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MP3's Loss, Open Source's Gain

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the chicken-or-the-ogg dept.

Patents 331

nadamsieee refers us to a piece up at Wired on the fallout from Microsoft's recent courtroom loss to Alcatel-Lucent over MP3 patents. From the article: "Alcatel-Lucent isn't the only winner in a federal jury's $1.52 billion patent infringement award against Microsoft this week. Other beneficiaries are the many rivals to the MP3 audio-compression format... Now, with a cloud over the de facto industry standard, companies that rely on MP3 may finally have sufficient motivation to move on. And that raises some tantalizing possibilities, including a real long shot: Open-source, royalty-free formats win."

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is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172336)

And that raises some tantalizing possibilities, including a real long shot: Open-source, royalty-free formats win.

Why is it always Ogg Vorbis? What about FLAC? [sourceforge.net]

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (2, Insightful)

Smallest (26153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172386)

storage might be less of an issue, but streaming .WAV files would suck suck suck

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172418)

Because lossy and lossless formats fill different niches.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173708)

Ogg Vorbis and FLAC are both lossless formats. So, what was your point?

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173744)

Er, you're wrong.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173758)

Ogg Vorbis is the Xiph.org foundation's lossy format. FLAC is the Xiph.org foundation's lossless format. Clear now?

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172436)

Yeah! And what kind of name is Ogg Vorbis anyway!? ..

Stupid stupid name!

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172906)

This leads me to a question I've wanted to ask the Slashdot community:

When music files are available on a website, which format makes you happiest?

I've considered all the usual suspects, mp3, ogg, flac, even wma. If you were visiting a website of a favorite musician, in which format would you prefer to see the music offered? DRM is absolutely not an issue, but I might attach a small digital "tag" or signature (audible or inaudible at the end of the file), not to prevent copying, but rather to identify the piece's author.

If you have time I'm even interested in knowing which bitrate you'd prefer and whether 5.1 surround vs regular stereo is important to you.

Thanks.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (2, Insightful)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173102)

I like 128k mp3 AND either high-bitrate mp3 or flac. Even on a modem a 128k mp3 is downloadable and they sound ok. If it's really good I like to see a high quality option. You'll probably lose some interest if people have to download 50MB just to see if they like it. I don't care about 5.1 surround. Too much music I already have is stereo.

I used to prefer ogg on principle, but frankly I'm too lazy. I have a swim-proof mp3 player and anything can play mp3s. I got tired of fighting $5 mp3 players, mp3 players in cars, and mp3-only device categories.

Alternatively, I would like some mid-quality stream with a high quality download option. If you're setting up a streaming server anyway why not have 2 or 3 quality settings?

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

roscivs (923777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173332)

Ditto here. 128k mp3 AND flac/zipped wav. The latter is a hassle if I just want to straight away listen to the song, but the former is just not suitable for format-shifting.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173120)

Definitely the highest quality possible. If 5.1 is available, offer it, in a lossless format. From there, I can always go down in quality (for a portable player, for a stereo instead of 5.1 system, etc.) myself.

Quality trumps everything.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Informative)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173490)

The obvious answer is lossless (FLAC, etc.) so that I can store it perfectly and then recompress it into whatever I need. However, that takes a lot of bandwidth to distribute, so I'd have to say my next choice would be high bitrate MP3s (256 or 320kbps) because they work *everywhere*. (I can't tell the difference, so I stick to 256kbps myself. I'd like to see a statistically valid double blind test that shows any difference in perception.)

I admire the Ogg Vorbis project for creating a free codec that may not be patent-encumbered, but my cars and my iPod don't play ogg files. Considering that I think of my cars as my personal listening studio, well, they're first on the importance list when it comes to compatibility. MP3 for me, and it will be for the foreseeable future.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Interesting)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172442)

Why not? Beacause at some point you reach the point of diminishing returns. There is always the next great format that is n% better. But at some point people just don't care any more. Do you look at the file size of your mp3s any more? can you REALLY tell the difference between 256khz and 512khz (hint: if you say 'yes', you are lying). At some point you have to stop fighting over that last n% and start working towards what is achievable. To put it another way, you have to stop playing theory (the art of the theoretically possible), and start playing politics (the art of achieving the practically doable.)

