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The Future of FLAC
smok3
post Sep 1 2012, 10:28
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it is open source right?

So no need to ask questions, just fork it under a new name "flac2", make a nice page on what it can do and what is planned to do, how to use under linux/win/osx/*bsd, then you have coders and advertisers and we took over the world in a month or so. Also industry and their jumppods (strong support and advertising for multiplatform audio players, like DeaDBeeF perhaps, VLC, dunno) should be forced to support it, nice legal advisor (or better a team of them vampires) should step in here.

(A nice hi-def picture of Josh holding a cigar with a title: "He knows audio" should also be considered)

This post has been edited by smok3: Sep 1 2012, 10:33


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maikmerten
post Sep 1 2012, 10:37
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QUOTE (spoon @ Sep 1 2012, 09:21) *
@Jensend - flac does not hugely need massive development, it has strong open source roots, so what exactly can xiph offer flac now? FLAC needs industry contacts and marketing right now, exactly what xiph is not doing.


(emphasis mine)

Again, FLAC has been with Xiph for around a decade. And actually having the project under the umbrella of something like Xiph, which is at least somewhat known in "the industry", does not sound much worse than having it under the umbrella of "A Group Of People From An Internet Forum" (even though, of course, HA is excellent in a lot of ways) wink.gif

Also note that Xiph is at least somewhat trusted in engineering formats, keeping the specifications stable, and maintaining stable reference implementations. Xiph also has demonstrated the ability to work within standards organizations like the IETF. So, personally, I'm very much comfortable with the FLAC specification being maintained at its current location. Then, again, I'm biased, having been an occasionally useful Xiph minion.

Of course, nobody will stop anyone from creating their own FLAC implementations or from simply forking the reference code. But then again you concede that FLAC "does not hugely need massive development". I also am pretty sure that patches to the code base with good quality will be accepted.

So instead of "taking over FLAC" I'd very much recommend offering a helping hand where needed (as individual or as a group). One obvious area where help may be appreciated is the website, which indeed is looking like 1997 and also is outdated content-wise.

The website situation is not much different from old theora.org (which used to look like http://web.archive.org/web/20070830120311/...www.theora.org/ ): I volunteered to transfer the site to the new design, and I "got the job" without any difficulties despite merely being a longtime IRC lurker beforehand. So I know for sure that contributing within Xiph is very much possible. wink.gif

This post has been edited by maikmerten: Sep 1 2012, 10:44
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xiphmont
post Sep 1 2012, 11:18
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QUOTE (yourlord @ Aug 31 2012, 17:14) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Aug 31 2012, 16:30) *
AFAIK the future Xiph's format Ghost will support lossless. But it won't be ready any time soon.

I'm honestly not really interested in formats that support both lossy and lossless mode. It's purely my opinion, but I like knowing that if I have a FLAC file that I have an exact copy of the audio that was encoded.


Aside from whether or not it's a good idea, it's also purely a thought problem right now, even moreseo than Ghost itself. I was thinking about lossles output primarily because I'm already using lossless lifting schemes in Ghost. Lossless still has a greater chance of making no sense than making sense in the end.

In short-- talking about lossless in Ghost is purely hypotheitcal cocktail party small talk, even moreso than Ghost itself. There are many bigger fish to fry in the next few years. Don't hold your breath for Ghost, especially don't hold it for Ghost Lossless.

This post has been edited by xiphmont: Sep 1 2012, 11:19
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AliceWonder
post Sep 2 2012, 10:57
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The only problem I have with flac under Xiph stewardship is I wish there was a more effort put into their QuickTime plugins which desperately need a 64-bit update.
I hope xiph taking over flac doesn't interfere with that.

If I'm not mistaken, it is already xiph.org that makes DirectShow filters for Windows, and from reading their list it appears they are very cautious about changes.

For example back in 2008 there was a lot of discussion about how to include album art, they didn't want to do it in a way that would break some hardware players as several of the multiplex solutions did. I have to respect that, if I get an Ogg Vorbis player I don't want to have to worry about whether my ogg vorbis will play on it.

flac seems done to me, I don't know what else could be added, other than possible bug fixes that may pop up from time to time as libraries it depends upon change.

