'''FLAC''' stands for '''Free Lossless Audio Codec'''. FLAC is an [[audio compression]] [[codec]] that is [[ lossless data compression|lossless]]. Unlike [[lossy data compression|lossy]] codecs such as [[ MP3]] and [[ Vorbis]] , it does not remove any information from the audio stream.
On January 29th, 2003, Xiphophorus (now called the [[Xiph.org Foundation]]) announced the incorporation of FLAC under their xiph.org banner, to go along with [[Ogg]] Vorbis, Ogg [[Theora]], and [[Speex]]. ==The Project==
The FLAC project consists of:
* flac, a command-line wrapper around libFLAC to encode and decode .flac files
* metaflac, a command-line metadata editor for .flac files
* input plugins for various music players ([[Winamp]], [[XMMS]], Foobar2000, and more in the works)
"Free" means that the specification of the stream format is in the [[public domain]] (the FLAC project reserves the right to set the FLAC specification and certify compliance), and that neither the FLAC format nor any of the implemented encoding/decoding methods are covered by any patent. It also means that the sources for libFLAC and libFLAC++ are available under Xiph.org's [[BSD license]] and the sources for flac, metaflac, and the plugins are available under the [[GPL]].
FLAC is distinguished from general lossless algorithms such as [[ZIP file format|ZIP]] and [[gzip]] in that it is specifically designed for the efficient packing of audio data; while ZIP may compress a CD-quality audio file 20–40%, FLAC achieves compression rates of 30–70%.
While lossy codecs can achieve ratios of 80–90+%, they do this at the expense of discarding data from the original stream. Though FLAC uses a similar technique in its encoding process, it also adds "residual" data to allow the decoder to restore the original waveform flawlessly.
FLAC has become the preferred lossless format for trading live music online. It has a smaller file size than [[Shorten]], and unlike MP3, it's lossless, which ensures the highest fidelity to the source material, which is important to live music traders. It has recently become a favorite trading format of non-live lossless audio traders as well.
FLAC compiles on many platforms: most [[ Unix|Unices]] (including [[Linux]], *[[ BSD]] , [[ Solaris Operating Environment| Solaris]] , and [[ Mac OS X]] ), [[ Microsoft Windows| Windows]] , [[ BeOS]] , and [ [OS/ 2]]. There are build systems for [[autoconf]]/ [[automake] ], MSVC, Watcom C, and Project Builder.
== External links ==
*[http://flac.sourceforge.net/ Project homepage]
*[http://mikewren.com/flac/ Unofficial FLAC installer for Windows]
*[http://www.danrules.com/macflac/ MacFLAC] [[GUI]] frontend to encode/decode FLAC on [[Mac OS X]]
en. wikipedia. org/wiki/ FLAC FLAC(wikipedia. com) ]