Creative and the X-Fi driver fiasco...
yanefbsd at gmail.com
Tue Jan 6 09:50:17 UTC 2009
This is just a heads up because there might be some other curious
takers like me in the future.
Creative is only producing X-Fi cards from now on, and they're
quickly deprecating their Soundblaster Audigy line, which means that
anyone purchasing Creative cards from here on out will only have the
option of X-Fi cards once the Audigy line is completely obsolete.
I can definitely attest to the fact that while audio `works' under
8-CURRENT with audio/oss:
1. The line-in and the break out support don't work (I foolishly
purchased an X-Fi Fatal1ty Platinum edition and just switched my
desktop over from Vista to FreeBSD).
2. Audio under Audacious is ok.
3. Audio in VLC is extremely choppy (skips frames every couple seconds).
4. When playing movies via mplayer, my system hard locks up when
the file is finished.
When I approached Hennu (one of the OSS devs from 4frontend), here
was his reply:
Garrett Cooper wrote:
> Hello folks,
> I was reading through Henne's blog, and I was wondering if I could
> strike up a deal with you folks.
> Current X-Fi support through FreeBSD is nonexistent. With the
> audio/oss port I can get proper sound with my X-Fi Fatal1ty card, but
> it's still severely crippled (line-in support doesn't work, front
> plate support doesn't work).
> If it's at all possible, I would be more than happy to commission
> someone to finish off the driver for $150 ~ $200, partly because I
> know you folks need the funds, I know it would benefit a large
> community of developers and opensource platform users, and because I
> know there are a lot of users out there apart from me who either have
> used, are trying to use, or have thought about using X-Fi on Unix.
> As I said before on my comment to your blog, I'm more than happy to
> help with rounding up funding from your group in the BSD camp, because
> without proper sound support, and the way that the project's focus is
> going, I'm unsure whether or not FreeBSD desktop support will remain
> viable within the next couple years..
Unfortunately the situation with X-Fi is that only Creative will be
able to develop and maintain fully featured driver for it. The
architecture is so complex that it would take about 5 to 15 months to
write a proper driver for it. At the same time the features of the
card are so lame that I have absolutely no interest to touch it any
I would recommend that you spend your $150 - $200 on getting a decent
sound card that is already supported by OSS.
When I approached Creative about driver support, here was their canned reply
Thank you for contacting Creative Customer Support.
With regards to your inquiry, the X-Fi sound card was not designed for
opensource OS such as FreeBSD or Linux. There is no official driver or
support for X-Fi sound cards but you can refer to the Creative Open
Source at http://opensource.creative.com/soundcard.html more assistance.
We apologize for any inconvenience, please let us know of we can be of
any further assistance.
Thank you again for contacting Creative.
Best Regards ,
Creative Labs Americas
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Find Your ZEN -- Award-winning music, video and photo players to suit
every lifestyle and budget.
http://us.creative.com/redirect.asp?id=19423 Sound Blaster X-Fi for
Everyone -- Now available for PCI Express, ExpressCard, PCI and USB. Now
everyone can make their movies, music and games sound their best.
- - -
To provide feedback on your "Creative Experience" please click on the
Original Message Follows: ------------------------
Subject: CLI - Customer Service Request
Name: Garrett Cooper
E-mail Address: yanegomi at gmail.com
Self Description: Advanced PC User
Country: United States of America
Inquiry Type: Product suggestion
Detailed Description of Inquiry:
Hello Creative Team, I previously purchased 2 X-Fi soundcards and I have
since then switched from Vista back to FreeBSD -- my OS platform of
choice. There's a semi-working driver available via OSS, but it doesn't
enable nearly all of the features that the card has (line-in, front
panel, etc). ALSA support doesn't exist under FreeBSD, simply because
it's Linux-specific. I'm somewhat disappointed in this fact that this
card's line has been out for over 2 years now and yet it still doesn't
have working opensource drivers yet. Even ALSA under Linux doesn't work
100% and causes panics right and left. I'm wondering whether or not
someone from Creative is going to pursue actually writing a decent
driver for the opensource community, or I need to just chuck my card in
the trash (mind you, I spent $200 on it, plus $150 on the other one..)
because it doesn't work on FreeBSD. Others I'm sure have spent just as
much as well. I'm also more than happy to let the community know of the
result either way, because people need to know whether hardware vendors
are willing to work with them to achieve a working platform solution
with their hardware. I would really consider this request for support
because X-Fi appears to be the target line for Creative in this day and
age, and the Audigy line of Creative cards are slowly, but surely dying
out in the market place. Thanks, -Garrett
I've asked this question 2 years ago, and I got a similar response
-- I was a bit annoyed at the time when I asked last night, so that's
part of the curtness and gauntlet throwing behind my original request,
because Creative has been providing poor customer support to end-users
The Linux folks are incredibly keen on getting device support into
their kernel. Do you think we could pool our resources to get this
problem solved, either via getting specs, supporting Hannu with OSS,
or a reverse engineering effort? I am more than happy to learn and
work out the requirements as I now have a worthless piece of hardware
-- which is incredibly good -- but still worthless to me for my
purposes. And I know I won't be the first one to come across this
stumbling block in the future...
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