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Nokia Claims Ogg Format is "Proprietary" 619

Posted by Zonk
from the i-do-not-think-that-word-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.
a nona maus writes "Several months ago a workgroup of the W3C decided to include Ogg/Theora+Vorbis as the recommended baseline video codec standard for HTML5, against Apple's aggressive protest. Now, Nokia seems to be seeking a reversal of that decision: they have released a position paper calling Ogg 'proprietary' and citing the importance of DRM support. Nokia has historically responded to questions about Ogg on their internet tablets with strange and inconsistent answers, along with hand waving about their legal department. This latest step is enough to really make you wonder what they are really up to."
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Nokia Claims Ogg Format is "Proprietary"

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  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:42PM (#21634373) Homepage Journal
    Fully documentable nothin'! Theora and Vorbis are fully [xiph.org] documented [theora.org]. If you can't figure out how to make your own implementation from the docs and/or by studying one of the many existing implementations out there, you need to turn in your geek card and just forget about developing software.

    Proprietary would imply that independent implementations cannot be made or cannot be made easily without violating patents or reverse engineering or whatever. Vorbis and Theora are nothing of the sort -- they are fully open and unencumbered.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:43PM (#21634379)
    If you look at the link to the position paper, you'll see this was something Nokia published back in _August_.
  • Re:Apple and Ogg (Score:5, Informative)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:49PM (#21634437) Homepage Journal
    There is a plugin you can get for iTunes that lets it support ogg, but last time I tried it there were problems with it (you couldn't stream music to another copy of iTunes for instance because it would stream at the wrong rate and break up every couple of seconds, nor could you stream to an Airport Express).
  • Re:To the tagger: (Score:2, Informative)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:58PM (#21634523) Journal
    that's an anachronistic spelling.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:59PM (#21634543) Homepage
    Wrong, they do if they know where to pay and how much and if they consider the payment reasonable. Cellular industry mentality. Every bit of IP has to be payed for and accounted for. Essentially the software industry mentality of the early 80-es redux. They are not alone in this. Most of the industry is just as bad if not worse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:13PM (#21634681)
    It's funny that you responded to an article about video with a rambling about audio. It's however hilarious that it got modded Insightful.
  • Re:Apple and Ogg (Score:4, Informative)

    by raddan (519638) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:14PM (#21634693)
    Nokia and Apple obviously have stakes in determining the codec that people use for video over the web. Apple is pushing H.264, which they point out is a standard [apple.com], but fail to mention is also proprietary [wikipedia.org]. Nokia mentions this in their position paper, but goes on to recommend H.264 anyway. Ironically, they list their #1 criteria for codec adoption to be "The specifications, and supporting documentation and code (i.e. conformance test suites, example/reference code, ...) are obtainable by everyone, for free or against a reasonable fee (ISO/IEC fees are reasonable in this sense)." You can't get a more reasonable fee than free, which is the case with Ogg. Anyhow, it's clear that Apple wants AppleTV to be a new content-delivery platform. Nokia probably has similar plans.

    What I really suspect Nokia is saying in this paper are in criteria #2 and #5: "There is only a manageable risk in implementing the specification. In practice, we prefer specifications that have been developed in a collaborative manner under an IPR policy with disclsore requirements. Examples include specifications developed by the ITU-T, ISO/IEC, or the IETF." and "Compatibility with DRM. We understand that this could be a sore point in W3C, but from our viewpoint, any DRM-incompatible video related mechanism is a non-starter with the content industry (Hollywood). There is in our opinion no need to make DRM support mandatory, though."

    Basically, "we think Ogg will get us sued" and "Hollywood won't use Ogg". It's a shame that Stephan Wenger (the author of this paper) has now damaged his own credibility by writing a four-page exercise in being disingenuous.

    I'd like to point out that the one really successful proprietary codec, MP3, is a success because of the huge numbers of people who intially implemented the codec without a license and because it didn't support DRM, thus leading to widespread piracy, and establishing the format as the de facto standard for unencumbered audio. I would personally consider the W3C negligent if they did not choose an open (free as in beer and speech) codec.
  • by Fzz (153115) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:17PM (#21634723)
    Here's a rough summary of the concerns Nokia have:
    • No-one knows if Ogg Vorbis or Ogg Theora are encumbered by patents. They were developed to be free of the main known patents, but they could still be encumbered by some submarine patent. If they're accepted as the baseline, Nokia face unknown risk if such a patent emerges after they've deployed the technology in hundreds of millions of phones. With H.261/AAC, the risks are more known because an unknown patent-holder would have sued someone by now.
    • There's a lot of content available online (though not directly as part of Web standards). Nokia in concerned that the content producers will will stear clear of Ogg in favour of solutions that support DRM or at least have a known track record. Better the devil you know...
    The second concern is probably rubbish, in so far as they are asking for H.264/AAC instead. DRM on these is completely orthogonal to the issue of the codec - you could easily wrap Theora in a DRM wrapper if you wanted (though why you'd want to is beyond me).

