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Ogg Vorbis - The Free Alternative To MP3

emmett posted more than 14 years ago | from the blinded-me-with-science dept.


The fight to keep standards Open and Free is raging in the audio compression business. With mp3 tearing up bandwidth and the court system, Christopher Montgomery and the rest of the Ogg Vorbis team are working hard to ensure that the mp3 format has a Free alternative in their system, which seems to outperform mp3 everywhere it counts. I got the opportunity to pull Chris away from development just long enough to tell us exactly what's going on, and to answer some questions about the process and the product necessary to take on mp3.

Christopher Montgomery:

Vorbis is a hybrid time/frequency transform coder like mp3, but the similarity really ends there; it's more similar to TwinVQ in some ways (many shared mechanisms, albeit used somewhat differently).

Like mp3 (and virtually every other useful transform coder), we first look for strong changes and natural breaks in the input audio, and can use this information to break up the incoming audio into different sized blocks. When you lose information in the frequency domain, the resulting noise spreads throughout the time domain. A very strong spike in time will get smoothed out by frequency quantization, so the larger the block, the more audible it is. You want to isolate these strong, sharp events in smaller blocks.

Past this point, the similarities with mp3 end. Vorbis can do a time-domain pre-encoding using wavelets to further reduce spreading of time events and non-tone data. The current libvorbis doesn't have the code to do this yet, but the hooks are there for when we do finish this code (this feature will be post 1.0. Wavelets are still something novel that no one else is using in serious production yet, and we need to do more real R&D before it's ready).

Vorbis takes the time data directly to the frequency domain with an MDCT, where mp3 first subbands the data. The polyphase pseudo-QMF filter that mp3 uses for subbanding is not completely orthogonal; no matter how good the implementation, there will always be some aliasing. For this reason, Vorbis dispenses with subbanding altogether and just uses a large MDCT.

Vorbis then computes line-by-line masking curves for local peaks, long-distance simultaneous tone masking, simultaneous noise masking and temporal masking. These curves are use to separate inaudible tones from audible tones, and then choose a frequency domain amplitude curve that represents the 'base energy' of that audio frame. The base energy curve (I call it a floor) is subtracted from the MDCT data (like a whitening filter), which produces 'frequency residue'. The floor is converted to an LSP (line spectral pair) representation and then it and the MDCT residue are vector quantized into the final output codewords by a cascade of custom VQ codebooks that are packed along in the header of the bitstream. The result is one vorbis audio packet.

The audio packet is them embedded into an Ogg bitstream page and the page (when full of packets) is shipped out in the stream.

The decode side does the reverse, but without all the masking analysis. We extract the string of packets from the Ogg bitstream, and for each packet unpack the floor and residue, take the dot product and then do an inverse MDCT to recover the time-audio frame. Each frame is lapped and added to the previous frames and we get the original audio out.

Very simple, see? :-) To be fair, the masking analysis is the only real black magic. What I'm doing is almost entirely based on the masking curve data published in the late 50's by Robert Ehmer.

One thing the current release of Vorbis does not have is channel coupling (like mid-side stereo, although we'll be doing it differently). Beta 1 and beta 2 actually include multiple totally separate channels. The fact that we equal and better mp3's quality missing this huge piece is exciting. Mid/side stereo in mp3 drops the final bitrate of a stereo stream by 30-50kbps. To get a real comparison of Vorbis vs. mp3, compare mono streams or force the mp3 encoder not to use joint/intensity stereo (eg, -m m in LAME 3.84). Vorbis at 56kbps mono beats mp3 at 80kbps. At equal bitrate there's no comparison at all.

Slashdot:For those just tuning in, what's the project all about, and how did it get started?

The Vorbis codec is a lossy audio compression codec similar to mp3, but we're shooting for better performance (lower bitrates for a given level of quality) as well as keeping it totally Free as in Beer and Speech. I started work on Vorbis a week or two after Fraunhofer sent out 'cease and desist' letters to several free mp3 encoder projects in the fall of '98. At that point, it was clear the worst case was happening; the squeeze was on by commercial entities to not only dominate the legal distribution of music, but the underlying technology as well. A 'free license' to owned technology means nothing (and that's why Real and Windows Media are also worthless as infrastructure to us).

Fraunhofer (and MPEG in general) and the RIAA are also a bit too friendly behind the scenes, if not entirely in bed together. If you really believe SDMI is about protecting the artists, well, I have some wonderful Oklahoma beachfront property for sale at prices that are a steal, but you'd better act fast!

It's ironic that at the same time mp3 has been an agent to open up music distribution, it's becoming a tool for commercial interests to reclaim control. If online music is to fulfill its potential, an oligarchy can't be allowed to control its distribution or the technology behind it. The Internet would not have reached critical mass if it was a product of Microsoft or AOL or Oracle... It wouldn't ever have happened. Corporate control of every facet of online music will just strangle it in the cradle. The inventors of the Internet 'gave it away,' and that's been a great thing for business. However, the important lesson here is that the foundations were set in stone and wrought from iron before any company had self-interested influence. TCP/IP (brought to you by research laboratories) is elegant and farsighted; it's taken thirty years for it to begin wearing thin. E-mail is similarly brought to you from academia. HTML, on the other hand, (as ultimately brought to you by Netscape and Microsoft) makes good engineers weep and gnash their teeth.

We need to have unbreakable free music foundations in place before letting the commercial interests have their way with the infrastructure. I wouldn't rely on any infrastructure they build themselves.

Ogg and Vorbis are trying to continue the principles for which we in the open world see mp3 standing.

Slashdot: What are you working on right now?

Vorbis second beta. General quality improvements, additional bitrate modes in the encoder (96-350kbps stereo, mono modes), bugfixes, etc. After beta 2 (look for on Tuesday at about the time LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose opens), we have low bitrate modes to finish, channel coupling (joint stereo and joint surround) and constant bitrate modes (Vorbis by default is VBR).

Others in the project are working on tools... Mike Smith, Kenneth Arnold and others are knee deep in utils, Jack and Chad of Icecast are adding Ogg streaming to Icecast, Ralph Giles and Rob Kaye are working on stream mixing, metadata streams (Ralph is also hacking on MNG over Ogg). Kim, Tori and Emily at iCast are writing documentation...

The project has also outgrown our group. There are now Vorbis news sites (like govorbis.com and vorbiszone.com), an all-vorbis music label (vorbisonic.com) and other vorbis related sites poppin up. angrycoffee.com is working on Vorbis tutorials for beginners.

Within the core team, we need to get more people who are up on signal processing aspects like in the community around LAME.

Slashdot: Is this your full-time thing?

Yes. Ogg and Vorbis development are sponsored by iCast and they're also deploying it internally. In addition to paying salaries, they're pitching it to the industry and providing legal assistance.

