But How Does It Sound?

The Free Software Foundation launched a campaign for the Ogg Vorbis format. It lauds the codec’s free licensing for developers and encourages listeners to switch over for that reason.

The problem is that it being open source is not enough for people to switch to it. This particular campaign doesn’t address sound quality other than noting that it’s “superior” to MP3. The official site tries to address this, but when you actually listen to an encoded vorbis file your mileage may vary.

When iTunes began supporting AAC Apple didn’t merely say that it was “superior”. It said that 128k AAC enables smaller file sizes while “rivaling CD-quality sound.” Inaccurate depending on who you ask, but simple for Joe Blow to understand, and gives a clear motivation for you to adopt it.

And the lack of hardware support (ok, pretty much just iPods) doesn’t help it

Plus, there’s the argument that while Ogg Vorbis is completely free, the patent holders of other codecs could make a case for it violating their patents, which would completely eliminate the open solution.

I’d love to see Vorbis succeed and have out of the box support for it on my iPod, but right now it’s too little, too late. All of these open source, patent free projects have to stop trying to woo people by talking about licensing and patents and start talking about how much better it is than the other guy’s product. Talk geek and you get the geeks. Talk universal advantages and you’ll get everybody.

It’s working for Ubuntu. See?