    The first concern though is more interesting. Basically Nokia seems to be saying that they'd rather pay predictable patent licensing fees for H.264/AAC than face unknown risk. That's a business decision, and I don't know of any good argument against it - we really don't know if there are any submarine patents that Theora or Vorbis might infringe on. From what I know about coding, it seems unlikely (especially in the case of Vorbis), but not impossible to me.

    Despite this, I think W3C made the right call and should stick to it.

  • Re:ACC/H2.64 (Score:3, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:19PM (#21634753)
    AAC and H.264 are Apples? Hmmm, you may want to let the Moving Pictures Expert Group know [wikipedia.org] about [wikipedia.org] that. [wikipedia.org]
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:23PM (#21634789) Journal
    Apart from it not supporting DRM, ogg has only advantages - it's equal or superior to most other codecs (the widely used mp3 and wma are inferior) and it's open-source w/o patents restrictions...

    Seriously, does anyone have an explanation for that?


    Ogg isn't a codec. It's a container format. Vorbis is the audio codec in question, and Theora is the video codec in question.

    Theora was created using proprietary code and patented techniques developed by On2 and used in their VP3 codec, adapted to fit inside an Ogg container. There are tools to let you convert existing VP3 streams into Ogg streams.

    The Xiph.org foundation negotiated free access for all to those patented technology before adapting and adopting it. From the Theora FAQ [theora.org]:

    Yes, some portions of the VP3 codec are covered by patents. However, the Xiph.org Foundation has negotiated an irrevocable free license to the VP3 codec for any purpose imaginable on behalf of the public. It is legal to use VP3 in any way you see fit (unless, of course, you're doing something illegal with it in your particular jurisdiction). You are free to download VP3, use it free of charge, implement it in a for-sale product, implement it in a free product, make changes to the source and distribute those changes, or print the source code out and wallpaper your spare room with it.


    The paper from Nokia seems to revolve around the fact that it doesn't support DRM from what I can see.
  • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:35PM (#21634919) Homepage
    Theora video is somewhat based on H.261 and is obsolete in regards with recent developments such as H.264 and VP8 from On2. Can someone knowledgable about Theora make any comment on this assertion?

    Monty (the inventor of Vorbis) can comment on it: http://web.mit.edu/xiphmont/Public/theora/demo.html [mit.edu]

    "Unlike Vorbis and Speex, legitimate best-in-class codecs, Theora's coding quality is obviously poor relative to contemporary competition. This poor performance stems both from implementation and design deficiencies."
  • by KugelKurt (908765) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:38PM (#21634951)
    I'm sure that I'll be modded down for my following comment, but I post it anyway:

    Vorbis is pretty much dead. While its quality is good, Vorbis has quite high performance requirements just for decoding (negligible on current desktop PCs, but not on portables that run on battery). Even Vorbis's developer Xiph.org acknowledged that and instead of trying to "fix" Vorbis, they started development of an entirely new audio codec called Ghost.

    While Vorbis and Theora are in no way proprietary, the industry already decided to support MPEG-4. Even Microsoft supports it out of the box on Xbox 360 and Zune. Vorbis was cool when it was released, but it never had a modern video codec as companion.
  • Re:Reasoning (Score:3, Informative)

    by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:38PM (#21634959) Journal
    "We have YouTube. Do you really think they are going to convert their whole digital library to Ogg just because some company proposed it as their next standard. No. Nokia just wants to leverage the power W3C has to make it promote the file formats it already supports."

