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Creative Backs Down on Vista Driver Debacle 228

In the wake of last week's driver debacle, Creative has finally decided to back down for PR purposes. Modder Daniel_K, author of the offending Vista drivers, has had his posts on the Creative forums reinstated. According to Creative the move was to avoid infringing on other company's IP. "Daniel_K is incensed by Creative. 'They publicly threatened me, just to show their arrogance,' he told El Reg by email. He told us that Creative contacted him on a chat session. 'They were sarcastic, ironic and asked me if I wanted something from them, as if I were expecting something,' he wrote. 'It was my protest against them and would like to see how far it would go.'"
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Creative Backs Down on Vista Driver Debacle

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  • first post! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:10PM (#22965126)
    modded illegally by the community!
  • Good for him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:11PM (#22965132) Homepage
    The way Creative publically handled the situation was so stupid they deserve the continued bad publicity.
    • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:21PM (#22965246)
      Seriously. It is so close to the corportate equivalent of "dumb suicide" that it should deserve a Darwin Award
      • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:44PM (#22965596) Homepage Journal

        I kind of wish they would die, if only so we wouldn't have to let down so many disappointed people who bought Creative's X-Fi and Audigy hardware thinking it would be a good card for home recording only to find out that it utterly sucks at it. Between the high latency and all the post-processing it does to make the sound "better" (much of which is apparently hard to turn off), it's about the worst possible choice for that use, yet Creative seems to market it as though it would be good for that. Not to mention that the sound quality on the inputs just isn't up to snuff compared to even the cheapest M-Audio hardware.

        At a minimum, the company deserves the corporate equivalent of life in prison without parole for the number of people the company has harmed with their product claims.

        • by neumayr ( 819083 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:48PM (#22965670)
          Tech companies exagerate their product's capabilities for marketing reasons, more news at 11 or something.
        • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:16PM (#22966056)
          It would definitely be nice if Creative died - or at least got some decent competition. It's a good example of a market totally dominated by one company that churns out crappy stuff. I know a fair bit about their EAX technology from personal experience, as I tried to patent a 3D positional audio technology in the mid 90s. Aureal beat me to it, but they folded. I think their IP ended up with another company called Sensaura. They're gone now too, and their site directs to ... Creative.

          Still no true 3D positional audio through EAX either, just some hackneyed binaural cues. It's a shame, but I guess that's just how the stone rolls.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by DigitAl56K ( 805623 )
            They didn't have any real competition, until recently. Now the ASUS XONAR, and the slightly lower spec'd Razer Barracuda are direct competitors for the X-Fi, minus the later revisions of EAX. However, I could not be happier if EAX died on it's ass, because it's one of the few things locking consumers into Creative boards these days, and the sooner we can wave goodbye to Creative's monopoly the better.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Fozzyuw ( 950608 )


              Since reading this incredible arrogance from Creative...

              Phil O'Shaughnessy, ultimately asked him to stop [modding their drivers], and accused him of "stealing their goods." O'Shaughnessy also wrote that whether or not it cripples its Vista drivers is a "business decision that only we have the right to make."

              I don't want to buy another sound card from them again. I was just wondering what might be some good competitors to which it seems you've answered.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Z34107 ( 925136 )

                I've been looking at the whole Creative situation for a little while now - I used to be a big fan of their hardware. My first SB16 kicked so much ass during the Glory Days of Microprose and Windows 3.11...

                So, naturally, I was disenheartened to hear how poorly this was handled. But, angry lawyer-speak aside, my understanding is that Creative had a few (legitimate) problems:

                • ALchemy. My understanding is that Microsoft removed DirectSound, or some part of DirectSound, from Vista because their new driver
          • by ATMD ( 986401 )
            What company would you recommend then for good quality music playback?

            I can't say that I've ever really followed developments in sound hardware, so I'd always assumed that Creative must be pretty good, given their market dominance. Stupid mistake, now I think of it.

            Someone else in this thread said something about Ensoniq - I think I have an ES1371 based card lying around somewhere...
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by d3ac0n ( 715594 )
              Well, there's always these guys: []

              They've been making fantastic audiophile-grade cards for Win machines for years.

