[ogg-dev] Re: [Advocacy] Re: [Speex-dev] Re: [xiph-rtp] Re: [Vorbis-dev] Proposal: An extension to rules all others

Shawn K. Quinn skquinn at speakeasy.net
Wed Apr 18 15:20:56 PDT 2007

[Trimmed CC's to the same subset that Ralph Giles posted to further down
the thread]

On Wed, 2007-01-17 at 10:18 -0500, Tom Grandgent wrote:
> Sorry, but I think generic extension names are far from perfect.  Here 
> are some additional problems to consider:
> 1) Language.  When people talk about file types, they almost never 
> say "dot" at the beginning.  They say "MP3 files".  For example, "Does 
> that player support MP3 files?"  If you have an extension of ".music" 
> this ends up being "Does that player support music files?"  Which is 
> useless, of course.

I think it's less of pronouncing the filename extension without the dot,
than using a more generic, widely understood term. I personally refer to
"MPEG audio" where the context needs disambiguation and/or I want to
make it clear I'm not talking exclusively about MPEG 1 layer 3 audio.

> 2) Search.  In this age of search, it's essential to give things 
> unique names so that people can find information on them.  If someone 
> gets a .music or .voice file from somewhere and can't play it, do you 
> think they're going to have much luck searching for info on the format?

Quicktime files can contain just audio as well. What is truly needed is
for the operating system to recognize what's actually in the file, not
just rely on the characters after the last dot in the filename!

> 4) ... It's better to have .ogg (associated with music and high quality audio) 
> and .spx (associated with efficient encoding of speech).

Speex in a file is technically Ogg Speex and thus also qualifies
for .ogg as well as .spx. As stated below, I think .spx should be

> So, in my opinion, Xiph format adoption is best advanced by continuing 
> to promote OGG as an MP3 alternative while following established 
> conventions in introducing additional extensions.

This "established convention" is an ill-conceived artifical dependence
on the characters after the last dot in the filename as gospel as to
what type of data is in the file. It dates from the MS-DOS era, and was
broken enough then. It is still broken just as badly now, and needs to
be fixed. It will only be fixed for good when it is broken badly enough
that customers have no choice but to complain to Microsoft.

So, to me, the right thing to do, and what we need to do, is break it,
and break it bad. I believe this starts with an official Xiph.org
position that .ogg, and only .ogg, is the only officially blessed
"filename extension" for Ogg multimedia container files, regardless of
content contained therein.

For what it is worth, VLC plays audio-only Ogg as well as video and
audio or video-only, just fine. Complaints that you can't set up Windows
to use two different players based on non-video Ogg versus video Ogg are
a Windows problem, and can only be truly fixed by Microsoft. So, let
Microsoft fix it after people complain.

Shawn K. Quinn <skquinn at speakeasy.net>

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