A Year Later, X-Fi Drivers Still Horrific
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 9 October 2008 at 08:10 AM EDT. 29 Comments
After Creative Labs Duped Linux For Vista, it was just a year ago that they had released their X-Fi Linux driver. That initial driver in 2007 had only supported 64-bit Linux, wasn't targeted at newer versions of GCC, and had a whole host of other problems. This past April they then tried again at X-Fi Linux drivers and this time managed to deliver 32-bit and GCC 4.x support. Since then though no new binary drivers have appeared and a year later we remain with only a half-functioning beta driver.

This driver released back in April was certainly a step forward, but it goes without S/PDIF pass-through support, no external I/O modules support, and contains a number of bugs. To this day there are still a number of known issues including build failures, bad installations, incompatibilities with newer versions of the Linux kernel, and even the driver killing the X server. Creative Labs has yet to provide any word on when a new beta (or official) driver may appear.

The open-source outlook for the Creative X-Fi sound cards also remains bleak. We were excited when 4Front Technologies had added X-Fi support to OSS (the Open Sound System) earlier this year thanks to header files and other documentation provided by Creative. Since then though there hasn't been any major advancements. Any day now will be the release of ALSA 1.0.18 and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture has no form of Creative X-Fi support at this time.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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