              Word of warning though, their older stuff (Santa Cruz in particular) does NOT play nice with Linux, despite being generally fantastic on Windows machines.

              Best audio setup I ever had was back when on my old AMD XP1900+ box running Windows XP with my Santa Cruz card hooked to my Monsoon 5.1 flat panel surround sound speakers. Not uber powerful
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mex ( 191941 )
          Ha ha, wow, are they really marketing it as a home recording solution?

          Because I have one (X-Fi, got it included in my PC) and while it's an acceptable sound card(How hard is that, really), it would be absolutely useless for recording.

          I used Guitar Rig just for giggles on it, and the latency is so bad (even with the rather good Asio4all drivers) that it's useless for serious use.

          I think it would be criminal if they advertised it as something serious for recording.
  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:11PM (#22965136)
    Given that NVidia is getting nailed with a class action lawsuit because of handicapped drivers, I have to wonder if Creative's withdrawal is less a product of PR and more of fear that they could be put in a similar court situation. I mean, punishing someone because they release un-crippled versions of your drivers kind of spotlights your company for having crippled drivers in the first place - the basis of the nvidia case.
    • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:20PM (#22965222) Journal
      does it really matter whether they were trying to save face, or trying to save their asses in court?

      Either way, the Internet has yet again handily shown another large corporate entity that 'do no evil' is a pretty damned good motto.

      That once letter to the local paper editor gets millions of reads these days. Despite their efforts, many businesses and their practices are transparent to the public whether they like it or not. The "blowback" from that is what some like to call 'market forces' at work :)

      Google was rather bright to call everything beta, and only put a line through the word when everyone was happy with how it works. When you produce products and make claims of a general nature and have no clear plan with how to deal with those inevitable questions from reviewers and users... well, blowback is the natural response.

      Trying to hush up the competition is ... er... illegal. Trying to hush those that would expose you to the competition is essentially the same thing, and quite the example of not 'don't be evil'.

      It's just a shame that the folks at Creative had to fsck it up like this when they could have created a PR positive experience of it.
      • by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:24PM (#22965278)
        I'm pretty sure that the lesson is "don't do evil in ways where you stand a good chance of getting caught. Do lots and lots of evil (if it's profitable) in areas where you're not likely to get bad publicity/legal action out of it.
        • You never know when you might get caught, so the actual lesson is "don't be evil".
          • by timster ( 32400 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:47PM (#22965646)
            You're forgetting that some Slashdotters have been taught that there's some law requiring corporations to be evil as long as there is profit in it. After all, if it's in a documentary it must be true.
            • No corporation is evil or good. It's just a matter of how much harm they do or do not inflict of the path to their goal, intentionally or not (which they should be held liable for). Now, there's individuals in companies that can be evil. But a corporation isn't a person. It's neutral.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by TheLink ( 130905 )
                "But a corporation isn't a person. It's neutral"

                In theory yes.
                In practice, it's not neutral. It's as evil as the people that control it. It is an extension of those people's will.

                Making a fine distinction between a machine and the invisible people controlling it as the machine goes about crushing people, is correct in theory.

                But in practice, if the same people keep controlling it, you might as well associate their brand with "Evil". After all those invisible people in control are often so interested in Bran
            • by geekboy642 ( 799087 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @03:05PM (#22966672) Journal
              It's not a law. It's the fact that corporations are beholden, essentially, to only their shareholders. The shareholders, by and large, want only one thing: more profit. Corporations thus function like an entity at Pre-Conventional Stage 2 morality, or the "what's in it for me?" stage (refc. Kohlberg []). This does not mean they have an emphasis on doing evil, this means they don't care whether what they do is evil or not.

              They only care about not getting caught when they do evil. Creative was caught, and now they are back-peddling to try to avoid the consequences of their actions.
          • by garett_spencley ( 193892 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:36PM (#22966298) Journal
            I prefer a "always do evil" philosophy. Sure some people may get mad at you and you may get bad PR etc. but "do no evil" is boring. "Do evil" is a great way to ensure that things stay interesting.

            Think about it...

            Where would Slashdot be if Microsoft was not an evil monopolistic corporation ?