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172556)

can you REALLY tell the difference between 256khz and 512khz (hint: if you say 'yes', you are lying).

If you can't then your hardware for listening sucks. Put on a set of great headphones and tell me you can't hear the noise in a 256k lossy music file created from a CD. Make a FLAC of that same file and tell me if you hear that noise.

FLAC is far superior to any lossy formats but it creates absolutely huge files and yes I do pay attention to the size of my music collection because it's all in FLAC or SHN.

Portable turntable (4, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173058)

I prefer to keep a portable turntable in my pants. The vinyl tends to skip when I fart, but I can really hear the difference between crappy digital and the analog. The vinyl record sounds better too.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (4, Informative)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173276)

If you can't then your hardware for listening sucks. Put on a set of great headphones and tell me you can't hear the noise in a 256k lossy music file created from a CD.


All the double-blind tests by audiophiles at Hydrogenaudio and other sites that due true ABX testing disagree with you. For most people, most of the time, with most types of music, pretty much every modern codec is transparent well below 256kbps.

Yes, people can train themselves to listen for the specific artifacts of different codecs, but if you're not an audio engineer, why would you want to?

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173404)

Sorry, I don't take their word when I can tell IMMEDIATELY when I'm listening to an MP3. Their double blind test sucked apparently.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (4)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173630)

Sorry, I don't take their word when I can tell IMMEDIATELY when I'm listening to an MP3. Their double blind test sucked apparently.


You don't have to take their word for it -- take the tests yourself. Or make your own, install ABX software and see if you can tell to any statistically significant consistency when you're listening to the original CD rip vs a 320kbps MP3. You'll be in a pretty small group if you can.

It's not like this is all being done in a dark room by a cabal somewhere. Put your ego where your mouth is -- lots of people "know" that they have to have the best possible quality, and then find out the hard way that they can't tell a 128kbps AAC from a DAT master when asked to prove it in a double-blind ABX test.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

greed (112493) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173684)

There are a LOT of crap MP3 encoders and decoders.

Stuff that deals with Other Formats (Ogg, FLAC, AAC, ALAC) tends to not be as crap, just for the simple reason that they are going to the trouble of making something better than lowest-common-denominator.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Funny)

Nexx (75873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172576)

256kHz and 512kHz? I can't hear much above 20kHz, nor do I think my computer can produce that sound in the 16bit-44kHz audio formats, given Nyquist limits.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Funny)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172658)

can you REALLY tell the difference between 256khz and 512khz (hint: if you say 'yes', you are lying)
I sure can, 512khz is an octave higher than 256 khz :P (I know, i know, you meant kbps).

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (4, Informative)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172832)

can you REALLY tell the difference between 256khz and 512khz (hint: if you say 'yes', you are lying).
What the hell are you talking about? Nobody in their right mind would use a sampling rate of 256khz for so many reasons I won't even start listing them here... Since you are probably referring to kbps, I am still confused. 512kbps is not a valid rate for an "MP3" file.

can you REALLY tell the difference between 256khz and 512khz (hint: if you say 'yes', you are lying)
YES, I can REALLY tell the difference between a filtered audio file and a compressed audio file. Some people still listen to music that was created by real instruments, you know. The easiest way I have found to hear the difference is when listening to various cymbals and string instruments. When filtered, the high frequencies sound like they are eminating from a tin-can. Maybe your high-frequency range has been too damaged because the volume on your iPod is set too high...

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173592)

Nobody in their right mind would use a sampling rate of 256khz

Not entirely true. DSD uses sample rates of the order of 4MHz but at only one bit and many sound cards internally use an oversampling technique at the frequency range you talk about, but only a handful of bits.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (2, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172856)

Some people can.

