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Music Media

BladeEnc 0.80 released under the LGPL 65

Tord writes "After about half a years delay I have finally released BladeEnc 0.80 under the LGPL. After some investigations, me and my patent ombudsman could only come to the conclusion that BladeEnc doesn't infringe any of the Swedish MP3 related patents, so I have been recommended to just go ahead with BladeEnc. I'll explain the patent issues in more detail later. Let's just say that we have found some interesting details... "
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BladeEnc 0.80 released under the LGPL

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  • With egcs-19990524 and -O2 -funroll-loops -fomit-frame-pointer -malign-loops=2 -malign-functions=2 -malign-jumps=2

    bladeenc runs twice as fast as it did before. Too bad releasing the source code didn't improve the quality too. I'm still going to have to use Lame for quality.
  • Answer to question #1: It doesn't matter if you code from the ground up w/o the ISO code, as long as you are using the algorithm for which they have a patent, you are infringing on their patent.

    Answer to question #2: Not sure, but if the ISO code on which his implementation was based has some sort of a BSD (minus the advertising clause) or X-style license, he can release it under the GPL or LGPL.
  • It's even worse than the algorithm. It's the entire process of "encoding an audio stream to the mp3 format" which is patented, whatever algorithm you may use.

    Software patents really suck. They prevent things like mpeg2 decoders from being released.
  • Why dosen't someone just make an encoder from the ground up under the GPL, w/ out the ISO code?

    That code contains an algorithm that is the end result of a great deal of psycho-acoustical research, most of it unpublished. Further, the patent is on the algorithm. You'd have to redo the research, and then come up with a different algorithm. Possible, but not likely following the open-source model.


    ...phil
  • Indeed, LAME rocks. cdgrab, the world's greatest cd ripping program :>, defaults to it :)
  • If you create a derived work from something that isn't technically in violation of any patents -- even if you're in a country where those laws do not apply -- I don't believe you can be held liable for any wrongdoing. In other words, b/c it was developed in Sweden, the code should be safe -- regardless of where it is developed from now on.

    Isn't it?

  • joint stereo

    This is not an advantage. Joint stereo sounds terrible, even to my audiophiles-must-die ears. I suppose if you're playing sound on your PC's internal speaker, you might not notice the difference... :-)

    "I want to use software that doesn't suck." - ESR
    "All software that isn't free sucks." - RMS

  • Not to get into an Encoder-War or anything...

    But have you considered that the reason that are accepting the quality of BladeEnc's output is that you haven't heard anything better?

    I also used BladeEnc for a while, but I've since switched to Lame. It seems (to me) to be faster and produce better quality than BladeEnc.

    Now, I'm REALLY not trying to say that everyone should use Lame, and in fact I'm thrilled that BladeEnc is being released under the LGPL (I'll download the source and do a comparison later to see how far its come since I used it). what I am saying is: Why are you ripping all of your CDs without even doing a comparison of the different options you have for encoding them first?

    Again, if you didn't know about your other options, then there's nothing wrong with going ahead with what you do have, but I just hope that discerning readers out there will just step back and give the alternatives a try.

    ferix
  • UNDER Linux, not Windows or some other OS.

    I would like to copy over my entire CD collection to MP3s so I can more easily access it for playing. I'm wondering what solutions there are for Linux. I've been playing with cdparanoia, but it seams to only run at 1x read speed, when my slowest CDROM is a 4x and my fastest is 16x. How can I do the CDDA data extraction at a more reasonable rate? Is there an option I missed?

    I can easily write the perl scripts to drive the ripper myself, but I need the base tools working at a reasonable rate to be efficient at the ripping. I can't afford to be sitting at the computer all day feeding disks. My free time is much to scarce.

  • AudioCatalyst is based on the Xing encoder, which is about 10x faster than BladeEnc. And since you're on PowerPC, you get the floating point advantage. AudioCatalyst on the Mac is currently the fastest encoding solution available to general consumers.
  • I too am a poor student, so I can't give much, but BladeEnc is far and away my favorite encoder. I would've registered it were it shareware, so I suppose I can kick in $20 or so for the cause.
  • I can't fault your logic at all. And I think the LGPL is an excellent tool to use when you want to help make a standard more open, because it is commercial software-friendly without keeping the free software community excluded from the core technology.