            Where would Slashdot be if the RIAA were not suing grandmothers and college students ?

            Where would Slashdot be if Jack Thompson was not suing video game manufacturers ?

            Where would Slashdot be if Creative released Vista drivers that work ?

            You see, by being evil you effectively bring life to the Internet. Without evilness no one would have anything to bitch about and everyone would be too busy watching porn and looking up peach cobbler recipes. FUCK THAT!

          • You never know when you might get caught, so the actual lesson is "don't be evil"

            Right, because Microsoft has never been caught being evil and been able to get out of any repercussions for doing so. We all know their aggressive anti-competitive strategy has made them billions of dollars.

            The real lesson is "figure out what you can get away with for how long and how much it'll make you, then do that". The only difference here is that Creative thought they could get away with a little more than they actually
      • Google was rather bright to call everything beta, and only put a line through the word when everyone was happy with how it works.

        Have they ever done this? I can't think of an example, but then again, I only use their search engine and hear GMail is still in beta.

        • Gmail is in beta, so is google scholar, I'm pretty sure froogle is along with gcal and google apps.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:14PM (#22965164)
    Yes Creative is acting adversarial, but what you must understand is that

    Daniel_k had no right to modify Creative's software. They did not grant

    him the right and he was not using an OS that granted him any rights.

    People need to start purchasing products which give them the freedom to

    use the product. What I'm saying is that when you buy a product you

    should especially look for one feature: freedom. [] For more information about software freedoms please see

    the Free Software Foundation's homepage.
    • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:28PM (#22965348) Homepage Journal
      Umm, Creative's HQ was based in California. The EULA Creative had on those driver was NULL AND VOID by California. Daniel had EVERY right to modify the software as he saw fit. I pointed this out to Creative's Lawyers, and they capitulated VERY FAST.
      • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:36PM (#22965482) Homepage Journal
        I'm curious as to the foundations of this. You state that he had the right to modify the drivers, but did this give him the right to distribute them? And since Daniel lives in Brazil, how does this affect the EULA?

        Mind you, I think Creative was a complete asshat over this, but the legal basis still intrigues me.
      • by hardburn ( 141468 ) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:58PM (#22965818)

        That's not how copyrights work. By default, you have no right to do anything with someone else's copyrighted work. It's only through a license agreement that you have any right to even use Creative's code. If the EULA is entirely null-and-void, then there's nothing else that gives you right to use it. Note that certain portions of an EULA wouldn't necessarily hold up in court (technically, they could say that you must sacrifice your firstborn on the Temple of Sho'ka'rei, but that doesn't mean it'd hold up in court), however there has to be something that gives you the right to use it.

        Mind you, that all means nothing in the court of public opinion. While Creative might have had the legal right, their actions made them look like senseless bullies. It would have been far more productive to give the guy a job and release his changes officially.

        • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:13PM (#22966018)
          Are you sure you understand copyright? You buy a book, you don't need a seperate license to read it. That's what you got by paying for the book. Software is no different, and when you buy a creative product you're buying hardware AND software.

          Now, he doesn't have a right to distribute the software, but he probably has a right to distribute changes to it. If i tell my friends to read a book, and come up with a different ending, I'm allowed to tell them about it. I wouldn't be allowed to sell the book with one chapter replaced or anything.

          What he should have done is release a program that changes a few bytes in the original file, not release a modified file. But your notion that you need a seperate license to use something you bought is obsurd, and I can modify the software all I like in the privacy of my home.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by HiThere ( 15173 )
            This would be more like distributing a diff file that corrected typos. Still legal under US copyright law, I believe. Other countries might have differing rules. (E.g., a diff file requires short quotes before and after the change, and Australian copyright law reportedly has no "fair use" provision.
        • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:48PM (#22966458)
          It's more complex than that.