    Fact check: Youtube accepts video in almost any codec and (as they have mentioned (it was in respect to their coming higher definition video) in the past) stores an unaltered copy, then they essentially transcode everything to H264 and wrap it in FLV. Google would likely be fine with converting it to whatever, as they have already shown with the iphone, which doesn't use FLV (but does use H264).
  • Re:Apple and Ogg (Score:2, Informative)

    by gsnedders (928327) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:46PM (#21635031) Homepage
    Apple's primary reason for not supporting Ogg/Vorbis (as has been said many times in many places) is that no major company has implemented it yet: those with submarine patents aren't going to sue someone with no money, they'll wait for the biggest company possible to implement it, a company with large amounts of money like MS or Apple before taking legal action. It's a huge risk, and without already deployed content, nobody is going to take the risk.

    You have to remember that Ogg/Vorbis isn't truly patent free: one or two companies have granted RF licenses to any and all patents covering Ogg/Vorbis, but that's far from every company/organisation/person with patents, and several major companies have stated they are aware of patents that cover Ogg/Vorbis that are not covered by the RF grants.
  • Obligatory Link (Score:2, Informative)

    by MrMunkey (1039894) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:46PM (#21635041) Homepage
    I know this will be somewhat redundant, but just read the FAQ on Vorbis' website. It explains everything that Nokia needed to know before writing this travesty.

    http://www.vorbis.com/faq/#fan [vorbis.com]
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:47PM (#21635051)
    Well you could always get a mp3 player that rockbox supports and install that. Not only does it support .ogg, but it also supports another feature that is rarely found on mp3 players, true gapless playback.
  • by Fzz (153115) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:48PM (#21635059)
    I have an argument against it. How do they know there aren't submarine patents covering H.264/AAC in addition to the patents they're paying license fees for?

    My guess at their reasoning:

    • H.264 and AAC were developed in standards organizations where members need to declare what patents they have that a new standard might infringe. So there should be no submarine patents from the main industry players.
    • H.264 and AAC have been around long enough and are deployed widely enough (think iPods and HD-TV) that any patent bandit would have sued them already.
    Whereas in comparison, there hasn't been anyone worth suing over Ogg Vorbis or Theora.

    Such is the screwed up state of the world of software patents :-(

  • by Xzallion (949882) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:54PM (#21635113)
    The W3C tries to make the web standard easily accessible to everyone, whether they are running Linux, windows, BSD, OSX or another operating system. They also try to make it where the standards can be implemented on any browser. By adopting a standard video and audio codec, browsers can support these 'out of the box' and users won't have to download codecs to view videos or hear a pod cast. It is still up to the website designers if they want to follow the standards, so they aren't telling you to do anything. Instead they are trying to make it where your choices don't impede your access to the web.
  • by leenks (906881) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:57PM (#21635127)
    You make the assumption that he has spare time in which to work another job. Many of us have to take multiple jobs just to survive...
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@NOspam.zen.co.uk> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:01PM (#21635163)
    Cowon's players support it. They also do FLAC.
  • OGG player (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrYak (748999) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:06PM (#21635199) Homepage

    Last week, I went to buy my first mp3 player, and I can't find a single one in my "budget" price range that has ogg support.


    Almost the whole range of Samsung has OGG/Vorbis support built-in.
    Also, there are a lot of "NoName" asian, or less known brands (most of the time re-packaged asian "nonames") that support Swiss Bull-It [swissbull-it.com] is such re-packager, most of their player support OGG/Vorbis out of the box, some other after a firmware upgrade.
    I know there are even OGG/Vorbis supporting devices in the "USB stick" form factor (my brother has one).

    In fact, appart the few "Big Brands" who usually support only MP3 (because it's such a huge standard that they can't avoid it) and WMA/ATRAC/AAC+DRM or whatever is the proprietary format of their associated shop ; most lesser brands will support OGG because there's no technical limitation preventing it, there's no patent to prevent them, and that enables them to add another bullet point to their list, with very minimal efforts (There's already an open-source integer-math only implementation called Tremor - adding OGG support for a player usually just means recompiling tremor for whatever version of ARM serves as the player's CPU).

    Sasmung is more an exception for being both a known brand and providing OGG support.

    I'm stuck re-ripping or downloading my entire library.

    As a matter of fact, I've always encouraged people to keep a copy of their library in a loss-less format too.
    This way, there's no quality loss in case of quality loss, in the event of having to shift formats, or use a newer version of the usual codec with better compression.

    I think that right there kills it for most people.


    Depends on what format the people chosed to save their library into.
    I've already had friends with their libraries of WMA changed into coaster because they reinstalled windows, or changed some hardware which triggered windows thinking that it is on a different PC.

