• Free formats

last modified December 15, 2012 by strypey


Xiph.org is a not-for-profit consortium who act as stewards for patent-free film formats for multimedia, including

  • Ogg: container format for other components like audio, video, subtitles etc
  • Speex: a lossy codec optimized for recording human speech
  • Vorbis: a lossy codec designed for compressing music to save storage space and transfer faster with less bandwidth. It is an alternative to MP3, but unlike MP3 undergoing constant development
  • FLAC: a lossless codec designed as an alternative to WAV, and other CD quality formats
  • Theora: a video codec which began life as VP3, and can be used with the Ogg container and Vorbis or FLAC to store animations and movies

OASIS is a not-for-profit consortium who act as stewards for many open standards including the OpenDocuments (.ODF) formats for office applications, which might be used by writers

Google has given an irrevocable open license for the use of a number of formats including

  • WebM: an alternative to Flash (and Ogg) for representing audio-visual material on the web, based on the Matroska container format, with VP8 video and Vorbis audio
  • VP8: a video codec which is a more advanced version of the VP3 codec Theora was developed from. This is the video layer of WebM.

Other open formats:

Dirac: video compression format developed by the BBC for us with ultraHDTV

Matroska: like Ogg, a container format