          From here

          We are aware that you have been assisting owners of our Creative sound cards for some time now, by providing unofficial driver packages for Vista that deliver more of the original functionality that was found in the equivalent XP packages for those sound cards. In principle we don't have a problem with you helping users in this way, so long as they understand that any driver packages you supply are not supported by Creative. Where we do have a problem is when technology and IP owned by Creative or other companies that Creative has licensed from, are made to run on other products for which they are not intended. We took action to remove your thread because, like you, Creative and its technology partners think it is only fair to be compensated for goods and services. The difference in this case is that we own the rights to the materials that you are distributing. By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods. When you solicit donations for providing packages like this, you are profiting from something that you do not own. If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make.
          Someone else put it like this -

          1) The licence agreement which we all accept to says that we must not reverse engineer or tamper with the software as it is the property of Creative Labs.
          2) I firmly believe that Daniel K has caught the flack because of the Dolby Digital feature As far as I am aware Auzentech paid a lot of money for an exclusive licence with Dolby to have their cards support this. Now, Creative would get into trouble if they allow a means for this to be "cracked" to run on non-Auzentech cards.
          3) Accepting money (even in the form of donations) for someone elses copyrighted material is a big NO NO.
          Now let's suppose that he has a legal right to reverse engineer 1), and they are willing to ignore 3). There's still a problem with 2), that his drivers allow Dolby Digital on non Auzentech cards. It seems like Auzentech make cards based on the Creative chipset but they pay royalties to Dolby for some Dolby code/patents. The official Creative driver always has the code but only enables it on Auzentech cards.

          Now Daniel_K comes along and enables the code on Creative cards. Dolby finds out and complains to Auzentech since they probably signed a contract that only allows them to use the technology on their cards. Auzentech complains to Creative who've signed a contract to enforce this in the driver. And things look bad for Creative, since they allowed him to post the crack on their forum.

          So it's not the Vista driver he's in trouble for, it's unlocking Dolby on Creative cards.

          That said, the traditional way to handle this is to negotiate in private not on some internet forum, offer the guy a job and so on. And release the missing Vista drivers.
        • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @03:51PM (#22967134)
          That's not how copyrights work. By default, you have no right to do anything with someone else's copyrighted work.

          This is, of course, complete nonsense and exactly what the media companies want to to think. The mere act of an entity "publishing" i.e. making something available to the public, gives "the public" certain rights to that material. These rights are embodied by "fair use."

          If you want more rights than fair use provides, then you need an agreement.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Plekto ( 1018050 )
          That's not how copyrights work. By default, you have no right to do anything with someone else's copyrighted work. It's only through a license agreement that you have any right to even use Creative's code.

          Minor changes are required:
          "By default, you have no right to RESELL OR REPRESENT AS YOUR OWN someone else's copyrighted work." You can for instance, always make a parody work of something as well as make in-house fixes and edits and so on. And, as pointed out elsewhere, the EULA is null an
    • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:35PM (#22965468)

      Daniel_k had no right to modify Creative's software.
      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      Care to explain how constitution, or a constitutional law of Daniel_k's states prohibits him from distributing patches to Creative's drivers, provided that he neither distributes patched drivers directly nor do the patches contain Creative's copyrighted code in excess of fair use amount needed for interoperability.

      Now, it's possible that Daniel did not release his work properly, but he sure has "powers" to modify Creative's code.
      • I would assume that it has something to do with copyright giving control over making derivative works (ie, applying the patches), in addition to making copies. There are exceptions for software that you own, but I think this is part of the reason that EULAs tend to have "licensed, not sold" in there somewhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Brummund ( 447393 )
      Hey Richard, you need to turn off DOS mode in Emacs, we're getting double linefeeds here.
    • Yes, Mr. Stallman.
    • I bought my Audigy2 ZS when I had XP - and I was happy. Then 'upgraded' to Vista after checking drivers were there and erm it all went to shit a bit. Now previously (and for every other Vista driver) my hardware did the same thing, but just used a different driver. Creative (and they seem to have partially admitted this) decided that forcing users onto a new driver was a perfect way to make people buy some new Creative hardware, by deliberately hobbling the post-upgrade driver to attempt to force a hardware
  • The card in my system will be the LAST Creative product I own, which is a shame since I use it's pitch-shifting capabilities for my guitar (no need to downtune) and the other effects came in handy for weird-sounding side projects.