    On the other hand, all you need to play OGGs is just to choose your player wisely. Either stick only 1 brand (Samsung ), or if you want to go for the cheap, accept having a player with an obscure name that nobody has ever heard about (and which will have changed business before next year)

  • by Junta (36770) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:15PM (#21635259)
    It's easy to see what they want for video (h264), audio (aac), but I don't know what they want for a container format, except they want DRM (container format is the component that implements DRM, I would guess, but I'm quite possibly wrong). They note that the Theora/Vorbis has not seen commercial distribution, so patent trolls have not had a reason to come out, and it scares them. Theora is patented, but On2 already said it would be no problem, but Nokia is concerned about a non-obvious company waiting for a single big player to adapt those technologies to bring a suit.

    The three suggestions they give are interesting. The first is to stay out of it, making interoperability difficult, as they said, but they effectively dismiss it because look how great Flash is without being a standard (that's a good argument to actually dictate something as far as I'm concerned). The second is to use no technology newer than about two decades, ostensibly to avoid patent issues. I think Nokia is angling for this because it ultimately ends up being the same as specifying nothing, as any web content provider will be forced to not stick to the standard, as it would mean delivering poorer quality content or being incredibly costly bandwidth wise. All it takes is one or two sites to deviate, but provide a richer standard to make standards compliance mean absolutely nothing. The final suggestion they are confident would lead to H264 and AAC, and they certainly wouldn't mind that.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:20PM (#21635295)
    It's used heavily in gaming because of the ultra high nearly lossless compression. It's an excellent format. Just because it's not as popular with software developers doesn't mean there are quality issues. Gaming is extremely concerned with compression ratios so it's a good solution for them. If you used .wave instead the audio files could end up being bigger than the entire rest of the game. Video and audio tend to be similar in size but audio can be compressed far more without the slow decompression that some video formats require. There are other solutions like MPEG but Ogg handles higher compressions with less loss. I was stunned the first time I compressed a file to Ogg. My .wave files were compressing to 5% with little decernable loss. I ran them several times and rechecked the file size just to make sure I wasn't imagining it. If you need super high compression with good quality I've never seen anything like Ogg.
  • by silviapfeiffer (1200749) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:21PM (#21635305)
    You are correct in saying Ogg is not a codec. But when you compare Theora to VC-1, you must not have been reading the license terms of VC-1 properly. VC-1 is riddled by patents and there are royalites to pay when you use it: http://www.mpegla.com/pid/vc1/ [mpegla.com] . There is no such thing as royalties to pay for Theora. Also, the only patent on Theora were ones owned by On2 Technologies, who donated their VP3 codec as the *basis* technology for Theora and kindly granted an unrevocable free license regarding those patents: http://www.theora.org/benefits/ [theora.org]. As for quality - yes, Theora is a generation behind in compression technology and H.264 is much better quality at lower bitrates. Again - have you read the license conditions? Theora is simply the only open codec standard (as to the definition of Open Standard by Buce Perens: http://perens.com/OpenStandards/Definition.html [perens.com]) with a usable implementation. Mind you, I would watch out for the BBC's Dirac codec http://dirac.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] which is based on Wavelet technology and is thus opening a whole new space of new video codec developments and improvements - a space H.264 didn't enter. And Dirac is an open standard.
  • Agreed (Score:3, Informative)

    by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:42PM (#21635467)
    This appears to be a case of poor sentence construction, with a misplaced modifier and a missing comma. It looks like the guy is just a bad writer.

    And here I was all ready with a joke about Mitt Romney calling secularism a "religion" last week!
  • by Mantaar (1139339) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:49PM (#21635525) Homepage
    I certainly agree, Cowon's players support FLAC and OGG (Vorbis, damnit you "it's-not-a-codec-it's-a-container"-smart-asses), but the Grandparent added

    and I can't find a single one in my "budget" price range that has ogg support.
    Cowon's players are way overpriced - they rely on a community of rabid audiophiles (which I happen to belong to) to buy their products that have only a few advantages over cheaper players... Like superior sound quality, 50-60 hours of battery (for the iAudio7) and flac/ogg support. That made me pay 200 Euro for my player. Way too expensive, still.
  • DRM for OGG (Score:2, Informative)

    by J.Dev.06 (1025842) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:52PM (#21635547)
    These guys [slashdot.org] are currently building DRM for the OGG Vorbis. If I'm right to assume, they are also setting their sites on the entire OGG container for their DRM solution, supporting both theora and vorbis. I don't really understand Nokia's beef at all. It's all a bunch of nonsensical ramblings on about how they're grouchy with W3C's decisions. The situation is all very liken to when you give a child their juice in the wrong coloured cup.
  • by deragon (112986) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:20PM (#21635769) Homepage Journal
    The MP3 patent will expire in the coming years. By then, mp3 will be essentially open, thus giving no significant advantage to ogg.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3#Licensing_and_patent_issues [wikipedia.org]
  • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:23PM (#21635805) Homepage

