[JDEV] Audio formats

Scott Robinson scott at tranzoa.com
Sat Aug 7 14:58:00 CDT 1999


I apologize, I'll go a bit further into the audio format issue.

The only two suggestions thus far have been "au" and MPEG Layer 3. I'll
address both.

Sun's "au" format has the advantage of being relatively universal and
simple. It's natively supported by numerous libraries and on a variety of
environments. However, it's main pro is also it's main con. The reason it is
so well supported is the fact it's almost straight PCM. "au" is not
compressed. I would love to use it, except one our sound skins reach a
certain point the format would become a burden.

MPEG Layer 3 aka MP3 has similar pros but a con of a different kind.
Supported on most environments with a plethora of editing, tagging, encoding
and decoding tools, MP3 is the new golden child of the Internet Audio
revolution. However, it has two cons making it relatively unaccessable to
us. The first one, though not as much a factor in its disqualification, is
the fact it requires a significant amount of processor. While our client is
almost certain to run on a relatively large system, (most kiddies seem to
have one) I would hate to disqualify the little guys... such as myself...
from using sound skins. The second con, and the more important of the two,
is the MP3 patent issue. One cannot use MP3 decoding or encoding technology
within an application (even freeware) without paying a per-download royality
to Fauf. Labs. There is a slight silver lining, though. A couple decoders
pay the royalities for you so you can use it freely, however the two I know
of (off my head) are very architecture dependent... and thus not well suited
to our Brave New Jabber Client. =D

I've been speaking to a few other people (who know much more than I) and
they're going to plug out a few recommendations to me. If I think of
anything better, I'll be posting it to the list immediately.

Scott.
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