Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What the hell is Ogg Vorbis, and why should I use it?

Artigo em português

Most Linux users have probably at least heard of Ogg Vorbis, while most Windows users most likely haven't, unless they are super nerds.

The Ogg Vorbis website sums it up quite nicely.....

"Ogg Vorbis is a new audio compression format. It is roughly comparable to other formats used to store and play digital music, such as MP3, VQF, AAC, and other digital audio formats. It is different from these other formats because it is completely free, open, and unpatented."

Ok, so now we know that it's absolutely free. That alone gives us users some advantages. Linux distributions in general have Ogg Vorbis support built in. That means no additional codec installs. That's good for everyone.

Of course there are other advantages as well. Installing an mp3 codec in linux could be against the law, depending on where you live. Using Ogg Vorbis, you will be worry free and law abiding.

The Ogg Vorbis format will save you hard drive space. If you choose to save your Ogg files at the same quality as your mp3's, the Ogg files will be smaller. Or, you can use a higher quality than the mp3's and still use the same amount of space.
If you're a developer, there's a very large advantage. You can include sound files in your software and you won't pay any licensing fees at all. Many game developers (Epic Games and EA Games for example) have realized this and started using Ogg to keep the money in their pocket.
Ogg Vorbis is also streamable via the icecast audio server. So, there is an alternative for websites and for home media servers that also happens to be completely open source.

At this point, you're probably thinking......... Portable music players don't play Ogg Vorbis. You're absolutely right, if you're talking about the ipod. But, there are actually quite a few players on the market that support Ogg Vorbis. Don't believe me? Here's just one of the many links to lists of Ogg players.... http://www.ciao.co.uk/Portable_MP3_Players_5266512_3-ogg_vorbis

Why should we put up with closed source, licensed, audio codecs when there are perfectly usable alternatives? Why don't we change the world instead of going along with it?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

been using ogg vorbis for awhile now. i found out about it because i like unliscensed anime and fansubs usually use ogg for audio and matroska for multiple subs. it's a great format but can be problematic with windows. i had one box that i had to mess with for awhile to get it to accept the ogg codec. ms unsurprisingly doesn't support it but was more than happy to give me an mp3 codec instead...once i paid the liscensing of course.

AltF said...

true, we should all switch over to Ogg Vorbis!

Martin said...

You forgot one large player (no pun intended) in the market: TomTom uses ogg for the navigation speech!
And iPod DOES support Ogg: You only have to install Rockbox, which is better, supports Ogg and the installation is completely reversible if you would want to go back.

Anonymous said...

i use mp3 coz my mp3 playa playz it lol

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia article about MP3, shows some points as why to avoid it as well.
As the license part of the article sums up:
"In short, with Thomson, Fraunhofer IIS, Sisvel (and its U.S. subsidiary Audio MPEG), Texas MP3 Technologies, and Alcatel-Lucent all claiming legal control of relevant MP3 patents related to decoders, the legal status of MP3 remains unclear in countries that permit software patents."

Which should also point out one of the reasons software patents are bad.

Cheez said...

Ogg is a nice open format. But since I started using flac I've not looked back. Lossless audio codecs are so so much nicer than lossy ones.

Carlos said...

Rockbox FTW

subcorpus said...

somebody needs to hack the iPods sohey can play ogg ...
i like ogg ... i even like the the fact winamp used to play ogg ages back ... hehe ...
how does macintosh handle ogg ?

Anonymous said...

Whats the point of it if the online music shops only sell aac and wma?

Anonymous said...

My portable music player, a TrekStor i-Beat organix, plays ogg vorbis.

It also runs about 24 hours on a single battery charge, and is about the size of a lighter.

Anonymous said...

Allofmp3.com sells Ogg Vorbis encoded content.

David Dernoncourt said...

Ogg is great, but it's definitely not new : I've been using it for at least 3 years...

Anonymous said...

ogg vorbis has been around for a long time. About 7 years ago they owned by a CMGI company iCast that was to launch into the mainstream. That company folded and they rushed to buy thier rights back to become ogg vorbis again.

Grand Theft AutoPod said...

It's funny but the IPod is twice the price of other mp3 players that have Ogg Vorbis compatibility, and yet people still flock to IPods

Anonymous said...

There's even an album which is (mostly) about Ogg Vorbis. Check it out: www.geradorzero.com/binbash.

Anonymous said...

best free All-In-One Audio Player... plays all your different audio files, including Ogg, for free


www.jetaudio.com

JKWood said...

@SubCorpus:

They did. It's called Rockbox. It's awesome. I run it on my Nano, but it's available for a couple dozen mp3 players.

Anonymous said...