    You're missing the point here: Vorbis + Theora is the only major non-patent-encumbered (and therefore legal to use commercially or in free software without paying a bunch of lawyers to figure out what patent fees you owe who) option for video.

    MPEG-4 and similar are great for pirates and organizations big enough to have patent lawyers on staff - but standards have to do better than that. Small companies and free software projects have to be able to play too.

  • Re:proprietary. (Score:2, Informative)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:26PM (#21635817) Homepage

    In other news Microsoft is making claim that odt is proprietary

    Well, it's covered by Sun patents. The patent license Sun has granted for those patents only applies to 1.0 of the standard, and future version that Sun participates in. That means that if Sun doesn't like the way the standard is going, they can drop out and kill it. The license does NOT cover forked formats, so you couldn't come up with your own document format based on ODT.

    That sure sounds proprietary. Open and proprietary are not opposites.

  • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:37PM (#21635921) Homepage
    Err, no.

    Ogg is like Quicktime or ASF. There's nothing technically stopping anybody from delivering a mp3 inside an Ogg (seriously), Quicktime, or ASF container. Here's proof:

    Putting a .mp3 inside an ogg container with no encoding:

    $ ogmmerge -o test.ogg theatre\ of\ tragedy\ -\ cassandra.mp3
    Using MP3 demultiplexer for theatre of tragedy - cassandra.mp3.
    +-> Using MP3 output module for audio stream.
    progress: 6538263/6538263 bytes (100%)
    Verifying that it's an ogg container:

    $ file test.ogg
    test.ogg: Ogg data
    Mplayer shows how it's both an ogg container and the audio is MP3 (parts snipped, stupid lameness filter)

    $ mplayer test.ogg
    Playing test.ogg.
    Ogg file format detected.
    Opening audio decoder: [mp3lib] MPEG layer-2, layer-3
    Selected audio codec: [mp3] afm: mp3lib (mp3lib MPEG layer-2, layer-3)
    Video: no video
    Starting playback...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:42PM (#21635951)

    but it also supports another feature that is rarely found on mp3 players, true gapless playback.
    a year ago that would have been true, but every ipod sold in the last 12 months has done gapless, and they are the most common player on the market
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @09:24PM (#21636253) Journal
    Which costs more to distribute, an mp4 stream or an ogg stream?

    According to a news release [mpegla.com] from 2002 which is hosted on the MPEG LA site, the price for mp4 was:

    2. In the case of Internet (wired and wireless) or mobile, annual royalties with annual limitations and thresholds will apply: (a) for the manufacture and sale of decoders and/or encoders: US $0.25 per activated decoder and/or encoder subject to an annual cap per legal entity of $1,000,000 for decoders and $1,000,000 for encoders (to be paid by the manufacturer that offers functioning product for sale or distribution, either directly or through a chain of distribution, to the end user), but there is no royalty for the first 50,000 decoders and first 50,000 encoders in a calendar year sold or distributed by a legal entity (applies to no more than one legal entity in an affiliated group); (b) for the use of decoders and encoders to decode or encode MPEG-4 video (to be paid by the party that is the apparent source of such video to the consumer), a licensee may choose to pay US $0.25 per subscriber per year or US $0.000333 per minute of MPEG-4 video used, each subject to an annual cap of $1,000,000 per legal entity, or a $1,000,000 annual paid-up fee (with no royalty reporting obligation), but no royalty is payable on the first 50,000 subscribers during a calendar year (applies to no more than one legal entity in an affiliated group). Subscriber refers to each unique viewer for any part of a year, but where the content provider's remuneration is not directly from subscriptions (e.g., advertiser-supported services), MPEG LA will work directly with Licensees to come up with a consistent method of counting subscribers that works with their business models.

