, or which one NOT to buy? ;-)

    Penguin because this would obviously never happen in FOSS land.

  53. Jesse
    Stop

    @ Fair play to Creative on this one

    What exactly did you expect them to do when their sole purpose for existing (making money) was impacted?

    They would have said anything. This is not fair play, it's called being a predator for money.

  54. Mat Bettinson

    PR own goal by irrelevant company

    Having used Creative products since the original Soundblaster it is remarkable how they've managed to descend to the situation today where they pretty much fail to deliver any new technology with decent features and quality that you would fork out money for. These days I have an X-Fi in my Vista gaming rig for the entire reason that the 3.5mm audio jack being 15cm lower is handy. Yes, it's that useful.

    There's genuinely no point buying an add-in card these days. There might still be, if these guys produced high quality drivers and features that would be mildly useful but Creative are spending less and less on R&D as they shovel out cheap speakers and web-cams by the truckload. It's not a brand I think we'll shed too much of a tear for.

  55. Chris
    Flame

    AWE 32 GOLD in XP

    I have an Awe 32 gold. Thought my soundfonts were awesome (What's MIDI?). Then I upgraded to Windows XP.

    No audio. Why? They decided that no one wanted to use SPD/IF in XP. I could have sound, but only out of the analog jacks. I had a nice back and forth with them which ended at me screaming at a tech support guy who said ISA cards don't work in XP.

    Granted, you eventually have to EOL a product, but the $20 drivers from 4Front Technologies for the same soundcard work fine under Linux 10 years after I initially purchased them.

    Creative suffers from nocturnal emissions of the anal variety.

  56. 2FishInATank

    To reiterate my comment from a 'sister' site

    Decent Hardware, Crap drivers.

    IMHO, Creative have made some decent hardware - particularly the EMU10k/10k2 based stuff. Good for gamers, good for musicians, generally good quality at good prices.

    However - their drivers and software bundles have been universally crap - buggy, bloated and underpowered. And that's without even touching on the Vista debacle.

    I still use one of the original SBLive! cards and a later Live!Drive for music production alongside a 'pro-level' audio I/O board.

    Fortunately, I don't have to use their godawful software thanks to the kX Project - www.kxproject.com.

    If you've got an old card knocking around, go try them out, they're bloody great!

  57. heystoopid
    Linux

    Why

    Why do I get the feeling the US office got a very bad and evil legal letter threatening a possible class action lawsuit over false and misleading advertising for what they sold and was labelled on the box there was no print warning users their drivers were a crock of shit alpha 2/beta 1's and most of the features would not be available if you upgrade the operating system and fail to mention that the drivers are only supplied for the life of the sales run of the particular model of the card in question for one specific M$ OS ?

    Or how soon they forget , that the promised Linux open source drivers have yet to materialise for any of their cards from way back when they first promised that it would be so !

  58. MS
    Thumb Down

    Too little too late.

    Creative has shown it is a two faced company. Why would an apology letter from a bunch of people who talk out both sides of their mouth be enough to make amends?

    I will never buy another creative product again.

  59. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  60. Jason Clery
    Thumb Down

    Zen

    I had a Zen that failed within 6 months. Sent it off to Creative for a repair. It took them 3 weeks to acknowledge receipt. I had already put a claim in to the Royal Mail at that time.

    After 6 weeks and constant chasing by me, I emailed their press office to get their UK address to complain to Trading Standards re: Sale of Goods act. Only then was something done.

    I got refunded for my player, and all the accessories I bought (was offered for the player only originally, but I had £70 of accessories), and the postage costs. I got nothing for the 10 weeks of arsing about it took.

    And to add to that, instead of sending the unit that had been sitting in Poland for week to Creative Ireland, they sent it to me, so that meant more chasing.

    I liked the Vision M, but after that pisspoor customer experience, I will never, never, never, ever buy Creative again.

  61. Chris Coles

    They are reacting to the danger of competition... too late

    They are simply recognising that from now onwards, they will have competition. Dan K, do not go near them, they want you back on board to STOP you from competing. Simple as that. Go for it Dan, set up a Brazilian competitor and give us what we need, a company centred upon the needs of the customer.

  62. James Smith
    Thumb Down

    Good Hardware, Bad Software

    I've had a love/hate relationship with Creative kit over the years. The hardware itself is very good quality. I love my Audigy Platinum, but the drivers have always been second rate and badly supported.

    I've not been planning to buy any more Creative gear since a few years ago, but I might consider it if they make Daniel_K the head of driver development.

  63. James Smith
    Unhappy

    and another thing...

    I've never understood hardware manufacturers attitudes to people writing their own open source drivers. There's a huge number of talented developers out there that would happily debug and fix any open source drivers if they existed, for free! But no, "any information about how the hardware works is our property and you ain't having it!" It was a real pig of a job writing an nVidia driver by reverse engineering the Linux driver, which was itself reverse engineered from the Windows one!

  64. Nano nano

    Creative's beancounters ..

    ...have probably sacked all their decent driver developers.

    After all it's only a bit of code, those guys in India could knock it out for next to nothing in a couple of weeks - couldn't they ?

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aureal didn't go under because of crap software or hardware

    ...bus indeed..!

    The reason they went out of business is because they pissed all their partners off by starting to make their own cards! If they didn't do that, they may actually be with us today!!

    Pity, better sound quality, better tech, better drivers that didn't come with stupid gimmicks... ah well..

  66. Giles Jones Gold badge

    This is the problem with drivers

    You purchase hardware with plenty of potential, the vendor decides not to implement all the features leaving you with a crippled product.

    This is where Linux tends to excel, hardware support (where vendors make the info available or where it can be reverse engineered) is better than Windows. Support for hardware becomes obsolete very quickly.

  67. A J Stiles
    Linux

    This is why

    This is why I believe it should be a legal requirement for companies to supply Source Code for drivers with every piece of hardware, as a pre-condition for the privilege of being allowed to sell it.

    If companies lose out because they can no longer force people to "upgrade" to a "new, improved" product (which, in reality, is only differentiated from the original by software) - I say SCREW THEM AND THE BIKE THEY RODE IN ON. How is that practice not fraud?

    It's time these companies got a sharp reminder of who pays their wages.

  68. Abe

    @Enough is Enough

    "buy-out-the-competition technique"

    Out of all of creatives faults this can hardly be held against them can it?

    This is basic practice right across the board, apple,nvidia,ati,amd,microsoft etc etc

    Idiot.

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