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I am not expert in licenses and legal stuff, but I *think* that formats themselves are not licensed under the GNU or anything. We can talk about formats that are not encumbered by patents though, and mp4 (which is in your list, is not one of them, since it's a variant of mpeg just like mp3).
Besides that there's an issue that you might not have considered. Mp3 is a lossy format, which means that the original soundtrack cannot be recovered by decoding the mp3 file. Quality is lost on the encoding process to achieve higher compression ratios, like in jpeg. Ogg/vorbis is yet another lossy format. It doesn't matter if it's superior to mp3. When the files were compressed as mp3, they lost some quality, and if you decode them and recode them as ogg, you will be losing another bit of quality. So, recoding your whole collection using the mp3 files as a starting point might not be a good idea.
Being that said, nothing stops you from using the original source (in case that the music was ripped from cdaudio disks) and coding them as ogg this time. Ogg/vorbis would be my choice for regular audio files when I can stand a lossy format.
When the higher quality is a must then lossy formats are out of the question, and in that case I'd use flac. Flac files contain all the original information, just compressed, like if you zip a wav file. You can always restore the original sample from a flac file, unlike with mp3 or ogg. You could decode all your mp3's and recode them as flac, and they will be exactly the same quality, but flac files can take a lot of space. It depends on a number of parameters, and the bitrate that you chose for mp3, but in general terms, an mp3 file can take 1/10 to 1/5 the original size of the file, while flac files usually will take 1/2 of the original size. That means that a 700mb cdaudio will fit in approximately 350 mb or so. This is just a rough rule, you'll have to check yourself.
I won't vote because both flac and ogg are very different and you haven't given any criteria. I'd say ogg for general purpose, when the storage capacity is limited, and flac when quality matters.
Last edited by i92guboj; 08-29-2009 at 05:33 AM.
I am looking to convert my entire .mp3 collection over
to something more GNU friendly, any suggestions?
What are my options?
You shouldn't convert your mp3s to anything. Mp3 is a lossy format which means that if you trancode the files the sound quality will get much worst. I recommend you prefer non lossy formats from now on like flac.