    Does anyone know of any other company that doesn't use Creative hardware or chipsets in their sound cards where I can plug my guitar in and have access to pitch-shifting, chorus, flange, auto-wah, like the old SBLive! 5.1 had in their EAX control panel?
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Does anyone know of any other company that doesn't use Creative hardware or chipsets in their sound cards where I can plug my guitar in and have access to pitch-shifting, chorus, flange, auto-wah, like the old SBLive! 5.1 had in their EAX control panel?

      It's called an effects chain. The SB probably does it all in software anyway, so you might as well use a recording app and a real, recording-quality audio interface and have access to much more powerful, much higher quality effects and much better sound in

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )
        The routing is done in software (as shown by the kX drivers) but all the processing is done in hardware on the EMU10K1 processor. And I do use a real recording app - Cool Edit pre-adobe buyout. It's faster than any other thing I've tried, simple and quite flexible. As for a real audio interface, point me out to one. Just talking doesn't answer my question.
        • As for a real audio interface, point me out to one. Just talking doesn't answer my question.

          Digidesign, M-Audio, Mark of the Unicorn, Tascam, etc. There's a huge range depending on your specific needs. Look them up on your own.
      • Not really (Score:3, Informative)

        by Moraelin ( 679338 )
        Not really. They had quite a bit of horsepower on their chips to add hardware acceleration to that processing. Now I'm not saying that they're necessarily a good company, or good drivers, and the latency is AFAIK more fit for games than for recording music in real time anyway. Just pointing out that the "The SB probably does it all in software anyway" assumption is false. Out of the games-oriented consumer-level cards, theirs actually do the least in software by far.
    • by jpfed ( 1095443 )
      (This comment assumes you're using Windows.)

      A possibility to consider- use software to do your effects. The key to realtime software effects is low latency. To achieve this, look for soundcards that have ASIO-capable drivers, and look for software that can take advantage of ASIO as well. With the right configuration, you can get your latency down to 5-10ms (maybe lower these days), which is essentially imperceptible.

      On the software end, iirc FruityLoops can handle ASIO, and it can host a huge variety of
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ephemeriis ( 315124 )

      The card in my system will be the LAST Creative product I own

      I gave up on Creative a couple years ago. I've had tons of trouble with their drivers and eventually just decided it wasn't worth the trouble.

      Does anyone know of any other company that doesn't use Creative hardware or chipsets in their sound cards where I can plug my guitar in and have access to pitch-shifting, chorus, flange, auto-wah, like the old SBLive! 5.1 had in their EAX control panel?

      Since all I use my sound for is gaming, and I've just g

    • by antdude ( 79039 )
      Ditto. And no software emulation for EAX! I want true hardware based for the newer versions like 4.0.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If that was true then they should have given him well paid job and allow him to work on official sources of those drivers, this would not have caused any 3rd party issues as he would have been their employee.
    • by ArcticCelt ( 660351 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:44PM (#22965598)
      Yeah but the point here is that they voluntarily cripple their drivers because they don't want their old product to be fully compatible with Vista in hope that the customer will buy new hardware from them. It's not incompetence here, it's only a shitty evil corporate strategy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kesuki ( 321456 )
      From what i understand he took working XP drivers, tried them on vista, maybe did a little hex editing when they crashed, figured out ways to get them working without crashing, without needing to compile any code, but it took him months of formatting and reinstalling vista to get all the drivers working.

      BTW with the exception of creative reinstating the forum links, all of this information was in the first article... about how he got mad at creative and did stuff to really piss them off, and even how he dec
      • by Sciros ( 986030 )
        He doesn't want a job from them. In TFA it says so. And in fact he seems to be at least as adversarial about all this as Creative was. If you ask me he might a competent driver writer, but he has the social skills of a hippopotamus. Creative was most certainly not the "good guy" in this, but Kawakami didn't exactly take the high road at any point, either. And frankly I wouldn't even offer a job to him if I were any company, given his attitude and lack of tact.
        • "And frankly I wouldn't even offer a job to him if I were any company, given his attitude and lack of tact."

          So, like the AC was saying - he'd fit in at Creative.
  • screw creative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:18PM (#22965206) Journal
    Fire the people who badgered him. No, not the legal folks, they're just doing their due diligence, but the PM's who decided it was okay to actually harrass and intimidate the guy.