I agree that I want my lossless and lossy codecs separate. Shorten I believe was capable of both, at least as far as concert bootlegs go it seems shorten has been replaced by flac as the preferred lossless. I don't know why, but I certainly prefer flac, especially oggenc can take a flac file as direct input and preserves the tags.
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mudlord
post Sep 2 2012, 13:21
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As I said, not gonna happen when the current maintainer is a complete FOSS zealot.
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Nick.C
post Sep 2 2012, 13:27
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Support for 16-bit float samples would be nice too.... (even if simply processed as 16-bit integers!)


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saratoga
post Sep 2 2012, 15:57
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QUOTE (mudlord @ Sep 2 2012, 08:21) *
As I said, not gonna happen when the current maintainer is a complete FOSS zealot.


I doubt this has anything to do with ideology. Probably just no one with a 64 bit Mac.
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mudlord
post Sep 3 2012, 00:09
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I hardly doubt it this has anything to do with ideology. Erik has been for years a staunch GNU/Linux supporter. Just look at the mess he made with the FB2K resampler debacle.
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markanini
post Sep 3 2012, 01:44
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Maybe it's an aside but I see flac as having untapped potential for support in verious audio production software due to its open-ness and fast decoding speed. Yet few if any of major program support flac including Steinberg Cubase and Adobe Audition and I know of no software sampler format that uses flac. If this is a result of leadership that is overly concerned with FOSS then that's just a sad state of affairs.

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godrick
post Sep 3 2012, 02:52
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QUOTE (mudlord @ Sep 3 2012, 00:09) *
I hardly doubt it this has anything to do with ideology. Erik has been for years a staunch GNU/Linux supporter. Just look at the mess he made with the FB2K resampler debacle.


I'm generally an optimist, but in this case I think you are being too generous. Yes, Erik made a mess of the Secret Rabbit and foobar2000 issue - but I don't see any inherent conflicts between GNU/Linux and foobar2000. I think Erik's record on his self-created Secret Rabbit vs foobar2000 issue showed spectacularly poor business judgment in defending his interests as well as the FOSS community, which does not bode well for FLAC. If the viability of FLAC was exclusively related to coding proficiency, perhaps Erik would be up to the task, but FLAC's viability is much more closely tied to engaging stakeholders, marketing and communicating - all of which Erik has been unwilling or unable to do. If anyone tied to xiph disagrees with that assessment because whatever Erik has been doing in those areas has been secret or deemed not worthy of sharing in a plainly-stated manner, I encourage you to change your assessment of what to share in a plainly-stated manner.

Regardless what anyone thinks about the past, I see no excuses for xiph not immediately communicating a clear, concise document describing the goals and plan for FLAC. xiph has had years to communicate a path forward for FLAC and has failed to do so. If that doesn't happen fairly quickly, rather than fight or complain I agree it seems best to fork the code and proceed with much more effective marketing and communication. When it comes to credibility, I'll take Spoon's views any day over silence or Erik's views.

This post has been edited by godrick: Sep 3 2012, 02:59
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kornchild2002
post Sep 3 2012, 04:30
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QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 31 2012, 10:26) *
So it seems Josh is no longer working on FLAC, I am concerned that merging into xiph might not be best for FLACs future...(it is nothing personal against xiph), FLAC has a window of opportunity to become the defacto lossless codec, but without strong management it will not (and in 4 years everything will be in Apple lossless, or some such)


Regardless of what happens with FLAC's development, I fear that we are moving to a closed lossless world anyway. I use ALAC for my needs but I want FLAC to survive as it is a form of competition for Apple's developers. It serves as a means of motivation for them to get things rolling again so that FLAC provides a better means of acting as a lossless archive so that Apple's developers feel they have to live up to some standard. Otherwise the people behind ALAC will become lazy and no improvements will come from them. I don't think FLAC will ever become the "defacto lossless codec" simply because Apple and Microsoft are both pushing their own things. That still doesn't mean that FLAC can't improve on where it currently stands and become a standard that others can live up to.
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AliceWonder
post Sep 3 2012, 07:17
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Sep 2 2012, 20:30) *
QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 31 2012, 10:26) *
So it seems Josh is no longer working on FLAC, I am concerned that merging into xiph might not be best for FLACs future...(it is nothing personal against xiph), FLAC has a window of opportunity to become the defacto lossless codec, but without strong management it will not (and in 4 years everything will be in Apple lossless, or some such)


