Intel Clears Up Microcode Licensing Controversy - Simpler License, Allows Benchmarking

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 23 August 2018 at 03:55 PM EDT. 21 Comments
Over the past day online there has been lots of controversy following some high-profile sites reporting about Intel's "un-friendly microcode license update" and its "ban on benchmarking", among other catch phrases. It's now been officially cleared up by Intel with a simpler license that doesn't forbid benchmarking, allows distribution vendors to re-distributed these binary files to their users, and doesn't have any other nastiness integrated into the legal text.

There were some three dozen or so tweets and emails to me today asking about it, but wasn't somehow something I didn't see, but knew would be corrected and didn't feel like reporting the hype train (some even suggesting Intel CPUs now couldn't be benchmarked at all...). The short-lived microcode licensing update had actually been out there for several days now done up by some overzealous Intel legal folks. Following all of the public attention and pressure, Intel was quick to clear up the situation.

Intel's Imad Sousou, the GM of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center, has confirmed they have put the CPU microcode updates under a corrected license.

The license can be found on Intel's This license is short and sweet and does away with any benchmarking restrictions, allows redistribution assuming their copyright is respected, and just doesn't allow reverse-engineering/disassembly.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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