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Ogg Vorbis, the open source audio compression format, went gold today.

With the release of the first full version, developers can create hardware or software products to encode or decode music files without restrictions, royalty payments, or limits on distribution.

For music fans the hope is that major hardware vendors will back the format, which is promoted as offering higher quality playback in less space than MP3.

Using Vorbis means your player and encoder choices aren't bound by licensing terms. Although Vorbis is supported by players already (such as Winamp 2.80), some have questioned whether Vorbis offers a great enough performance leap to spur defection.

News of the release came to us in an email from Reg reader Douglas Gore, who told us: "Ogg Vorbis officially become version 1.0 today as announced on the developers mailing list, they haven't announced this officially yet as they are preparing it for full release, but the code is in the CVS and already people have compiles of the final code floating around in the Internet."

There's no official comment from Xiph.org Foundation, the driving force between Ogg Vorbis for now, but we'll update you when this arrives. ®

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