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[aprssig] APRS Open Spec

Ron McCoy rmccoylist at blueantservices.com
Sun Sep 28 12:43:41 UTC 2008

Thanks, Steve.

Can you tell me how this would be construed as commercial copying? I 
have no interest in stealing anyone's IP, but if the copyright means a 
ham radio spec is closely held, that seems counter to the spirit of the 

As far as I've seen, there is no longer an  APRS Working Group. I've 
never seen notice of any meetings or minutes from those meetings. I 
assume you mean I (or whoever took the initiative to upload the spec and 
addenda) would have to get Bob's permission _if_ this is construed as 
commercial use.

Last, if, in fact, the spec is encumbered in a way that prevents open 
comment and the ability for the community to work together to make it a 
living, evolving spec, isn't that an outstanding reason to write an open 

A copyright applies to a specific work. An open spec could be written 
from scratch that could be in the Creative Commons. If you look at the 
most vibrant projects in software, networking and small business today, 
many of them benefit from the idea of the creative commons and crowd 
sourcing. A spec cannot be a constantly changing thing, or it's not a 
spec. But, it seems to me, that one of  things that is keeping APRS from 
growing is that there is no means for anyone to raise suggestions with a 
chance for them to be incorporated. There is no way to feel ownership 
and pride of authorship in the system so we get dumb trackers computable 
with Kenwoods in cars on their daily commute.

I am astonished by and honor what Bob has accomplished. But is it time 
to pursue a new governance model to reinvigorate APRS? In many ways, I 
am speaking as a bystander. I don't run a digi, I don't build and bring 
APRS hardware to market. But I have watched the discussions on this 
board for years and the periodic frustrations caused by ambiguities and 
limitations in the spec. I've seen people driven from the list by 
religious wars that never seem to cause change.

This thread that suggests an open spec has received little interest but 
bring up one of the perceived limitations of APRS caused by Kenwood 
compatibility and you'll have entertainment for days. Perhaps the 
arguments are too much fun to actually do something to end them. Of 
course, the arguments that would arise from trying to pin down the spec 
would make these pale in comparison.

I've said all I really have to say about this. I'm already uncomfortable 
proposing changes when I've done so little for APRS compared to almost 
any other member of the list. Thank you all for the work each of you 
have done.

Steve Dimse wrote:
> On Sep 27, 2008, at 11:14 PM, Ron McCoy wrote:
>> None that I can think of.
>> What about putting the 1.0 spec on a page and so that people can start
>> editing it to incorporate the addenda?
> Do not forget that the APRS Spec is copyrighted. The only assigned  
> right is for non-commercial copying. You would need the APRS Working  
> Group's permission for this use.
> Steve K4HG
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