A Conversation for MPEG Audio Layer 3 (MP3) Technical Guide
Pete, never to have a time-specific nick again (Keeper of Disambiguating Semicolons) - Born in the Year of the Lab Rat Started conversation Feb 5, 2003
In the light of free/open source software no longer being (legally) able to make use of mp3 compression due to Fraunhofer Institute's assertion of patent royalties, a group of concerned hackers created an alternative audio codec - Ogg Vorbis.
It is completely patent-free and therefore anybody may create a program supporting the format. It is slower to encode, but due to its more advanced psyhoacoustic model it is capable of making files which have the same sound quality as MP3, but with smaller files (or conversely, higher quality at the same size).
Probably the biggest problem with Vorbis at the moment is that no hardware players support it. If the free software community can persuade the likes of Sony and Creative that there is a demand for it, this format should eventually supercede MP3.
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