Regardless of what happens with FLAC's development, I fear that we are moving to a closed lossless world anyway. I use ALAC for my needs but I want FLAC to survive as it is a form of competition for Apple's developers. It serves as a means of motivation for them to get things rolling again so that FLAC provides a better means of acting as a lossless archive so that Apple's developers feel they have to live up to some standard. Otherwise the people behind ALAC will become lazy and no improvements will come from them. I don't think FLAC will ever become the "defacto lossless codec" simply because Apple and Microsoft are both pushing their own things. That still doesn't mean that FLAC can't improve on where it currently stands and become a standard that others can live up to.


ALAC is now open, no? Or are there pesky software patents hindering its adoption in FOSS ??

I like flac because it comes with my operating system (Linux) but other than possibly encoding/decoding times which could be improved in ALAC I don't have anything in particular against it as long as software patents aren't an issue.

FLAC is nice because it uses vorbis comments - that and it is fast, but that doesn't make it irreplaceable.
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maikmerten
post Sep 3 2012, 08:53
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QUOTE (markanini @ Sep 3 2012, 01:44) *
Yet few if any of major program support flac including Steinberg Cubase and Adobe Audition and I know of no software sampler format that uses flac. If this is a result of leadership that is overly concerned with FOSS then that's just a sad state of affairs.


Features like FLAC support will only be added if there is business incentive. Business incentive arises from user feature requests. So, hypothetically speaking, what can FLAC leadership do? Also: What can FLAC leadership do what the users of those mentioned products cannot do?
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Porcus
post Sep 3 2012, 08:59
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Keep calm now. A “hostile takeover” -- or anything that remotely looks like that or a credible threat to it -- is potentially very harmful to the format and by that, to both Xiph and the entire realm of free media formats.


And although I do not know Mr EdCL, I am a bit surprised to see the way FOSS is turned into an argument here. FLAC has been FOSS all the way. (And if anyone wants to quarrel over 'which' FOSS and claiming that the developer is too much of a GNU fanboy: RMS' view on the matter.)


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maikmerten
post Sep 3 2012, 09:05
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QUOTE (AliceWonder @ Sep 2 2012, 10:57) *
The only problem I have with flac under Xiph stewardship is I wish there was a more effort put into their QuickTime plugins which desperately need a 64-bit update.
I hope xiph taking over flac doesn't interfere with that.


(emphasis mine)

Again, FLAC has been with Xiph for like a decade. Also, provided nothing changed since the FAQ was last updated, the status of a 64 bit version of XiphQT is covered here:

QUOTE
How do I make XiphQT work with iTunes on 64 bit Mac OS X?

Apple doesn't publish a 64 bit API for Quicktime, so the current XiphQT components are 32 bit.


http://www.xiph.org/quicktime/faq.html#faq_itunes_64bit


If this is still the case there will be no 64 bit QuickTime components, no matter what the stewardship.

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db1989
post Sep 3 2012, 10:58
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Sep 3 2012, 08:59) *
Keep calm now.



QUOTE
A “hostile takeover” -- or anything that remotely looks like that or a credible threat to it -- is potentially very harmful to the format and by that, to both Xiph and the entire realm of free media formats.

Of course, no one individual or small group should be too aggressive with their opinions on a community-based project. And, helping to avoid such scenarios, I agree with those who feel that – if careful consideration suggests that it’s necessary (perhaps I should scare-quote that) – a fork is preferable to, and more feasible than, somehow assuming control of the entire branch. Most simply, the fact is that the founder has handed administration of the main branch to a particular organisation and on a finer scale a particular person, and there’s not a huge amount that can be done about that right now, I don’t think.