    An apology and an announcement of a policy change from here forward would also work.

    Otherwise, all I see is that they got caught and decided they'd just try other means to shut down unauthorized, uh, "unbreaking". There's also the whole deliberate breakage to begin with.

    As things stand right now, my only outstanding question for resolving the Creative debacle is "Turtle Beach or m-Audio?"
    • by Joe U ( 443617 )

      As things stand right now, my only outstanding question for resolving the Creative debacle is "Turtle Beach or m-Audio?"

      I don't know about m-Audio, but Turtle Beach doesn't seem to be designing their own cards anymore, they havn't for a while. Last gen cards were all crystal based with some add-ons. The USB sound cards are pretty much a HK import with the turle beach logo stamped on it.

      It's a shame actually, Turtle Beach was a pretty decent sound card company for a while, but the non-stop getting bought out and moving offices must have taken its toll on them.

  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) <<mrmeval> <at> <>> on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:29PM (#22965352) Journal
    Release uncrippled drivers now.

    It's not just me that won't buy your products it's every computer I build, it's every person I talk to, it's every decision my company makes that I can sway against you, it's every law I can turn against you.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      I see a lot of people saying things like that (in other situations), but it is rare that it is actually significant. Its hot air or isolated. But in this case (and even before this current event... but speaking about Creative's screw up in general), it is actually fairly visible... I've started boycotted these products, and got a lot of people to do the same (a -lot- of people), and I've seen an impressive amount of people doing the same, and not just online.

      Seems like Creative is actually going to feel a h
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by N1ck0 ( 803359 )
      Or even better, just publish some specs on your hardware and chipsets and say 'developers are welcome to implement their own unofficial drivers/software a) just don't expect creative labs support b) don't mod our intellectual property just go develop your own'
  • by TheHawke ( 237817 ) <rchapin.stx@rr@com> on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:35PM (#22965458)
    They just grate on my nerves, saying that their drivers are hung up in the Vista approval process. I'd say that they are just buying time to release new products so they can make more profit off of NEW product instead of spending cash on support for old. The pattern shows in the forums as well as their support pages.
    I've seen more than a few companies simply bypass vista's certification process and release their updates, with instructions on how to circumvent Vista security checks. Good for them, bad for vista.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:44PM (#22965608)

    Lord knows I'm no fan of Vista, but it seems to me that Creative was trying to lay their own incompetence or dishonest marketing plans off on Microsoft. They must have been pretty embarrassed when this guy came along with a set of working drivers to blow their alibi out of the water. I sincerely hope the people who made the decision to harass him are shown the door in a very public way. Proper damage control requires on less.

  • by g051051 ( 71145 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:07PM (#22965948)
    While I respect his skills, Daniel_K didn't actually write replacement drivers that did things Creative couldn't...he reverse engineered the existing drivers and patched out the OS level checks, or he swapped parts of code from other drivers into play, to enable features that were specifically disabled by Creative. He then made those modified, repackaged drivers available, which is a big problem for Creative, and the reason why they tried to shut Daniel_K down.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If he was just taking drivers that worked in Windows XP, then why would Creative have purposefully disabled that functionality in their Vista drivers? If some guy can pretty easily reverse engineer the drivers for another OS and get them working on a newer version then I would think Creative, with the source code in hand, should easily be able to make that functionality work on Vista. Why is Creative disabling this functionality if the device and OS is capable of supporting it? Are they just trying to se
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TimboJones ( 192691 )
        My takeaway from this has been that Creative cards on Vista are technically capable of supporting advanced, proprietary audio features, but not legally allowed to support these features without... licensing fees?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gatzke ( 2977 )
      Why should that be a big problem for Creative? They sell hardware and provide drivers. He made better drivers. If anything, Creative should have taken his drivers and repackaged them as their own. Maybe even compensated him for doing their work for them.

