The X-Fi family of sound cards from Creative Labs has been around for over two years but through this time there has been no Linux support officially from Creative or from the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA). Among the Creative X-Fi solutions are the X-Fi XtremeGamer, X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro, X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series, and the X-Fi Elite Pro. However, Creative Labs is on the heals of finally releasing a new audio Linux driver that supports the X-Fi family. The driver that will be released any day now is considered beta software, but worst of all is that this sound driver will be closed-source.
Creative Labs was hoping to deliver a X-Fi Linux driver in Q2-2007 but that was delayed after Creative admitted it took them more time than expected to develop a Microsoft Windows Vista driver and software (Vista Makes Creative Labs Dupe Linux). Creative's revised schedule placed this driver release towards the end of third quarter or early fourth quarter, and this imminent driver release falls close to that promise made earlier in the year.
The closed-source X-Fi Linux driver that will be made available any day now (likely this coming week) will have full support for ALSA and OpenAL 1.1 with EAX (Environmental Audio Extensions) effects. We have received reports that the X-Fi Xtreme Audio will work with the Open Sound System, but for the most part the Creative Labs X-Fi family has no support for Linux. Creative also has not released any audio processor specifications to ALSA or other open-source developers. The earliest we could see open-source support for the complete Creative Labs X-Fi series would likely be Q1-2008, if you are being optimistic. Meanwhile, the open-source support for the Razer Barracuda AC-1 sound card with its C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788 is progressing along in the ALSA 1.0.15 development cycle. Look for Creative's official announcement on the Sound Blaster X-Fi Linux driver release shortly.
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