Slashdot: Xiphophorus is a collection of people, projects and tools. What's going on with the collective?

Vorbis is a 'serious' project now, so we're expensing the massive espresso consumption ;-) The few of us who are now getting paid to do this can afford to be extremely intense about it. Other contributors still come and go. Right now, we're all pretty much focused on Ogg Vorbis; I have to apologize to all the cdparanoia users out there. I'll be working on it again in the future, but right now I only have so many cycles.

Ogg and Vorbis are currently getting more outside attention than we can really gracefully handle (well, handle and still get work done at the rate we're used to, which was still always slower than we want ;-) Apparently someone on some list claimed 'Vorbis was dead' because we hadn't updated the Web site in a month. Ha! If we were 'dead' we'd have plenty of time to write HTML :-) And answer mail. Anyone who sent me personally mail in the past month and a half, I'll answer it eventually, I promise...

Slashdot: Are you out to replace mp3 as the sound format of choice? If not, why not, and if so, what are the challenges?

We're out to keep things Free (capital F intentional). If MPEG turned around and made the mp3 spec and patents public domain, we'd definitely declare victory (and then continue coding to improve Vorbis). But we all know that isn't going to happen. More likely, if Fraunhofer decides we're a threat, they'll just delay licensing (remember kids: free licenses to binaries aren't worth jack) until the competition dies down. Then they'll squeeze again.

Honestly, I don't think we're going to 100% replace mp3 (people still use RAR for Christ's sake). I lay better than even odds on us eclipsing mp3 in the next year if the licensing picture stays the same. We also intend to have 80-96 kbps stereo streams that sound better than mp3 128 by that point, so people (and businesses) won't exactly have to give anything up to save money. Also expect hardware support soon, possibly by end of year if things go smoothly.

Slashdot: You talk a lot on your Web site about Open software. Which came first, the desire to deliver multimedia, or the drive to develop it openly?

My real hacking skills germinated at the MIT Lab for Computer Science. I'd coded practically all my life before getting to MIT, but I'd always been the best coder I knew, so I hadn't really learned much. When I got to MIT, I didn't feel stupid but it drove home that I had a lot of catching up to do. Most of my mentors were from the previous generation (all open source people) but a few of the very hardcore people were younger than me, too.

I've been a musician all my life too, albeit not a very good one (I feel a bit like Soliari in Amadeus) and Ogg was born in '93 when I bought a 1 Gig hard drive and a sound card and thought 'this is unlimited space! I can put music on this! And do things with it!'. I quickly found out that a Gig wasn't unlimited by a long shot, not even in '93 (I filled it with mail eventually), so I started muddling with compression. Greg Hudson made an offhand remark about there not being any good, free, music compression libs at the time, and Squish was born. I got a letter from a lawyer a few months later politely informing me that 'Squish' was a registered trademark and if I didn't change the name of my software, I could forget ever owning anything in the Western World ever again. Mike Whitson renamed the codec 'OggSquish'. The Ogg project was born. Oh, and we plan to release an updated Squish codec again sometime in the next year.

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yes but... (3)

ThePixel (47166) | more than 14 years ago | (#857256)

does anyone actually think that with the current popularity of MP3s that anything else will take over? unti something much better comes along, MP3 will, IMHO, be the standard.

But does it stand a chance? (1)

LinuxEvangelist (215022) | more than 14 years ago | (#857257)

You have to wonder, even if it's technologically superior, is there any shot of it beating out .mp3 as the standard for digital music? I just don't think it has much of a chance. MP3 is just too embedded into society. It's going to take another leap forward in technology to dethrone it - not just some nice enhancements.

Re:But does it stand a chance? (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#857258)

Most likely mp3 will remain. Vorbis claims to be very good though. I could see it being integrated into a compressed video format at some point.

Ogg? (1)

aliastnb (155659) | more than 14 years ago | (#857259)

Does this mean they'll be open sourcing The Joye Of Snackes too?


Who are the experts? (2)

fatphil (181876) | more than 14 years ago | (#857260)

OK, the Motion Picture Experts Group, a non-commercial cooperation of engineers specialising in the field of audio and video compression spend a decade scribbling away and coming up with audio layer one, tweaking it to audio layer two (.mp2) and again tweaking it to audio leyer three (.mp3). If they are experts, why didn't they come up with the same algorithms as these smart eggs, or should that be smart oggs? (possible reason - movie audio differs dynamically from music audio, so the different techniques exploit these differences?) FatPhil

Will Vorbis be the next VQF? (4)

generic-man (33649) | more than 14 years ago | (#857261)

I remember hearing all this praise a couple of years ago about VQF files -- all the quality of MP3 files, in much less space. (Or something like that.) Without mainstream support, VQF files quietly went unnoticed. Microsoft now promotes its Windows Media codecs, which deliver very good performance in a very compact file, but suffer from the obvious platform dependence issues. Where does Vorbis stand in all of this? Right now, it looks like just another good idea that will be defeated by good marketing.


sheldon (2322) | more than 14 years ago | (#857262)

Why are we ogging [mcgill.ca] Vorbis?

Does he carry?

Re:But does it stand a chance? (2)

MartinG (52587) | more than 14 years ago | (#857263)

I don't think it will take that much to win of it really is better. In my (limited) experience .ogg files at highest bitrate sound about as good as their mp3 counterparts, but are about 80-95% the filesize. It might not sound like much of a saving, but some mp3s are quite big and once the 56kbps napster kidz realise they can save money on their phone bills you have crossed the first hurdle.

The only other thing is playing and encoding them.
Thats no big deal though. Anyone can get a one-off winamp plugin download without a problem.

I think the take up might be slow initially, but once we reach critical mass, watch ogg take over the lossy compressed-audio throne. (_if_ that is, it's really better than mp3 as some of us believe it is)

btw, I think any comparison of mp3 vs ogg to gif vs png is flawed. Think about it.

URL? (2)

segmond (34052) | more than 14 years ago | (#857264)

I would expect slashdot to provide URL to informations readily available on the web, it is common pratice today. More information is available from http://www.vorbis.com/

Re:But does it stand a chance? (1)

vluther (5638) | more than 14 years ago | (#857265)

so was netscape, so was IBM as the #1 pc manufacturer..

Nothing is impossible

Hardware Hardware Hardware!! (5)

raygundan (16760) | more than 14 years ago | (#857266)

Vorbis sounds awesome!! The one thing I am most interested in, though, is the ability to have a hardware player, similar to the Genica or Pine models, and my trusty Apex DVD player. People aren't using mp3 just on their computers anymore-- it's moving into "real life", and I suspect the format will have a hard time unless there is real, tangible, non-vapor hardware available.

