AfterDawn: Tech news

OGG Vorbis tuned for hardware usage

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 04 Sep 2002 12:39

From the mailing list:
For those of you not of the commit mailing list, I wanted to point out that monty has checked the fixed-point 'tremor' vorbis decoder into cvs, under the usual (free) xiph license. This was developed for use in embedded devices, so if you've been waiting for an interger-only (no fpu) implementation, you might want to give it a try. covers the issue with more details and background info:

Ogg Vorbis, an audio format created to provide a royalty-free alternative to MP3, could at last be making its way into portable digital audio players.

The format reached a milestone 1.0 release earlier this year, and now the Foundation, which coordinates Ogg Vorbis development, has released an open-source Ogg Vorbis player that will work with ordinary digital music player hardware. Xiph has also offered to give hardware makers free engineer time to help them integrate the format into their offerings.

Ogg Vorbis is an open-source project maintained by volunteer developers around the world. Unlike most mainstream audio formats such as MP3, Ogg Vorbis does not use patented technology, allowing it to be offered under an open-source license. This means that developers can have free access to the software and its original source code and can modify and redistribute the software, as long as any modifications are returned to the community.

Software and hardware companies that make MP3 player and encoder software, by contrast, must pay royalty fees to the format's patent holders for each piece of software they distribute.

While Ogg Vorbis has been added to some PC-based music software, until now no hardware vendor has supported it, with the exception of Sharp's Linux-based Zaurus handheld. This is because Ogg Vorbis players have only been designed to work with processors capable of performing floating-point calculations; the chips commonly found in PCs can handle these, but the embedded processors found typically in portable music players cannot.

On Monday, however, the Xiph released "Tremor," a version of the Ogg Vorbis player that doesn't need a floating-point unit, allowing audio player manufacturers to support it for the first time. Tremor has been released under a BSD-style open-source license, Xiph said.

Will OGG Vorbis make it to the hardware market? That would make sense since the manufacturers would save a big penny for using a free and unrestricted Vorbis technology. We can only hope.

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