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Creative Backs Down on Vista Driver Debacle

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the three-black-eyes-and-a-bloody-nose dept.

Businesses 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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first post! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965126)

modded illegally by the community!

Good for him (5, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965132)

The way Creative publically handled the situation was so stupid they deserve the continued bad publicity.

Re:Good for him (4, Funny)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965246)

Seriously. It is so close to the corportate equivalent of "dumb suicide" that it should deserve a Darwin Award

Re:Good for him (-1, Flamebait)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965438)

Oh please, a few geekz from a few forums (fora?) are annoyed with them. Big deal.
That's a pretty long way from corporate suicide, the impact on their financial situation will be a lot less noticable than, say, a lawsuit from some company they licensed code from.

Re:Good for him (5, Insightful)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965692)

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.

Re:Good for him (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good for him (5, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966070)

The assertion from the previous poster basically meant "You can have a working, full featured computer without having to care about buying a sound card, a bit like you can do the same with network cards".

Last time this subject came up, I said that onboard sound was more than good enough: multiple people proved me wrong, and indeed, i was, so I'm not going to try and argue that. However, point is, for 90% of people, the computer will be functional as is. Games will run fine, their MP3s will play fine (and I can't hear any noise introduced by the board during playback, and its quite limited and hard to notice during recording... of course, not viable for professional work), everything will be "good enough" to the average joe (as opposed to videocards, where even Joe will realise really quickly that his onboard video isn't good enough when he can't even run a 3 years old game on his machine).

So that means that ALMOST EVERYONE who buys a sound card, knows what they want. Low noise, professional features, instrument ports, specific encoder/decoders support, and they'll want quality (and the tone of your post is quite in line with this statement).

So Creative cannot sell shitty feature-less cards easily. They have to have a LOT over an onboard card for someone to want it.

Re:Good for him (0)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966222)

An important thing to note here is that a dedicated soundcard is no longer a necessary component of a computer due to onboard sound
That's true, if you do not care about things like framerate or noise. It'll work just fine for youtube, the news, and torrents of your favorite legal tv shows and movies.

Throw in Hi def gaming, or a real media center, and a soundcard isn't just an enthusiasts upgrade, it's a necessity.

Re:Good for him (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966606)

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.

Onboard sound = poor ASIO (4, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966330)

Onboard sound is fine for most applications, but it is not suitable for audio enthusiasts such as musicians who need low latency ASIO. The ASIO implementation on most on-board chipsets (that I have used) is atrocious to the point of being unusable.

I couldn't agree more. (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966360)

My first soundcards were based on what I could make work without gobbling too much memory. Now any half-decent motherboard I buy (server apart) has 7.1 onboard for 'free'. If I buy a discrete soundcard now it's for a definite reason. Creative really aren't helping themselves win my loyalty here.

Re:Good for him (4, Informative)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965718)

If you'll look I think you'll find that the downloads for his work number in the many 10's of thousands.

So I doubt it's just a few angry kids.

Re:Good for him (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966682)

Is this the same Daniel from Brazil that did the Promise RAID BIOS/Driver hacks for the A7V/A7V133 boards from Asus?

Re:Good for him (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965910)

Well apparently there were enough geeks on enough forums that they thought it was a big deal. They said it was because of bad PR that they reversed their decision.

Re:Good for him (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965596)

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.

Re:Good for him (4, Funny)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965670)

Tech companies exagerate their product's capabilities for marketing reasons, more news at 11 or something.

Re:Good for him (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good for him (4, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Good for him (2, Interesting)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966356)

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.

Backing down or CYA Manuver? (5, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (5, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965222)

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.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (4, Insightful)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965528)

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

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (4, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (1)

agent_no.82 (935754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966168)

IIRC, corporations are required to maximize shareholder revenue by a legal precedent. Obviously that could include morally reprehensible actions, but only if they are legal.

Of course, if the appropriate group if people own all the shares of a corporation, they will not require this and the corporation would not be vulnerable to such a case ("You're wasting my money!") in court. Likewise, the board of directors could argue that evil actions will cause horrible PR should they ever get out, and thus be more damaging to the company, but I don't think lawsuits over this usually happen as long as the company's not having other serious issues.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (1)

DigDuality (918867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966372)

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:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (4, Interesting)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966672)

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 [wikipedia.org] ). 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.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (4, Funny)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966298)

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!

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966688)

watching porn and looking up peach cobbler recipes. FUCK THAT!
Is peach cobbler as good as apple pie?

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966738)

Some would say watching porn is evil.

I say it depends on the kind of porn. :-)

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966512)


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 did.

Companies aren't going to stop "being evil". They might figure out what they can get away with a bit more in the changing landscape of internet reporting.

Re:Backing down or CYA Manuver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22966718)

You never know when you might get caught, so the actual lesson is "don't be evil".
And how many files have you shared illegally? Oh, I forgot, this is Slashdot. Everyone here actually buys the same stuff after we illegally download it, just to make things right again.

Funny how that lesson only applies to corporations, and not consumers.

