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When will TAK go open source?
TBeck
post Dec 11 2009, 03:16
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Well, i intended to write a quite comprehensive answer to this question with an detailed elaboration of determining factors, my motivation and the "historical background" of my deceision process, but somehow i have not managed to do it within the past months...

But now that i am about to release TAK 2.0 i had to do something. So here is an excerpt of my post in the Newer version of FLAC? thread, that gives at least a short answer:

QUOTE
QUOTE
(jcoalson @ Dec 10 2009, 23:39) *
at this point, given thomas' stated goal to try and benefit somehow from all his hard work, my advice now would be to keep it closed and stay in the lead in its niche. once it's open, any practical advantage it has over flac could be added to flac with less effort than it would take existing devices and software to switch to tak. to open it up, you have to be completely resigned to not getting anything for it, because that's what may happen.

...
Besides this i again have to agree... I only want to clarify (for users not familar with TAK's development history) that when i was talking about possible benefits i meant non-material ones.

Unfortunately the validity of thoses statements creates kind of a deadlock situation for TAK: If it wants to attract considerably more users, it has to go open source, but at the same time it does, it's advanced technology can be copied and it will be only a matter of time, until TAK is dead...

Among other important things, this is the primary reason why i haven't worked on an open source release yet. Don't think this was always clear to me, it was merely a notion i somehow avoided to realize, because it would have killed much of my motivation.

Honestly, why should i put effort into an open source release, if this only dispatches TAK!?

No. This would be self-denial.

Currently the only valid option for me to reveal TAK's technology would be:

- Improve the codec until i am running out of new ideas.
- Then ask Josh, if he would like to put the TAK codec into FLAC and if there will be a proper reference to me.

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Eli
post Dec 11 2009, 04:37
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It is your software, your hard work and your choice.

I think your work will be remembered if it is in TAK or part of the next generation of FLAC. Hopefully Josh would give you the credit you deserve if your work is incorporated into FLAC.

If TAK is open sourced, maybe TAK could be the "experimental" codec, free to grow and change, without fear of breaking compatibility, while being a live test bed for possible FLAC features, pushing the older codec to be better.


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sauvage78
post Dec 11 2009, 07:21
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First, whatever you do with the code source in the future I want to thks you for finally trying to solve the mysterie of TAK's licence.

Personnaly, I don't know what advice to give to you, because as a possible future TAK user, I am undoubtly biased. It is an evidence that any end-user would benefit from having the code source open, but in the same time it is an evidence that going open source is a loss of control for any developper.

The actual situation was not sane. Personnaly your hesitations reminded me of X-Chat which was an open source IRC client which suddenly became a shareware on win32 while still being open source on linux. The situation is different with TAK but for the end-user, it is the same, the mixing of license creates a no-man's land where no end-user want to step. When X-Chat became a semi-open-source software, I switched to chatzilla & I never used X-Chat again. I had the same feelings when I tested TAK without knowing its license.

I understand that going open source is not an easy task, as there are a lot of FUD surrounding the question. Here on HA, old users will remind of what happens Mr Questionman: if I recall correctly within a week after Gambit released the source code another guy added a few features & claimed the software his own, which disgusted Gambit of open source for a long time.

This kind of shit happens everyday, I cannot tell you there is no risk:
1: you cannot go back if you change your mind (X-Chat).
2: you can be stolen (Mr Questionman).

For point N1, you have to decide for yourself & be 100% sure you won't change your mind, I cannot help you, all I know is that having a schizophrenic developer is bad for software adoption.

For point N2, well all we can do is to make the robbery public & put the thief to shame, ... honestly I don't even recall the name of Mr. Questionman hijacker ... but I do miss Gambit here on HA. For me it is not the same to be stolen by a moron who wants a minute of fame & to to "stolen" by another open source software due to the march of technologie.
I recall that Josh asked you to work together in the beginning of Yalac (I don't recall if the offer was formal or in between lines) because he was foreseeing the actual fate of TAK, you cannot complaint now that all your work will be lost when you declined the offer. It is not a shame to the Aoyumi of FLAC. You claimed you had the shoulder to do it all by your side ... & now that you're so close you seem to hesitate as you realize that end-user may not follow you ... or at last not instantly. Once again over the years you're not logic. But anyway it's better to realize late that Josh had some insight than never.

