Re: [AMBER] Troubling changes to NVIDIA Driver EULA

From: Ross Walker <>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2017 18:43:22 -0500

Another datapoint for everyone. Note the following term, which appears to be new, in the EULA for CUDA 9.1.85: <>

2.5. Audit <>
During the term of the AGREEMENT and for three (3) years thereafter, you will maintain all usual and proper books and records of account relating to the CUDA Licensed Software provided under the AGREEMENT. During such period and upon written notice to you, NVIDIA or its authorized third party auditors subject to confidentiality obligations will have the right to inspect and audit your Enterprise books and records for the purpose of confirming compliance with the terms of the AGREEMENT. Any such inspection and audit will be conducted during regular business hours and no more frequently than annually unless non-compliance was previously found. If such an inspection and audit reveals a material non-conformance with the terms of the AGREEMENT, then you will pay NVIDIA’s reasonable costs of conducting the inspection and audit. Further, you agree that the party delivering the CUDA Licensed Software to you may collect and disclose to NVIDIA information for NVIDIA to verify your compliance with the terms of the AGREEMENT including (without limitation) information regarding your use of the CUDA Licensed Software.


Now, if that is not an obnoxious abuse of power I don't know what is. If you are currently using CUDA 9.1.85 my advice would be to uninstall it and rewind to CUDA 8.0.

Pride goeth before the fall...

All the best

> On Dec 26, 2017, at 15:11, David Cerutti <> wrote:
> I am composing a letter now. My inclination would be to write to NVIDIA
> first, to give them an opportunity to set things right before taking to
> social media campaigns or hiring a skywriter. Making a special
> accommodation for one type of computing application, simply because it is
> profitable, while restricting others sets a dangerous precedent. In this
> particular case, the application itself is also destructive--anyone who
> opposed dropping net neutrality should be concerned for just the same
> reasons.
> Dave
> On Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 2:57 PM, Ross Walker <> wrote:
>> 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
>> Ross
>>> 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
>>>> 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 - 16:00:02 PST
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