Creative enrage fanbase with custom driver comment

"Creative have threatened legal action against a custom driver creator for improving compatibility of their cards in Windows Vista."

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Creative issue statement saying custom drivers are essentially stealing
Creative Audigy
Creative have enraged a large section of their own users with a statement they released on their forum aimed towards Daniel_K, a custom driver creator.
With countless people having compatibility issues when trying to use their Creative soundcards (namely the Sound Blaster Audigy series) when switching over from XP to Vista, Daniel took it upon himself to help users out by rewriting a set of drivers to remedy these issues.

While most hardware manufacturers know that custom / modded drivers for their hardware get created, they leave it be and sometimes even encourage it.  Not Creative though.. They have decided to bash the person whose drivers have more than likely kept many people using Creative products.  Phil O'Shaughnessy, VP of Corporate Communications at Creative states:

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.

Just so you can get an idea of the uproar this has caused, at the time of writing this article, that thread has 1,749 posts and has been viewed 227,687 times since Friday morning.

Another reason this has irked so many users is that when Creative rewrote the drivers for its SB Audigy line of soundcards they left out a number of features such as THX options, CMSS2/CMSS Stereo Surround support, DVD-Audio support, DD/DTS decoding and an equalizer.  It was alleged that Creative did this on purpose to cripple its older cards and force people into buying its new X-Fi cards if they wanted full support in Vista.
Others have said that even cards including the X-Fi drivers were far from perfect anyway and frequently crashed and stopped working.  On some rare occasions it has been reported that after these crashes some users, even after driver re-installations,  haven't been able to get their soundcards back to working order.

What has really annoyed Creative is that Daniels custom drivers have effectively re-enabled the functionality Creative purposely deactivated as well as improved the stability and the general running of their cards.  Had these drivers only helped stability, I very much doubt we would have seen Creative getting up in arms about it.
Creative are also citing the fact that Daniel is open to donations as another reason that what he is doing is illegal and stating that "you are in effect, stealing our goods".  Donations being asked for in the custom driver community is far from unheard of with modders spending many hours programming and fine tuning the drivers.

Most of the threads posts are in support of Daniel_K with many users suggesting that they all boycott Creative products. The first page of the thread pretty much sets the tone of what follows in the next 178 pages.
Take a look here at the thread on Creative's forum in all its glory.
Should Creative have just left it alone?  It certainly seems that way!
Discuss in our forum.
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Most Recent Comments

28-03-2008, 06:49:24

WC Annihilus
"Abit follows in the footsteps of other motherboard manufacturers such as ASUS"

Read on

28-03-2008, 06:56:31

I swear they tried this several years back. I'm sure I remember seeing some abit branded graphics cards on their site back when i was just a wee overclocking nipper.

28-03-2008, 07:02:57


I swear they tried this several years back. I'm sure I remember seeing some abit branded graphics cards on their site back when i was just a wee overclocking nipper.

Yep they did RX300's, X700's, 9600XTs and GeForce 4 Ti 4200. Probably more

Edit: Infact it looks like some of them were in production until 2005

28-03-2008, 07:07:55

Slightly off-topic, but did anyone ever try their operating system that they included on a disk with some of their motherboards?

28-03-2008, 08:03:29

yup remember seeing some Radeon 9500's which you could overclock to 9600 level by changing some sort of jumper on the card itself :) although its gonna be nice to have one more, experienced brand coming back to graphic cards market, maybe this way increasing competition and lowering some of the prices too :)

28-03-2008, 11:33:03

Abit will do just fine, glad there getting back into it.

28-03-2008, 13:48:05

Bad idea Abit, try getting your motherboards more exposure

29-03-2008, 00:03:50

think that it's more a case of USI leveraging their abilities & using the abit brand.
I know that certainly some people will be glad to see them back in gfx - wonder if Vguru will come back?

this is hardly news though seeing as abit showed gfx cards at Cebit ...

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