I have a friend who can see the difference between 60fps and 72fps in online games and 60fps bugs the crap out of him.

I can hear the difference if i put on a CD and listen to it side by side- but not otherwise. MP3's - regardless of how good sound a little "muddy" compared to a CD.

However you are probably right that 256kbps vs 512kbps are basically the same (both will have some muddiness compared to a pure cd but be similar to each other).

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (2, Informative)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173280)

can you REALLY tell the difference between 256khz and 512khz (hint: if you say 'yes', you are lying).

It's already been established you meant kbps.

But, yes, you can. Instead of your iPod headphones or car stereo, listen to the difference in an actual studio or club with a properly tuned sound system. And I don't mean self-powered Mackies or Yorkvilles running off of a Pioneer 600. Try something with a Rane or Allen & Heath with Turbo Sound, then we'll talk!

The difference between 256 and 320 and WAV is noticeable in both the crispness of high-hats and the warm of the mids / synths of a track. Under 320 it almost seems logarithmic how quickly the sound deteriorates.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173742)

Why not? Beacause at some point you reach the point of diminishing returns.

If you start with CD quality audio (or any given uncompressed digital format), lossless is the absolute best you can do quality-wise while saving some space. There's nothing subjective about lossless formats, they don't try to second guess anything about human hearing or your audio gear. I like them for this concept, they're like unix in the sense that they do the job with no fuss.

There's no 'point' of diminishing returns about lossy formats, there's just a vast grey area that depends on lots of subjective factors.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172636)

Considering that according to surveys most people who own an iPod have filled up their storage space on it with compressed music, I'd say storage still is a big issue.

Re:standard vs chaos (1)

neutrino38 (1037806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172696)

No: the deal here is to make sure that patent applying to MP3 are expirering someday and that this widespread format can finally used without restriction.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (2, Informative)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172778)

Yes, storage is still a big issue. CDs still hold 700 megs, meaning that the number of FLAC songs they can hold (as opposed to compressed songs like ogg or mp3) is much smaller.

CD players would all have to become DVD players to make up for the difference.

Hard drive space may be cheap, but recordable media hasn't grown in size (well, there is Blu-Ray but the cost is prohibitive to the point of not being worth discussing). So yes, file size is still a big deal unless you don't listen to music on recorded CDs (for instance, mp3 CD in the car).

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173376)

DVD writers today are cheaper than CD writers were when mp3 files first became widely available, and broadband is far more widespread and faster than it was back then too.
Why not download FLAC files, and burn them to DVD... It won't cost you more or take more time than it did when you were downloading MP3s over a modem a few years ago and burning them to CD.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173762)

Basically, because my car can't read mp3 DVDs. (*let alone* FLAC files altogether!) If all "data CD" players were replaced by "data DVD" players, then I would care less about file size.

As for size vs quality, well, with the speakers I usually use (or headphones), I honestly can't tell the difference between lossless and well-compressed music. But that's another topic.

Re:is storage that big of an issue anymore? (3, Funny)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173124)

Years from now when you can buy multiple terrabyte portable mp3 players, someone will still choose to store 10 million ogg/mp3 files instead of 1 million FLAC files. All legal files of course.

I'm sure the math of off but you get the point.

if (!playsonipod){format.languishInTheMargins();} (1)

nixkuroi (569546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173776)

Let's face it, there won't be a wide adoption for Ogg or FLAC until it's easy to File>Import one of those formats in iTunes. The fact that Microsoft/Zune is fighting Lucent/Alcatel is a non-issue. Zune is not likely to challenge iPod anytime soon. After years of using winamp, I finally caved and am using iTunes only because it's the only portal into my beautiful Video iPod. Windows Media Player isn't generally the media player of choice for anyone I know and neither is the Zune player. So what if MS is having trouble with the MP3 crowd. That's like saying Konquerer is having trouble integrating Flash player. They're not the market leader, so who cares?

Now if it were Apple vs Alcatel/Lucent...