When we get the first wavelet-enabled version, I would love to see Ars Technica (or somebody else) do an independent technical review of the audio quality vs. mp3 (and maybe vqf, aac, windows media, and whatever else there is...)

vs LAME (3)

markalot (67322) | more than 14 years ago | (#857267)

The last test I did with my ears, vs LAME 3.84, LAME was easily (subjective) better. I encode everything at 160 stereo, and Ogg just didn't sound as good at the maximum bitrate available.

The LAME team takes extra care in analyzing the output and comparing it the FhG encoder and the previous version of LAME (just in case something broke). How does the Ogg team compare results? Is it with listening tests?


I'm hearing FUD or a FUD-like substance (2) (217783) | more than 14 years ago | (#857268)

Fraunhofer (and MPEG in general) and the RIAA are also a bit too friendly behind the scenes, if not entirely in bed together.

There's been no real reason to think that MP3 will be "controlled" by the dark forces of the RIAA. MP3 is VHS, Ogg is Beta (a bit better - but is it worth the switch?), and the only way that it is going to catch on is through scaring people away from MP3. The RIAA is the best bogeyman to come along, so it's no surprise that they're used; and Fraunhofer - well, Germans always scare people, don't they?

will it be easy to mention? (2)

fudboy (199618) | more than 14 years ago | (#857269)

oh, this is all fine and dandy news on a technical front, but what will this file format come to be known as? How will real people in the real world deal with such a cumbersome name?

will they be .vog files? .vo files? will we say V.O.G. or vog or V.O. or voh? .orb? .vorb? maybe we can all wait for the 5th rev, and call them vo5 files! (refers to a brand of shampoo here in the US)

The word 'emmpeethree' has a certain flow, a rythym that satisfies. I think it is an important element to the continued success of the mp3 format. The histroy of the mp3 format shows the success is due to being in the right place at the right time, but now that we have an easy, universally understood 'name' to use in mp3, Vog Orbis has its work cut out for it. There'll have to be a catchy abbreviation or truncation before this will move forward.


hardware (1)

robin (1321) | more than 14 years ago | (#857270)

Who are the likely manufacturers for hardware oggvorbis decoders? I'm thinking of buying an MP3 player, but if this is going to come off soon I'll wait. The existing MP3 players all seem to require either USB or Windows (or both), and I'm definitely sold on the idea of open solid-state music...

Keep up the good work, congratulations on finding someone to fund it!


Re:yes but... (1)

Blue Lang (13117) | more than 14 years ago | (#857271)

eh. what is it with the need to naysay every new technology? would you apply the same logic to 8 track tapes, cassettes, and CDs?

being blind to problems with license leads to things like the RAM and GIF debacles.

you'll get moderated up anyways, no doubt. :)


Re:yes but... (1)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 14 years ago | (#857272)

As long as the players will load MP3 and Vorbis I'm sure people won't care one way or the other. Nobody really cares much these days if they get an MP2 because what difference does it make.

Mind you, I am sure everything anyone gets online for free will be referred to as an MP3 for the foreseeable future, no matter what it is.

Not likely to change (1)

Lechter (205925) | more than 14 years ago | (#857273)

I would agree that a new format isn't likely to change many people over unless it's a fairly significant advance, or unless distributers like mp3.com, etc start pushing it while Napster et al shut down. Neither of which are likely to happen. Perhaps the only ways a new standard would be able to gain a foothold would be if it offered significantly better compression (which is, I think, quite difficult at this point, unless it becomes much more lossy) or if it took less time to encode.

As for open standards, I don't think anyone can take mp3's away from people at this point. It's too widespread (who doesn't have an encoder these days) and there are enough companies backing it for their own good.

How about sync issues? (4)

thogard (43403) | more than 14 years ago | (#857274)

What is being done to help with syncing issues? As multi-media gets more widespread, its going to be very useful to have the sound playback systems independent from the graphics but with a losely controled sync signals. One feature that seems to be missing is to be able to say "play the audio frame 3433 to start in exactly 2.1 seconds". Fixed bitrates make that easy but VBR gets to be a real mess unless there is extra info in the audio data.

Re:yes but... (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 14 years ago | (#857275)

If there's a Windows version, it should do well ..

I hate to say it, but there it is.

Your Working Boy,

Re:But does it stand a chance? (1)

giblfiz (125533) | more than 14 years ago | (#857276)

It could take a little while to overtake Mp3, or it might not at all. I don't think that that was the point of the project though. As long as we have it as an alternitive in the background so that if mp3 gets bitchified we can switch over quickly its doing its job. guntella was not very well known until napster started to have some problems, then all of a sudden it got a huge boost in users. When mp3 starts to a)fall appart or b)charge serious $$ ogg will be addopted faster than you can notice it.

When MP3 is illegal (5)

acb (2797) | more than 14 years ago | (#857277)

Remember, Fraunhofer owns the MP3 patents. They can set any licensing terms. They could, for example, do what RSA did with theyr crypto systems, licensing only one controlled implementation for general use, and go after anyone disseminating unlicensed encoders/decoders.
(Sure, you'll be able to find them on the Net, but if RedHat can't legally put them on their CDs, they're in the same twilight zone as arcade ROMs.)
As there is a single point of control for MP3, the RIAA could easily pay Fraunhofer a few billion (or even buy them outright through a front company), and get open MP3 pulled, forcing everybody to upgrade to encrypted SDMI formats.

Owning the patents for a technology you wish to bury can be very powerful. When Macrovision developed the copy protection mechanism embedded in all DVD players, they also created and patented a device for removing the protection. This enables them to sue anyone attempting to sell such a device or distribute the details of constructing one. (Not that it eliminates said information, but it drives it sufficiently underground to keep the ordinary people from seeing it.)

Once Fraunhofer start getting heavy with MP3 licensing, the penguinhead army will adopt Vorbis in a flash, and hopefully so will Windows-using music fans. Then the battle lines shift to hardware players.

The way to win the market (4)

Shimrod (107031) | more than 14 years ago | (#857278)

is NOT to replace mp3. With the current widespread use of mp3's, I think new codecs stand very little chance of replacing mp3 quickly and completely. The smart way to go about it, is to slowly shift your codec into the market. In this case, I would try to get Ogg-support in WinAmp and the like, and facilitate Ogg-trading on napster and it's peers. If people can transparantly mix their mp3's and oggs, you will get to a point where people are saying:
"Hey, this piece of music is available in both mp3 and ogg format, but oggs are a lot smaller, so I think I'll download that one."

Support for Ogg Vorbis (1)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 14 years ago | (#857279)

I was wondering if anyone knew if players like Winamp and XMMS support Ogg Vorbis. And if so, what can I use to make .ogg files.

OV has to be supported by WinAmp (1)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 14 years ago | (#857280)

...if it wants to succeed. Not as a plugin developed by someone else, but in the main distribution of WinAmp (so Joe Q. Public who just downloads and runs Setup has it available straight away).

Also, maybe off-topic in the current state of development, but it would be nice to have ID3-like tags allowing for longer titles than how it is now.

Re:yes but... (1)

sensate_mass (171138) | more than 14 years ago | (#857281)

People would be willing to switch as long as a decent player exists that is willing to play both formats. He didn't say (unless I missed something) that the mp3 licence had been denied to OggVorbis, so there's no reason for them not to include compatibility with both.

It wouild also get people to make head-to-head comparisons on their own, and possibly help accelerate switchover to OV.

Re:yes but... (1)

Scott Wunsch (417) | more than 14 years ago | (#857282)

Go back and read the article again: this is something better :-).

look at vqf (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 14 years ago | (#857283)

VQF is superior in many ways to mp3, even the encoder will let you encode live streams on the fly (with a fast cpu). Sound quality is much better and files are 30% smaller. How many vqf files have you come across?

Wrap it in a codec for comparison (1)

epeus (84683) | more than 14 years ago | (#857285)

Has anyone wrapped this code in a QuickTime or WM codec so that we can easily do A/B comparisons with the existing codecs like QDesign & WM Audio?
If its within one of these common replay systems it will be a lot easier to drive adoption.

Re:yes but... (2)

Vanders (110092) | more than 14 years ago | (#857286)

OggVorbis isn't a player, it's a Codec. You can use the code to create tools & player plugins though. Plugins are available for XMMS and WinAMP last time i looked, a command line encoder is part of the tarball.

if it does, that attitude will be why.. (3)

ebbv (34786) | more than 14 years ago | (#857287)

as for me, i plan on investigating it more as soon as i get home today. it sounds (of course) great, we'll see how it /sounds/..

still, just like mp3, it won't be a replacement for CDs.. i haven't downloaded an mp3 in months, actually. i can't play them in my car, and why would i want to? CDs sound better. sure, there's the hassle of switching CDs, but really, with a nice sized disc-changer, that's just a once-a-month switch.

at one time i had 13gigs of mp3s available on my machine. that was over a year ago. right now i have none.

it's useful, but only for songs you don't really care about, you have an urge to hear them, download it, listen to it, and you're done. maybe check out a new album. but songs you care about, ones you want in a collection (i hope i'm speaking for more than myself here), are worth having on CD.

Re:But does it stand a chance? (2)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 14 years ago | (#857288)

There's some validity to this point, but at the same time Word Perfect was pretty sure that they were "too embedded into society" to be dethroned as well.

VQF got eaten by being proprietary (5)

raygundan (16760) | more than 14 years ago | (#857289)

Yeah... vqf got screwed because the standard was closed. It made small files, but the encoder was slow and sucked big-time, and for years, there was no way to skip around in the track. Even now, fast-forward is implemented (apparently) by muting the sound and playing the track as fast as the CPU can handle, and rewinding is done by muting the sound, starting at the beginning of the track, and applying the fast-forward algorithm until you reach the point you want to rewind to. This sort of horrible support will be avoided by Vorbis simply because it will be open. People couldn't write their own stuff to work with vqf, and so the format went to hell in a handbasket. Even if Vorbis doesn't catch on, you can *at least* be assured that you will always have a player you can port to your new OS.

It may not go mainstream, but it will not be defeated like vqf was.

And if we get hardware players, you can bet I'll be moving all my music to vorbis!

WMP codec (2)

Trinition (114758) | more than 14 years ago | (#857290)

They need to release a Codec for Windows Media Player. If they want to get mainstream, they need mainstream sites to publish in their format. And mainstreams sites won't publish in their format unless the mainstream can use it.

So make a WMP codec. And for that codec, and all of the plugins readily available, make very very good installation instructions, or better yet, automatic installation procedures, so that even the shy-est users can do it.

Re:Will Vorbis be the next VQF? (1)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 14 years ago | (#857291)

VQF died because it was proprietary. A shame, actually. Same-quality audio occupies roughly 80% of what MP3 does. But if Ogg Vorbis delivers what it promises the point will be moot.

Re:When MP3 is illegal (3)

guran (98325) | more than 14 years ago | (#857292)

Once Fraunhofer start getting heavy with MP3 licensing, the penguinhead army will adopt Vorbis in a flash, and hopefully so will Windows-using music fans. Then the battle lines shift to hardware players.

Just like we all use use .png instead of .gif today you mean?
Sorry, I'm in a pessimistic mode today

Re:Support for Ogg Vorbis (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 14 years ago | (#857293)

Goto the Vorbis website, read it, download the tarball and the XMMS/Winamp plugin. Compile. Install. Easy.

Horse and Buggy (2)

Prontai (103625) | more than 14 years ago | (#857294)

I've got my horse, Bessie. She gets me where I wanna go just fine, why would I wanna buy one of them new-fangled autocarriages?

A flawed example (2)

Dan Hayes (212400) | more than 14 years ago | (#857295)

However, the important lesson here is that the foundations were set in stone and wrought from iron before any company had self-interested influence. TCP/IP (brought to you by research laboratories) is elegant and farsighted; it's taken thirty years for it to begin wearing thin. E-mail is similarly brought to you from academia. HTML, on the other hand, (as ultimately brought to you by Netscape and Microsoft) makes good engineers weep and gnash their teeth.

So, what about Delphi - designed and maintained by a single company for purely commercial interests? It has an elegent design which accepts new features as required, and has been updated over the years to fit new ideas without sacrificing backwards compatability or elegence.

And then there's C++ - a similar language that, whilst undoubtedly powerful, is maintained by a standards body which means that updating the langauge is a task with a duration measured in years.

Not all things under corporate control turn out poorly. HTML is not a good example.

Re:I'm hearing FUD or a FUD-like substance (1)

(some random guy) (198999) | more than 14 years ago | (#857296)

Vorbis doesn't need scare tactics because they can focus on streaming content, where they have no free competition. Live streaming audio (speech, or music) is controlled by Microsoft, Real, and Fraunhaufer. All they have to do is pitch their Ogg bitstreams to small companies or organizations.

Think about it: you're a small non-profit organization that wants to broadcast real-time speech (interviews, news, whatever). Would you rather pay for a Real streaming server, or would you use a free system like Vorbis?

Once Vorbis gains a foothold, even a small one in the streaming market, it will get more publicity and people will pay more attention to it. From there, it can only become more popular.

Re:will it be easy to mention? (2)

akey (29718) | more than 14 years ago | (#857297)

...but what will this file format come to be known as?

They went for the extension .ogg -- vorbis is just one audio component in that stream.


Re:hardware (2)

artg (24127) | more than 14 years ago | (#857298)

The SGS-Thomson MP3 decoder is really a VLIW DSP with the MP3 decoder in ROM. Early version (perhaps current versions) actually required a firmware patch loaded into RAM before they'd produce good results.

