OT: FLAC vs RAR (was: [vorbis-dev] Vorbis is low on artifacts but EQ isn't good)

Graham Mitchell graham at grahammitchell.net
Wed Sep 4 11:19:29 PDT 2002

>> rar is very good at compressing audio files, but not as good as
>> specialized lossless audio compression codecs such as for example flac
>> http://flac.sf.net/. Flac is also free software, which rar is not.
> My Winamp wouldn't even play .RAR files if it had a plugin, it does play
> FLACs, however. Btw, FLAC doesn't compress best (LPAC is better, for
> example), but being free software makes it the tool of choice.

To clarify this further:

RAR is a proprietary general-purpose compressor (like zip).  It beats 
last-generation compressors like (pk|win)zip and gnuzip, and is probably on 
par with the current-generation (a.k.a. bzip2).  RAR is pretty much 
Windows-only, though a Linux binary exists.  It's free-as-in-beer.

FLAC is an open, lossless compressor for audio.  It beats all the 
general-purpose compressors for audio files.  It's open source, so versions 
exist for just about any operating system you like.  Also, because it's 
designed for audio, plugins exist for Winamp, XMMS, etc that will play 
FLAC-compressed files as-is without first having to decompress.  They're even 

Since many of the folks on vorbis-dev (and, more importantly, the primary 
vorbis developers) use Linux as their day-to-day OS, we prefer FLAC for music 

(How's that for long-windedly pursuing an offtopic thread?)

Graham Mitchell - computer science teacher, Leander High School
"Programming is forty percent perspiration, ten percent inspiration,
and fifty percent having a computer tell you you're stupid."
	-- me

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