The title of the post makes no sense whatsoever... (4, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172370)

And that raises some tantalizing possibilities, including a real long shot: Open-source, royalty-free formats win."

Yet the title of the article says it's "Open Source's Gain"?

Re:The title of the post makes no sense whatsoever (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172538)

Actually the patents are more broadly defined than just MP3. FLAC, Ogg etc can also be affected.

the problem with format patents (4, Interesting)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172392)

We shouldn't pretend that a patent cloud over MP3 means that everyone will move to Vorbis. The trouble is that the numerous patents for audio compression aren't limited to any specific format; they are patents on ideas and mathematical functions, like all software patents. So it's hard to say that Vorbis doesn't infringe just because it's open. Remember with patents, you are still liable even if you come up with the same idea independently.

So does anybody really know if there are any patent issues with Vorbis? Has an audit been done somewhere that I haven't heard about?

Re:the problem with format patents (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172474)

So does anybody really know if there are any patent issues with Vorbis? Has an audit been done somewhere that I haven't heard about?

I was under the impression that the people who made Vorbis specifically designed it to avoid infringing on any patents.

Re:the problem with format patents (4, Funny)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172706)

That's what you think! They could be infringing on stuff that hasn't been patented yet. Then they'll be screwed.

Re:the problem with format patents (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172780)

I understand the attempt at humor, but you may be more correct than you intended. Without really knowing the details, my understanding of this patent was that everybody thought they have already complied, but some portion of the patent was effectively backdated and became a "new" requirement for full licensing. There may yet be patents that Vorbis violates that have not surfaced, which are applicable to the code base and predate the Vorbis development. That would suck.

Re:the problem with format patents (2, Informative)

nadamsieee (708934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172570)

The trouble is that the numerous patents for audio compression aren't limited to any specific format...

You mean patents like these [mp3licensing.com] ..? :(

Re:the problem with format patents (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173318)

And they're missing the patent that's relevant to this case: 5341457. Sounds like everybody who uses mp3licensing.com could be in for a nasty surprise.

Re:the problem with format patents (4, Informative)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172766)

Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] has a link and says "Although Xiph.Org states it has conducted a patent search that supports its claims, outside parties (notably engineers working on rival formats) have expressed doubt that Vorbis is free of patented technology."

Sure. What ever you say... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172794)

Oh yes, I forgot: Wikipedia is the final word on anything important... Yeah right.

Re:Sure. What ever you say... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173094)

All WP is claiming is that Xiph.org claimed it was patent free. Hardly 'final word' stuff. Especially given that it even admits their is some dissent (although from parties with an vested interest in saying so).

Re:the problem with format patents (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173602)


Wikipedia article has a link and says "Although Xiph.Org states it has conducted a patent search that supports its claims, outside parties (notably engineers working on rival formats) have expressed doubt that Vorbis is free of patented technology."


Given that the USPTO seems to like giving patents for, you know, anything as long as it says "software", "internet", or "paradigm shift", I have no doubt at all that someone has a patent on something stupid, like "creation of music using digital file input" which would cover it.

Oh snap, I'm now an outside party that has expressed doubt that Vorbis is free of patented technology*.

* Note: The patents involved are probably stupid, invalid, submarine patents that would be thrown out if the USPTO wasn't intentionally under-funded.

Everyone's thinking this ... (4, Insightful)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172410)

If mp3 gets fazed out, doesn't any one else get the sick feeling that the next "de facto" may be an inherently DRM encumbered format? This could be terrible. Hopefully ogg will take off more.

Re:Everyone's thinking this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172632)

My thoughts exactly - mp3 replaced by wma laced with shards of DRM. Great.

Re:Everyone's thinking this ... (1)

Gibberx (631490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172774)

Portable players are going to play a big part in this. The reason that Apple's DRM isn't a "de facto" standard is because the more people Apple shares their secrets to, the bigger the possibility of an exploit being found. If we were to move away from MP3 completely (which is a long shot, considering the number of players out there that only support MP3), the new "de facto" couldn't be DRM unless some company managed to get a monopoly on the entire market.

