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The Ogg Vorbis CODEC project

May 11, 2000

Ogg Vorbis is a fully Open, non-proprietary, patent-and-royalty-free, general-purpose compressed audio format for high quality (44.1-48.0kHz, 16+ bit, polyphonic) audio and music at fixed and variable bitrates from 16 to 128 kbps/channel. This places Vorbis in the same class as audio representations including MPEG-1 audio layer 3, MPEG-4 audio (AAC and TwinVQ), and PAC.

Vorbis is the first of a planned family of Ogg multimedia coding formats being developed as part of Xiphophorus's Ogg multimedia project.

Vorbis Home Table of Contents


The Vorbis file format is now frozen for 1.0; pending any bugfixes that directly affect bitstream compatability (highly unlikely, but still possible), streams encoded by the current CVS main line are immortal and will remain compatable in all future releases of Vorbis.

Vorbis is moving steadily toward a 'first cut' release; this public alpha will serve as the beginning of a public review of the finished Ogg Vorbis audio format. Nightly CVS snapshots of Vorbis source are now available in tarred/gzipped format; however, until the code is more complete, using remote CVS is likely to be more convenient.

State of Vorbis

The current state of the Vorbis software library and tools:
libVorbis is the core Ogg stream / Vorbis engine.
Status: Fully functional. API complete, implementation nearing initial completion.
vorbisfile is an ANSI C convenience library intended to simplify most applications and provide example code for functions such as seeking and error recovery.
Status: Initial release complete.
code examples
example code that illustrates a simple encoder, decoder and file structure extractor.
Status: Initial release complete
command line tool
stock command line utility for full-featured encoding, decoding and playback on most platforms.
Status: In progress
player plugins
plugins that provide Vorbis playback in popular media players
  • XMMS plugin: Functional but incomplete
  • Winamp plugin: Nearly complete (only streaming missing)
  • Sonique plugin: Nearly complete (only streaming missing)
  • CL-AMP (BeOS) plugin: Complete (but perhaps not up to date with current CVS). See bebits.com for details.
  • Freeamp plugin: In progress
Documents covering the complete Vorbis specification as well as the programming APIs for xiph.org's own libvorbis/vorbisfile.
Status: Very incomplete

Distribution Terms in Plain English

Anyone may freely use and distribute the OggSquish and Vorbis specification, whether in a private, public or corporate capacity. The specification is fully open to the public to be used for any purpose. However, Xiphophorus and the Ogg project (xiph.org) reserve the right to set the Ogg/Vorbis specification and certify specification compliance.

Xiphophorus's Vorbis software libraries (libvorbis and vorbisfile) are distributed under the (GNU) Lesser/Library General Public License (LGPL); these libraries may be linked by any application, Open or proprietary. However, any and all modifications made to the library source by any entity must be released back to the public under the LGPL. Proprietary projects may link the library, but may not incorporate LGPL code directly.

All other portions of xiph.org's reference Vorbis software are distributed under the (GNU) General Public License (GPL).

Because the specification is open, third parties are welcome (and encouraged) to implement third party Vorbis software under other licenses using xiph.org's reference source as an authoritative reference.

OggSQUISH, Ogg Vorbis, Xiphophorus, the Xiphophorus Fish Logo, the Thor-and-the-Snake logo and the Laser-Playback-Head-of-Omniscience logo are trademarks (tm) of Xiphophorus. These pages are copyright (C) 1994-2000 Xiphophorus. All rights reserved.

Comments and questions about this web site are welcome.