Macs handle ogg's vorbis painlessly. There's a QuickTime plugin here http://www.vorbis.com/setup_osx/ which will allow you to use vorbis files even with iTunes.

Anonymous said...

1) Ogg Vorbis - not new
2) Ogg = container, like AVI or MOV
3) Vorbis = audio compression, like mp3, flac, Monkey Audio etc

- A Windows "Super Nerd"

John said...

With the exception of the name, I am a fan of Ogg Vorbis. And I have been using it for many years now. I run Linux on my desktop, and I generally support the idea of free alternatives to propriatary or patented audio formats.

One thing major benifit that Ogg Vorbis provides is that it supports gapless playback--playing an album (e.g. Pink Floyd's the Wall) from beginning to end without any annoying pauses between tracks--which is how the album was intended to be presented.

When selecting an mp3 player this was something that was very important to me, but sadly I did not find many players with feature sets that were compatiable with my needs out of the box.

Ultimately I went with the iRiver h10 20GB, which by itself did not satisfy my requirements until I replaced the firmware with rockbox.

Although the rockbox interface is a bit dodgey what it's lacking in appearance it more than makes up for it in the features.

Perhaps the main benifit is that the rockbox developers keep improving it so its likely to live on long past the iriver support.

Rockbox also natively supports FLAC which is a lossless compression technology.

So just as there are free alternatives to mp3, you may also be able to try out free alternatives to your mp3 PLAYER's firmware. Today I am dual booting between the iriver firmware and rockbox and I am very happy with the purchase of the iriver h10.

Anonymous said...

so, because I use windows and Ogg Vorbis, I am now a SUPER-NERD! w00t! You forgot to mention the game-changer media palyer VLC.... take it from this supernerd. once you adopt the all-powerful VLC, the grimey word "Codec" will drop from your thought! btw, IPOD$? whats with that? if you want to be a nerd, get a good mp3 player, is you want to be a loser, get an IPOD.

Namesbond said...

FLAC FTW

Ratty said...

Sansa e200 + Rockbox = best mp3 player. Rockbox supports a lot of different formats, including ogg.

Bruce Anderson said...

The idea that one lossy codec is "superior" ('morally' or technically) to another is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Ogg is nothing until there is native support for the filetype on the iPod, the world's most numerous 'MP3' player.

daniel said...

i dont use it because tagging and album art attachment didn't work well.

if someone has a suggestion hat actually works ill try it again. ive been using tagandrename for most of my audio files and dont want to change as it handles flac and mp3 with no problems.

James Tickett said...

I think my portable player the S10 handles OGG. I've used OGG and love it. I've got an interest in Linux too! but to be honest, the ease of use for MP3 and WAV are the tempting bits. That knowledge that they will work on most devices/software.

Although now you mention the licensing and use on games. I think i will adapt to this format, and certainly remember to use it when making games.

Anonymous said...

actually, winamp has a plugin for free that allows you to play ogg files. you can find it here http://www.winamp.com/plugins/details/143936

Anonymous said...

For iPod fanatics there should be a simple solution to the ogg playback compatibility problem: install ogg quicktime plug-in and let iTunes convert all of your ogg files into aac when syncing your iPod.

Anonymous said...

Ogg, Flac, Speex codecs for Windows Media Player - http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/downloads.html

Anonymous said...

I learned to use ogg vorbis as part of my web design class in sophmore year of high school. I knew it was better than mp3 in a lot of ways. We did .mp3, .ogg, and .FLAC. But flac is incredibly huge

suddendeviced said...

I'm using mocp (music on the console player) a nice text player 4 linux, XMMS, the classic one and on Windows VUplayer, a light play-everything. This Ogg Vorbis is used on most of the free and open games... Ogg FTW!

Jorge said...

iPod with Rockbox plays OGG and other formats as well :)

Viper said...

I found this via Digg. I've been using Digg in combo with MP3 (192 kbps). I have an iPod, and wish it was supported, but I've made due.

Also, I learned about Vogg because of Unreal Tournament 2004. In UT2K4, all the audio files are Vogg format.

LinuxLazy said...

I had heard of OGG when 4 years back and was a windows user then...and used it on my nokia nGage QD phone...
But i dont think i am super nerd!!

OnlinePharmacy said...

WoSPeG Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!

Anonymous said...

"It's funny but the IPod is twice the price of other mp3 players that have Ogg Vorbis compatibility, and yet people still flock to IPods"

That's because the vast majority of people don't have a reason to care about alternatives to mp3s. Apple pays the licensing fees to have iTunes able to encode and playback mp3s, so there are no legal issues and most people don't care if something is open source and unpatented as long as it's free. Why should they?