My personal guess is that MP3 is going to stay as the standard for some time now, just like people still use .gif images even though there are patent issues.

Re:Everyone's thinking this ... (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172888)

Well, there were patent issues -- the GIF patent expired in 2003. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Everyone's thinking this ... (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173092)

the more people Apple shares their secrets to, the bigger the possibility of an exploit being found.

Oh please, when people argue that Windows is targeted more because it's popular slashdot dismisses that, but suddenly it's acceptable when it refers to Apple's DRM scheme. Microsoft's DRM is licensed, and used by numerous third party players (both hardware and software) and it has stood up better to cracks than FairPlay

Re:Everyone's thinking this ... (2, Informative)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173132)

The natural successor to MP3 is AAC. And before someone starts complaining about Apple, AAC is just as much of an open standard as MP3 is, and does not include any DRM.

MP3 is the *standard* because of users ... (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173174)

If mp3 gets fazed out ...

MP3 will not get phased out, every digital device supports it, vast personal libraries are primarily MP3. To introduce a player on the market that does not play MP3 is suicidal. All that someone could do is not rip to MP3, but that will largely just push customers to use 3rd party apps. Both MS and Apple have failed to convince a large segment of their respective users to stop using MP3, even though they both have alternative DRM-free formats. Why use DRM-free AAC when storage space is cheap and MP3 has far better compatibility?

Re:Everyone's thinking this ... (4, Interesting)

steelfood (895457) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173752)

Yes and yes!!! Bingo!

A bit of strategic nudging from the RIAA here and there with their lawyers, and we might just see many of the large commercial audio tools (rippers and players) entirely drop non-drm format support in an upcoming version. iTMS for example, might entirely drop their mp3 encoding support.

Of course, in reality, mp3's won't be going anywhere, patent violation or not; it's far too established. We'll see wma's more often, but private music collections will still be mp3.

the big problem (2, Insightful)

niloroth (462586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172510)

of course is the fact that most people simply refer to digital music, regardless of format, as MP3's. Most people already have a digital music player that will not play FLAK or OGG. People have no desire, or know how to turn their multiple gig music collection into a new format.

Trust me, i would rather FLAK was the standard, but at least for the moment, it seems to have missed the boat.

I may of course be entirely wrong.

Re:the big problem (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172610)

Trust me, i would rather FLAK was the standard, but at least for the moment, it seems to have missed the boat.
I may of course be entirely wrong.
You're definitely wrong about how to spell FLAC.

Re:the big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173674)

Kut the guy some flak.

War war is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172548)

And that raises some tantalizing possibilities, including a real long shot: Open-source, royalty-free formats win

Aaaand the more likely possibilty is: more fucking format wars. What fun. Good thing I don't listen to music anymore.

am I the only one who hates forced subject? (1, Troll)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172558)

This is all just so much noise and fury signifying nothing. MP3 will never die. Vorbis will never become ubiquitous.

Re:am I the only one who hates forced subject? (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172722)

Never say "never", grasshopper.

Re:am I the only one who hates forced subject? (2)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173338)

You just said it twice.

Microsoft doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172560)

They have WMA.

I don't care. Re:Microsoft doesn't care (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172990)

They have WMA.

and they can keep it. Low quality, large file size, DRM, mixed content executable, what's to love?

No, you just don't know (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173112)

> Low quality,

Huh? WMA at 64kbps sounds almost exactly like MP3@128kpbs. For the vast majority of people this is good enough - it's a lossy codec, for sakes.

> large file size,

OK now, WTF??

> DRM,

Well, um... if you enable a checkbox. I guess. Anyone can add DRM to any format, up to and including OGG. Are you expressing your dislike for the company or are you just ignorant about what DRM is?

> mixed content executable,

Excuse me?

> what's to love?

