mp3 to ogg conversion: why stick to proprietary formats when we have free/open formats!?


Posted by SV on November 15, 2007


I’ve Fedora 7 on my multiboot box. As one is aware Fedora has no out-of-box support for proprietary music formats like mp3, mpg, aac, etc. In their webpage the Redhat states that instead of giving support for proprietary formats and their by letting users to continue using them it wants to kinda force them into using free formats like ogg, theora etc. Some may say its against the spirit of freedom. But I strongly support RedHat in this issue. Yes, if we are provided support for mp3 would we ever bother to use ogg format? Would we take the trouble to download necessary plugins or to convert the mp3 files into ogg files and use them? We all are slaves of inertia. It needs some ‘force’ to change the status.


So, instead of downloading plugins to play mp3 files I googled for mp3 to ogg converters. Among all the available choices the following two attracted my attention:


1. – A shell script which can be used to convert mp3 to ogg from command line.


2. – A GNOME utility for mp3 to ogg conversion.


I downloaded the soundconverter source file and tried to install it. As I feared I got lost in dependency maze. I then downloaded the mp3ogg script from first site. Changed the permission to 755 and put it in /usr/local/bin.


The next step was, ofcourse, to test it. I selected an mp3 song and typed


mp3ogg filename.mp3


Guess what? It works. Now I’ve found a way to satisfy my ‘ear’ly urges on Fedora too.


We can give to options to this:


-s : to suppress all error messages.


-d : to delete the original mp3 file.


The converts the file into ogg file with the same name and in the current directory. I didnot try changing directories and all. I guess it first converts the mp3 into a wav file and then converts it into ogg file. Anyway, thanks a lot to Loran for writing such a nice script file.


Experts, ofcourse, say that ogg is a lossy format and if we convert from mp3 which is already a lossy format, the quality further degrades. If at all we are converting it is better to convert to FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) which as the same says is a better free format. If we are using audio cds, its better to use tools like grip and to rip the songs directly into ogg formats. Well, they may be right. While I completely agree with second suggestion, I’m not sure if I want to convert my files to FLAC. I guess the file size is bigger for flac format compared to ogg. My disk space is not impressive. Moreover I’m not a music guy. Not expert enough to feel the difference in quality anyway. All I need is to listen to song when I feel like. I love linux (read ‘Freedom’) and any kind of music format that runs on it is ok for me.


Now friends, when we can convert music files to free formats why continue to use proprietary formats? Why go with the tide? Remember we are never going to save our lives unless we swim agaist or across it! If we do not have necessary converters we can’t help. But when we have converters we better make use of them.


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