[Libre-silicon-devel] Some questions regarding the NVDLA and "NVIDIA Open NVDLA License and Agreement v1.0"

Mohammad Amin Nili manili.devteam at gmail.com
Mon Jul 16 20:49:00 CEST 2018


Hi David,

Thanks for the reply.
Ok let’s start step by step:

1. If I understood right, what you mean by “software” is/are A) whole software stack (i.e drivers, compilers and etc.) and B) front-end (i.e. the RTL, synthesizing scripts and etc.). So these things are all under the license. As a result is it possible to modify these things and relicense them?

2. So you are right, there is nothing about the back-end (i.e. transistors layout). So if your team at HK try to create a libre, royalty-free layout scheme for NVDLA from scratch it will result in a legal issue for you?

3. Sorry I’m a little confused, the issue is about what currently “IS" in the license file or about what currently "IS NOT” in the license file?

Best regards,
Manili

> On Jul 16, 2018, at 10:14 PM, David Lanzendörfer <david.lanzendoerfer at o2s.ch> wrote:
> 
> Hi manili
> 
>> I’m not very much familiar with different types of licenses and their legal
>> issues. So would some one do me a favor and answer my questions?
> Ok. I'll try my best :-)
> 
>> 1. Is NVDLA a libre and royalty-free IP core?
> It's not Libre for a simple reason:
> I'm not able to modify and share the core with others.
> Only the software around the core is covered by this license.
> It's like with the GPL, which doesn't cover the actual IP core they license 
> their Verilog under at all (OpenCores.org issue)
> At no point I actually receive a full transistor layout of the IP core, only 
> LEF files with the pin-out (at best!)
> It's more than a bit cheasy and quiet a bit of a diversion strategy to publish 
> a free license when your core business is actually chip designs which are not 
> covered at all under a copyright based licensing scheme... >_>
> nVidia just got evil++, some level-ups really aren't that good.
> 
>> 2. Is it possible to modify it and relicense the modifications?
> Software sure, but good luck getting the GDS2 files with the actual IP core in 
> the first place in order to modify it.
> Or even more unlikely, the Cadence (def) files with the actual wiring 
> information.
> 
>> 3. You know AFAIK the GPU architecture is somewhat similar to AI
>> accelerator. So I’m thinking NVDLA is a good starting point but I don’t
>> know about potential legal issues. So what do you think guys?
> Well.
> Even if they license the code around their core under a free-ish license I bet 
> 6 king cans of Tsing Tao or Paulaner, that the actual VLSI layout information 
> of the actual core is only available after signing 23ish interlinked NDAs 
> which contain your eternal soul now belonging to nVidia as well as your first 
> born and all your other belongings.
> 
> Cheers
> 	-lev



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