Yarrrrr, matey!!!!

Fuck you, know-nothing! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965486)

Stupid moron.

creators not backing DOWn vs. corepirate nazis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965160)

the lights are coming up all over now. get used to it. see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:creators not backing DOWn vs. corepirate nazis (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965262)

Pity there isn't a -1, "crazy guy grumbling to himself incoherently in public" moderation point.

We need a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965474)

"Take your meds" tag.

This doesn't happen with free software (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

http://fsf.org/ [fsf.org] For more information about software freedoms please see

the Free Software Foundation's homepage.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (5, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965348)

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.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (4, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965482)

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.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965586)

The EULA is still null and void, and many courts have found an EULA to be unenforcable, especially in the state that Creative's headquarters were in - California. There's legal precedent all over.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965866)

Copyright law still applies, you MAY NOT DISTRIBUTE DERIVATIVE WORKS WITHOUT PERMISSION.

Now for the EULAS:
You're wrong in so many ways it isn't even funny. In California EULAS work, you click, you agree, in California copyright still works, you are not allowed to modify or take other people's IP without permission, hence the EULA, had you not agreed to the EULA at all you would be violating IP.

You're confusing dumb consumer rulings about shrink wrap licenses with real EULAS.

You license software, if you couldn't license software in California then I doubt it'd be the tech powerhouse it is today.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (5, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (4, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:This doesn't happen with free software (4, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966458)

It's more complex than that.

From here
http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&thread.id=116332 [creative.com]

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.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (5, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965772)

No, it is called copyright law. You're totally off-base in a typical slashdot style. It wasn't his IP, he was distributing derivative IP and even taking money for it. He was wrong. He had no right to do it, no right to distribute and no right to accept donations for it. If it was free software there wouldn't be this problem since permission would've been granted.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965776)

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:This doesn't happen with free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22966700)

The constitutional bit of this was marked "insightful?" This is kind of like saying "hey, it runs on Windows, and Windows is an operating system, and computers need operating systems, and my car has an operating system, so it should run on my car! Sweet!" It's a prime category error.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (2, Funny)

Brummund (447393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965852)

Hey Richard, you need to turn off DOS mode in Emacs, we're getting double linefeeds here.

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966176)

twitter? Is that you?

Re:This doesn't happen with free software (1)

Ang31us (1132361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966214)

Yes, Mr. Stallman.

I partially agree with you. (2, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966484)

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).

Too late for Creative (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965196)

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?

Re:Too late for Creative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965382)

Haha, that is certainly innovative. I can't imagine it'd sound very good, though?

Why not just buy a multi-FX unit? I think some models by Zoom have a pitch shifter ability on the expression pedal. Or a whammy if you need really good pitch-shifting...that is what I'm going to get once I get better at guitar.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965530)

I never use an expression pedal, and every Zoom product I played with had a rather crappy pitch-shifter to begin with. The SBLive! allowed for absolute fine-tuning by semitones, no Zoom allows for such precise pitch-shifting. The only pedal I use is my BOSS Death Metal pedal and my Cry-baby Wah pedal. Anything else was handled by the sound card.

Re:Too late for Creative (2, Interesting)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965896)

As a fellow guitarist, I think you'd be much better off obtaining a dedicated unit. I've since quit using effects, so I'm not really familiar with the market these days, but I do know that the sonic qualities of some of the Zoom and Boss multi-units have gotten better in the last few years. Did the SBLive! allow to pitch shift in key, or just some arbitrary interval? The nice things about some of the dedicated pitch shifters is that they allow both diatonic interval pitch-shifting (which is of course important)and arbitrary. Maybe I'm thinking old Electro-Harmonics here?.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966424)

Because most of the Zoom multi-effects SUCK NASTY DONKEY BALLS? seriously, I have one of their higher end midgrade pedal that has so much hiss in it that I have to use it BEHIND a Boss noise suppressor pedal.

Re:Too late for Creative (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965428)

I don't know for sure if all the features you're looking for are there, but I'd say first thing to look at would be M-Audio's cards. They're designed first and foremost for music.

http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=PCIinterfaces [m-audio.com]

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

tarrantm (1210560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965540)

Does the Razer Barracuda AC-1 Sound Card have Creative components in it? I just bought one a couple days ago on woot, and I'm gonna be real disappointed if it's somehow enriching Creative pockets.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965624)

Well, it supports EAX 2.0, so it might have Creative hardware (I think EAX 3 and higher is software and not hardware-based)

Re:Too late for Creative (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22966224)

> (I think EAX 3 and higher is software and not hardware-based)

EAX has been software-based since the SB Live. The only distinction EAX 3.0 has is that it's locked up in all kinds of patents that Creative refuses to license on terms approaching reasonable. Most other cards support up to 2.x, as well as A3D. And games tend to do it themselves or use DirectAudio3D which works just as well.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965568)

Now you've shown them.

Seriously, they're a hardware shop, and their hardware seems to fit your needs.
Sure, they could have let socially less inept people handle the situation with this Daniel guy, but of course they're in their right to make sure people comply with their license.