The real question is where do you want to go from now. I think TAK as reached the point where everyone know that you are a skilled coder & that if you endlessly improve TAK & swallow all Flac features (including a friendly licence) ... at some point you may take the crown.

The difference between now & the yalac days is that you realized that even with a ultra-optimized-codec the switch between flac & tak will not be easy & will take years.

So the question is: are you ready to assume the support for TAK for as long as TAK is not perceived as a standard ? Once again I cannot answer for you, but all I know is that if the answer is "no" then TAK was a real waste.

In fact you don't really a have hundred of choices:
- You release the source code & support TAK for your lifetime & maybe TAK will become a standard.
This solution requires a lot of work on your side but make everybody happy (... except Josh maybe).
- You release the source code & stop supporting TAK, well this is a pity as you could have given the TAK tips & tricks to Josh a few years ago. It is unsatisfaying for you, but all is not lost for end-user & you're still a major contributor to a major software, even if you're not the boss anymore.
- You don't release the source code & TAK is doomed to be a benchmarking codec for a niche of enthousiasts. This is the worst solution as you will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of users who trusted you in the yalac days.

No one can decide for you, but plz once you decided hang on to your choice, because your hesitation is what makes the difference between David, Josh & you.
If you decide to release the source & support TAK, it means you take the lead & people will ask you to act as a leader which means supporting the weight of responsability.

This post has been edited by sauvage78: Dec 11 2009, 07:28


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TBeck
post Dec 11 2009, 08:54
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 07:21) *
First, whatever you do with the code source in the future I want to thks you for finally trying to solve the mysterie of TAK's licence.

I couldn't put you in jeopardy to get warned again... rolleyes.gif Earnestly, like i wrote earlier, you were right to request an answer.

Sorry, if i don't yet comment on any of your statements, i am just a bit tired.

QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 07:21) *
I recall that Josh asked you to work together in the beginning of Yalac (I don't recall if the offer was formal or in between lines) because he was foreseeing the actual fate of TAK, you cannot complaint now that all your work will be lost when you declined the offer. It is not a shame to the Aoyumi of FLAC. You claimed you had the shoulder to do it all by your side ... & now that you're so close you seem to hesitate as you realize that end-user may not follow you ... or at last not instantly. Once again over the years you're not logic. But anyway it's better to realize late that Josh had some insight than never.

Some corrections:

- I offered Yalac to Josh.

Addendum: And we were into email contact. At some point i recall some misunderstanding (maybe on my side), not by any means important, but in combination with other things as lack of time on my side, we lost contact for a while. And then i became aware, that i woudn't have enough freedom to improve the codec (in incompatible ways) as soon as it had been adopted by FLAC. So i didn't contact Josh again.

- I am not complaining about something like a "lost chance". If TAK/Yalac had been adopted by FLAC when it was in it's early state, many improvements would never have been implemented. Not to forget: I would have had less fun. For me TAK development was (and will be for some more time) adventure and exploration with some unexpected turns. You can't do it this way if you want to establish a standard as Josh did.

If i have regrets about something, then about my inexperience when i arrived at hydrogen. I was overhelmed by the positive feedback and wanted to fulfill any user requests. (Seems as if i am now beginning to write the missing parts of the comprehensive statement i actually wanted to make...) "Open source, no problem!" But i didn't think about the consequences. Forgive me, but this was also my first participation on any forum and i didn't know how it could affect me.

But i was very soon aware of TAK's position. I knew that it could only fill a niche like WavPack or Monkey's Audio, what is not really bad if you can make some thousands of users happy. smile.gif

I never thought it could acquire FLAC's position, at least not without a tremendous amount of work. And here we are talking about a kind of work i don't want to do, for instance marketing.

QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 07:21) *
If you decide to release the source & support TAK, it means you take the lead & people will ask you to act as a leader which means supporting the weight of responsability.

