Ogg What?

By Eric Foster-Johnson, ITworld |  Opinion

Ogg Vorbis (http://www.vorbis.com) is a patent free media format
designed to supercede the popular MP3 format. No royalties and no
restrictions. Additionally, recent updates allow the Ogg Vorbis format
to provide higher quality than MP3 encodings. Alas, not much music is
available in this format yet. The Ogg Vorbis format, however, is only
the beginning of a whole series of free multimedia formats released
under the Ogg project.

From the download page (http://www.vorbis.com/download.html), you can
download Ogg Vorbis players and libraries for Linux, Windows, MacOS,
BeOS, and even OS/2. You can also download the full source code, which
is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Some of the
libraries are released under a more generous BSD-style license. In
addition to the main downloads, quite a few software packages support
the Ogg Vorbis format, as documented at
http://www.vorbis.com/thirdparty.html.

The issue with patents is more important for musicians than end users,
since you can download a variety of free music players that support the
MP3 and other proprietary formats. Both FreeAmp
(http://www.freeamp.org) and XMMS (http://www.xmms.org) support Ogg
Vorbis (XMMS with plugins). In addition, the Java application
jOggPlayer (http://www.webarts.bc.ca/jOggPlayer) runs on Linux. I found
that the XMMS player included with Red hat 7.1 plays Ogg Vorbis files
just fine so if you have a recent Linux distribution, then you likely
won't have to install any new software to play music in this format.

You can find out more at a number of Ogg Vorbis sites, including
http://www.vorbislinks.com, http://www.lawsonmedia.com, and
http://www.vorbissimo.com.

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