Linux compatibility problems? Wally’s got his DJ gear working on Linux, and broken on Vista. And that makes him MAD. We’re celebrating random rant Friday, so let’s have at it until it gets fixed, ‘kay? He gripes because he loves, I’m sure. His opinions are his own, but I think it is important to be honest about the way users do tend to react when hardware support isn’t in sync with major OS updates — particularly when many of those new operating systems are preinstalled on machines, and licenses are pricey. -Ed.

UPDATED — by coincidence, see the end of the post: drivers just popped up for Vista.

As I’ve written on CDM before, I’m a big fan of the M-Audio Conectiv USB DJ audio interface. It’s a great bang-for-buck device that works really well with my existing collection of MsPinky vinyl.

Unfortunately though, I can’t use it (or Torq) with my new Vaio notebook running Vista (not easily anyway – I’m sure I could do some run-around by installing it as a generic USB audio device and using ASIO4ALL). Why not? Because M-Audio has yet to release drivers for it. Vista hasn’t changed for 7 months. Developers (including M-Audio, I’m sure) have had their hands on it for at least the last year. It’s been out officially for 5 months now.

However, I had no issues getting it up and running on my 8-year-old Linux box. I powered my ancient Dell running FC5 down, connected the USB cable, and booted back up. Sure enough, it was recognized as a USB audio device. A few modprobes and .asoundrc edits later, I’ve got it working with Alsa, Jack, etc.

The moderators’ dissembling on the Torq forums is nothing short of breathtaking. In this thread, entitled “alternatives to work around Vista conflict“, moderator MusicMeister says “And you can complain all you want, but M-Audio is only one of MANY companies that don’t work on Vista currently.” Wow! Take THAT, you whiny Vista user. Imagine wanting to use a hardware device released at the end of 2006 with an OS released at the beginning of 2007. The nerve! Great response to your customers, BTW. It’s interesting that both my RME Multiface and Presonus Firestudio work on Vista, using the same drivers for XP, even. Want to know what else works on Vista? DJDecks, Deckadance, Traktor3, Live 6.0.7, Max/MSP 4.6.3, Reason 3.0.4, Renoise 1.8. You get the picture.

Later in the thread, a user asks “How hard is it to create or update a new DRIVER?” The rather disingenuous (or grossly misinformed) response by MusicMeister is: “Very. Especially when the OS changes as much as Vista did from XP.”

You know, maybe I’m misinformed, but I find it hard to believe that much changed (in the audio layers, anyway) when I can use the same vendor-provided drivers for both XP and Vista with my Multiface and my Firestudio.

I’d go on with MusicMeister’s ridiculous statements, but the idea that Vista is SO much different from XP that it would take them 7+ months since Vista was feature-frozen to get a driver out the door for a USB 1.1 audio device is laughable on it’s face. Perhaps I’m wrong, and updating the Conectiv drivers for Vista is this huge technical challenge for M-Audio, and it’s developers are working day and night to get a stable driver out the door.

What’s much more likely is that the cause for the delay is poor technical project management at Digidesign that short-shrifts the M-Audio DJ division, and unfortunately, we customers are paying the price for that.

UPDATE Hours after this post went out, M-Audio announced the availability of beta drivers for the Conectiv here: While I’d like to think that CDM is a major source of influence in the digital audio world, and my snarky post led to some major panic at M-Audio HQ (“CDM is complaining about the lack of drivers for the Conectiv. Get something out there – STAT!”), but it’s probably just a major coincidence.