    All I can say is, I'm very happy that the MP3 world has an accessible encoding technology. This make the position of us MP3 musician a _lot_ stronger and more independent from the RIAA.

  • I've been using the BeOS version of lame, and agree that it's the fastest non-Xing encoder I've seen. Especially with the -f switch. Sounds great too.
  • Check out grip. It's a graphical program that can be used to rip and encode mp3's. It has cdparanoia built in, but it can also act as a front end to the command line version of cdparanoia and cdda2wav. There are options available to make cdparanoia work faster. With grip I disabled "extra paranoia" and it ripped much faster.

    I rip, then encode. I find that it works much better that way. The ripping is fast and the encoding works well as a background task.

    If you don't want a graphical tool, several perl scripts can be found on freshmeat.

    Chris
  • by dca ( 18722 )
    I asked. He said he's not currently interested
    in donations, at least until the whole matter is
    settled. He'll put up the final $US number when
    there is one, meantime keep thinking good thoughts.
  • I wasn't aware the ISO reference code had a license on it. Can someone point me to something that says people can use and distribute it or something that says it's public domain?

    Just curious :)

  • I used Bladeenc to rip and encode my entire CD collection (150+ cd's). It's great to hear that the source is going to be available!

    Just curious, if the author is reading this, what made you release it under the LGPL rather than the GPL?
  • by Zack ( 44 )
    I wonder what's so interesting about the patents? Maybe they forgot to mention that it was for audio encoding ;)

    Anyway, it's great to hear that the source is available.
  • I'm relying on second-hand information, but isn't the licensing fee only applicable if you're charging for your product? In other words, if you're distributing it for free, you don't have to pay for the licensing?
  • I would guess that the LGPL would help allow BladeEnc be used as a DLL in Windows freeware/shareware programs that is distributed as a binary, since Windows stuff usually doesn't include source, and most people couldn't compile it if it did.

    Still, LGPL is much better than binary only. WooHoo!
  • > isn't the licensing fee only applicable if
    > you're charging for your product?

    I wish it were so. For *decoders*, it is the case that you don't have to pay unless you charge. For *encoders*, you have to pay regardless. Last I checked, they charge a per-unit license fee with a minimum yearly payment of $15,000.

    --

  • Does this mean that people will be able to build other encoders (albeit possibly illegally) using the information contained in the Bladeenc source? Was this information available before this?

    The reason I'm asking is because I don't know of any other GPL/LGPL encoders out there. Are there?
  • by MikeO ( 951 )
    It is great both to see this source released and to see that Tord thinks he is legally in the clear (I hope he's right).

    I am very curious to hear the details -- particularly how they might pertain to other countries. The Fraunhofer patent is really stifling free software encoder development -- it doesn't matter how low the licensing fee is if you aren't selling your software.

    --
  • I hope it gets a new GUI front end for Linux.. maybe gtk or Qt.... I'd do it but am to busy at this point.
  • Check out the "other" free encoder with source. LAME has been going for a while now and includes:
    • VBR support
    • joint stereo
    • improved psychoacoustic model
    • heaps of speed
    • graphical mp3 analyzer
    • even has a bladenc.dll compat mode
  • Are you sure that you want to? Don't forget that audio CD's have NO error correction (whereas data CD's have, I think, 512 bytes of ECC for every 2048 bytes of data). If you really want a faster reader, I'd suggest that you don't use cd paranoia, which is 'paranoid' about getting the recording right at the expense of speed.
  • And a configure script too, perhaps? Now that it's open-sourced, maybe we can work together to make it configure;make;make install - compatible.
  • This means that we should finally be able to build BladeEnc linked against the fast math libraries that are available! Woo hoo!

    Might also make a nice GUI frontend simpler to develop, though grip is pretty nice even as it is.
  • Cheap and old CD drives read CDDA single-speed.

    Get a SCSI CD-ROM: CPU usage while ripping is dramatically lower. If you encode while ripping, it makes a HUGE difference.

  • The following might explain what the interesting patenting stuff is about:

    From: Brian Ristuccia
    To: debian-legal@lists.debian.org
    Subject: bladeenc

    Bladeenc, a mpeg1/2 layer 3 encoder has been recently released under the
    LGPL. After investigation, the author has found that Thompson's and
    Franhauffer's patent claims do not apply to him in his home country.