QUOTE
And although I do not know Mr EdCL, I am a bit surprised to see the way FOSS is turned into an argument here. FLAC has been FOSS all the way.

No one’s saying it hasn’t. Rather, the issue is whether the current maintainer’s interpretation of FOSS might be counterproductive. I don’t know enough to take any side, but I don’t think anyone’s criticising/blaming the FOSS model in principle.
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AliceWonder
post Sep 3 2012, 11:48
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QUOTE
QUOTE (maikmerten @ Sep 3 2012, 01:05) *


Apple doesn't publish a 64 bit API for Quicktime, so the current XiphQT components are 32 bit.


http://www.xiph.org/quicktime/faq.html#faq_itunes_64bit


If this is still the case there will be no 64 bit QuickTime components, no matter what the stewardship.


Yeah, that kind of bites, shame on Apple.

I wish they would use standard ReplayGain as well - but Apple is kind of quirky that way.
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CoyoteSmith
post Sep 6 2012, 03:06
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Flac's biggest issue IMO is broad knowledge from the public. However, it's better to do a 'top down' approach to getting the format used. I work in video production where we keep MASSIVE amounts of uncompressed audio for use in editing suites. Professionals use lossless audio. Getting FLAC adopted into Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, etc would be great for its popularity. If our editing software supported flac we would use it for massive archives of audio. More importantly perhaps would be getting music production software to give preference to exporting music as flac. Also recording INTO flac instead of wav would be a huge boost... tackles the problem at the source by doing away with the need for wav, dont make people encode from wav, do it for them.

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saratoga
post Sep 6 2012, 06:30
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QUOTE (mudlord @ Sep 2 2012, 19:09) *
I hardly doubt it this has anything to do with ideology. Erik has been for years a staunch GNU/Linux supporter. Just look at the mess he made with the FB2K resampler debacle.


This level of paranoia is not productive. If you have some score to settle you should probably keep it to yourself.
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mudlord
post Sep 6 2012, 06:58
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Not productive? I call it being completely realistic.
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Azevedo
post Oct 20 2012, 14:58
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Such a downturn for the economy, such a downturn for IT. crying.gif

I miss that heat in 1998 - 2002 when the IT thinkers boomed with their ideas!

I think the same is for the MP3 format. It's so behind AAC and it still haven't got a open source competitor.

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GeSomeone
post Oct 20 2012, 18:21
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QUOTE (markanini @ Sep 3 2012, 02:44) *
Yet few if any of major program support flac including Steinberg Cubase and Adobe Audition

Cubase 6.5 supports FLAC import, playback and export.
Audition supports plugins and there has been a FLAC plugin (called filter) for Audition even when it was still Cooledit (Pro). It is also linked on the FLAC download page.
Other popular Audio editors like Wavelab or Audacity include FLAC support too.

I don't see your point.


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Wombat
post Oct 20 2012, 18:36
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QUOTE (GeSomeone @ Oct 20 2012, 19:21) *
Other popular Audio editors like Wavelab or Audacity include FLAC support too.

Flac in Wavelab is only available since version 7.1, the very newest release afaik. For wavpack for example the wavpack developer released a plugin alrerady in 2006 to make it work.

Edit: looked it up. The wavpack plugin was written by someone else, not the wavpack developer himself. http://wavpack.gl.tter.org/

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spoon
post Oct 20 2012, 19:04
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Eric had assured me he would reply addressing some of the concerns directly to this thread (a reply within a week, four weeks ago), my email requesting an update (2 weeks ago) has had no response.

Now if you do not mind I will get back to my film I am watching - The Abyss...


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73ChargerFan
post Oct 21 2012, 00:11
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QUOTE (mudlord @ Sep 2 2012, 16:09) *
I hardly doubt it this has anything to do with ideology. Erik has been for years a staunch GNU/Linux supporter. Just look at the mess he made with the FB2K resampler debacle.

FLAC needs advocates and champions to get support into all players and devices, even closed source. I just read about the topic above, and think he might hinder such advocacy.
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