This DSP is available as a standard supported component, not only as an MP3 decoder. It's therefore quite possible for developers to write a Vorbis decoder for it even without hardware manufacturer support.

I don't think it's the only low-power DSP available that's capable of this sort of job, so some other semi-custom design is quite possible.

Re:doesn't matter (1)

SlaterSan (91405) | more than 14 years ago | (#857300)

That's fine, but this is _free_ and open source.

Re:yes but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#857301)

People have been saying pretty much the same thing about Linux over the last three years. You tell me.. do you really think that with the current (circa 1997) popularity of Windows that anything else will take over?

Waves tend to crest and fall back. As long as the new format is free (as in speech), has at least the same quality level as MP3 (with the code available and a truly free license, it will improve quickly) and most importantly has included with it a tool to convert existing MP3 to the new format, people will use it.

After that it will grow like kudzu, like any good open source project.

It's always amusing to hear someone make the statement that until it is displaced, the current standard will remain. No duh.

Why wouldn't it? (4)

sterno (16320) | more than 14 years ago | (#857302)

Tapes replaced vinyl and CD's replaced tapes. Why wouldn't this replace MP3? I mean there's no issues of backward compatibility because you don't have to buy extra hardware. I mean if you've got an MP3 player on your computer and a huge library of MP3's what would make you resist getting a player that uses a new format (which will of course still support MP3).

Furthermore, if this new format prooves to have better quality for lower bitrates then there is an additional incentive to use it. Even if it didn't people don't really have a loyalty to Codecs. People talk about MP3's because that's the only tech out there right now that provides the quality for the space constraints. It could be WAV, or AIFF, or RealAudio for all they care. Since they don't have to buy new hardware to support new codecs it doesn't matter to them.


Try minidisc (3)

mplex (19482) | more than 14 years ago | (#857303)

I went out and bought a minidisc player for about $200. It is a dream since discs are only $1.50 a piece and hold as much as a CD. It supports digital recording and is smaller than almost all mp3 players except maybe that mp3 player in a pen from sony. Anyway, it will save you on flash costs and on long trips, having ALL of your music instead of 32 megs worth is a real plus. Only downside that I have found, realtime recording, but you only record once so it hasn't been a hassle. Check out minidisc.org [minidisc.org] if you are interested. Some players even support text transfer from the computer ect, and it saves so much on media costs.

Re:But does it stand a chance? (1)

Rev. Buddy Love (212686) | more than 14 years ago | (#857304)

I have to agree with vluther, the standard is only the standard until something better comes along. You can rest assured that if the kiddies on napster can get their nsync 50% faster they will do it. There are some very well known cases where the better technonlgy does not win out (beta video format for example), but I think that as fast as our industry moves, and as young as MP3 is as a technology, it will be vulnerable to evolutionary forces. Hell even Windows, the mother of all institutionalized forces, is starting to feel the effects of technology evolution. If a big daddy like windows can be effected, a small new tech like MP3 surely can't be immune. The only thing that I think could save MP3 from an assult of new technology is the fact the there are now commercial products out that support it: mp3 players. Now those companies that make these players will fight to keep it on top, or face making them support various new technologies.
My 2 cents.

Re:I'm hearing FUD or a FUD-like substance (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#857305)

> There's been no real reason to think that MP3 will be "controlled" by the dark forces of the
> RIAA. MP3 is VHS, Ogg is Beta (a bit better - but is it worth the switch?), and the only way
> that it is going to catch on is through scaring people away from MP3.

If you are a musician, and you want to put a recording up on your web site, you owe $15,000 per year according to www.mp3licensing.com.

That is scary.

Re:if it does, that attitude will be why.. (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 14 years ago | (#857306)

MP3 is all about throin' the tea into the harbour, my loyalist friend.

Re:yes but... (2)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 14 years ago | (#857307)

The big test for Vorbis as a viable codec is its inclusion in mainstream encoders, Musicmatch Jukebox, Audiocatalyst, etc. These mainstream encoders account for most of the mp3s on Napster, billing themselves on speed and ease of use. LAME (the preferred Vorbis encoder), despite being arguably the best MP3 encoder out there, is hardly used by the Napster community because it is slower (and generally more accurate), and harder to use (LAME has the command line; MMJB has skins!).

The true story here is that the Napster crowd doesn't want a better MP3 than MP3. They don't know or care about "Free" software, and they won't embrace Vorbis unless there's something in it for them. And curiously enough, that has something to do with skinnable apps.

Does no one else wish to kill Nullsoft for creating this skinning craze? I don't need a skinnable clock, thankyouverymuch.


Re:But does it stand a chance? (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 14 years ago | (#857308)

I assume that a converter script will be available. Even so, you could easily convert to AIFF and then re-encode. Either way, the main cost is a few CPU cycles. Newly Vorbis-encoded tunes will supposedly have similar or better quality for less space. If I can fit more files into less space this is a format I would use. This is a format that will transfer over the net faster. The number of pure mp3 devices out there is extremely small compared to the number of people who don't have broadband and unlimited disk space. Eight ball says, "Looks Favorable."

Possibly... (1)

Ryokurin (74729) | more than 14 years ago | (#857309)

Look at TwinVQ and AAQ, as well as other formats that have appeared since mp3. pretty much all of them were marqinally better than Mp3. but mp3 kept its corner on the market.

mp3 is gonna be like VHS or NTSC television in the united states. Its gonna take years to get people to switch. even if the alternative is miles ahead of it in terms of quality and features. The people in the know will use it but not the general public, even if all existing players could play it somehow.

Re:look at vqf (2)

(some random guy) (198999) | more than 14 years ago | (#857310)

My last experience with VQF was a while ago, but from what I remember, the Yamaha encoder was quite slow and the Winamp Plug-in didn't let you seek through a song. That was enough to turn me away from VQF, and I haven't looked back since; the same probably goes for a lot of other people. VQF needed better player support when it was launched, and so it failed.

Re:Try minidisc (3)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#857311)

I went out and bought a minidisc player for about $200. It is a dream since discs are only $1.50 a piece and hold as much as a CD.

Blank CDRs are going for about $0.50 / disk. Using ogg or mp3 format, they hold roughly 10 CDs worth of music on one disk.

MP3 players which double as CD Players are the perfect solution -- you can burn your own music collection onto CDs and listen to them anywhere. As the original poster correctly points out, we need ogg support on these hardware mp3 players! Fortunately, most are flashable, so upgrading to new, better formats (such as ogg) shouldn't be a problem.

There's already an MP4 (2)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 14 years ago | (#857312)

There's already an MP4 in existence, as far as I remember it's more of a MIDI on steriods type of file format. It contains a description of how the sound source is meant to sound along with the notes.

This [mit.edu] is probably a good place to start looking.

