CREATIVE might well be the only sound card company stupid enough to have capable hardware and cripple their products with bad drivers.
I agree, this is an overstatement (other companies do it too). I stopped using cards of the Sound Blaster family a long time ago. Here are two reasons why: 1] Sound Blaster 16 (on which I created "Enveloped") had a sampling rate of 45.454kHz and won't fit on a new computer. 2] The Sound Blaster Live (an EMU-chipset-based product, which I used for "Serial Human") had no ASIO support, and the chipset is hard-locked at 48kHz sample rate. They say the devil is in the details. Can't use these for music production. Creative's X-Fi cards still go at 48kHz internally.
Anyway, I've spent countless hours with Impulse Tracker running in real mode and my, then rock-solid, SB16 still lies around. Then, switching to SB Live! was a short affair full of driver crashes, that ended with the conscious decision never again to use anything by Creative. I had M-audio's 2496 for a good while. Happiest I've been about a soundcard.
I agree this pop hardware business is tough to be in. But the last thing you want to do is create hardware that plays nice and software that doesn't, then pursue anyone who uncovers your dirty secrets. The opposite, solid hardware with basic features, works way, way better. Take it from an Echo user.