[Flac-dev] Git branch with compiling fixes for win32

Brian Willoughby brianw at sounds.wa.com
Wed Nov 16 15:36:12 PST 2011

On Nov 16, 2011, at 14:11, Declan Kelly wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 05:41:21AM -0800, avuton at gmail.com wrote:
>> Hate to be Capt. obvious here, but there's a lot of development going
>> on here that should be encouraged. If the FLAC project isn't going to
>> open up, it would make a lot of sense for someone to take over
>> maintenance on a github account with the git-cvsimport or such. I
>> don't see anyone stepping up, me included, but I wanted to throw this
>> out there in case someone hasn't really thought about it yet.
> Looking at the FLAC website, the most recent news is almost 2 years  
> old,
> and there's no evidence to show that the project's still live. I  
> haven't
> seen any post from Josh Coalson on this list in a while: is he still
> running the project?
> Something else to think about:
> Apple recently released sources for Apple Lossless reference  
> utilities.
> It's all under an Apache license.
> This will (presumably) lead to more software developers spending more
> time improving ALAC support in their projects, with more reference
> material available than the unofficial reverse-engineered code (as  
> used
> in vlc and libavcodec).
> This will leave Apple with even less reasons to support FLAC in their
> own products. Anyone with an iPad/iPhone/iPod must install Rockbox to
> play FLAC files, and the Apple TV can only play FLAC (and anything  
> that
> was not bought from iTunes) using XBMC, after being jailbroken.
> But for the Average End User, they don't want to have to jump  
> through a
> bunch of hoops to get FLAC support. Apple Lossless will Just Work  
> on all
> Apple devices (as it always did), but now it's more freely  
> available so
> the freedom-loving hippies can stop complaining about the source code.


You make some important observations, but I do not see how anything  
can be done by the FLAC team about Apple's lack of support.

As for FLAC, no news is good news.  That means the code is stable and  
bug free.  As a seasoned software developer, I've learned the hard  
way that every single change to a source code repository is a chance  
for a new or old bug to appear.  I am not aware of any bugs in FLAC,  
so the lack of changes is perfect.

It seems that all of the recent updates have been efforts to port  
FLAC to operating systems like Windows and Linux.  In terms of your  
comments above, Windows/Linux support does absolutely nothing to help  
FLAC compete against ALAC on the OSX platform.

It is indeed noteworthy that Apple has released the source for ALAC.   
The power of FLAC is that it was designed for embedded systems from  
the beginning, and that's why you see portable recorders like the  
Sound Devices 700 Series supporting FLAC, as well as various optical  
disc players (CD, DVD, etc.).  One question that remains for me is  
whether Apple's ALAC open source can be ported to these kinds of  
embedded systems with the same ease.

Yes, it has always been an issue that Apple never seemed motivated to  
support FLAC as a first class file format in OSX, CoreAudio, iTunes,  
and their hardware platforms based on iOS. I really don't see how  
there is much that Josh Coalson or anyone outside Apple can do about  

If people in the FLAC community have CoreAudio converters for FLAC or  
iTunes plugins for FLAC, then it would be great to see those  
contributed to the open source collection.  However, none of those  
items would really result in a change to the FLAC library sources,  
which have been stable and solid for a respectable amount of time.

Brian Willoughby
Sound Consulting

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