OV : MP3 :: BZ2 : GZ (1)

Richard Wakefield (136917) | more than 14 years ago | (#857313)

The similarities are remarkable. A more-advanced better compression takes on an established older, poorer one.

My prediction: OV will be used but will not be mainstream, much like BZ2... and music available in OV will also be available in MP3 (that's not really a suprise, is it? :)

Re:vs LAME (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#857314)

You didn't use the flags to make an appropriate comparison like he mentions in the article, did you? He says they haven't implemented something which will improve the quality a whole lot. Besides, haven't the LAME people said they'll default to OOG in the future?

CPU usage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#857315)

Anyone have any insight as to the expected CPU usage (relative to mp3)? Even if the format has a smaller file size relative to mp3, decoding the stream will suck if it uses two times as many CPU cycles.

Why would you? (1)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 14 years ago | (#857316)

Why can't they exist together? As long as you've got a player I don't see why you should bother converting your MP3's.

Re:Support for Ogg Vorbis (1)

randumb_surfer (208708) | more than 14 years ago | (#857317)

Please allow me to take all the work out of this for you...well not all the work, you will actually have to browse to this link. But at least you won't have to think. http://www.vorbis.com/download.html

i understand your point (1)

ebbv (34786) | more than 14 years ago | (#857318)

but at the same time, i think the music industry serves a purpose. they give me songs from bands i like in a convenient package.

now, mp3 is nice and all, but that infrastructure is just going to be replaced by another commercial one. bands are not just going to start recording their songs at home and sending them out over the net by themselves. no one could be heard over the din of horribly crappy bands that would pollute the net in that situation.

not only that, but most bands can't afford it.

i agree that the attitude the record industry is taking is ridiculous and fascist, but they do serve a purpose, and simply need to be reminded of their place.

in the mean time, working on better sounding formats is always a Good Thing(tm).

Re:I'm hearing FUD or a FUD-like substance (1)

asmussen (2306) | more than 14 years ago | (#857319)

Sure, you can make a VHS/Beta comparison, but with VHS and Beta the average person had to make a significant monetary investment in equipment and tapes, so unless he had a lot of spare cash laying around, he had to commit to one format or another. In this case, if you can get a player that supports both formats, you can download either Ogg files or mp3 files, and keep both types of files around. If you have a preference for Ogg format files, you can download all of the Ogg files you want without having to give up your mp3 files. So, unlike VHS and Beta, it seems possible in this situation for Ogg to slowly take over more and more of the marketshare based on it's technical merits, unlike the VHS/Beta war where there was a huge fight for customers, and only one could survive. And if eventually Ogg files become popular enough, and if they are indeed superior, then at that point I think that Ogg files could become the dominant format. It doesn't neccessarily have to happen that way, but because it does not actually require end users to pick one and only one format over all others, I think that it could happen that way.

RAR (1)

volkris (694) | more than 14 years ago | (#857320)

What's so bad about RAR?
I always thought its compression was superior to almost all alternatives except Quantum (paq) which takes an eternity and a couple of others that are even slower.
It's definately better than zip and gzip.... right?

I havn't had to look into compression too much since I moved up from my 68 meg harddrive back in the day :)


Re:vs LAME (1)

markalot (67322) | more than 14 years ago | (#857321)

I shouldn't have to use flags or do anything ... they make the claim of being better, but only in crippled mode? I think they will be better eventually, but I want more info. I was a bit suprised that they already claimed superiority over the mp3 format.


MP3 is VHS, Ogg is Beta ?!? (2)

srw (38421) | more than 14 years ago | (#857322)

The main reason Beta died (except for use in the video industry) was that it was proprietary. Sony wouldn't let anyone else make a Beta machine. JVC allowed (for a fee, of course) anyone to make a VHS machine. Ya, Sony did finally allow licensees, but by that time it was too late.

So, you might want to re-write that statment:
MP3 is Beta, Ogg is VHS.

The biggest difference is that Beta and VHS came out around the same time and fought it out from the start. MP3 is already established, so it might be hard for Ogg to de-throne it.

Re:When MP3 is illegal (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 14 years ago | (#857323)

Patenting something means you have to disclose the information (unless it is classified due to national security.)

This means it is easily available to everybody that cares to look, not "driven underground." Patents were designed to force publication, so the technology would be easily available once the patent expired. Implementations of said technology will be driven underground, of course.


All hail Ogg (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 14 years ago | (#857324)

One thing the current release of Vorbis does not have is channel coupling (like mid-side stereo, although we'll be doing it differently). Beta 1 and beta 2 actually include multiple totally separate channels. The fact that we equal and better mp3's quality missing this huge piece is exciting.

This makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

For those who don't get it yet, please read the writing on the wall: The old king of web music, mp3, isn't dead yet but he's dying. The new king is born, and his name is Ogg.

The old king is dying of complications from a disease brought on by misuse of intellectual property.

Re:yes but... (5)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 14 years ago | (#857325)

With the current popularity of ed, does anyone hink that vi can really take over? Even if vi is better, ed is the standard! [gnu.org]

as i said in another post (1)

ebbv (34786) | more than 14 years ago | (#857326)

mp3 doesn't sound nearly as good as CD, and probably Ogg Vorbis won't either. they're good enough for listening to a song that i don't like enough to buy (ie, i only like the one song by the band), or checking out a new CD that i'm unsure whether i like or not, etc. etc.

but for serious listening there isn't a format that can replace my CDs yet. (yet.) thus, hardware mp3 players have always seemed rather useless to me. (why would i want to listen to an mp3 in a place where, obviously, i could have a CD player?) now the hybrids that can play CDs containing both are convenient, though i will more than likely, not put any mp3-CDs in...

minidisc is cute, but, that's a whole other thread...

Re:OV : MP3 :: BZ2 : GZ (1)

Thelgar (204368) | more than 14 years ago | (#857327)

I disagree. In Windows, the big-name compression program is WinAmp. If WinAmp supports OV, and OV is better then MP3, then OV wins hands-down. The big-name compression program is WinZip, which does not support BZ2 (to my knowledge). That's why BZ2 is unknown to the average user...

"Ogg" as in netrek (1)

Wreck (12457) | more than 14 years ago | (#857328)

For those who are curious, yes, it does appear that this usage of "ogg" was lifted from the netrek lexicon: http://www.xiph.org/xiphname.html [xiph.org]

Re:Does anyone own the MP4 trademark name? (1)

daedalus587 (216361) | more than 14 years ago | (#857329)

Gnutella seems like a good alternative to Napster. However, I don't think it's Free, despite the name.(I just looked at a Gnutella website [gnutellaworld.net] , they mentioned joining development teams, but I believe they're developing clients only)
Gnutella is a peer-to-peer networking server, but there is no central server (unlike Napster). Instead, individuals set up their own Gnutella server, and so the users are responsible (so MPEG can't sue the company if music piracy occurs with Gnutella).
Although some people think that this will increase piracy, any sort of file-sharing tool increases piracy somewhat. That's because pirated software/music represents a percentage of the files that users want to share, and file-sharing tools increase the amount of files that users can share. (Of course, with free software and music, piracy becomes obsolete. So if you use free software (like if you start from Debian or QLinux), then you can't really pirate software, or be accused of it easily.)
I think that the best solution would be a large, Internet-coordinated development effort to create a Gnutella-like server and client, that are Free Software. This would probably be the best solution to the problems with Napster, plus it would offer a powerful file-sharing solution for GNU/Linux users. (This suggestion is not to make piracy easier, but to make free software/music sharing simpler. While the Internet is very good for many purposes, peer-to-peer file-sharing networks offer some advantages.)