    My question is, do we have a server in a country where this package could be
    hosted? Sweeden is safe. Australia might be. Germany is probably not. Where
    is non-us currently located?
  • The times are seldom and far between, but sometimes I am really proud of my country...

    Which is Ironic, because Math is my field, so if the world worked the way they say it does, I should be angry that I can't monopolize whatever I should happen to be the first to stumble upon.

    Patents are an infringement on the freedom of thought.
  • by Tord ( 5801 ) <tord@jansson.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @05:31AM (#1826930) Homepage
    [sorry for the AC post, but I'm at work now and don't have my password handy]

    "Just curious, if the author is reading this, what made you release it under the LGPL rather than the GPL?"

    Two major reasons actually:

    1. BladeEnc has allready been out for a while and a large amount of BladeEnc users are using a closed source Windows ripper like Audiograbber, EAC, Easy CDDA Extractor 3 etc. All these programs are distributed as shareware and the authors have helped me promote BladeEnc. Jukka (creator of CDDA Extractor 3) actually created the DLL version of BladeEnc and Jackie (creator of Audiograbber) have been very supportive. It wouldn't be especially nice of me to suddenly turn my back against them and all the users who use BladeEnc in combination with their programs (which is probably half my userbase).


    2. I'm fed up with this MP3 patent situation and those extemely expensive licenses. I want MP3's to be an open standard that can be used by both commercial and free packages. By making my code available for commercial products I do help them to keep down the cost (a number of software developers have shown the interest in purchasing the cheaper license (technology only, no code) from Fraunhofer and use BladeEnc's technology) and to make more products support the MP3 standard. I think this is very important since MP3 as a standard constantly is being fought by companies who are trying to push an even more closed format (like MS Audio, Real Audio, VQF etc) which might be better performance-wise, but would leave both the Free Software and Open Source Movement in the cold if they succeeded. Open standards, used both by free and proprietary software is essential for our success.


    For another, future product I will most likely use the GPL instead.

    /Tord

  • Hmmpf. Well, while waiting for the crowd to die down here's the skinny on a cirrus MP3 DE [cirrus.com]coder in Si.

    I've been real happy w/ bladenc, but haven't tried any others.

    Chuck

  • BTW, can you compile Lame without GTK libs ?
    command line compressor is all what I'm interested about...
  • If you are initializing with a non-constant, then move the expression into a function.

    before.c

    FILE * junk = stdout;

    main(){ /* more code here .. */}

    -----

    after.c

    FILE * junk;

    main(){ junk = stdout /*more code here .. */}
  • So is it legal for me to use BladeEnc in the US or is that still a violation of the patents? How about LAME (a very interesting use of source, I must say)?

    Or maybe I'll just wait until the bladeenc page gets updated with the information on patents.

    It's not that I like software patents (I don't); I just try to obey laws.
  • All this legal crap kinda scares me. Why dosen't someone just make an encoder from the ground up under the GPL, w/ out the ISO code? (I would try but I'm not that good of a coder yet)
    My other Question is how can Tord LGPL all of the code, he dosen't have the copyright to all of it right?
  • Did anyone else see the Trod's page where he talks
    about these groundless patent threats? Check it
    out at http://home8.swipnet.se/~w-82625. In that
    page Tord says that these legal issues will cost
    him around 1,000 dollars (I assume he means U.S.
    dollars). I use bladeenc all the time and I
    would like to help Tord defend himself on the
    legal front. I would be willing to put up the
    first 100 dollars for a "bladeenc legal defense fund". Who here is with me?

    Mo DeJong
    dejong@cs.umn.edu
  • The makefile was easy (took about 5 minutes to whip up), and configure would be a definate plus! Unfortunately, this new version doesn't seem to work very well. I compiled it on both Linux and Solaris -- both versions will get a fatal error on some .wav files (ripped w/ cdparanoia), and if the encoding does "succeed", the mp3 file is basically garbage.

    Is there a bladeenc mailing list available? I'm thinking my problem may or may not be related to the optimization setting (since the "compile" file had a different setting than the other set of code), so I'll have to poke around at it.

    I really do love using v0.76 though. Have it running during "spare cycles" across the corporate LAN. Was up to 32 sessions going at once. ;)

"You stay here, Audrey -- this is between me and the vegetable!" -- Seymour, from _Little Shop Of Horrors_

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