By Robert Menta - 8/13/01
The RC2 version of Ogg Vorbis was released today on the vorbis.com website. An MP3 competitor, Ogg was created to offer a patent free open source file compression format.
Thompson electronics and the Fraunhofer institute jointly own the patents of the MP3 format and are in the process of charging licensing fees from companies that use the encoder/decoder in their products. Some in Net music's underbelly see the era of the free MP3 software player will come to an eventual close and so these independent developers have banded together to create a free and open format. RC2 is the latest fruits of their labors.
Ogg Vorbis is a more modern format than MP3 with several advantages. For example, Ogg Vorbis can handle more than 2 audio channels while MP3 can't. If you are serving audio streams, you can actually strip away parts of the files to make lower bitrate streams--without re-coding. MP3 can't. The most important of the many changes in the latest version is channel coupling, which means that Vorbis can now encode bitsteams at a much lower bitrate than before.
Like all the other competing formats, Ogg Vorbis claims smaller file sizes for equal sound than MP3s, but this has been mostly answered with the release of MP3Pro that has enjoyed significant acceptance since its release in June. MP3Pro has halved the size of regular MP3 files with excellent results.
With the MP3 format so firmly entrenched, and Microsoft putting all its muscle to see that their WMA is at least number two, many wonder how successful Ogg Vorbis will be at getting users and hardware manufacturers to adopt its format across the board. Maybe if its developer's worst nightmares come true, a vision we hope never comes to fruition.
If you are interested in ripping music to the Ogg Vorbis format and experimenting with it yourself you can get all you need here.
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