      The actions of Creative may have been business motivated. Cripple the hardware so you have to buy new hardware. Bad idea.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Todd Knarr ( 15451 )

        It's a problem for Creative because often they use identical hardware for multiple sound cards, with the drivers determining which features are active. For instance, they may sell the UltiSound Basic with 5.1 surround for $150, and the UltiSound Extreme with 7.1 and Dolby output for $300. If you look carefully at the cards, they're absolutely 100% hardware-identical. Even the jacks are identical and wired up the same. In other words, the UltiSound Basic is quite capable of outputting 7.1 and Dolby just like

        • by gatzke ( 2977 )

          I did not realize they were using drivers to lock out capabilities on identical hardware. That is truly shady dealings, IMHO.

          They would have to clean-room drivers for the cards if they want to be legal. Even then, it would be sketchy since they don't have specs. And the open source audio driver would never work in Vista I bet. Bad all around.

          I have a SoundBlaster Pro somewhere, I bet it still works. If I can find a ISA slot on a mobo...
          • by nuzak ( 959558 )
            > I did not realize they were using drivers to lock out capabilities on identical hardware. That is truly shady dealings, IMHO.

            Think of it like software. It costs a software company nothing extra to distribute the full Enterprise version of their product, but you pay less for the standard version. They developed a single hardware platform, but you need to pay extra for the features. They just made sure the protection was implemented in hardware.

            Now their business of using updates to actually remove fe
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Shados ( 741919 )
        The point is that Creative could do it all along: what this guy did was remove OS checks from the drivers. That is, the drivers literally did: "IF OS == Vista, break the cool features so we can force people to upgrade hardware and other nasty things". He took that out, more or less, and thus the drivers worked.
  • Where can one find these drivers or info about them? I have an Audigy 2
  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:12PM (#22965998)
    I wrote the last time this came up that Daniel did nothing wrong. All he did is phrase his donations plea poorly.

    Since the drivers he made available were generally available anyway, he did not run afoul of copyright for making his changes available. (assuming he uses the words "for support work" and not "for the drivers") He could use "patch" just to be 100% sure.

    As a consultant I can (and have done) modify third party hardware and software for the benefit of a customer who has proper ownership of the hardware and license to the software and I may change for that service and there's NOTHING the third party vendor can do about it.

    The relationship Daniel has with the user of a driver with his modifications is of no business to Creative. In fact, Creative may be worried that they are interfering with Daniels business. If you are curious look up "Tortuous Interference."

    Daniel *did* make money from his work. He could have a case against Creative's very public accusation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shados ( 741919 )
      I didnt check, but it depends. Did he make modified drivers available, or did he make diff/patch availables that users can apply themselves? If the former, he played in dangerous territory.
      • Yes, distributing the driver itself is "dangerous" as "infringement" has been made intentionally ambiguous by the media companies to cast the broadest definitions. Just being sued by these behemoths is damaging, so its best to avoid it.

        That being said, from a legal point of view, he should be in the clear, but big evil corp will use copyright ambiguity. It is best to use a patching strategy to avoid all risk.

        All that being said, what Creative did is tortuous interference and that is grounds for a suit. He h
  • by goldcd ( 587052 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:38PM (#22966322) Homepage
    until I saw all of this kick off. Downloaded them, installed them and my Audigy2 ZS behaves better. Also my ancient Audigy drivers (also Creative's latest version) were noted as being the reason Vista SP1 refused to install. Swapped out for the modded ones, and next day SP1 pops up for autoupdate. In all seriousness I'd never touch a Creative soundcard ever again. Had SB1, SB Pro, SB16, AWE32 etc etc - only breaking away for a brief flirtation with a Gravis Ultrasound (lovely lovely card, but software support was a pain in the arse). In this new age of 'sound being taken for granted' I'd initially just used onboard audio, but then realized it was a bit cheap and nasty (I don't need 7.1 - and the hiss is driving me insane). Anyhoo - I don't like onboard, creative take the piss out of their customers (ffs they insist on mailing me the most stupidly overpriced 'offers' after a mistakenly gave them my email). What're the alternatives? Xonar?
  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:54PM (#22966546) Journal
    shitcanning the VP who approved this stuff. Publicly. Then issuing a public apology.

    Anyone who gets this heavy-handed in today's internet society is far out of touch with his/her customer base, and has no reason to be employed by a company that makes computer equipment.

    In other words, incompetent to the point of being actively harmful to the well-being and even survival of the company itself.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault