Suburban Senshi iChat #1333: “REM C:\SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H1 T4”
#1333: “REM C:\SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H1 T4”

 Sun Mar 30 19:33 2008 - Logging Started (suburbansenshi-chat)

[19:33] <@Dr. Xadium> So I have a Creative Labs Soundblaster Live 24bit that worked well with XP.
[19:34] <@Dr. Xadium> Enter Windows Vista, and the drivers are useless, disabling certain portions of the device's functionality such as EAX and CMSS 3D. I had to find hacks to enable some of this, and even then it was a crapshoot.
[19:34] <@Dr. Xadium> One year on into Vista, and things were still not fixed by creative.
[19:36] <@Dr. Xadium> Turns out that this trend of crippling older hardware in order to force sales of newer kit is not limited to the SB Live series. A lone hardware developer, going by the handle of "Daniel_K" was able to make software drivers that restored ALL the functionality of Creative Labs Audigy soundcards.
[19:36] <@Dr. Xadium> Creative's Reply?

Dr. Xadium pasted:

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.

Although you say you have discontinued your practice of distributing unauthorized software packages for Creative sound cards we have seen evidence of them elsewhere along with donation requests from you. We also note in a recent post of yours on these forums, that you appear to be contemplating the release of further packages. To be clear, we are asking you to respect our legal rights in this matter and cease all further unauthorized distribution of our technology and IP. In addition we request that you observe our forum rules and respect our right to enforce those rules. If you are in any doubt as to what we would consider unacceptable then please request clarification through one of our forum moderators before posting.

Phil O'Shaughnessy
VP Corporate Communications
Creative Labs Inc.
[19:38] <@Dr. Xadium> Let me break down the most egregious portion of that statement:

Dr. Xadium pasted:
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.
[19:39] <@Dr. Xadium> In other words "if we want to cripple our hardware, then you'll take it and like it, and no way in hell will we allow you to fix our crippled devices."
[19:42] <@Dr. Xadium> Needless to say, the reaction of the internet has not been happy. The thread where creative made its threat has EXPLODED with fury from the community, and Wired, Gizmodo, Digg and others have picked up on this outrage.
[19:43] <@Dr. Xadium> There is so much I coudl say, but the thread says it better, so I will amalgamate some thoughts which match my own:

Dr. Xadium pasted:
Since the SB16 more than a decade ago, the only sound cards I've ever used have been from creative, and I've had about a dozen PCs since then.

Since creative has shown no intent on fully supporting my sound cards in vista, and intends on criminalizing those who make decent Vista drivers for creative products, it appears that I need to find a new company to purchase my sound cards from.

I do not simply mean that I am dissapointed by the quality of creative drivers in Windows Vista, but that I will not allow creative labs to attempt to force me into buying new hardware prematurely.

I disapprove of creative labs' stance on controlling how I can use MY hardware. I already paid for it, and I own it, so I should determine how to use it.

I buy products based on quality, features, support, and value. The fact that I have recommended and used Creative products in the past and now my customers can't get proper drivers is personally embarrassing. It is clear that Creative Labs is trying to get people to purchase new hardware by refusing to release better drivers.

I will actively steer people away from Creative products when they are brought up in conversation at my business or socially. You've had years to work on these issues and I've noticed your company hasn't suffered at all financially so it really boggles the mind how you not have corrected the situation.

Dr. Xadium pasted:
[Your offenses as a company include]

- rebadging older products and charging higher prices

- Suing Aureal, buying the IP at bargain price and then ditching the superior technology to push your own inadequate solution

- Spending 5 years providing truly horrific drivers with stability problems from day 1 for Windows XP

- Given a 2 year head start to write drivers for Vista and failing, forcing Microsoft to remove the DirectSound abstraction layer so that they aren't blamed for your drivers crashing machines, harming customers and then having the nerve to charge money for ALchemy to rectify the problem.

- Attempting to pressure developers because you feel threatened by their software solutions, ie - patent wars with various companies

- Dishonest products with features such as the 24bit processor that wasn't.

- Not providing full driver downloads for 2 years, only "update" packages which forced customers to find their original CD.

- Bloated drivers with many features users didn't want in the first place, forced registration, etc.


Me, i thank Daniel_K and 'nomoregoatsoup'. You made decent hardware, suffering from software, usable. Creative labs. You are now feeling the backlash that should have happened a long time ago. You have been living on borrowed time and on a reputation established on legacy-products.
[19:48] <@Dr. Xadium> I too want to join in a call on a boycott of Creative's products. As a user who has been burned by their practices, and someone who sadly remembers them back when they actually put out decent product, I can no longer countenance their sheer undisguised corporate greed and callous disregard for the needs of their userbase. I urge everyone to seek out alternatives to Creative's products and give the greedy manufacturer exactly what it deserves.

 Sun Mar 30 19:48 2008 - Logging Stopped (suburbansenshi-chat)

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