Re: [AMBER] Troubling changes to NVIDIA Driver EULA

From: Ross Walker <>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2017 14:57:10 -0500

Hi Charles,

It's tough to say who would be best to write to at NVIDIA about this. The unfortunate thing is that while the correct channel is probably the alliance managers who handle our fields this decision is likely made way above their pay grade and so they are unlikely to be able to influence it even if they disagree with the decision themselves.

That said they are probably a good place to start and can forward concerns up the chain. I don't want to throw anyone under the bus here so won't post their name / email directly here but they (and others at NVIDIA) are subscribed to this list so can post here if they think they would be the correct channel for these concerns or provide a suggested alternative.

That said posting comments and concerns publicly on social media etc might end up being more effective.

All the best

> On Dec 26, 2017, at 11:29, Charles-Alexandre Mattelaer <> wrote:
> Dear Amber users and developers
> As only having started a PhD project last year, these concerns left me quit
> perplexed. I knew Nvidia/cuda was used in several software suites for
> speedup (to great extent for specific kinds of calculations), but their
> 'abuse' of their position on the market is really shocking.
> Since you asked us to address our 'complaints' to Nvidia, I was wondering:
> Is their a specific portal of Nvidia you recommend to direct our worries
> to? Should we just direct ourselves to local customer relationship agencies
> or is there a more centralized address we should use?
> I would also like to use this opportunity to thank you (and obviously all
> others involved) in trying to keep AMBER for affordable gpu's up and
> running. MD is a really interesting tool in understanding biochemical
> systems and not every lab has the means to purchase specific
> 'workstation/HPC-grade' gpu's.
> Kind regards
> Charles-Alexandre Mattelaer
> Op 26 dec. 2017 5:07 p.m. schreef "Ross Walker" <>:
>> Dear Fellow Amberites,
>> Following on from the concerns I brought up several weeks ago about NVIDIA
>> deliberately restricting the supply of GeForce cards to companies that sell
>> computers to researchers I wanted to bring your attention to a recent more
>> troubling situation, that I have fought against behind the scenes for many
>> years, involving a change in the end user license agreement that NVIDIA has
>> made in the last few days to it's drivers for GeForce cards.
>> <>
>> Specifically section 2.1.3 which has the new line in bold (my emphasis)
>> below.
>> -------------------
>> 2.1.3 Limitations.
>> No Modification or Reverse Engineering. Customer may not modify (except as
>> provided in Section 2.1.2), reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the
>> SOFTWARE, nor attempt in any other manner to obtain the source code.
>> No Separation of Components. The SOFTWARE is licensed as a single product.
>> Its component parts may not be separated for use on more than one computer,
>> nor otherwise used separately from the other parts.
>> No Sublicensing or Distribution. Customer may not sell, rent, sublicense,
>> distribute or transfer the SOFTWARE; or use the SOFTWARE for public
>> performance or broadcast; or provide commercial hosting services with the
>> No Datacenter Deployment. The SOFTWARE is not licensed for datacenter
>> deployment, except that blockchain processing in a datacenter is permitted.
>> -------------------
>> As I am sure many of you will agree this is deeply troubling and does not
>> bode well for the future of cost effective GPU computing. In particular, in
>> my opinion, it speaks volumes about NVIDIA's ultimate intentions. The
>> blockchain exception is particularly Trump like. To me, at least, this
>> implies that in NVIDIA's eyes bitcoin mining is acceptable but science is
>> not. The truth likely being that this is a case of NVIDIA trying to exploit
>> it's monopoly, which unfortunately a number of us CUDA developers
>> unwittingly and pro bono helped NVIDIA build. NVIDIA does not have a
>> monopoly in the cryptocurrency space, hence the exception.
>> While I am not a lawyer at least for now the EULA appears to be poorly
>> written. It does not define Datacenter or what the term Deployment strictly
>> means. A fact that has been noticed on many forums (e.g.
>> <>). I for one
>> still refer to my clusters being installed in HPC machine rooms.
>> Nevertheless it does not bode well for the future and is likely an omen of
>> what is to come. I would urge each of you who has concerns to contact
>> NVIDIA and make them aware of these.
>> In the meantime I, and others, are working with AMD to try and complete a
>> port of AMBER, and other scientific and deep learning software, to AMD GPUs
>> to at least try to restore some balance to the force. Anyone who has
>> in-depth experience with GPU programming who would like to help with this
>> effort please do not hesitate to contact me.
>> All the best
>> Ross
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Received on Tue Dec 26 2017 - 12:00:01 PST
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