I woudn't like to be a leader unless there isn't a better choice (someone who likes this position)... That's not the point. I like to be an inventor.

Thomas

edit: See Addendum above.


This post has been edited by TBeck: Dec 11 2009, 18:34
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johnsonlam
post Dec 11 2009, 09:34
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Sorry for bad English, English is not my native language.

I'm not only writing for Thomas, but to everyone who're asking for Open Source.

Please respect the author, don't push anyone to release the source code, when they feel the time was right, they'll release the source, I've seen someone ask the author in a very rude way, it's like a robber trying to ask for your wallet.

And ... personally I feel codec like TAK have no need to Open Source NOW.

Codec like TAK usually complex, and have a lot of special tuning by the author, few people will invest the time to understand or improve it (well ... good buys exist but only a few), I'm not sure how many people help Josh to improve FLAC, but I'm sure not too many ... a project is much easier to handle by a single person than a lot of people, and to cooperate developers need extra time and effort.

Appreciated to those help to test and feedback ideas, but I've seen too many people just plain talk, without donating a single dollar, just shouting they need Open Source.

Maybe time can be spent in a better way, such as coding front-end or utilities for the codec.

Sorry if the language was too strong, I mean no offense.



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sauvage78
post Dec 11 2009, 09:36
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QUOTE
- I offered Yalac to Josh.

Oh ! My memory is playing tricks on me, sorry ... I am gonna kindly slap Josh then wink.gif

QUOTE
a niche like WavPack or Monkey's Audio

I agree WavPack fills a niche market, but Monkey Audio is much more popular than just a niche, HA doesn't reflect the worldwide reality. Despite being slow & closed Monkey Audio attracts a lot of lossless beginners just because of its compression & GUI. Monkey Audio is on the decline but compared to wavpack or TAK, its user database is still huge.

WavPack has always been a great codec but back in the time when it could have been very popular wavpack 3 was missing instant seeking so in that time people favored Monkey Audio. Then when wavpack became instantly seekable it was too late Flac was rising.

IMHO you are over-estimating how flac is a de-facto standard that would be undethronable. Sure Flac is forever rock stable & perfectly usable, but don't trust the HA zealots blindly... a few years from here the same kind of zealots were spreading the musepack supremacy to the world. They were wrong.

If wavpack & monkey audio didn't succeed to become standards, it might simply due to the fact that (with the exception of max compression achievable) both of these codec are inferior, simply. With his exotic features like hybrid or self extractable .exe David never really cared about wavpack being the "so-called" best anyway. I hope wavpack, flac & tak, can all 3 co-exist as open source codecs & let the end users decide what is best for them.

There is a paradox IMHO within the claim that you just want to be an "inventor" & the fact that you fear to release the code ... let's look at David as an exemple instead of focusing on Josh: the exotic features of wavpack makes it unique (even if IMHO not optimal for backup due to its slowness). His hybrid mode makes him a real "inventor". Now look at the license he has chosen: BSD. For me David is rationnal to himself as he has chosen from the start that wavpack was non-profit free time hobby project & he has chosen the license in consequence. You claim that you only want to be an inventor, but in the same time you prevent the world from fully enjoying your invention. For me you are not as logic as David. For me it is obvious that you want something more than just being an "inventor", but I don't really know what because we have nothing to offer for your code except our sincere thanks.

This post has been edited by sauvage78: Dec 11 2009, 10:31


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sld
post Dec 11 2009, 11:07
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 16:36) *
There is a paradox IMHO within the claim that you just want to be an "inventor" & the fact that you fear to release the code ... let's look at David as an exemple instead of focusing on Josh: the exotic features of wavpack makes it unique (even if IMHO not optimal for backup due to its slowness). His hybrid mode makes him a real "inventor". Now look at the license he has chosen: BSD. For me David is rationnal to himself as he has chosen from the start that wavpack was non-profit free time hobby project & he has chosen the license in consequence. You claim that you only want to be an inventor, but in the same time you prevent the world from fully enjoying your invention.

Don't speak on behalf of the world. Thank you.

Releasing source code is a one-way street as someone has mentioned. One cannot un-release source code. Almost nobody cares if TBeck happens to be less decisive or less rational than David, because both of them have created codecs that their respective niches fully enjoy.

