You probably already knew that Ogg Vorbis has hit 1.0.
What you probably didn’t know is that Vorbis is not the only free audio format to use the Ogg
bitstream spec. Speex is an audio codec aimed at speech compression. It gives impressively-good-quality results at data rates as low as 10kbs. It’s at version 0.5 at the moment, but given that it was only 0.1 a couple of months ago, it looks like completion may not be far off. Unfortunately, an obvious stand-out item on
to-do list is patent clearance. I’m sure I don’t need to go into a rant about
the implications for free software here, especially given
events. What would be really great is some pro-bono organisation of patent
lawyers who would be able to assist open projects with patent clearance.
Unfortunately, given the amount of work this would probably involve per
project, it’s not something we’re likely to see any time soon.
Oh, and to clear up potential confusion: Ogg is a way of packaging up encoded multimedia data. Vorbis is an audio codec that uses Ogg as its encapsulating data format. There are other codecs that use Ogg, such as Theora (an upcoming video codec from
Xiph.org, who created Ogg and Vorbis) and Tarkin (a more adventurous video codec than Theora, still in planning stages).