Well, your post here - that's for sure. FUD much?

i'm not a fan of microsoft but... (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172624)

I don't believe they did any wrong. They even paid Fraunhofer, who were widely known as the owners of the mp3 patent. Not telling anyone that they own any mp3 patent and then jumping at the biggest user is simply evil. This kind of abuse should be punished, even if it was not a pure software patent. M$'s WMP is pure software, so if the patent isn't one, then they wouldn't infringe it! The only good thing was in this that an american company was beaten american style. This might lead to some patent reform.

Hardware prices are the real issue (3, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172668)

Portable Music Players will play whatever it's cheapest to get hardware for. Hardware decoders for WMA, AAC, and MP3 are easy to find and often high-quality because they're sold in high-volume. By contrast, decoders for Ogg Vorbis are harder to come by, and are less efficient because they're not high-volume (and thus competitively improved). Thus it may be worth it to just take a few-cent royalty hit as opposed to switching to a more expensive, less-efficient hardware decoder.

Re:Hardware prices are the real issue (1)

swimin (828756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172938)

And yet I have a great device that plays ogg files.

Created Issue (4, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172942)

M$ forbade ogg to users of their "plays for sure" DRM. This blatantly anti-competitive action was slapped down in the EU [theregister.co.uk] , and lamely explained as a "mistake", but is a reason every cheap "mp3 player" does not also play ogg vorbis like my Trekstore or my Zaurus does. The hardware issue is spurious and there are low resource vorbis codecs.

Software patents suck and I'm happy I have mostly avoided mp3. It was a pain to get in the first place and it's still a pain. Too lame will give you "mp3" for your cheap player without patent problems, but vorbis is technically superior. Most of my music is ogg and I don't have any real problems enjoying it.

OGG tried to kill the MP3 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172670)

you cant kill the mp3
the mp3 will live on

ipod tried to kill the mp3
but they failed as they were SMITE to the ground

metallica tried to kill the mp3
but they failed as they were STRICKEN down to the ground

RIAA tried to kill the mp3

ha! ha! ha! ha!

they FAILED as they were thrown to the ground!!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! yeaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
aaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! yeaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

ledi aw ledi aw ledi aw ledidii awwwawww

No one can destroy the mp3
the mp3 will strike you down with a vicious blow

we are the vanquished foes of the mp3
we tried to win for why we do not know ...

What's in MP3 ? (0, Flamebait)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172846)

A good, established, name.

Ogg Vorbis? hahahahahaha

Like most Open Source initiatives, failure happens at step 1: choosing a name.

There's a worry here (2, Interesting)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172764)

Would I be right to worry that when I upgrade to the next Ubuntu release, or update within the release I'm running, that I might find several programs and libraries quietly dropping their MP3 support, leaving me with gigs of unplayable files?

Are linux distros about to get hit with a torrent of C&D letters?

OGG won't be able to take over completely from MP3 until most/all home stereos are able to play ogg CDs in the same way they can now play MP3 CDs, and until most/all personal music players can work with ogg files.

Re:There's a worry here (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172844)

And that's not going to happen. By the time MP3 disappears, something newer will have taken over. Ogg Vorbis has hit a plateau from which it's unlikely to move up from.

Re:There's a worry here (1)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172984)

This does kick my butt - I need to convert all my MP3s to OGG, and have both formats of every song on disk. Until, of course, some ogg-compatible home stereos and personal players come on the market.

Re:There's a worry here (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173208)

I don't get what the issue is - will all your MP3 players suddenly stop working?

Re:There's a worry here (1)

boojit (256278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173224)

AFAIK, these patent issues only apply to encoding, not decoding (so rippers, not players). If that's true you'll probably never have to worry about playing your mp3s.

For encoding, though -- yeah, I think there could be an issue here. Most of the open-source/Linux stuff out there for encoding mp3's uses the LAME encoding stuff (which, don't forget, is widely recognized as the _best_ mp3 encoder there is -- at any price). If patent-holders went after that project, you could well start to see mp3-creating stuff drop from your favorite distros.