    3. In the case of Stored Video (packaged media and video transmitted and stored for viewing for which a transactional fee is paid), the replicator or content provider will pay (a) US $0.01 per 30 minutes or part to a maximum of US $0.04 per movie; (b) US $0.005 per 30 minutes or part thereof to a maximum of US $0.02 per movie where the content of the Stored Video is 5 years or older (after it was copyrighted or subject to be copyrighted), and (c) US $0.002 for a Stored Video of 12 minutes or less.


    So, if the current terms even vaguely approach this older release, the difference in price/time sacrifice for the higher file size is more than offset by the pricing. Dollars and cents, free and open makes sense.

    Anyone got current/more accurate pricing info?
  • AAC, then? (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @09:37PM (#21636381) Journal
    Both are patent-encumbered at the moment, and AAC sounds a lot better.

    No, people don't love mp3 because of iTunes, it's the other way around -- iTunes would not exist, were it not for mp3. People don't particularly love mp3, either, they just assume it's the only option out there -- kind of like Windows on PCs.
  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:11PM (#21636643)
    Except for the technical advantages. I can take a PCM file from a ripped cd and encode it with similar settings in iTunes (aac), neroenc (aac), lame, and the vorbis encoder, and everything but lame and vorbis sound like the range is compressed too far, and mp3 sounds poor on some tracks that are difficult to encode, but on the vorbis version those same passages are not as annoying.

    I've done this on multiple tracks on multiple machines with good earphones, vorbis is always the least annoying for passages with encoder defects. However i do have an 3gen nano so vorbis isn't a real option, nor is alternative firmware.
  • by Malevolyn (776946) <signedlongint&gmail,com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:49PM (#21636939) Homepage
    I can verify this. However, the iPod causes a loud click when the buffer starts about one second before the current track ends. Rockbox doesn't have this issue. You can also change the buffer length in Rockbox. I think the iPod's is only a half second, to be honest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:04PM (#21637029)
    Except for, of course (assuming you mean Vorbis when you say "ogg")
      - Improved sound quality
      - Better tag support
      - Better streaming support
      - Chained stream support
      - Metadata multiplexing
      - Support for more than 2 channels
    etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:15PM (#21637091)
    Rhythmbox on Ubuntu Gutsy re-encodes to whatever-format-HAL-says-your-portable-player-supports when you drag and drop files from your library to your music player.
    Seems pretty trivial to me.

    Now if only HAL realised that my Cowon iAudio U2 supports ogg... (much of my library is in ogg, and it is transcoded to mp3 by Rhythmbox)

    A.C.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:24PM (#21637137)
    The players from iriver support OGG-vorbis as well. I got one of those recently and they are not too expensive.
  • by Svartalf (2997) on Monday December 10, 2007 @12:18AM (#21637643) Homepage
    Discriminatory licensing would be for me to license the rights to a given patent to the FOSS community but NOT license it to MS because they've been naughty.

    Non-discriminatory licensing is where anyone that pays the up-front and ongoing royalty price gets to license it.

    If I license it for FREE, then that's the price.
    If I license it for a fifty cents per instance using the hypothetical patent then that's the price.

    Anyone stepping up to the plate gets to license.

    RAND (Reasonable And...) means that it has to be some realistic thing per unit- say zero to something proportionate to it's liability to be used, for example the MP3 patents are licensed out in a reasonable fashion (Reasonable being if you're implementing DVD players or portable music players...). Unreasonable would be something like $500 per instance for something like that.
  • Re:OGG player (Score:2, Informative)

    by guardian-ct (105061) on Monday December 10, 2007 @12:38AM (#21637815)
    At one point, the default recording setting for Windows Media Player, and possibly a few others, was to record to WMA, with Rights/Restriction Management turned on. Worst default setting ever.
  • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Monday December 10, 2007 @01:34AM (#21638293)

    Cowon's players support it. They also do FLAC.
    As do iRiver and iAudio. Many of the far eastern makers support Ogg. You may have to get them online instead of walking into your local consumer electronics store, but you have access to a much wider choice of models and brands. Not just current iPods and a few no name cheap models.
  • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday December 10, 2007 @04:12AM (#21639231) Homepage
    Uhh...Ogg was designed specifically to be open and patent free.
    It can never be like GIF.

