Intel updates their Microcode License to remove controversial benchmarking clause

Intel updates their Microcode License to remove controversial benchmarking clause

Intel updates their Microcode License to remove controversial benchmarking clause

Earlier this week, Intel caused an uproar amongst the open source community, updating their microcode terms and conditions to add a provision that prevented customers from publish benchmarking or comparative performance data. 

This change in Terms and Conditions (T&C) coincided with the distribution of several new Spectre Microcode mitigations, all of which are expected to decrease system performance in some scenarios. This change in T&C would prevent end users from conducting comparative testing between microcode revisions, keeping the performance impact of these updates unknown. 

Since this change came to light, and a series of articles condemned Intel across the internet, the company responded stating that “We are updating the license now to address this and will have a new version available soon. As an active member of the open source community, we continue to welcome all feedback.” We now have a copy of Intel’s amended Terms and Conditions, which is available to read below (or here). 

 
As you can see, Intel has condensed their terms and conditions down to three bullet points, removing their controversial benchmarking clause in its entirety.  Yesterday’s license included a provision that said that users could not “publish or provide any Software benchmark or comparison test results”. The full version of Intel’s old license is available to read here. 

 

 

   Redistribution.

Redistribution and use in binary form, without modification, are permitted, provided that the following conditions are met:

– Redistributions must reproduce the above copyright notice and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

– Neither the name of Intel Corporation nor the names of its suppliers may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.


– No reverse engineering, decompilation, or disassembly of this software is permitted.


“Binary form” includes any format that is commonly used for electronic conveyance that is a reversible, bit-exact translation of binary representation to ASCII or ISO text, for example “uuencode.”

Intel attempts to block performance comparisons in Spectre update terms and conditions  

You can join the discussion on Intel’s updated Microcode terms and conditions on the OC3D Forums.