And if that happens, well good riddance, in my book. I've been encoding to ogg Vorbis for years, and I've never looked back. It's just better.

--booj

Re:There's a worry here (5, Funny)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172878)

Are linux distros about to get hit with a torrent of C&D letters?
Nah, nobody will seed.

Re:There's a worry here (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173084)

Hell would freeze before you're left with "gigs of unplayable" mp3s. Remember that software patents only affect certain parts of the world. There would still be a Free mp3 codec available for Europe, for example. It would technically be illegal for you to install it if you're in a country that has software patents and the creators haven't paid the requested royalties (if any), but I really don't think too many people are going to care.

Re:There's a worry here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173238)

I'm in OpenSuSE 10.2. Amarok (and anything else working with xine) does not play MP3 out of the box. It does play OGG though. You have to go out to the Packman repo and grab the mplayer and updated xine-lib packages to get your system to decode MP3.

I'm currently in the middle of ripping my owned CDs to OGG for playback in Linux.

Wouldn't this qualify for a Linux distro that doesn't distribute MP3 software?

Re:There's a worry here (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173334)

Would I be right to worry that when I upgrade to the next Ubuntu release, or update within the release I'm running, that I might find several programs and libraries quietly dropping their MP3 support, leaving me with gigs of unplayable files?

You should not worry as this software-patent madness is only about the US, Japan, Australia and few other countries. Europe, India and South Africa (where Ubuntu is from) are still free.

And, anyway, you can simply write a script to convert all your mp3s into wav and then into ogg: it should not take more than 10 lines in bash, and if this were ever to be a problem such a script would be made available in 10 minutes on Ubuntu's forums.

convert (3, Interesting)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172800)

time sox song.mp3 song.ogg
22.845u 0.336s 0:23.19 99.9% 0+0k 0+0io 0pf+0w

Not bad, cpu is only 2.4ghz. This was a 3.5mb mp3 and it ended up as a 2.9mb ogg.

Re:convert (1)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173008)

that's nice and all but you're still transrating your file
and what if say in 3 years after you've deleted your mp3-files the ogg vorbis format is being
attacked by another money grubbing prick ... what are you gonna do then ?
convert to yet another lossy format ... and in a decade or so all your music will sound like crap except the albums you've actually bought and can rip at any given time
Little tip: don't use cd's as coasters!

just hope some people will have the balls to keep hosting libmad, win32codecs, ...

AAC is the most likely winner (5, Insightful)

TedTodorov (121485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172822)

As much as we may wish for Ogg Vorbis to succeed, the most likely beneficiary is AAC, simply because of iTunes' default settings. I strongly suspect AAC has already caught up to MP3 in popularity.

Most people just rip their CDs using the defaults, and thanks to the iPod, iTunes is surely the most popular digital audio program out there. I haven't heard with any patent threats to AAC, so I would suspect that more companies and people will move in that direction.

Bonus: AAC sounds better than MP3 at the same bit rate.

Re:AAC is the most likely winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173012)

I strongly suspect AAC has already caught up to MP3 in popularity
Haha.

Do you really?

Re:AAC is the most likely winner (1)

beavioso (853680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173196)

You do realize that MP3 is part of the MPEG-1 Standard, and that AAC is part of the MPEG-2 standard. Furthermore, the MPEG-2 standard builds on the MPEG-1 standard, so I don't think that would save it from these troubles. Of course, I didn't look at the claims of the patents that were mentioned in the article, but AAC is built upon MP3.

Re:AAC is the most likely winner (1)

stu42j (304634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173738)

Just because MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 both start with the same 4 letters doesn't mean that the formats are at all similar on the inside.

Re:AAC is the most likely winner (3, Insightful)

swilver (617741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173754)

I strongly suspect AAC has already caught up to MP3 in popularity.
Reality check needed here, AAC has nowhere near the penetration of MP3 just because iTunes uses it as a default. People were ripping CD's and playing MP3's long before iTunes even existed (I think I started in 1995 or so), building HUGE collections of MP3's which were shared by the harddisk load (because downloading an MP3 over the internet still took like 15 minutes using a 56k modem). Even now I hardly encounter AAC's (unless they're encoded into an AVI stream).