    I dont see what Nokia is talking about however.
    W3C is making a tag for html (or similar) and they need a open format which everyone can use.
    Why any DRM is required is puzzling because a) everyone has to be able to view it and b) its video over the net.
    You probably wouldn't be buying a movie and then streaming it over the net in your browser (or your phone).

    Infact Nokia's own selection criteria is contradictory since you can never have a completely open DRM system.
    It requires security by obscruity otherwise everyone can bypass it easily.
  • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday December 10, 2007 @07:42AM (#21640111) Homepage
    You may want to read up on Ogg before making assumptions.

    Yes Ogg is completely patent-free. Thats the entire point of it.
    The reference implementation (libogg) is BSD licenced and the specs are public domain.
    The FSF is also behind it. Even RMS likes it.

    Vorbis is currently used in quite a few high profile games such as Doom 3, UT 2004 and GTA.
    Its far superior to MP3, ACC and WMA at low bit rates and is on par or better at higher bit rates.

    Theora is patented but its license is royalty free for anyone to use for any purpose.
    On2 (the creators) have disclaimed all rights to it.

    If you want a free as in beer and freedom audio and/or video codec then Ogg is a perfect candidate.
    You cant really argue against that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2007 @09:47AM (#21640975)
    Indeed Theora is not best in class. It's much better than many other codecs, such as MPEG 1/2 video especially at low bitrates, but it is not as good as H.264 (VP8 is more debatable). But here we're talking about a baseline codec. For that role it's more important that the codec be low cost (even free), and computationally cheap so it can be implemented on *anything*. A full H.264 implementation takes a good 10x the CPU power of Theora. The only reason you see H.264 in any embedded devices at all is because they have included hardware acceleration for it. Theora is fast enough to not need it.

    The draft HTML5 standard doesn't say you can't implement *more* than Theora, but it does say that you should (not even MUST, thanks Apple :( ) implement theora as a basic codec. Nokia (and apple) will still be able to implement H.264+AAC+DRM whatever, but at least content producers that can't or won't play in the DRM sandbox will be able to produce video for the web too.
  • by Terje Mathisen (128806) on Monday December 10, 2007 @09:49AM (#21640991)
    I have recently written what I believe is the world's fastest Ogg Vorbis decoder, it takes about 600 ms to decode my longest song sample (4:05 minutes encoded with 192 Kbit/s for a final filesize of 5.7 MB).

    IMHO there are just a few problems with Vorbis, cpu load is not one of them:

    a) It is not at all suitable for contineous streaming, with multiple receivers connecting/disconnecting on the fly, since you have to start by decoding the 4-8 KB header before you can make any sense of the sound frames.

    b) To get decent decoding performance, you have to unpack & cache all the codebook information in the header packets, this requires from about 50 to 300 KB, which can be significant in a small device.

    c) Even though Vorbis is in theory independent of the Ogg container format, most existing source code expects to find Ogg frames surrounding all Vorbis packets. This is an implementation and not a specification problem.

    d) Vorbis really prefers to have fast fp support available, but Theora is an open-source fixed-point implementation which has been used as the starting point for quite low-resource embedded implementations.

    Terje
  • by Andy Dodd (701) <[atd7] [at] [cornell.edu]> on Monday December 10, 2007 @10:33AM (#21641491) Homepage
    "thus giving no significant advantage to ogg"

    At high bitrates, no. At lower bitrates (such as 64 kbps for streaming to mobile devices with EDGE service only), Vorbis blows away MP3.
  • Wrong (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2007 @11:28AM (#21642225)
    Vorbis' CPU requirements are less than AAC's. However, a lot of player hardware has accelleration support for AAC and not Vorbis. Also, Vorbis is a bit more memory intensive than AAC, which on some platforms (the nearly-cacheless ARM in the original ipod) is a problem for pure software implementations.

    There is a $1/unit hardware vorbis decoder chip out there which draws less than 50mw. All the modern software based players have CPUs which are easily fast enough for Vorbis, without any loss of battery life.

    The issues here are not technical. They are political. If you ship free formats in your device you pay 10x the licensing fees for MP3 and AAC. It's good old fashion monopoly extension tactics for the win.

    The W3C HTML5 proposed standard allows any codec to be included, but Ogg/Theora+Vorbis is recommended as a baseline. Other than another 100k of flash storage, including that as an option along side whatever H.264 DRM++ codec would be harmless to Nokia, but the additional fees they would need to pay for H.264/AAC licensing because they included free formats would make that decision quite uneconomical indeed.

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