Intel has dropped a controversial license agreement designed to legally prevent developers from publishing benchmark results that could lead to performance degradation from recent security updates.
As ZDNet reported yesterday, the open-source chip maker has been criticized by champion Bruce Perens for the new restrictions in the software agreement for maintainers of Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu.
The changes in licensing terms came with microcode updates to alleviate speculative attacks by Specter and Foreshadow or L1
The agreement said, "They will not allow or permit third parties that they publish or provide software benchmarks or comparison test results. "
The phrase suggested that someone at Intel, perhaps lawyers or marketing executives, really did not want anyone to post benchmark results that contradicted his own tests for L1TF mitigations.
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When Intel announced the L1TF vulnerability, he said he had observed "no significant impact on performance" after its mitigation measures had been applied
Since Intel released its first microcode reductions for Specter, they have led to significant performance losses.
But even if so, Perens fears that the strangulation of developers would undermine confidence in Intel's components.
Who would just publish benchmarks? Bad business. Customers can not trust their components when they do that, "Perens wrote.
According to Perens & # 39; complaint, Intel was trying to" gag anyone who collects information to report these penalties. " Company has revoked the new agreement and replaced it with a "simplified" and less restrictive version released on Intel's open source Web site.
"We have the Intel license to make CPU microcode updates easier wrote Imad Sousou, Corporate Vice President and GM of the Intel Open Source Technology Center.
"As an active member of Als Open Source Community, we continue to welcome everyone Feedback and thank the community.
Perens noted that the new license for proprietary software is "fairly harmless" and should solve the problem for Linux
The new license does not contain any restrictions on publishing benchmark results and focuses exclusively for retransmission, a problem reportedly by the Debian developers holding back Intel's patch.
Previous and Related Reporting
Intel & # 39; gags & # 39; Linux distributions of performance hits from Specter patches
You can test the performance after using our patches, but do not publish the results, say Intel's new licensing terms.
Beyond Specter: Fore shadow, a new Intel security issue
Researchers have Intel Software Guard Extensions, System Management Mode and x86-based virtual machines broken.
Linux performance before and after h Meltdown and Specter fixes
The patches, as expected, The performance of Linux dropped, but its effects were not as bad as feared.
Oracle's Latest Linux Fixes: New Specter, Lazy FPU Patches Strengthen Defense Mechanisms
Oracle Offers New Fixes for Specter Errors, Linux Systems on Intel and AMD Chips
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Do you have an old PC? Find out if you'll get Intel's latest Specter patch TechRepublic
Intel has listed a number of CPUs released between 2007 and 2011 that do not receive a firmware update to protect against Specter-related exploits. Action complaints about Intel Specter, meltdown error pack CNET
Since the beginning of 2018, the number of cases has risen from three to 32.