Re:Why wouldn't it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#857330)

That is a good point, but you have to remember that mp3 has a huge install base right now. There is typically ~3 terabytes of mp3s on the main napster network at any given time (according to gnapster). People with high-speed connections are swapping mp3 files at an alarming rate, so this is bound to grow.

And it will be time consuming for someone to convert their mp3s to this format. But then the realization comes, why bother? mp3 files are working for me so why convert over to a format that is only marginally better and less supported? mp3 encoding and decoding technologies are continuing to grow and get better, so why start over with a new technology?

Re:URL? (3)

ethereal (13958) | more than 14 years ago | (#857331)

and I expect you to actually make it a link, like this: http://www.vorbis.com/ [vorbis.com] . You shouldn't lambaste /. for being lazy if you are too :)

Re:Support for Ogg Vorbis (1)

akey (29718) | more than 14 years ago | (#857332)

You can get the plugins at the URL's listed earlier. If you're using Windows, you can either rip to a WAV file and use the LAME encoder from the same page, or try my ripper [sourceforge.net] (open-source, of course), which will encode to Ogg Vorbis on-the-fly, and supports tagging the output file with artist info.


Re:vs LAME (1)

Vakor (8219) | more than 14 years ago | (#857333)

I suggest you try again with beta2 (once it's easily available - which I believe will be within the next day or two). There were a number of known bugs in beta1 (which you were probably using) - and quite apart from these fixes, there have been a LOT of improvements.

Beta2 will also (as mentioned in the article) have more modes (at different bitrates) available, so you'll be able to do a fairer test.

Most of the testing is done with (informal) listening tests, over a fairly wide body of different material.

Re:When MP3 is illegal (1)

LinuxEvangelist (215022) | more than 14 years ago | (#857334)

This is exactly what I was getting at in my original post. Basically, if Fraunhofer does get agressive with MP3 patents and licensing or the RIAA buys them out or whatever, this would be the kind of catalyst that could fuel an alternative format (Ogg Vorbis for instance) to overthrow MP3. However, if no such catalysts exist, then there is very little chance that any other formats will be able to replace MP3 as the standard for digital music.

As a side note, SDMI will have the same uphill battle. MP3 will be likely be around for a long time. Pretty much every piece of copyrighted music is availble right now on CD - and therefore is also available as an MP3. CD players are everywhere, so even if new music begins shipping in the new SDMI format, new players will be required to play it. The record labels will have to sell it in CD format to stay compatible with existing hardware in the market (if they plan to sell any music, they'll have to do this). Hence even new music will be available in the MP3 format. And cassette tapes are still available today. So how many years would it take for SDMI to become the standard?

Re:yes but... (2)

Nerds (126684) | more than 14 years ago | (#857335)

It sounds as though there are some fundamental changes under the hood, but in the end it's just another codec for audio. It might be better, but the previous install base of mp3 will hold it back from becoming mainstream.

It sounds as though there are some fundamental changes under the hood, but in the end Linux is just another operating system. It might be more secure, but the previous install base of Windows will hold it back from becoming mainstream.

MP5, then? ;-) (1)

crok (154504) | more than 14 years ago | (#857336)

How about MP5? Or is that a machine gun?

Re:Who are the experts? (2)

Fantome (7951) | more than 14 years ago | (#857337)

Lossy compression is still an active research field, and so the later you design a standard, the more research and experience is available to help improve your product.
Besides, there are no aclaimed institutions for teaching lossy compression techniques. Thus the only definition for expert is one who has researched or studied the research in the field. So who says the Ogg group aren't experts?

Isn't OOG The Caveman.. (1)

MSisNOT4Sale (183186) | more than 14 years ago | (#857338)

..gonna flip when he finds out that this name is similar to his?

Re:Try minidisc (1)

mplex (19482) | more than 14 years ago | (#857339)

CD players are also much larger in size though. I forgot to mention that I was looking for portable non-skipping hardware. Portable CD players are just too large to slip in your pocket and tend to skip way too much. I seriously doubt these types of players will be popular. The only advantage of them is more songs per disc, but since as you mentioned, CD's are so cheap, songs per disc is negligable unless you were worried about bulk in which case I wouldn't recommend a CD player at all.

Re:URL? (1)

jsmaby (217465) | more than 14 years ago | (#857340)

They're allready almost /.'ed. A link from the article would take them down for sure.

Re:When MP3 is illegal (1)

Kevin DeGraaf (220791) | more than 14 years ago | (#857341)

> and get open MP3 pulled, forcing everybody to > upgrade to encrypted SDMI formats. Since people freely trade MP3s without the consent of the copyright owners, they'll definitely do the same with encoding and playback software. Heck, Winamp (or XMMS, if you prefer) is a much smaller download than even one normal-length MP3 file, even if the distribution must go underground. As for hardware devices such as the RIO or Nomad being replaced with SDMI-compliant models, people can just encode SDMI-compliant tracks from MP3s or CDs or whatever once SDMI encryption is cracked.

Re:will it be easy to mention? (1)

Dest (207166) | more than 14 years ago | (#857342)


Re:will it be easy to mention? (1)

fudboy (199618) | more than 14 years ago | (#857343)

thanks for the link. now that I bother to look at the faq i recall that I read it several weeks/a few months ago.

you down with OGG? yeah you know me!


i just can't shut up today.. (3)

ebbv (34786) | more than 14 years ago | (#857344)

Blank CDRs are going for about $0.50 / disk. Using ogg or mp3 format, they hold roughly 10 CDs worth of music on one disk

but this isn't all good, it's a question of quantity vs. quality :P obviously. but i thought it needed to be said... some people don't realize, but if you listen... at least, i can't help but hear the difference. mp3s soudn awful to me.

