Copyright 2001, Rick Macmurchie - September 10, 2001

What the heck is a .ogg file?

Recently while sorting though some music I had downloaded I noticed that there were a number of files that had names ending with .ogg, not the usual .mp3 extension. I had never heard of a .ogg file, but instead of deleting them, I thought I would investigate.

A little poking around in the file header revealed some names to search on, and here's what I found.

Files ending with .ogg are a new type of compressed audio file similar to mp3 files, but there is a big difference, somebody holds a patent on the method used to make mp3 files, so it is impossible to make a program that creates mp3s without paying royalties to the patent holder. .Ogg files are being created as an open standard for audio compression and decompression, that means anybody can make a program the creates or play .ogg files, and it can be free.

Who cares, right?

Well, there is another benefit besides being free, the open-source .ogg standard will not be controlled by the record companies, Microsoft, or AOL etc. that means no annoying copy prevention (like Microsoft and RealAudio have) that prevents you from freely copying and using your music on any player you want to.

Mp3 does not have that either right now, but I expect that somebody is working on it.

The bad news.

The .ogg encoder is not finished and has some sound quality issues and there 's not much software support for it yet, the .ogg encoders are not fully functional programs yet.

The Good News

If you want to play these files right now, current versions of WinAmp can play them.

Don't have WinAmp? You should, its a small, fast and FREE audio player, check it out here. I highly recommend it!

For more information on the .ogg project check out the official site at and

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