Subject: GNU licensing, free software and reality
From: "Michael A. Patton" <MAP@BBN.COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1993 20:54:25 EDT

   From: Tim Smith <tzs@stein2.u.washington.edu>
   Date: 20 Jun 93 23:37:07 GMT

   As far as GPL goes [...]  Remember, I'm talking about firmware here
   for embedded systems or controller cards.  The source code does not
   benefit the end user at all

While that may be true of most end users, for many it's not true.
These are the ones who will find improvements, and everyone may
benefit... either they can produce replacement ROMs and make some
money themselves (recouping some of their time investment), the
updates may get incorporated by the original vendor, or a third party
may provide the updates.  I have actually seen this work for H19 ROMs.

   However, it would benefit greatly the people who make competing
   embedded systems or controller cards.  Yes, they can reverse
   engineer, but that is not as easy as many people think.

But, if they use GPL code to write from, then they have to release
their sources and the original embedded system gets better, too.
While they can gain by copying from you, you can gain from copying,
too.  That's the whole point of the GPL, eliminating redundant work.