MP3 players which double as CD Players are the perfect solution -- you can burn your own music collection onto CDs and listen to them anywhere. As the original poster correctly points out, we need ogg support on these hardware mp3 players! Fortunately, most are flashable, so upgrading to new, better formats (such as ogg) shouldn't be a problem.

the whole hardware-mp3-player hype is mind boggling to me. i mean, i understand it, as a fad and gadgetry thing, but.. you're basically making a downgrade in your audio system when you go from a CD player to a straight-up mp3 player. the hybrids are the obvious, good, middle-ground.. as long as the price difference is reasonable.

the hardware fad is so bizarre though,.. there was never this kind of reaction over MOD or S3M ;P

Re:How about sync issues? (3)

Vakor (8219) | more than 14 years ago | (#857345)

The Vorbis format actually consists of two layers - the low-level vorbis packets, and a sync/framing layer called Ogg (which isn't vorbis-specific).
Ogg is designed to allow seeking to sample precision, and indeed the current library can do exactly that (the players only seek to a given time, rather than a given sample, but that's a limitation of the players rather than the format). All the info is there, and the library gives you everything you need to use it.

Ogg also allows for multiplexing of streams (so an (as yet non-existent) ogg video codec could give you one stream, and vorbis give you another, all within the same file, and all with the syncing info you need.

I just don't get it (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 14 years ago | (#857346)

Vorbis was an inquisitor who believed he would be the next profit of the Great God Mighty Horns Om. Nanny Ogg is the matriarchal nymphomaniac of the Ramtop town of Bad Ass. I just can't imagine them ever having a kid!

Who cares about licensing? (1)

mecredis (121637) | more than 14 years ago | (#857347)

So what if Fraunhofer decides to get pissy about ownership? MP3s will still exist, and so will the players. Fraunhofer would dig its own grave if it decided to make all the old mp3s incompatible with the new players. People would still use the old software, and just keep trading, and then Fraunhofer would have its own little fiasco of a proprietry format on its hand's, that no one would use. Its pretty much useless, mp3 is here to stay. As for Vobb, and all those other silly named software codecs, good luck, really. But its not likely all those napster-scour-gnutella-freenet users are going to switch just because another megacorporation is threatening a software format.

Maybe Franhofer realized all of this, and is not going to do anything, all the better.

Remember, its just software, and files, and so on.


$$$ (1)

The Queen (56621) | more than 14 years ago | (#857348)

what would make you resist getting a player that uses a new format (which will of course still support MP3)

"Mom, can I get an OGG player?"
"We just bought you an MP3 player, Billy. Absolutely not."

Seriously though, why spend more dough if the one you have isn't broken? I'm tickled at this story but I'm not feeling too optimistic for some grand overnight switch to a new format. As for your analogy about CDs replacing tapes, uh-uh. Tapes can get eaten, quality goes downhill quick. CDs are much more stable in a physical sense. The difference between .mp3 and .ogg is not tangible in any sense and therefore isn't relevent.

The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk

Re:Will Vorbis be the next VQF? (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#857349)

Without mainstream support, VQF files quietly went unnoticed.

The reason that VQF had no mainstream support is that it was closed. No one could make VQF files, and no one could play them. I think it was only available for one or two platforms.

Vorbis has that particular problem licked, since it's open.


Re:yes but... (2)

Segfault 11 (201269) | more than 14 years ago | (#857350)

As long as there was parity in features and software support, nobody would care about origin of their music files. FWIW, I would take free music if it came out of my ass. Nobody cares about the format, either. When on uses Windows, there are almost too many options when downloading video: should I download the RealVideo/QuickTime/Windows Media/AVI/MPEG format?

I think the real question is whether the format will get an appealing name. Ogg Vorbis? It does not sound nearly as good as "MP3", which rhymes with "MTV", and BOTH just happen to mean "music" (less so with the latter). The only cool expression I can think of for OV is "ogg hunt". With Napster, et al that term should not matter.

To extend on that idea -- should some other format replace MP3, will the world ever completely drop the term? Musicians regularly release new "albums" or "records" without pressing a single platter of vinyl. People still use DSL and ISDN "modems". I think it fair to say that MP3 will be around in some form or another, if only by name, for a long time.

Re:WMP codec (1)

Vakor (8219) | more than 14 years ago | (#857351)

I think someone is working on this. How good it currently is I don't know.

There are also plugins available for most of the other popular windows players (winamp and sonique, at least) - I believe the sonique one will be distributed with sonique in the next version, and people have been in contact with the winamp guys about doing the same there (not sure of the status of that).

Many other companies have pledged support for vorbis in their products - being mainstream won't be a major problem.

Re:yes but... (1)

Ka0s (134504) | more than 14 years ago | (#857352)

Sorry if this is redundant..
but I think the only way I would switch to this is if there was a "mp3-2-ogg" tool which would do the obvious. (Convert all my current mp3s to ogg files..)

I have no idea if this is even possible.. no flames required.

Vorbis support in CDex (4)

Q-bert][ (21619) | more than 14 years ago | (#857353)

CDex is a cdripper for windows that's GPLed. It comes with Vorbis support in its 1.30 beta2 version. Very nice program I use it when I'm in windows and don't want to reboot to use cdparanoia. It also includes LAME 3.84 as it's default encoder. Currently it's the only program that i've found that makes encoding Vorbis .ogg files easy. CDex Homepage [n3.net] , and Source Forge [sourceforge.net] .

The Secret of Widespread Adoption. (2)

JDALaRose (139798) | more than 14 years ago | (#857354)

I've been looking at a lot of the posts, and most seem to be wringing their hands over whether or not this will end up outgrowing mp3, complete with obligatory references to the VHS/Beta cliche. The most important thing that can be done to ensure that Ogg Vorbis catches on and eventually dominates is to establish transparent support with the major playback software giants. Getting the codecs prepackaged with pieces like WinAmp and the rest of the herd will ensure that kids will be able to play what they download, and if the quality difference is important to them, they'll eventually make the switch, as it were. Of course, this strategy cannot be executed in a vacuum with the expectation of success. The word needs to be put out through the major mp3 distribution channels that Ogg Vorbis is available, that music in that format is available, and that using that format isn't going to be a hassle at all, as long as you have the latest version of your player of choice. Thoughts?

Re:i just can't shut up today.. (1)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 14 years ago | (#857355)

but this isn't all good, it's a question of quantity vs. quality :P obviously. but i thought it needed to be said... some people don't realize, but if you listen... at least, i can't help but hear the difference. mp3s soudn awful to me.

I'd tend to agree - especially at 128k and with the Xing-type encoders. That's why I don't use Napster. I can't trust the quality of the songs - even at 256. However, Lame at 256 sounds wonderful, and I doubt anyone can seriously hear a difference.

http://users.belgacom.net/gc247244/analysis.htm is a great site to check out to compare your favorite encoder with the best - Lame 3.86.

I've reencoded almost every cd I own from 128 to 256 - the difference is astounding (size and quality ;) ) A nice pair of horns really magnifies the loss of the high frequency with 128 and Xing-type encoders. At 256, I can't hear a difference between the CD and the mp3.

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