If TBeck makes using TAK very restrictive or ceases to support it, people will simply jump to their next best choices Wavpack or FLAC. These people have a unique set of requirements which TAK currently fulfils best overall.

If you don't like the fact that TAK isn't going to be open source "now-damnit-I-say-now!", it apparently does not fulfil your set of requirements, and you are free to pick from other equally excellent lossless codecs that are free for use (both free as in free beer and free as in not free beer). TBeck has explained his decision and substantiated it with his reservations. That was what you wanted from him; the explanation, and I certainly hope you're not demanding anything more, especially since it is most likely outside your rights to do so.

This post has been edited by sld: Dec 11 2009, 11:11
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carpman
post Dec 11 2009, 13:28
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 09:36) *
You claim that you only want to be an inventor, but in the same time you prevent the world from fully enjoying your invention.

Nonsense. I'm enjoying Tom's invention right now (yes, I'm not the world, but also many people in the world don't have computers either).
I don't buy this "open-source or die" deal.
Anyone can write a bespoke license that allows and disallows whatever the author wants. If Tom offers a very good SDK and allows manufacturers to decode TAK files then doesn't this open up platforms and opportunities? Surely this is possible without open sourcing? I may be wrong - I'm not a licensing expert, but I don't see why a win-win solution, whereby Tom maintains his rights and the codec spreads is impossible (especially where fees are not the issue).

Does open-sourcing a decoder ultimately give away the encoder too? I presume it does.

C.

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sauvage78
post Dec 11 2009, 13:49
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I already said several time that the problem with TAK was not that it wasn't open source, but that it didn't had a clear license.

Plz stop accusing me of being an open source inquisitor, I don't use linux & I never will & Richard Stallman is not my friend.
If Tom wants TAK to be closed source, it is his absolute right. But then it is my absolute right to use FLAC. Many people seems to read this statement as an utimatum ... this is not.

This is just my truth about the situation of TAK for me. I don't think I am alone in this situation, even if indeed I cannot speak on behalf of the world.

Even if TAK stays closed source, its speed/efficiency improvement alone might be enough to justify the switch for my personnal use. So accusing me of being a free software zealot is a non-sense. I do favor free software when I have the choice, but my HDD is full of patented & closed technology ... it doesn't prevent me to sleep. But even closed source I want Tom to clearly tell the world what is the TAK license for the next ten years.

This post has been edited by sauvage78: Dec 11 2009, 14:09


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carpman
post Dec 11 2009, 14:01
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 13:49) *
Plz stop accusing me of being an open source inquisitor

No one did. The only thing I took issue with you personally was your peculiar statement I quoted. The fact you decided to take the rest of my post (which did not speak to you directly, and was mainly a series of questions) personally is equally peculiar.

C.


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Gregory S. Chudo...
post Dec 11 2009, 14:21
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The thread is called "When will TAK go open source?", but it doesn't even answer the question "Whether or not will TAK go open source". If we were dealing with a corporation, i would assume the PR department is doing a great job.

Yes, going open source is a one way street. As far as i am concerned, keeping codec secret is a valid (but poor) choice. But keeping a future license secret for such a long time is a one way street also. Personally, i made a decision - i won't use or support a project, which is managed in such a way.

This post has been edited by Gregory S. Chudov: Dec 11 2009, 14:26


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а.п.т.
post Dec 11 2009, 14:36
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 10:36) *
Despite being slow & closed Monkey Audio attracts a lot of lossless beginners just because of its compression & GUI.


IIRW the Monkey Audio source was opened long time ago but I haven't hear of somebody's contribution so far. I might be wrong, though.

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2Bdecided
post Dec 11 2009, 14:39
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It's not just a binary decision...

You can have an open "standard" without going open source on your implementation.

You can have a patent, and still open the source.

You can do something with the encoder, and something else with the decoder.

Rather than worrying about someone taking over your project, you can take over someone else's (e.g. branch FLAC).

There are lots of options open to you.


