Creative backs down on modded Vista drivers

Creative backs down on modded Vista drivers

Summary: Question for you. If a company releases a product with drivers that are, how can I put this kindly, lacking, and someone else decides to mod those drivers to add new features and fix broken stuff, should that be allowed or is the company right to kick up a fuss?


Question for you.  If a company releases a product with drivers that are, how can I put this kindly, lacking, and someone else decides to mod those drivers to add new features and fix broken stuff, should that be allowed or is the company right to kick up a fuss?

Here the story.  Creative released products that were labeled as "Vista Ready."  Problem is that many users found the drivers to be buggy and sorely lacking in features.  To make matters worse, Creative seems to redefine the word "slow" when it comes to updating drivers.  A talented member of the Creative support forum called Daniel_K decided to take matters into his own hands and developed a modded set of drivers that fixed problems and added new features.  Creative was unhappy about this and removed all the links.  The story got Slashdotted and a week later Creative backed down and reinstated the links (The Register has more coverage).

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I'm going to say that while I understand Creative's concerns, Daniel_K did seem to be doing the company a favor.  As long as he made it clear that these drivers were and the fact that they weren't officially sanctioned, I can't see that he was causing any harm.


Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • He was doing them a service..the problem though

    Was that he was asking for donations and claimed that the more in donations the more he would work at creating better versions etc. He tried to capitalize off his work, which I don't see any problem with, though posting for donations on creative's site was extremely stupid. Creative took 2 black eyes here, one that someone outside of the company provided better drivers, and 2, they made it into a big PR fiasco. They showed just how much they care about their consumers, basically just give us your money and deal with it. That tends to piss consumers off.
  • Modders can provide a valuable service

    I recently purchased a new hard drive for my aging motherboard. The motherboard was unable to properly recognize the hard drive and hung before the boot process. This was with the latest official BIOS (which was released in November, 2004).

    Some dedicated hackers provided a modded BIOS upgrade that also included an recent Silicon Image SATA RAID chipset BIOS. Voila! My new hard drive works like a champ.

    If it hadn't of been for these unlicensed modded files, I would have needed to upgrade my entire system (too pricey at the moment) or shopped around for a different, smaller hard drive.
  • Point gun at foot...shoot

    Legally, Creative has the authority to prohibit distribution of modified versions of its drivers, but given that the modifications made it easier for people to use their hardware with MS latest-and-greatest, it was hardly wise for them to make a fuss about it. The modder did Creative a favor and should have been treated accordingly (after all, Creative sells hardware, not drivers).

    Personally, I wonder how much extra money it really makes hardware vendors to close their specs; I suspect not much. A case could be made that opening them would reduce their own driver development costs, result in higher quality drivers, and insure that the hardware is usable with a wider variety of systems, without a significant increase in competition. The main points of competition between hardware vendors are price and quality, not hidden features.

    That said, people have the right to be stupid.
    John L. Ries
    • You are right John

      Creative is acting too much like Microsoft, in this case. They are afraid somebody else will make a little money, and they won't get it all.

      It's a little thing called GREED, and it is becoming all too pervasive in today's society.
      Ole Man
  • Creative have show absolute contempt for customers

    I am one of those poor Creative customers who has waited for decent drivers for my Audigy 2ZS sound card for 12 months in vain.

    I have left many comments on the Creative forums, then sent complaints and what has Creative done about it and the tens of thousands of posts on their website? ZERO, NOTHING, NADA!

    Not a word of when proper drivers are coming, no official responses to posts and complaints, NOTHING.

    I downloaded the mod Drivers and if it wasn't for these drivers I would have bought a new sound card 10 months ago - and it wouldn't have been a Creative product.

    Creative have shown nothing but contempt for me and the hundreds of thousands of other loyal customers who have asked for proper drivers, any information on if and when they would come and we have heard absolutey nothing.

    Totally pathetic company.

    And contrast Creative with NVidia and there is no comparison. NVidia continued to release beta and WHQ Drivers almost every month and kept their customers informed.
  • In the meantime, Vista is the "new ME" because of companies like Creative.

    And of course Microsoft will get all the bashing and Vista will be called the "new ME" because of companies like Creative that frankly don't get their act together and release good drivers.
    • That is only the tip of the iceburg

      The root of the problem is that Microsoft wants to control what all manufacturers, all companies, all customers (er..ahhh.. sorry for that slip, it's "users now), and all software producers, and CONTROL and GET PAID for everything that everybody produces or does. To put it bluntly, they want to be the World's Dictator.

      I mean, why should some small hardware manufacturer have to PAY Microsoft to "register" his drivers (software interface programs) in order that it be able to work with Windows?

      Because Microsoft has a virtual monopoly on software and they know if they don't get paid, the poor guy will probably never be able to sell the hardware that he manufactures.

      That is what's called leveraging a monopoly. They have already been convicted for that very thing, but they are so big and the Government is so crooked that nobody does anything about it. The EU is working on it, though, and they might cut them down a notch or two yet.

      We can only hope.
      Ole Man
  • The way I see it...

    The problem is Creative itself for not having a decent driver for their products. The modder was making them a favor, indeed, but only half through, as the responsibility of having the right drivers is still Creative's.

    Now this is from a company that had a virtual monopoly on the high end sound market, but they are plummeting down, and Vista has only accelerated their demise. They still have one of the best hardware products out there, but without the right software to drive it, it is only useless silicone under the hood. The same could have been said of AMD/ATi in the Linux arena. ATI indeed seemed to have the superior silicone, but their drivers were lackluster. nVidia with seemingly inferior hardware did indeed deliver a fully featured driver set and still holds the performance crown in Linux.

    The same seems to be the case with Creative as of late. If they want to stay on top they will have to deliver.