As for the story that MP3 infringes on some patents, well it has no impact on how I will use my music. I also seriously doubt AAC will be patent free (or any other audio compression format for that matter), it's just that MP3 is popular right now and it's a nice big target.

Or just WMA (2, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172872)

And that raises some tantalizing possibilities, including a real long shot: Open-source, royalty-free formats win.

What about WMA, since it's an MS format I'm assuming that they don't have to deal with the same issues as mp3, and many other companies already support it on their products (car stereo, portable players, dvd players, etc). I'm not sure what the licensing terms are, but even if mp3 disappears it doesn't mean that an open format will automatically be the one to take the stage (not that I would mind in the least if ogg/flac support did increase)

Re:Or just WMA (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172978)

You are still paying a license.

MP3 will stick around just like jpg.

How to play Vorbis on an Ipod? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172890)

I seem to remember that there are alternative firmwares floating out there for various ipod models. Would someone be kind enough to reply with a comprehensive explanation for where to get these alternate firmwares, what's involved in installation, and what benefit us ipod owners can expect?

Re:How to play Vorbis on an Ipod? (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173038)

The answer is Rockbox [rockbox.org] . Which you could easily have found on Google, even if your search query had just been alternative ipod firmware :)

Re:How to play Vorbis on an Ipod? (2, Informative)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173110)

www.rockbox.org [rockbox.org]

Howtos are on the site.
You flash the bootloader (using a tool they provide), then extract the daily-built rar file to your iPod (which you have to have formatted and enabled for Windows USB Mass-Storage compatibility).
Then, just start copying your music to your iPod/harddrive in whatever format/directory structure you want.
AAC, MP3, FLAC, OGG, etc, all supported

Re:How to play Vorbis on an Ipod? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173450)

Thank you very much. Are there any compatibility issues with Apple updates? Do I risk bricking my ipod by installing this?

Re:How to play Vorbis on an Ipod? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173194)

rockbox. Google it. I'm not doing all the fucking work for you.

Re:How to play Vorbis on an Ipod? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173386)

Actually, I was hoping you would "do the work" for every reader, not just me. Then you might get modded to +5, Informative for helping everyone else in the forum. And you would have done a good deed in the process.

Why sue Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173066)

This is probably really obvious, but why did they sue Microsoft instead of Fraunhaufer? It seems Fraunhaufer is the one selling a product based on Alcatel's patents. Wouldn't it make more sense to go to the source of the infringement instead of suing the customers?

Re:Why sue Microsoft? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173288)

Who has more money?

Re:Why sue Microsoft? (2, Informative)

Dan Stephans II (693520) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173680)

FTA Lucent and Fraunhofer worked together to develop a patent suite for MP3. The question is raised ITA regarding whether ALU should be seeking its cut of the revenue stream on MP3 licensing from Thomson and not from M$. I presume M$ will prevail on appeal, hard to root for them but it's hard to root for a broken patent system that rewards "Intellectual Property Portfolios" (also FTA Lucent was looking to sue on their patent portfolio to shore their finances up...)

You fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173220)

to 3own7oad the [goat.cx]

Open source != unencumbered by patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173308)

Just because formats are open source doesn't mean that they don't infringe on patents, it just means they haven't been sued yet.

Why? Because patent holders that litigate tend to do so because they're waiting for the pot to be big enough to be worth litigating over. It's not like someone defending a trademark, at least not under US Patent law.

Why only Vorbis (link im article) (1)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173500)

AAC is royalty free and better than MP3. You only need a license for certain purposes, which your computer manufacturer, media player etc. probably has bundled just fine (iTunes for example, which is .. for free)

Arguably it's better quality and smaller than Vorbis too, which for all intents and purposes could well be patented somehow somewhere, just hasn't been tested yet. At least you know where you stand with AAC.
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