Unethical? Companies charging for the use of additional computers 4 rendering


#1

I thought it would be a good topic of discussion because it gets me bent all out of shape thinking about sometimes, and this is one of those times! :slight_smile:

The issue is whether it’s ‘right’ for software companies to charge users more money simply because they want to add more computers to aid in the rendering of a project or number crunch something.

Why should I be charged additional licensing fees because I want to add more computers simply to AID in speed of the rendering process (for example)?

Why am I being charged for that!! I can understand being charged for some software that is used to explicitly create something by me as a user, but doesn’t it seem unethical to be charged further fees just because I want to add more physical number crunching power/speed to the program?

Why should I pay them for that? They didn’t buy the computers, i’m basically adding more power to the processing infrastructure of the program. Why should I be charged for that?

It’s like usery.

Seriously, does it seem ethical? It’s like a car maker charging the owner of a car made by them more money if they want to add a bigger engine to it, or wheels with better gripping power, etc.

What is the point of that excpet that they CAN? That’s all I think it its. It’s like it’s so much part of business to do that that people just accept it. But if you stop for a minute and look up, it seems totally wrong.

How do you feel about this?

It would be like Microsoft charging use additional fees for every program we operate ontop of THEIR operating system.

Or like Microsoft chargeing the user for every SIMULTANEOUSLY opened program (multitasking) using THEIR operating system on a computer.


#2

I think the first step toward understanding the situation fully is to make the distinction between the modeller and the rendering software.

Each machine requires it’s own instance of the renderer.
In this way, there are direct parallels to paying for extra seats of a 3D modeller. It’s just in this case, nobody actually sits in the seat. :wink:

It would be like Microsoft charging use additional fees for every program we operate ontop of THEIR operating system.

And, for God’s sake man! Don’t say things like that. I’m sure Bill has a mystical radar that picks up stuff like that and tries to make it happen :smiley:


#3

Originally posted by Bradf0rd010
And, for God’s sake man! Don’t say things like that. I’m sure Bill has a mystical radar that picks up stuff like that and tries to make it happen :smiley:

Don’t sweat it Brad, he’s already trying to make it happen, and will probably succeed. All of the other software vendors will probably follow his lead, too. This is sort of old news, but it’s relevant to the discussion (in a weird way):

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html


#4

I think the first step toward understanding the situation fully is to make the distinction between the modeller and the rendering software.

Each machine requires it’s own instance of the renderer.
In this way, there are direct parallels to paying for extra seats of a 3D modeller. It’s just in this case, nobody actually sits in the seat.

yes but if that were the case then there shouldn’t be any functional differences between the user version of a renderer and the render-node version of the software, but there are! Usually the rendernode version isn’t useable like the user version of the rendernode.

Basically I just think it’s software companies taking advantage of their client because they can and that’s how it’s most always been done, so people don’t question it. They just accept it.


#5

Originally posted by googlo
Basically I just think it’s software companies taking advantage of their client because they can and that’s how it’s most always been done, so people don’t question it. They just accept it.

There’s really not much you can do though googlo. Short of writing a nasty letter or calling their corporate office. Besides, it’s not going to do any good since you’re just one guy. It’s sad but true. Maybe a compromise would be if the software vendor sold versions of just it’s renderer that could be installed on seperate machines rather than having to buy a full seat. It would be cheaper and make more sense, IMO. But again, companies will take advantage of their customers if they can get away with it, and they usually can.


#6

They will, unfortunately.

Screwing cash out of your customers when they don’t generally have a choice makes for a good business model. (M$ of course, being a great example.)

In this case, overcharging for a certain piece of software.

And GRMac13, yea. By shear coincidence, I finally got around to reading that FAQ earlier today.

On the one hand, I suppose it’s a good thing in that people will abandon Windows in droves.
On the other…
Well, there’s a frickin great list of bad things, isn’t there. Scary stuff indeed.


#7

i think its poo. it doesnt cost them any extra $ yet they charge for it.

greedy hand rubbing ensues


#8

I’m not sure I see why this model is unfair.

After all, a licensing scheme like this means that the users with the most animation to pump through their system pay the most for the use of their software. Often, when there’s a paying client, larger-scale jobs mean more money coming in, so why should the software company not take a share of that as well?