In the end, though I've both created it and used it, the world of open source software is generally quite sad (in the traditional sense of the word): lots of people doing great work, but not getting paid for it. Unless you have a day job or sponsor, and "spare time", it's not something you can keep doing.

Oh, and either bevery careful with your choice of licence and terms, or use this one...
http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/
...because I've seen too many nasty arguments about open source software licences!

Cheers,
David.
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sauvage78
post Dec 11 2009, 14:47
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а.п.т.:
I am no authority on the matter but as far as I understood some part (maybe all, I dunno) of Monkey Audio code was unofficially "open" (by "open" read "available on demand") but Monkey Audio remained closed via its license. As far as I understund 3rd party developpers didn't like this situation much either. I recall I heard complaints there too, but it was clear that Monkey Audio was not going open source & that it was only a "trick" to improve Monkey Audio support. <== Warning, some part of the above might be wrong as I never used Monkey Audio myself.

Edit: I think I recall there was a 3rd party command line Monkey Audio encoder at some time, I dunno if it still exist, but I think I recall the complaints where coming from there ... I admit it's still very shrouded in my memory.

2Bdecided:
QUOTE

That f#cking license is f#cking freedom, I f#cking love it wink.gif

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post Dec 11 2009, 14:56
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QUOTE (carpman @ Dec 11 2009, 13:28) *
Does open-sourcing a decoder ultimately give away the encoder too? I presume it does.


Nope. RAR is an example. It has open source decoder with licence clearly stating that it can't be used to reverse the encoder.

QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 13:49) *
I already said several time that the problem with TAK was not that it wasn't open source, but that it didn't had a clear license.


Well that was the case with me. When I first saw TAK, I decided to wait until it's sources are opened.
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[JAZ]
post Dec 11 2009, 16:10
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@TBeck:

The answer by 2Bdecided is the one you should put more attention in.

When one develops a codec, not only develops a software, but also a format. Both parts (the code and the format definition) can contain IP (Intelectual Property).

You have to think what use you expect your program to have. For example, if you expect it to be used on mobile devices, you will need to code it yourself, or ask someone to do so (this still doesn't require opensourcing).
You did a step in this direction creating the decoder dll, which then has been used to create plugins for some players. But this still limited it to Windows.

I don't know how much of the performance of TAK is thanks to your implementation, or thanks to the format you have defined. Publishing the format would allow others to try to do their own implementations, probably not as fast as yours. The example of vorbis and aoyumi is a good example, and recently, FLAC is getting new implementations that improve it ( for example, flacuda or fpFLAC ).
In the end, what can make TAK to persist is not your .exe, but the fileformat.

The development in the way you've managed it, gives yourself freedom to elaborate and try different things, while being in control of it as a whole. This part wouldn't be affected by open-sourcing it, but probably wouldn't benefit of it either.


I have been developing an audio program for eight years, and I wasn't its original author. I've always done it in my free time, and we had good and bad times. Being opensource is not the major factor, but thanks to being open source, I could be the maintainer of it, as well as the rest of the people that has come and added their part into it.
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sauvage78
post Dec 11 2009, 17:51
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TBeck:
Just one question ... if you offered Yalac to Josh, why do you fear that releasing TAK's source code would kill TAK because its technology would be swallowed/copied by Josh ? There is something that I am missing there huh.gif Maybe there is a rational explantion, but said like this it sounds weird blink.gif

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TBeck
post Dec 11 2009, 18:02
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QUOTE (Gregory S. Chudov @ Dec 11 2009, 14:21) *
The thread is called "When will TAK go open source?", but it doesn't even answer the question "Whether or not will TAK go open source". If we were dealing with a corporation, i would assume the PR department is doing a great job.

While i understand that i deserve criticism for waiting too long with an definite answer (and deceision), i don't know what is unclear about this:

QUOTE
Honestly, why should i put effort into an open source release, if this only dispatches TAK!?

No. This would be self-denial.

Currently the only valid option for me to reveal TAK's technology would be:

- Improve the codec until i am running out of new ideas.
- Then ask Josh, if he would like to put the TAK codec into FLAC and if there will be a proper reference to me.

What else can this mean as "No, TAK will not go open source"?

