Intel Backtracks “No-Benchmarks” Policy For CPU Microcode Updates, Does Intel Really Care?

Intel stirred up a storm for itself earlier this week when it updated its License agreement for CPU microcode Updates that limited users from benchmarking them or compare them. Following the backlash, the company has backtracked from its no-benchmarks policy for Intel CPU microcode updates.

The no-benchmark policy for Intel CPU microcode legally bound the users/customers from publically posting the benchmarks or comparing the performance of the Intel CPU microcode updates, which are released for patching security exploits like Spectre and Meltdown security exploits.

Intel reached out to Techpowerup to clarify the situation and noted that it has updated the License agreement for Intel CPU microcode Updates that will be available soon and will allow user/customers to post benchmarks for Intel CPU microcode updates, however, not without some conditions.

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.

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.”

The reason why Intel restricted its users from publishing the benchmark results for Intel CPU microcode updates might be because of the performance hit on the CPU which the company doesn’t want the public to know about.

Intel is already facing tough competition from AMD Ryzen and the Spectre security exploits have done it no favors. Now, ARM has openly challenged Intel for the mobile CPU market.

ARM has revealed its roadmap for mobile CPUs till the year 2020 to target the laptop market starting with already announced ARM Cortex-A76. ARM promises 35% performance increase compared to previous-gen.

After that, ARM plans to launch “Deimos” core in 2019 while 2020 will see the launch of “Hercules” core.

What do you think of Intel allowing the publishing of benchmarks for its CPU microcode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

source: TechPowerUp

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