The situation isn’t analogous at all to the concept of a company like Microsoft charging by the time unit for desktop software. First, once you buy a render license of one of these packages, you can have it forever (though some vendors, notably SideFX, will lease licenses as well.) Second, you can’t exactly get your work done twice as fast by having two copies of Microsoft Word, but you can crank out your renders twice as fast (or nearly) by having two Maya render licenses.

– Mark

P.S. Now if the core of your complaint is that you can’t afford the extra render licenses because you’re not making any money from what you’re doing in the first place, that’s a whole different problem. :smiley:


#9

GRMAc, I just read most of that article. Senator Fritz is a blind fool diety-damn it!

God, I’m livid right now about that. I don’t want to be in a world that operates under something like TCPA / Palladium and doesn’t see how wrong that is.

What happened to the idea of freedom? Piracy and other crap like that is bad and all the other stuff that happens from lack of security but I’d rather pay higher prices for products, risk identity theft, etc, than have something like this implimented.

Jesus Christ how can people even ponder this like it is something acceptable?!

This will just create a world where the powerful have even more immunity and the greater masses of individuals will be subject to their systems and control!

There’s really not much you can do though googlo. Short of writing a nasty letter or calling their corporate office. Besides, it’s not going to do any good since you’re just one guy. It’s sad but true. Maybe a compromise would be if the software vendor sold versions of just it’s renderer that could be installed on seperate machines rather than having to buy a full seat. It would be cheaper and make more sense, IMO. But again, companies will take advantage of their customers if they can get away with it, and they usually can.

Or a company could offer there rendering software (or whatever applicabla type of program on this issue) as normal, just have ability to hook up as many machines as you want FOR FREE!

Since other simliar companies don’t do that, and if their product good enough, people would go in droves to use their software over the render-node-charging others!

I though of another example.

It would be like stereo makers charging you for every additional speaker you wanted to hook up to their sound system besides what it came with to listen to music by!


#10

Originally posted by googlo
It would be like stereo makers charging you for every additional speaker you wanted to hook up to their sound system besides what it came with to listen to music by!

They do, don’t they? Surround was more expensive than stereo which was more expensive than mono, last time I checked. :surprised

But still, it is a license to use a particular piece of software, so you should pay something for it.

I think programming a single node to scale as per the number of machines attached to it’s network would probably be a little unrealistic.


#11

I’m not sure I see why this model is unfair.

After all, a licensing scheme like this means that the users with the most animation to pump through their system pay the most for the use of their software. Often, when there’s a paying client, larger-scale jobs mean more money coming in, so why should the software company not take a share of that as well?

Because there is no reason for that, except want for more money!! They already provided their service in the creation of the program that generates the results I want, why should I have to pay them if I want to increase the underlying hardware architecture to make the process run faster?

If everything worked that way, I would understand. But it doesn’t, it’s just for some reason, SOME software companies have adopted this and people just take it!

Just because I might have high paying clients doesn’t mean they should get more money from it.

It’s like saying that someone should be pay a software company everytime they USE a plugin, besides the fee for just HAVING it!

For me that’s how it morally feels.

The situation isn’t analogous at all to the concept of a company like Microsoft charging by the time unit for desktop software. First, once you buy a render license of one of these packages, you can have it forever (though some vendors, notably SideFX, will lease licenses as well.)

First that’s not true. You are only give license to use the software. You don’t own it and can’t do whatever you want wit hit like a hammer or salad bowl that you buy at the store.

Second, you can’t exactly get your work done twice as fast by having two copies of Microsoft Word, but you can crank out your renders twice as fast (or nearly) by having two Maya render licenses.

No it is the same philosophically. I don’t mind paying for the cool feature, but it shouldn’t be an ongoing thing, and it shouldn’t be something I have to repeatedly pay for if I want to increase the amount of hardware that supports the renderer.

It’s like companies who do this are taking people for as much as they can. It’s not about ethical compensation, it’s about getting jacked!


#12

You keep talking about morals and freedom, but this isn’t a moral argument and you are giving no consideration to the freedoms endowed on the software developer. A person is free to develop a product and sell it at whatever price they see fit. You aren’t gauranteed any freedom to cheap or even free software. These developers aren’t evil or immoral, they are just doing business.

