Intel recently has provided its microcode updates for Linux distributions. The Register reports that Debian is rejecting a new Intel microcode update because of a new license term prohibiting the use of the CPU for benchmarks and profiling.
There is a new license term applied to the new microcode: "You will not, and will not allow any third party to (i) use, copy, distribute, sell or offer to sell the Software or associated documentation; (ii) modify, adapt, enhance, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, change or create derivative works from the Software except and only to the extent as specifically required by mandatory applicable laws or any applicable third party license terms accompanying the Software; (iii) use or make the Software available for the use or benefit of third parties; or (iv) use the Software on Your products other than those that include the Intel hardware product(s), platform(s), or software identified in the Software; or (v) publish or provide any Software benchmark or comparison test results."
According to Debian and Gentoo, benchmarking the performance effect is prohibited in a modified update policy for software manufacturers. It now actually includes a restriction that prohibits users from carrying out benchmarks based on the microcode update.
Meanwhile, benchmarks have been published by for example Phoronix and Red Hat. It remains unknown whether these parties have actually violated the conditions by publishing the benchmarks and measurements.