Saturday, December 13, 2008

Important Update to Folding@Home's End User License Agreement (EULA)

Vijay Pande has posted on his blog a very important notice about an update to the Folding@Home End User License Agreement (EULA).

Straight from Vijay:
"We added the word "written" to this sentence:

"You may use this software on a computer system only if you own the system or have the written permission of the owner."

We felt that this was an important addition in order to avoid any confusion. There have been a few situations where donors felt that they had permission, but the owners of the computers did not. Having written permission is the best way to make sure that there is no doubt. It also gives protection to the donor in that he/she would then have proof of permission, avoiding problems involving oral agreements."

I'd like to re-affirm that you could find yourself in a situation of getting sued for installing and running this program unauthorised, as many people have gotten into trouble setting up multiple computers at they're place of work (such as a school I.T. Administrator setting up tens to hundreds of computers) when they weren't authorised to do so, and have in some cases been ordered to pay damages for things such as increases in power bills, internet bills etc. Also, not having sufficient knowledge about the program and how it can affect different computers etc. (such as Notebooks being advised to run at no more than 90% CPU usage due to their less than optimal cooling systems) can lead to a bit of a blame game as far as what caused the computer to pack itself in and who is going to pay for it!

So guys, make sure you get written consent to run Folding@Home on computers or machines that are not your own. And be sure to inform those owners or bill-payers of the potential to have slightly higher power and internet bills whilst running this program (not a big deal for one or two machines, but any more, the extra power and internet usage quickly adds up!). Providing you do the right thing by the owner, i'm sure they will enjoy helping out a Distributed Computing Project such as Folding@Home.

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