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Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers

Daniel-K slams 'arrogant and sarcastic' company

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A Brazilian developer threatened with legal action by Creative for making its soundcards work better with Vista has had his work reinstated on the company's website.

Daniel Kawakami, better known by the moniker Daniel_K, modified a range of Creative's drivers to make the company's soundcards work smoothly with Windows Vista.

Without his modifications, users argue, Vista machines with Creative soundcards crash and features fail to work.

Posting a forum message on its website last weekend, Creative threatened Daniel_K with legal action, accusing him of infringing its intellectual property. The company removed forum posts from the developer containing links to his work.

The move backfired big time, generating a media firestorm and howls of protests from outraged users on technology forums across the web.

Guess what, Creative has reinstated Daniel_K's posts.

Creative declined to speak to The Register on the matter, but sent us this statement instead.

We have read the strong feedback about Creative's forum post regarding driver development by daniel_k and other outside parties.
Creative's message tried to address our concern about the improper distribution of certain software, which is the property of other companies. However, we did not make it as clear as we would have liked that we do support driver development by independent third parties.

The huge task of developing driver updates to accommodate the many changes in the Vista operating system and the extensive testing required, including the lengthy Vista certification requirements for audio, makes it very difficult for Creative to develop updates for all past products.

Outside developers have been very helpful to Creative and our customers by developing updates for many of our Sound Blaster products, and we do support and appreciate these efforts. This however does not extend to the unauthorized distribution of other companies' property.

We hope to work out a mutually agreeable method for working with daniel_k in supporting his efforts in driver development. Going forward, we are committed to doing a better job of working more closely with third parties to support their development for our products and our customers.

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."

Enough reward

He acknowledges that Creative has a case regarding intellectual property, but is furious about the company's strategy. "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."

"At least they are getting flamed all over the web and they are certainly mad about it. That is enough reward for my hard work," he wrote.

Daniel_K's modified drivers have proved immensely popular, with 100,000 downloads in total, according to the developer.

Users had complained that, without them, Vista machines based on Creative's soundcards crashed and features failed.

Some forum posters have already suggested that, given Daniel_K's success in modifying its drivers, the company should offer him a job.

So The Register asked him if he would accept a job if offered by Creative.

"No." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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