And oh, i called the thread "When will TAK go open source?" Maybe because this was the question people asked in the past and therefore this seemed to be the most appropriate title?

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TBeck
post Dec 11 2009, 18:19
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 17:51) *
TBeck:
Just one question ... if you offered Yalac to Josh, why do you fear that releasing TAK's source code would kill TAK because its technology would be swallowed/copied by Josh ? There is something that I am missing there huh.gif Maybe there is a rational explantion, but said like this it sounds weird blink.gif

If you are talking about a possible future corporation: Why should i put effort into a source code release of TAK if it's only purpose would be to make it's technology available to FLAC? It would make more sense to modify the existing code to be easily adoptable by FLAC. And then only the core of the codec would be required, not the much bigger source for reading, writing, streaming, command line management and so on.

edit: Maybe i haven't understood your question right?

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TBeck
post Dec 11 2009, 18:37
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 09:36) *
QUOTE
- I offered Yalac to Josh.

Oh ! My memory is playing tricks on me, sorry ... I am gonna kindly slap Josh then wink.gif

No need to.

I have just filled another gap in my second post:

QUOTE
Addendum: And we were into email contact. At some point i recall some misunderstanding (maybe on my side), not by any means important, but in combination with other things as lack of time on my side, we lost contact for a while. And then i became aware, that i woudn't have enough freedom to improve the codec (in incompatible ways) as soon as it had been adopted by FLAC. So i didn't contact Josh again.
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sauvage78
post Dec 11 2009, 18:54
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QUOTE
Maybe i haven't understood your question right?


Well ... no ... but maybe that's because I didn't fully understood what you what you meant by " I offered YALAC to Josh" in the first place. Edit: Your "Addendum" mostly solved it.

Anyway your last answer to Gregory S. Chudov answered most of my incomprehension toward TAK license.

I wish you the best with your codec. Personnaly I will keep using flac & encode some of my files to lossy (likely nero aac) in order to save some space.

Again thks for the time spent trying to explain where you were going with TAK, it was usefull as now I know that TAK is not for me. It might sound sad, but it is not. It is more of a relief sensation, because the future of my HDD is clearer. I guess I personnaly don't like experimental codec much because within a month I discarded both lossywav & TAK in a row for my own use.

I still wish that one day I can use some of your code in FLAC, as, from my point of view, becoming the Aoyumi of FLAC is the best thing that can happen to you & your code.

If it ever happens it will be the dream codec that I was expecting TAK to become. Honestly I don't hold my breath as my experience tells me that it will never happen, but I cannot blame you as I don't know what I would do myself if I were in your position.

This post has been edited by sauvage78: Dec 11 2009, 18:56


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TBeck
post Dec 11 2009, 19:05
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QUOTE (sauvage78 @ Dec 11 2009, 18:54) *
Anyway your last answer to Gregory S. Chudov answered most of my incomprehension toward TAK license.

Huh, so my initial statement was less clear than i thought... Sorry!
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saratoga
post Dec 12 2009, 02:22
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Does this apply to the decoder too? Having TAK in ffmpeg eventually would be very handy, and would allow for portable/embedded support.
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skamp
post Dec 12 2009, 03:46
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Good point. If decoding source code was available, TAK playback support could be implemented in linux, and encoding could be done with wine. Not ideal, but still better than nothing.


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ManekiNeko
post Dec 12 2009, 05:27
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QUOTE (skamp @ Dec 12 2009, 02:46) *
Good point. If decoding source code was available, TAK playback support could be implemented in linux, and encoding could be done with wine. Not ideal, but still better than nothing.


Far from ideal. I do think you have hit the nail on the head though. Surely the most important next step for TAK is not whether the source should be opened (and only the dev can decide that), but making native binaries freely available for the end-user on multi platforms.

On a technical front, TAK is the most advanced and impressive lossless audio codec imho. You've only got to start using it and the results speak highly. But I don't use it because I use Windows, Linux and OS X.

If the Windows binaries (encoder, decoder, plugins) were available natively on all 3 platforms, it's a no brainer, I would switch. Would I care if it was open source? Not really.
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