[Flac-dev] Should FLAC join Xiph?

Joshua Haberman joshua at haberman.com
Thu Nov 21 12:20:02 PST 2002

Josh Coalson <xflac at yahoo.com> wrote:
> That is the question I put before you all tonight :)
> (Short background, Xiph is the corp behind Vorbis and Ogg,
> among other things; see http://xiph.org/about.html .  I
> think Emmett is here now so correct any of this if it's
> wrong.)
> I've been talking a little with Emmett Plant and Monty about
> this.  If it were to happen, it would mean the following:
> 1. FLAC would benefit from the increased visibility from the
> association.  Emmett can probably expound more upon this point.
> Anyway, hopefully this will mean it's popularity will rise,
> not just with users but also with developers of other tools.
> 2. The core libraries would become BSD-licensed.  I've been really
> 50/50 on this ever since I submitted the question to Slashdot
> (see http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/11/27/1650256 ).
> Now that WMA lossless is out it seems like less of an issue but
> I will still need to get permission from some of you, those that
> have contributed legally-significant (in the U.S. I think that
> means >10 lines of) code to libFLAC.  Only the codec libraries
> need to be BSD; the command-line tools and plugins would remain
> GPL.
> 3. Operations would move from Sourceforge to Xiph.  There are
> pluses and minuses, actually not so much minuses as unknowns.
> These are the main changes that would happen.  So I ask everyone,
> especially libFLAC contributors, what do you think?

The most interesting questions to me are ones you didn't address:

1. Will Ogg FLAC become the default manifestation of the FLAC codec?
If not, why not?  What does Ogg not offer that makes it worth having
two different file formats of the same codec floating around?

2. Will FLAC be incorporated into the Ogg project to such an extent
that there could be one set of libraries and one set of commandline
tools for both FLAC and Vorbis?  This would be so incredibly useful.

As an application author (Audacity), having to write, test, and debug
an extra set of import/export routines is a significant pain, and
it would be so great to have to write only one set that would support
both Vorbis and FLAC.  As a user who has encoded a significant amount
of music into the FLAC format, I feel like a second-class user since
many applications now support Vorbis but very few support FLAC.

If encoding/decoding/metadata operations could be accessed from a
single API, this would be a great boon to seeing FLAC supported in
many more applications.  BTW, why is metadata implemented as part
of each codec and not as part of Ogg?

3. Is there a way to convert FLAC files to Ogg FLAC?

I am very excited about the possibility of FLAC joining Xiph, I think it would
be a great opportunity to increase the acceptance of FLAC and make Xiph

A different Josh

"If we ever meet up with aliens from some other world, they will probably
use the equivalent of radians, too."   -- Eugene Hecht, _Physics: Calculus_

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