The other thing is the distinction between a modeler and renderer, and the distinction between a network render and a distributed renderer. Rendering is a very complicated and expensive problem to solve, and what you are advocating is that these developers basicly give all that work away for free. Do you think it’s fair for a production house to spend $5,000 on a single render license, then use that single license to render hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shots over a 12 month period? I don’t think it is. Remeber these guys aren’t making software for hobbyists and one man shops. Their software is built for large scale productions and is priced accordingly. They aren’t ripping you off or cheating you. They are just doing business, that’s all.

You soundlike a hypocrite and a communist, really. You expect you should be able to use someone else’s work for a small onetime fee with free and unresitricted access, but I 'm sure you would not extend the same courtesy to any client with your own work. You set your price; you determine the allowable usage based on that price, that’s all Microsoft, Pixar, Avid, or any other software house is doing.


#13

Well, the companies still have to develop the rendernodes right? Usually a node is cheaper than the full blown package, but they have still done software development. Also, imagine a studio with a render farm with 300 computers. They buy one licsense and install it on 300 computers. You can’t do that with (almost) any other software without breaking laws. Why should renderers be different? They still represent a lot of money and time spent on development. Please don’t take this as a flame.

If we look at the cg world and stop using microsoft as a means of comparison, look at how fcuking expensive Renderman is.


#14

What about BMRT? Is it free for commercial use? Does it work on Linux systems? Is BMRT any good?

:love: :hmm: :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

haven’t waded through the thread but maybe it will mean people come to their senses and switch to Lightwave that comes with unlimited render nodes! :smiley:


#16

MCronin

While I agree with you in general, I should make some distinctions.

Rendering is a very complicated and expensive problem to solve, and what you are advocating is that these developers basicly give all that work away for free.

No, he is not. Users are still expected to pay for all the master nodes. It’s the slaves that are the problem.

Do you think it’s fair for a production house to spend $5,000 on a single render license, then use that single license to render hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shots over a 12 month period? I don’t think it is.

Except that’s how it is. When you purchase a license, it’s perpetual. You can use it to render $100 worth of shots over 5 years or $3 million worth of shots in 2 months. Unless you sign a leased-license, the license gives you unrestricted use of that one piece of renderer that you have. If a company buys one license and uses it on 300 computers, its net cost isn’t just $5000. It has to pay for the other 299 computers.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want companies to charge you for a license based on the processor you have, i.e. if you use a 500 Mhz P3, it costs $500 but if you want to install it on a 3.06 Ghz P4 you have to pay $1000. Is it to the credit of the renderer writer that you have greater processing power ? No. Then why must they reap the benefits of you being able to add more harnessing power for the exact same piece of software. Also, with one master rendering license, you can only tweak your output on 1 computer. The rest are just slaves.


#17

Originally posted by Fasty
haven’t waded through the thread but maybe it will mean people come to their senses and switch to Lightwave that comes with unlimited render nodes! :smiley:

Unlimited nodes yes, but it is not a distributed renderer, is it? You can find plenty of network renderers that offer free render nodes, but if you want a production ready distributed render. you will have to pay for it.


#18

the pricing is targeted towards deep pockets… its like laywers and taxes.

the worst example i think is cycore… and their 3d web app. the more hits your website gets the more you have to pay for a license!? whats up with that?

also the pricing scheme/structure changes drastically depending on where you are positioned in the world… u actually have to email some chump and tell them all about what you want the license is for before they will even give you a concrete pricing scheme.

it feels like your dealing with a clandestine organisation who’s sole purpose is to assess how much they can charge you.

i think this whole licensing thing bites. evidently it is good for the company, and since their primary motive is to be profitable it makes sense. but from the perspective of a consumer it makes me want to vomit.


#19

oh well I admit I don’t really know much about network rendering, so what exactly is distributed renderer?


#20

A network renderer sends whole frames to a computer to be rendered. A true distributed renderer uses all available processing power to render each frame. So instead of waiting 90 minutes for a full frame to render on a each individual machine, you render each frame in minutes or seconds using all the CPUs on your network together. Renderman, mantra, Mental Ray, and some of max’s plugin renderers can do this. Mental Ray for Maya, Maya’s default renderer, Max’s scanline renderer, most software infact, just pass entire frames to each machine.