[aprssig] Re: D-STAR video on YouTube

Scott Miller scott at opentrac.org
Sun Sep 23 18:06:46 CDT 2007

> For the privilege to use their Intellectual Property.  Radio
> manufacturers do this every day with the thousands of patents out there.

And there's nothing wrong for them charging for their IP.  There's also 
nothing wrong with radio manufacturers using it.  I *do* think it's a 
bad decision to design 'open' amateur systems around proprietary technology.

Icom could have chosen some other, standards-based format.  They could 
still pay for a hardware implementation or optimized DSP code, as could 
anyone else, but we'd still be free to do it ourselves.

> The idea that everything in Amateur Radio should be free is something
> that some have espoused here claiming it is "in the spirit of Amateur
> Radio".  I am sorry, but I have been in Amateur Radio longer than most
> that espouse this and "the spirit of Amateur Radio" has never been
> "everything for free".  We have the ability to experiment, yes, but we

I'm not saying everything has to be free - I'm not an open source 
zealot, even if I do release most of my own code under one open source 
license or another.  I've got one project in the works at the moment 
that's decidedly NOT free, and I intend to make a reasonable profit on 
it, but on the other hand there's nothing secret about it either. 
There's nothing to stop anyone from duplicating it on their own.

But it's different when we start to rely on proprietary IP as the basis 
for our systems.  How many people would want to run an HF voice mode 
that required installing a special black box from a single vendor? 
Maybe the mode's some sort of SSB, maybe it's FM, who knows?  They don't 
tell you and you're not allowed to homebrew one of your own unless you 
buy the same black box yourself.

I suppose the honest answer now is that a large number of people 
wouldn't care at all, because they're just appliance operators anyway - 
but can you imagine how this sort of thing would have been received back 
when a good portion of the ham population DID build their own radios? 
And when you were expected to have a working knowledge of the theory 
behind their operation?


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