Point is, I feel you're overreacting.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965634)

Sometimes it takes an overreaction to get the appropriate response from an adversary.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965678)

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 general.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965742)

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.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965944)

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 (2, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965770)

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.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

jpfed (1095443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965750)

(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 effects that can be chained with great versatility. It's been too long since I've looked at getting a sound card for me to give you any hardware recommendations.

Re:Too late for Creative (2, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965888)

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 got some cheap desktop stereo speakers, I've been using the on-board sound for a while now.

Previously, however, I had a lot of luck with Turtle Beach [turtlebeach.com] sound cards. Very good sound quality and a lot less driver trouble. I've never done any professional sound work though, nor plugged a guitar into anything, so I have no idea if their cards would work for you.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966318)

You could probably pick up a Line 6 POD or an old Johnson J-Station on [eBay|Craigslist|whatever] for less cost and hassle than it would take to replace your sound card. Plus, you can plug those into other stuff and jam away without being harnessed to your computer. Also, actual detuning > detuning via pitch shifting any day of the week.

Re:Too late for Creative (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966762)

It's *REALLY* hard to actually detune and keep it reliable when I'm using .06 on the high end. Sorry, in this case, pitch shifting > detuning. Granted there's a little noise added but when I'm running it thru a maxed-out death metal pedal it all sounds the same.

Liars or idiots (or both) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Liars or idiots (or both) (3, Insightful)

ArcticCelt (660351) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Liars or idiots (or both) (2, Insightful)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965656)

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:Liars or idiots (or both) (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966466)

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.

Re:Liars or idiots (or both) (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966640)

"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 (4, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965206)

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?"

Re:screw creative (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965476)

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.

Too little, too late (3, Insightful)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965352)

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.

Re:Too little, too late (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965408)

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 hit on this one. Maybe not a very significant one, but they'll notice it.

Re:Too little, too late (2, Interesting)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965710)

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'

Miserable excuses by Creative (5, Insightful)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

I say FT (0)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965566)

I just ordered 4 whiteboxes and saw the quote had creative sound cards. Told them to pull the cards and find something else.
"But, these are the ones you always get."
"Not anymore".
We don't even use Vista. I read the messages yesterday just in time. The hell with them. Arrogant pricks, who do they think they are, MS.

An Excuse Breathes Its Last and Croaks (3, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Good response (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965868)

"I'd say they are stealing [from] their own customers by disabling features based on technologies they own (so they did it on purpose) and by charging for a software that requires an improved driver that they refuse to provide."

It's time to realize that copyrights, patents, etc are theft. The alleged owners are the pirates.

Let's be clear here (5, Insightful)

g051051 (71145) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Let's be clear here (2, Interesting)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966448)

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 sell new cards? I doubt that's the answer since it seems like some of the cards he's talking about are relatively recent and claim Vista support.

Re:Let's be clear here (3, Insightful)

TimboJones (192691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966616)

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:Let's be clear here (2, Informative)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966516)

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:Let's be clear here (2, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966770)

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 the Extreme. The only difference is in a small EPROM chip with the model ID in it. The driver reads that and uses the model ID to decide which firmware to load into the card, and it won't load the 7.1/Dolby-capable firmware into a card with a Basic model ID. If someone hacks the drivers to change the check, then Creative finds their Extreme card not selling very well since everybody's buying the Basic and turning on the high-end features.

They also tend to deprecate their low-end cards on new versions of Windows, forcing people to buy upgraded hardware if they want to upgrade their OS. If hacked drivers allow people to keep using their older hardware, Creative loses sales.

Yes, both tactics are stupid. But to Creative hacked drivers are a threat to a business model based on those tactics. They just discovered here that the PR backlash may be a bigger threat.

Re:Let's be clear here (1)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966558)

/Creative(TM) PR Troll

Drivers... (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965964)

Where can one find these drivers or info about them? I have an Audigy 2

Re:Drivers... (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966228)

right here [filefront.com]

Now THAT's what i call arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965996)

I only now read the original article and i have to say, what cocks. I don't see what their problem is in the 1st place creating Vista drivers, it isn't a problem for every other hard/software manufacturer. I've always had Creative soundcards untill the PC i made a month ago. I just bought an OLD (im talking manual still refers to Win89 old) M-Audio soundcard. Download vista drivers right off the site. F-ing 8-year old soundcard.

Remove drivers a user made that they cant make themselfs deeming users worldwide to get screwed. THIS is what I call arrogance.

No leg to stand on anyway: Tortuous Interference (3, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:No leg to stand on anyway: Tortuous Interferenc (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966124)

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.

I didn't even though these drivers existed (3, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966322)

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?

But what about Jill?? (1)

Glowing-Wind (786539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966504)

But! BUT! Creative Labs gave "Jill of the Jungle" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_of_the_jungle [wikipedia.org] reverb and chorus effects to the OPL3 FM-syn music, with their AWE64 Gold isa-bus sound card! I still give them props for that!!

Cheers.

They ought to start by... (4, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966546)

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.

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