Is Stable Diffusion Open-Source?

Stable Diffusion is the buzz in the artificial intelligence (AI) image generation world. Driven with a vision to make machine learning art technology accessible to people all over the world, Stable Diffusion was launched—not on the cloud like other AI image generators—but as software that can be run on everyday computers that meet certain system requirements. 

Being able to create your own AI art, right on your own PC is one of the most talked about features of Stable Diffusion. In addition to being able to run on the average gaming computer, you can also use Stable Diffusion online via Google Colaboratory.

How Is Stable Diffusion Open-Source?

Stable Diffusion was created by researchers and engineers from Stability AI in collaboration with its developer communities, including RunwayML, LMU Munich, EleutherAI, and LAION. Unlike competing latent diffusion models, such as DALL-E, Craiyon, Latitude Voyage, and Midjourney, Stable Diffusion is open-source and does not limit the images produced on the platform. Stability AI, the makers of Stable Diffusion, first publicly published the model on 22nd August, 2022, along with its codes.

As an open-source model, the codes of Stable Diffusion were released under a licence that provides users with the right to use, study, change, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone and for any purpose. Although Stable Diffusion is open-source and has a permissive licence, there are some restrictions.

Emad Mostaque, the founder and CEO of Stability AI, explained that Stable Diffusion is the work of many talented developers and researchers. By making the codes open-source, the company would like to see the positive effect this model can have on society and science in the coming years. Emad hopes that the open-source Stable Diffusion model will enable billions of people to be more creative and communicative through art.

In less than one month after being made publicly available, there has been an explosion in the applications of Stable Diffusion by developers. The AI image generation model is available with a CreativeML Open RAIL-M licence, which means access to Stable Diffusion can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Restrictions to Stable Diffusion

Although Stable Diffusion is free to be used for a variety of purposes, the CreativeML Open RAIL-M licence forbids users from deliberately creating and sharing any content that violates any laws, produces any harm to people, or disseminates any personal information meant to harm.

In addition, while Stability AI gives you a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright licence to its codes, the company does not claim rights on the outputs you generate. Users are free to use them any way they want, but they are accountable for how they are used, which must not go against the provisions set in the licence.

How Stable Diffusion Works

Stable Diffusion is an implementation of the Latent Diffusion architecture (on a subset of the LAION-Aesthetics V2 dataset) to denoise random Gaussian noise in a lower dimensional latent space to get a sample of interest.

In less technical terms, this greatly reduces the computational power required to run Stable Diffusion. 

As of 2022, Stable Diffusion can be installed on an average home computer. Stable Diffusion requires that a PC have a graphics processing unit (GPU) with at least six gigabytes (GB) of VRAM and ten or more GB of internal storage space on the hard drive or solid-state drive. Unfortunately, at this time, only Nvidia GPUs are supported.

In a Nutshell

One of the most talked about features of Stable Diffusion is its ability to be installed and used on consumer-grade computers. However, being an open-source model could be  its biggest advantage. With time, there will most likely be more iterations of Stable Diffusion that will outperform the current model. Ongoing innovation will help Stability AI reach its goal of allowing billions of users worldwide to create AI-generated artwork.