Firewire was first introduced by Apple Computers Corporation back in the (very) late 90s. It was ahead of its time by leaps and bounds, with peak transfer rates of up to 400mbps, something literally unheard of and unimaginable in the world of serial & parallel ports and the occasional “fast” 11mbps USB 1.0 interface.
When Apple introduced it with its DV-camcorders and demanding portable media players with in-built support on Mac OS (before NeXtOS); Windows, Linux, and the rest of the gang were quick to catch on with pre-packaged Firewire driver support. But apparently not Vista.
Windows Vista now supports every single device on our test-bed PCs without absolute, dire need for 3rd party drivers; with the exception of our Creative Sound Cards and every single Firewire card/chipset we have! When it comes to the sound cards, that’s OK; because after all, the drivers are available, and all it takes is an internet connection to get it going.
But Firewire cards are different. Manufacturers make them compliant with the original standards, in a one-driver-fits-them-all kind of attitude. On Windows XP one of our cards showed up as a “Microsoft IEE1394 Controller” (we didn’t know Microsoft even made these cards!) and the other as an “NEC Firewire Controller.”
When Windows Vista builds first began to come out, there were no drivers. Half-way there (or quarter of the way – it depends on how many more builds we have to go) Microsoft added Firewire support. It was (probably) build 5231 when we could finally use our Firewire networking system, but to our great disappointment, one build later, Firewire support was gone.
RC1 is here and post-RC1 branches have appeared (Windows Longhorn Server builds), and yet Firewire support is a no-show. Has Microsoft decided to pull support for Apple’s proprietary Firewire standard from Windows? Is it an honest mistake? Or are we going to have to write these drivers ourselves and suffer?