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Maxon Sends Legal Threats to PC Enthusiast Websites Hosting Portable Cinebench R20 Downloads

Maxon last week week posted its Cinebench R20 CPU benchmark. Breaking convention, the company behind rendering software such as Cinema 4D R20, did not host the installer of Cinebench R20 on its own website. Instead, the software is being exclusively distributed through Microsoft Store (for Windows) and Apple App Store (for the MacOS platform). Several reputable PC enthusiast websites such as Guru3D and us, were bombarded by comments from their readers that they didn't like having to get their Cinebench R20 copy from "walled garden DRM platforms," and instead preferred portable versions of the software. Cinebench R20 is freeware, and so with good intentions, many PC enthusiast websites decided to build portable versions of Cinebench R20 that people can just unzip and run. Maxon did not take kindly to this.

Guru3D received legal threats from Maxon to take down their download hosting of Cinebench R20 portable. Facing these threats, Guru3D took down their download and amended their news articles with links to the Microsoft DRM store. The e-mail we received politely asked us to remove the "unauthorized download" but did include a threat that the company "reserves the next legal steps." We believe this behavior by Maxon is unfair, and will alienate a section of PC enthusiasts form Cinebench. No record-seeking PC enthusiast with an LN2 bench painstakingly set up has time to plug their machine to the Internet, launch the UWP store, evade attempts to get them to log in with a Microsoft account, and fetch Cinebench R20 with versions they have no control over. They'd rather install and run their benchmarks and tools off a flash drive, with control over versions, and the ability to keep their machines offline to stabilize their overclock. Many others simply hate DRM platforms for freeware. TechPowerUp has since taken down Cinebench R20 portable from its Downloads section. You can find it on Microsoft UWP Store.

Lack of Async Compute on Maxwell Makes AMD GCN Better Prepared for DirectX 12

It turns out that NVIDIA's "Maxwell" architecture has an Achilles' heel after all, which tilts the scales in favor of competing AMD Graphics CoreNext architecture, in being better prepared for DirectX 12. "Maxwell" lacks support for async compute, one of the three highlight features of Direct3D 12, even as the GeForce driver "exposes" the feature's presence to apps. This came to light when game developer Oxide Games alleged that it was pressured by NVIDIA's marketing department to remove certain features in its "Ashes of the Singularity" DirectX 12 benchmark.

Async Compute is a standardized API-level feature added to Direct3D by Microsoft, which allows an app to better exploit the number-crunching resources of a GPU, by breaking down its graphics rendering tasks. Since NVIDIA driver tells apps that "Maxwell" GPUs supports it, Oxide Games simply created its benchmark with async compute support, but when it attempted to use it on Maxwell, it was an "unmitigated disaster." During to course of its developer correspondence with NVIDIA to try and fix this issue, it learned that "Maxwell" doesn't really support async compute at the bare-metal level, and that NVIDIA driver bluffs its support to apps. NVIDIA instead started pressuring Oxide to remove parts of its code that use async compute altogether, it alleges.

Walled Garden Outfit Valve Accuses Apple Of Operating A Walled Garden

You've got to laugh at the hypocrisy of big companies sometimes. It's a well known fact that Apple operates a very closed and controlling walled garden eco system with all of their products, courtesy of the late Steve Jobs. Examples include the iPhone, which can only purchase apps from the official Apple apps store and the iPod, which can also only sync with iTunes, both due to deliberate vendor lock-in using a combination of hardware and software DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). Apple claims that this is to ensure a seamless, consistent and high quality user experience. Savvy users know this to be only half the story, instead it's there to shut out competition and lock you in to Apple for everything in order to charge high prices for allegedly "premium" product. The only way to avoid this, is to jailbreak the devices (break the DRM) which conveniently (for Apple) voids the warranty on these expensive gadgets. Thankfully, this process is no longer underground, due to a recent court ruling that said jailbreaking was legal, much to Apple's displeasure.

However, the equally closed Valve, with their Steam gaming platform and it's account-based DRM has accused Apple of being a closed system! They are also "concerned" about it. This happened in an interview between Bellevue-based Valve's Gabe Newell and leading games investor Ed Fries at the WTIA TechNW conference. This has been reported in The Seattle Times in Brier Dudley's blog.
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