Hot on the heels of the MP3Pro format, this weekend saw the release of Ogg Vorbis, the free-licence equivalent of MP3 and the open source community's champion for audio compression.
Launched in time to give MP3Pro a run for its money, Vorbis version 1.0 is a "fully open, non-proprietary, patent-and-royalty-free, general-purpose compressed audio format for high quality audio": essentially, the open source community's answer to Fraunhofer's MP3 format.
Claiming better audio quality than MP3, the attraction of Vorbis has been supplemented by the absence of the patent royalties that typically accompany MP3 using software developers and distributors.
Along with strong support from the open source community, Vorbis also has fans in corporate camps. Sonic Foundry, Sonique, and WinAmp all offer support for the Vorbis codec in their audio products.
This weekend's release of Vorbis is still classed as a release candidate rather than a full release. Although it is almost identical to the final version, the developers are playing safe and giving just a little more time to the bug hunters to eliminate any last minute glitches.
Vorbis will receive strong competition not only from the latest MP3 candidate, but also from Microsoft's champion in the audio arena, Windows Media Audio 8.
The Vorbis codec can be downloaded here.
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