[aprssig] Open Source/Commercial Use acceptable APRS Alternative?

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Thu Aug 17 10:39:44 EDT 2023

> On Aug 16, 2023, at 6:55 PM, Gregg Wonderly <gregg at wonderly.org> wrote:
> What happened is that Bob Bruninga came out pretty strongly against OpenTrac because of the Kenwood support in radios and software that already existed.  The friction and conflict in discussion pretty much became a good enough barrier to progress that public discussion disappeared/stopped.
There were two issues. The first is the use of the trademark 'APRS' which Bob held. Bob felt strongly nothing should be labeled APRS that did not follow the existing spec, which allows for unlimited and completely compatible extension with the user-defined packet type. That trademark is now in the control of TAPR, and judging by the difficulty in getting their OK on the new Kenwood radio, they have no interest in doing anything with it. In any case since Bob was too ill to pursue Anytone on their use the trademark without attribution, a good case could be made the trademark is abandoned and free for anyone to use. Legally it is probably now safe to use APRS in any way you choose. 

The second issue is compatibility. Bob felt strongly that nothing other than APRS (as he defined it) should use the APRS infrastructure. To him, APRS was a functional system used by tens of thousands and occasionally depended upon in important situations. It should not be changed without careful consideration of the impacts of any changes. He thought any work on something incompatible like OpenTrac or LoRA should have its infrastructure. His concerns were the firmware implementations like Kenwood and Yaesu, and especially UIView which is no longer maintained. If a problem developed, people on both ends would have no way to easily tell there was a problem and what was causing it.

Bob said OpenTrac is not APRS, it is different and incompatible ham radio protocol. But today there is nothing to stop anyone from doing anything regarding APRS. 

Steve K4HG

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