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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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  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:18PM (#22965202)
    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.
  • 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 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.
  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) < minus math_god> 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 TheHawke ( 237817 ) <.moc.rr.xts. .ta. .nipahcr.> 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 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.
  • You never know when you might get caught, so the actual lesson is "don't be evil".
  • 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 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.
  • 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 kesuki ( 321456 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:47PM (#22965656) Journal
    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 decided to remove the offending software, and keep modding just the 'approved' mods.

    But yeah, seriously, if he was able to make working vista drivers in a few months when their own guys couldn't manage it,(and without having access to the source code either) they really should have offered him a job.
  • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaleGlass ( 1068434 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:49PM (#22965692) Homepage
    Some of those geeks work at places like universities and large companies and make purchase decisions. Others give advice to less knowledgeable people.

    An important thing to note here is that a dedicated soundcard is no longer a necessary component of a computer due to onboard sound. A large part of Creative's market are going people who decide on their own to buy a soundcard for some reason, and which card they choose will depend quite heavily on some geek's opinion.
  • 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.

  • Re:Good for him (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:01PM (#22965864)
    Anyone who bought one of Creative's cards for home recording deserves what they get. If you know enough to actually do a decent job recording, you'll know that just about anything out there is better for recording than gaming cards, which is what all of Creative's cards are. Turtle Beach, M-Audio, Digidesign, MOTU - all are better than Creative. The only thing they had going for them once upon a time was Ensoniq's IP, which they proceeded to flush down the crapper.
  • 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:Good for him (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:07PM (#22965950)
    Your assertion that dedicated sound cards aren't needed anymore is plain silly. Unless the only sounds your computer will play are the Windows ones, you're going to want a dedicated card because of all the noise the onboard cards introduce.. especially if you're recording any audio, which is part of editing videos on your computer.. which a growing number of people are doing.
  • 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 goldcd ( 587052 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:50PM (#22966484) Homepage
    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 upgrade. Legally Creative are right - no question. Morally they're scum. What really bugs me is that there's some poor tech guy trying to make a decent Vista driver and f'in marketing have waded in and forced him to screw it up. Creative used to have my loyalty and this whole mess and caused them to lose it. Interesting bit is to see how they respond to it all - hopefully somebody's getting a P45 over this and decent 'official' drivers may appear soon (current lastest driver is from March last year - so prior to all this, they seemingly saw no reason to do anything).
  • 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.

  • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:58PM (#22966606) Homepage
    Throw in Hi def gaming, or a real media center, and a soundcard isn't just an enthusiasts upgrade, it's a necessity.

    IOW, it is just an enthusiasts upgrade.

  • by TimboJones ( 192691 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2008 @02:58PM (#22966616) Homepage
    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:Good for him (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fozzyuw ( 950608 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @03:14PM (#22966776)


    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.

  • by Plekto ( 1018050 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @04:58PM (#22967860)
    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 and void because you physically own the hardware and aren't renting it. You can always alter code or programming for any device that you own if you have the ability to do so. Be it a sound card or something as simple as an electrical box that needs an extra hole drilled in it.

    Technically he can't distribute it without their blessing, but it's insanely stupid to nerf someone who just solved a problem for you for free. Shoot, if I was running Creative, I'd have hired the guy or made a serious offer. He obviously was brighter than the waste of resources in development.

    Creative nerfs programmer. Creative gets egg on face and retracts threats.
    Programmer fixes Creative's bad code. Creative hires programmer.

    Sounds to me like someone at Creative has been taking cues from Apple's playbook.
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @11:46PM (#22970468) Journal
    "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 Brand consciousness.

    And Brand consciousness is currently the main reason why anyone would buy Creative sound cards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2008 @10:05AM (#22972662)

    a corporation has a legal obligation to its shareholders to ignore morality in place of profit
    Bullshit. Quote the law that says the above, or the obvious equivalent of it.

    While you're at it, also point out where in the law(s) it's spelled out that nobody can found a company with a corporate charter specifying its purpose to be the opposite, i.e. to make a profit only as long as it does it while adhering to a specified moral conduct, and then make this company public.

    Good luck.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling