Wikipedia talk:Sound

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Sound format[edit]

Can user have a look to Wikipedia talk:Sound. I'm not conviced that this change is a good thing and I don't think it has received large support. Ericd 12:15, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

User:Zarni02 has instituted a new Wikipedia policy allowing the use of WAV and MP3 sound files instead of just OGG. However he has gathered very few comments and run no polls before instituting this change. It was announced on Requests for comment. Rmhermen 12:56, Jul 16, 2004 (UTC)
In my opinion this new policy is evil. WAV is an horrible solution from a technical POV. MP3 has patent issue. From a legal POV I see it like accepting copyright violations or deciding that Wikipiedia is not GFDL.
I don't know what happened, but I never heard about the Wikipedia:Request for comments posting until it was over. (I check my Wikipedia watchlist at least 10 times a day, but never saw the edit to Wikipedia:Sound and Wikipedia that announced it. More Wikipedia technical problems?) I applaud the effort to broaden sound support on Wikipedia, though not necessarily the path taken. (I'm still reviewing that.) However, I want to point out that there are some very vocal OGG users who seem fixated on preventing WAV and MP3 files from being used by Wikipedia on specious legal grounds. There are certainly practical concerns about the size of WAV files, although the recommended WAV and MP3 filesize limit of 64KB is certainly more restrictive than the up-to-2MB files that OGG users have already uploaded. The OGG crowd routinely rejects the complaint that OGG is virtually unheard-of outside the world of open-source when compared to WAV, MP3, and other popular formats. (The software support alone for OGG — a dozen or so players and encoders and no inline browser plugins — compared to hundreds of software components for each of many other formats is an obvious argument for WAV, MP3, etc.) It seems to me that this whole dialog is confined primarily to a sizable number of existing OGG users and a few new folks looking to use a more readily-available format. The problem is that few of the latter seem to be speaking up on the issue, leaving the argument to default in favor of the OGG crowd. I think User:Zarni02's proactive, bold action is a commendable effort to bring this issue to the forefront. -- Jeff Q 23:10, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Sorry Jeff I rememberalong time ago some wikipedian arguing that it was very cool to upload copyrighted images. Yeah it was cool !. Yes, it's not cool to have to install a Direcshow filter. When your vanilla Media Player can play MP3. Yes, legal issues are annoying everyone.
Ericd 22:20, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, Ericd, but your ad hominem attack accusing me of wanting WAV and MP3 support because it's "cool" is totally unfounded on anything I've written. Unlike what your above statement implies about you, I have never uploaded any copyrighted material, and I have never in my 42 years bowed to any trend considered cool, which is more than I can say about anyone I've ever met. (Your implicit accusation is also unfounded on anything I want to upload, which I've made clear from the start — illustrative sound samples for encyclopedic topics that I create, hold the copyrights to, and license under GFDL, just like the images in my very modest gallery.) You should avoid personal attacks and try to stick to the topic at hand. You might also want to review Wiki pages on polite discourse. By the way, you might try reading the reference document you so helpfully posted on Wikipedia talk:Sound. It covers encoders and decoders only and specifically states "this license does not cover the right to distribute, broadcast and/or stream mp3 / mp3PRO encoded data". I could have provided the relevant link myself, based on information on that page, but I see no reason to help someone who has more interest in ridiculing people that making cogent and concise arguments. -- Jeff Q 23:20, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

(moved this down) A discussion about this is now at Wikipedia_talk:Sound#MP3_on_Wikipedia, announced here, at goings on and the mailing list -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 02:52, 2004 Jul 17 (UTC)

Here are some comments about three topics: patent and copyright, installed base, and Wikipedia users.

  • I don't know a thing about patent law in any country, but I seriously doubt that Wikipedia would violate any MP3 patent by uploading, storing and downloading files that are encoded in MP3. Likely, there are patents covering things like algorithms and hardware for encoding and decoding the files, but licenses and fees would be the responsibility of the individual users who do those things, not of Wikipedia. Also, Wikipedia might violate copyright if the files contain copyrighted information, so diligence to avoid that would continue to be necessary --- no matter whether the material is encoded in MP3, OGG, WAV or any other format. To summarize, I believe that patent and copyright issues, while important to other discussions, have no relevance on the choice of format.
  • My home and office computers cannot encode or decode OGG files. I have never heard of OGG outside the context of Wikipedia. Can anyone estimate how many computers can play OGG files, and for comparison, how many computers can play WAV files? Using the software that's already installed, without going out and installing a codec. I would bet that less than one percent of home computers connected to the Internet can play OGG files. The figure would be much higher within certain subcultures (someone mentioned the open-software subculture), and perhaps some newer computers have the capability, but within the community at large, it must surely be very low.
Have you tried the JOrbis applet?
  • Wikipedia users are very different from Wikipedians. Users who look up the articles that the 'pedians write find Wikipedia from Google and other search engines. They come from all segments of the Internet society, and most of them know very little about installing software. Many might never have done so; they don't know where to find OGG decoders, and even if we tell them, they'll find it much too bothersome to be worthwhile. In contrast, their computers can play WAV files right out of the box. Wikipedia has to make a decision: do we want to include such users, or exclude them? WAV includes them; OGG excludes them.

In my opinion, Wikipedia would do a great disservice to its users to require OGG players. However, if Wikipedia had software to decode OGG files, and then encode them in a choice of formats that Wikipedia users can utilize (with buttons that say things like "click here for a Windows sound file"), there would be no harm in accepting OGG files. Fg2 02:00, Aug 14, 2004 (UTC)

Hmmm... if people find OGG so inconvenient they still could buy an Encarta CD-ROM, it's fully compatible with Windows, there's no need for extra software ;-). Seriously it takes less than 20 seconds to install the Ogg-Vorbis filter for Windows Media Player.

Ericd 21:22, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I'm seriously against mp3. There are, certainly, patents which limit how it can be used. Even if we were able to publish mp3ses here without paying (I have my doubts), people would not be completelly free to listen to them because the patents are there and some uses do certainly require royalty payment. I think we should push for open and free standards instead, and Vorbis is nowadays quite popular and easy to play.Rvalles 15:48, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

This page to be scrapped[edit]

Just to let everyone know, I've been tasked with scrapping this page and rewriting it. There are some glaring ommissions here, and almost a complete lack of how-to information. I need to talk some issues over with wikitech first, but just be aware of what's coming. →Raul654 19:53, Jul 21, 2004 (UTC)

sound format/appropriate[edit]

I think we should not use lossy formats such as ogg, mp3 or the like for audio.

I think we should not use proprietary formats either.

I recommend Shorten/shn, Flawless Audio/flac or mkw.

But I have to ask is storing media our task? there are other sites that already do that... for example

No, storing media isn't our task. But providing multimedia illustration of article information (e.g., bird calls, brief samples of tunes) seems well within our task. Much of what I've seen used so far (in any format) seems to be along these lines. -- Jeff Q 11:28, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)
yes, that's a good thing, that's encyclopedic. at this point I have to bow out, as I don't know jill about lossy formats and compatibility... but I will say that I was real intimidated by shn and flac both at the start, FWIW, so it might be bothersome.

...that flash idea someone mentioned sounds promising for smaller files.Pedant 21:06, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think sticking with the OGG only policy is probably wisest, it's in keeping with the free nature of wiki, and the good quality at low bitrates will be nicer to the bandwidth. However, encoding tutorials/guidlines are probably a must for a majority of users, and any sounds linked will need to also link to a page explaining how to get them to play. --Zippedmartin 01:45, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

(Speaking as the one who scrapped and rewrote this page) - I linked the necessary software from here and even put together/got permission for the Windows download for timidity. If someone else wants to come along and write the necessary tutorials, I be very grateful. Otherwise, I'll get around to it eventually.
About formats - we use ogg. Next to mp3, it's pretty much the only compressed sound format that has even a modicum of support in most people's software. End of discussion
agreed.Rvalles 15:48, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
About whether or not we should be storing sounds - yes, absolutely positively we should - storing media. In fact, that's what the upcoming Wikicommons will be for. If you don't like it, take it up with Jimbo. →Raul654 01:52, Aug 7, 2004 (UTC)
If we have enormous bandwidth, great... I can't wait for Moe article to have a link to Moe_at_the_Scrapyard_1992-02-25_full_show.ogg etc. Is this actually going to happen? and Every Grateful Dead concert ever played? hey, if we can actually do it, and handle the bandwidth, I'm all for it.Pedant 03:36, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Clips of copyrighted songs?[edit]

What's the law about using clips of copyrighted songs? Can you use a short clip without being in violation of copyright? Thanks. Mattingly23 14:30, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Copyright FAQ; specifically, the fair use section. →Raul654 16:17, Aug 7, 2004 (UTC)

Uploaded Vorbis files[edit]

I don't understand the motivation for the list of uploaded Ogg Vorbis music clips that was recently pasted into this article. It's absurdly dynamic, incredibly incomplete, and not a proper element of an article on sound guidelines for Wikipedia. If there is a reason to create a complete list, it should be in its own article, like List of Ogg Vorbis music clips. I'd move it myself, but I have no current use for Ogg files and feel someone who thinks it useful should do so. I'm inclined to delete this section, and plan to in a week or two unless someone justifies its inclusion here. — Jeff Q 23:33, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

(Speaking as the one who rewrote most of this page) - I agree, the list needs to be deleted. →Raul654 23:46, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)
The list was previously in Vorbis, where it certainly doesn't belong. As it is an article about Wikipedia, it should go in the Wikipedia: namespace. -- stw (Talk) 09:03, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
This list is impossible to maintain (it's missing at least the 1/2 dozen ogg files I uploaded, for example), and adds very little useful information. →Raul654 09:43, Aug 16, 2004 (UTC)
Well it does add something, i for one would like a list of classical works in one place, however it defenetly should not be on this page. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 14:56, 2004 Aug 16 (UTC)
I don't know why I'm so interested in commenting on this, but here's an idea for those who want this kind of list. Establish a standard method for categorizing sound clips by genre (either using Categories or some key words in the description text on the "image" page). Create one or more "Wikipedia:List of [genre] sound clips" which include only those in the genre. Create a bot to periodically query the database to pull appropriate clips and update the list(s). Does this sound workable (no pun intended)? — Jeff Q 15:13, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Is there any consensus about uploaded MP3 files? I noticed this one. My understanding of the current policy is that MP3s are not allowed, but I'm not sure where to bring it up (I don't know of a page like Images for deletion for sound files). Thanks. Wmahan. 18:00, 2004 Sep 5 (UTC)

They need to be converted (assuming that they are kosher copyright-wise). →Raul654 18:03, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

OK, maybe a "sounds for conversion" category would be useful for keeping track of the sounds that need to be re-enoded as Vorbis. I won't worry about the procedure for deleting media files until they get converted. Wmahan. 18:28, 2004 Sep 5 (UTC)

I have made Category: MP3 sounds to keep track of MP3 files until someone converts them or otherwise removes them. Wmahan. 03:23, 2004 Sep 10 (UTC)

User:Etz Haim/Tech Corner[edit]

You are invited to review my Tech Corner. Comments and suggestions will be appreciated. Etz Haim 06:17, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Redesigning our stance on multimedia[edit]

I've started a page, meta:Multimedia to discuss developing a better strategy for encouraging and enabling the use of sounds and videos in wikimedia projects. Among other things, it includes an attempt at a much more user-friendly replacement for this page. Please check it out. - IMSoP 16:44, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

WAV vs FLAC[edit]

I think that allowing for WAVs isn't a good policy. WAV is a container which can store stuff in propietary, restricted, audio codecs and we don't want that. It can store audio in a raw uncompressed format, which isn't optimal at all, so we don't want it either. So I suggest using FLAC for the few cases where lossless audio is needed.

Trying to upload MIDIs[edit]

Hello all,

I am trying to upload some MIDI files to illustrate the article on the Goldberg Variations. The MIDI files are very small (most of them are 10KB or less) and I have permission from to upload them to Wikipedia. However, when I try to upload them I get a message saying "Upload warning ".mid" is not a recommended image file format." and the system won't let me upload them. If anyone could help me out with this I would greatly appreciate it. -spencer195 02:34, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

If you would please read the article (Wikipedia:Sound), it tells you how to convert them to ogg, which is the preferred format. →Raul654 02:36, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
But OGG files take up much more space and there would probably be a reduction in sound quality in the conversion process. -spencer195 02:53, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
In this case, comparing them directly is apples to oranges. Midi is a format for digitally sythesized music (Think of it as being sheet music for your sound card). However, midi (A) varies from sythesizer to sythesizer, and (b) cannot encode all sounds; just what sheet music can produce. That's why it sound artificial. We don't want midi for these reasons. Ogg is high fidelity. It can reproduce real sounds. On the other hand, unlike midi, Ogg has to store lots of information, and it's harder to modifty later. However, for our purposes as an encyclopedia project, both of these are acceptable. →Raul654 03:26, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
So can someone who has access modify the Wikipedia software settings so I can upload MIDIs? The instructions for doing this are at meta:Help:Images_and_other_uploaded_files:
If you want to upload other file types then .jpg or .ogg (like for example .pdf) in newer versions of mediawiki, you have to add the line $wgFileExtensions = array( 'png', 'jpg', 'jpeg', 'ogg','doc','xls','ppt','mp3','sxc','pdf' );to the LocalSettings.php file
I assume you would have to add "mid" and "midi" to the list. Thanks in advance if you can do this. -spencer195 04:05, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood me. When I said "both of these are acceptable" - I meant that 'Ogg has to store lots of information, and it's harder to modifty later' - even in spite of these, Ogg is an acceptable format. Midi is not acceptable, for the reasons laid out above. →Raul654 04:41, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
But the files I have were originally encoded as MIDI, so there would be nothing to be gained by converting to OGG. Plus, MIDI has some additional features, like the ability to change the speed of the music and the instruments that are used. -spencer195 04:54, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Right, it's more usable in that respect. However, like I said, midi sounds substantially different from computer to computer (depending on the sythesizer and the sound palate used), and it cannot encode real sounds, which is why it sounds artificial. →Raul654 04:58, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
I don't see how can that be a problem. Even if a piano solo midi will sound different from one computer to another, both will sound like pianos. I'd just recommend ogg in cases of multi-track midis or with certain instruments, like violin and cello, that are usually horrible in midi playback Kieff | Talk 05:12, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)

You can hear the files that I wanted to upload here: al

I think they sound close enough to piano performances for illustrative purposes, and their very small size, plus the fact that they've been cleared for copyright makes me think that they're ideal for Wikipedia. -spencer195 05:35, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Go on don't care for the warning midi is perfect for this. Ericd 22:18, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

But the system won't let me. I think somebody needs to change the Wikipedia software settings so it will allow MIDI files. -spencer195 23:22, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Yes, the check is now non-ignorable for security reasons. Try making your case to a developer on an appropriate IRC channel or Mailing list - IMSoP 19:40, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

That was a long discussion for answering only one question (with a "no"). What would be the appropriate channel or list? Hyacinth 20:28, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

#MediaWiki and Wikitech-l, respectively. - IMSoP 20:40, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia already has midi files: [1]

A)Not many. B)The file-type check used to be a lot less restrictive. You'll find all sorts of crazy files if you look hard enough. (Not that that's a comment on whether or not we should add MIDI's, just a confirmation that we currently can't, even though some are already there). - IMSoP 20:40, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

From what I've been able to gather in the three minutes I've been trying to find out, MIDI files seem to be disallowed because of security issues more than anything else, but it's not entirely clear to me at the moment (investigations are on-going ;). I certainly don't think there's any reason to universally disallow them if there isn't a security issue: of course, they're not ideal for all sound, but in many cases they are, since it often doesn't matter exactly what sound is made, so long as the notes are right. --Camembert

On Thu, 28 Oct 2004, Mikhail Abraham wrote to the Wikitech I mailing list: I have been directed by User:IMSoP to contact this mailing list in regards to uploading MIDI files for use on wikipedia. See:

At least two wikipedians (including myself) would like to be able to add and use MIDI files on wikipedia, as was the capability in the past. We believe they are a common format and allow for smaller file sizes. It has been suggested by User:Raul654 that MIDI files are unsuitable because their performance is unpredictable, and by User:Camembert that they are not currently allowed for security issues. Hyacinth

I strongly support the use of MIDI files. Is a very common standard that almost every computer out there can play, and can be easily converted into a staff. It's optimal to implement things like national anthems and song snippets. Alfio Puglisi.
Is there any easy way to verify that a file is a MIDI file?

We only allow uploads of files for which we can verify that the content matches the file suffix. JeLuF.

Yes, there is. The first 4 bytes are "MThd". Paranoid 21:57, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The Unix file command supports many file formats, including MIDI files:
moeller@peace:~/projekte/wiki$ file Soundtrack.mid
Soundtrack.mid: Standard MIDI data (format 1) using 12 tracks at 1/120
moeller@peace:~/projekte/wiki$ mv Soundtrack.mid xyue3r923
moeller@peace:~/projekte/wiki$ file xyue3r923
xyue3r923: Standard MIDI data (format 1) using 12 tracks at 1/120
file uses header information ("magic numbers") to determine the file type. Erik.
Unfortunately, this would probably not be enough to combat the security concerns. Internet Explorer has a serious security vulnerability that causes it to "spot" HTML (and JavaScript) inside files which all evidence (file extension, MIME type) suggests are some other format. Thus, a file might be able to be named "foo.mid", begin with "MThd", but still contain enough HTML that IE would execute JavaScript inside it, and therefore compromise security. - IMSoP 23:19, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Message: 1
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:46:21 +0100
From: Daniel Kinzler <>
Subject: [Wikitech-l] File Uploads: allow SVG, MIDI, etc
To: Wikimedia developers <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed

Hello all.

The fact that SVG, MIDI and other formats are blocked is getting really 
annoying. People complain about it over and over, and it's a bad 
situation also regarding the fact that the GFDL calls for the 
"transparent source" of a document.

As I understand it those formats are blocked because MSIE interprets 
everything as HTML that *looks* like HTML. It was then stated that in 
order to circumvent this, a varifyer would have to be written for all 
formats. I do not understand why this is so, and I would like to suggest 
a simple solution:

* when a file is uploaded, run "file -bi" against that file and remember 
the output, which is (a pretty good guess of) the mime-type of the file.
* if the mime type is "text/html", refuse the upload.
* if the mime type is a forbidden format (exe, etc), refuse the upload.

That should be enough. If you want to be picky about the files type, 
also do the following:

* have a map of mime-types-to-file-extensions. Look up the mime-type 
returned by file in that table. If it mismatches the file extension, 
warn about it and refuse to upload. Skip the test if the mime-type is 
not in the table.

If we are concerned about viruses in general, why not run a virus 
scanner against every uploaded files? Uploads are not the frequent, CPU 
should be able to cope with that.

BTW: may I also suggest to convert the file-extensions to lowercase in 
the same step the " "-to-"_" conversion happens? That would be great...

Please excuse me if this was all a pile of rubbish based on a 
misunderstanding - just point it out. Furthermore, i'm willing to write 
a routine that does the above, or anything else neccessary, provided i 
do not have to dig deep into the Mediawiki-code. Just tell me the specs 
of the function, and i'll post it here.


Message: 6
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 14:55:24 -0800
From: Brion Vibber <>
Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] File Uploads: allow SVG, MIDI, etc
To: Wikimedia developers <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

On Nov 12, 2004, at 6:46 AM, Daniel Kinzler wrote:
> The fact that SVG, MIDI and other formats are blocked is getting  
> really annoying. People complain about it over and over, and it's a  
> bad situation also regarding the fact that the GFDL calls for the  
> "transparent source" of a document.
> As I understand it those formats are blocked because MSIE interprets  
> everything as HTML that *looks* like HTML. It was then stated that in  
> order to circumvent this, a varifyer would have to be written for all  
> formats. I do not understand why this is so, and I would like to  
> suggest a simple solution:

We have a heuristic check which attempts to match MSIE's heuristic test  
for HTML and rejects anything that matches. Hopefully it's good enough  
for that, though there may be other dangerous formats that it attempts  
to recognize, or other checks in the HTML heuristic which I might have  

MSIE's MIME type "detection" (the process in which it throws away the  
server's specified content-type information and pulls a new one out of  
its butt in an unreliable, insecure manner) is partially documented  

MIDI is probably safe. It doesn't seem to be in IE's internally  
recognized list of types, so it shouldn't try to autodetect.

SVG is a more dangerous format; IIRC it explicitly allows for the use  
of JavaScript. Would you mind testing the main SVG-supporting browsers  
(particularly the Adobe SVG Viewer plug-in running in MSIE and Mozilla)  
to ensure that JavaScript in a SVG file can't access cookies or hijack  
the containing browser window?

> * when a file is uploaded, run "file -bi" against that file and  
> remember the output, which is (a pretty good guess of) the mime-type  
> of the file.

MediaWiki can't generally rely on 'file' since it's an external  
program. It may not give consistent results on all platforms, and is  
completely absent on some (such as Windows). It's also known to fail to  
catch the MSIE holes, which can detect HTML on actual valid image  

> * have a map of mime-types-to-file-extensions. Look up the mime-type  
> returned by file in that table. If it mismatches the file extension,  
> warn about it and refuse to upload. Skip the test if the mime-type is  
> not in the table.

For known image types, we already check that the detected image type  
matches the extension.

> If we are concerned about viruses in general, why not run a virus  
> scanner against every uploaded files? Uploads are not the frequent,  
> CPU should be able to cope with that.

Mainly we're concerned about JavaScript session hijacking, but other  
problems are a concern as well. Feel free to whip up a wrapper around  
clamav or something, that might be useful...

-- brion vibber (brion @

Stop the openness zealotry[edit]

I think people who oppose MP3s for ideological reasons need to relax. I don't think it's bad for Wikipedia to use formats which are not 100% patent-free. The point of Wikipedia is to make an open encyclopedia. In this case it would be achieved better if MP3s and other such formats were allowed.

  • These formats can be played by more people than OGG. More freedom to users
  • These formats can be played by open-source applications.
  • These formats can be converted to other formats using open-source tools.

For some reasons noone objects to the fact that Wikipedia requires a use of a CPU and all CPUs so far are heavily patent-protected. So what's wrong with requiring use of MP3-enabled software? Paranoid 21:56, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, according to our own article on MP3, the problem is very simple: "Until the key patents expire, Open Source Software / Free Software encoders and players appear to be illegal in countries that recognize software patents." (see section MP3#Licensing and patent issues) So, if we allow MP3s, we are arguably forcing users to either use proprietary software that is licenced by Fraunhofer/Thomson, or break the law. Maybe we shouldn't care, but if we want to be really clear about spreading content to the world, that seems a pretty nasty corner to push people into - especially given that Fraunhofer/Thomson can presumably change their licencing procedures whenever they want...
It's not like this is really a big deal. Why should Wikipedia take it on itself to promote open source through such zealotry? What's wrong with using Winamp to convert an MP3? What's wrong with paying for an application if you need to convert them. By any realistic standard of openness and freedom an MP3 on Wikipedia with content licensed under GFDL would be open and free. Anything else is really stupid and people should realise that Wikipedia may have goals different from what Stallman, for example, has.
The aim of Wikipedia is, is it not, to create a resource which is usable by anyone and everyone; if a payment were required to legally decode (i.e. listen to) an MP3 (OK, that's unlikely, but not impossible) no amount of GFDL licensing would make MP3s on Wikipedia free to use. And converting compressed audio is generally a bad idea (broadly speaking, lossy compression → raw data → different lossy compression = double the lossiness) so once we've got MP3s on our hands, we're pretty much stuck with them. Personally, that's one of the main reasons I support standardising on Oggs, or some other open standard: it makes a lot of sense to standardise on something (so we can have appropriate help pages; so that people don't need to deal with multiple players/plugins/authoring software; so that, in general, we can have a clear policy and not get in a muddle every time someone wants to upload something), and we might as well pick something we're not going to regret later.
And (bad help pages notwithstanding) it's really not that hard to listen to an Ogg file; everyone makes out like you need to be able to write assembly language to hear Ogg Vorbis, but can listen to an MP3 as long as you have something more than an Apple II. [You might like to see my proposed new help page at meta:Multimedia/Help:Listening to sounds; let me know what you think of it] - IMSoP 17:25, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As for requiring a CPU, I don't think this is comparable at all: we are not requiring users to use a particular patented algorithm; the data put out by this website adheres to the open standards of the Internet, which could theoretically be implemented without any CPU whatsoever, or with some patent-free device. But if we served MP3s it would be impossible to use that content without breach of the patents (in jurisdictions where such patents exist).
But anyway, this argument has been gone over time and time again, and I guess we're never going to get a real agreement on it; generally, the Ogg-only policy seems to have stuck so far; maybe just by inertia, maybe because there are enough people that actually think it's a good idea; in the end, who's to say what the "right" answer is? - IMSoP 23:12, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think the reason is that at the moment there isn't much pressing need for multimedia content on the Wikipedia. And also, those people who tend to go fanatical about Ogg have more time to waste in pointless debates on Wikipedia. I would have contributed a few videos, perhaps, but since I can't do it, I will just say "Fuck those idiot oggers" and stick to photos and text. Sad, but true. Paranoid 01:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You seem to be plenty fanatical about your own opinion to me. I resent being called an "idiot ogger" when I've taken the time to respond to you. And the sheer number of debates seems to put a lie to your argument anyway: the status quo is "Oggs only", so every time the argument is raised, it is being raised by someone who wants MP3s as well/instead. It seems to me both sides can be equally zealous, but certain things have tended to lend weight toward sticking with open formats. (Including, at the least democratic end, the opinions of our founder and "benevolent dictator", Jimbo Wales) As for videos, that's a whole nother kettle of fish, since no-one's really very clear yet what format we should use for that - and there's not a lot of point having every video in a different format, and hoping people will work out all the different software they need, is there? - IMSoP 17:25, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Need Clear Directions on Uploading[edit]

I have two very small, very simple WAV files which I would like to upload. I've visited the Help Page, this page, the Sound page, and the Wiki-Media site. NOWHERE does it actually say how to upload these files. When using the "Upload File" button, an error message occurs stating wav is not a valid image format. Of course not, its a sound file. How does one upload WAV files to this site? Please help! -Husnock 12Jan04

Wikipedia calls all uploads "images" and that is not the problem. WAV files are probably disallowed, as are MIDIs, see above. Hyacinth 21:19, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Music clips project[edit]

Those following this page may be interested in the discussion on my talk page regarding my current project to record and upload certain classical keyboard works. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 21:33, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Has there been any consideration of allowing the use of the aacPlus audio format on Wikipedia? I suppose it may have the same/similar patent issues as MP3, but it seems to be a relatively open format (a variant of it is used for a digital radio standard—Digital Radio Mondiale). The big plus here is that files can be reduced in size quite a bit more than MP3 (48kbit is supposedly "CD quality"—check out some of the streams at, which would be a big help for people on dial-up. Winamp supports it natively, the VLC media player works across platforms, and other programs like iTunes will probably have it Real Soon Now™. Of course, I don't know how much CPU horsepower it requires. User:Mulad (talk) 20:00, Feb 14, 2005 (UTC)

It's patent encumbered, see this article or this article. Also, quality is not as good as Vorbis, see the results of this listening test and the other material at Bear in mind that all other lossy formats are better than MP3 at the same bitrate. Differences between, say, Vorbis and AAC and ATRAC3 and MPC are relatively small by comparison.
I myself find our concern with the decoder patents a little puzzling and overprincipled. Absent that concern, we would be best off using MP3, because it is so widely supported. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 15:38, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Note that I'm talking aacPlus, also known as "High Efficiency AAC," an improved version of AAC (Hmm, you linked to HE-AAC articles, so I'm kinda confused). You're probably right about the patent stuff, though User:Mulad (talk) 18:47, Feb 16, 2005 (UTC)

Suggest to allow MID & WAV as per policy[edit]

After some pretty excited debate a while ago, the approved file formats for Wikipedia were deemed from on high to be:

  • OGG
  • WAV
  • MID

And while many people had objections, this seemed to be both accepted and ended the debate.

However since we can no longer upload .WAV or .MID files, the policy has effectively returned to the old '.OGG only' by a configuration change.

I think .WAV and .MID files should be allowed as per the policy. --Zarni02 10:03, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

On the merits, there is probably no longer a reason to use .WAV files. At one time they were the only widely-supported sound format, and that is clearly no longer the case. .WAV converts easily and well to .OGG. As for .MID files, the main problem with them is that the playback experience can vary widely and unpredictably depending on the capabilities and configuration of the listener's sound driver. The main advantage of them is that they are more readily editable and, for those proficient who possess the right tools, more suitable for reuse for other activities unrelated to the encyclopedia. I don't think that goal is within the remit of the project, so I would support an OGG-only policy. I would prefer, however, such a policy's source to be consensus rather than technical fiat. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 17:08, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
From my experience MIDI uploads will not happen unless one of us gains the technical skills and access to impliment that configuration change. Hyacinth 18:53, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think UninvitedCompany is generally right here. We also need to balance the convenience to creators, in being able to use their (suitably open) format of choice, against the convenience to readers (well, listeners actually) of not having to deal with a multiplicity of formats. While many players will of course support all of these, there's something to be said for picking a standard and sticking to it. This also makes it easier to manage the level of tech support instructions we should provide. --Michael Snow 23:02, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
About differences in MIDI playback from setup to setup; who cares? Seriously, for demonstrating music theory and melodies (if only for reminding users "ah, so that's the composer of that piece"), for instance, it's more than good enough and very bandwidth friendly. Sure, MIDI has its limitations, but it also has its uses and benefits. I see it as a good thing. :-) – Pladask 17:22, Mar 11, 2005 (UTC)
When the user goes to open that OGG file, do they get a decent message? I hadn't heard of OGG before seeing bug 1633 and I don't think most people have either. Brianjd | Why restrict HTML? | 10:05, 2005 May 1 (UTC)


Why does this page say that everything except full length songs belong at Commons and still there's a whole bunch of pronunciation files as well as guidelines to uploading them there? Is there a point to not uploading pronunciation files at Commons as well? - karmosin 22:40, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)

That sentence is in error (that's not what it originally said, but it was not updated properly, and I'm probably the one to blame). →Raul654 19:05, Mar 6, 2005 (UTC)
Phew. I almost thought I had done a lot of stupid uploading! - karmosin 19:47, Mar 6, 2005 (UTC)

Just wanted to add my 2 cents: It's ridiculous to limit sound files to .ogg. - Nunh-huh 02:01, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

MP3s banned from wikipedia?[edit]

Can we at least get a better error message than, ".mp3 is not a recommended image format"? - which doesn't quite get the message across, considering that (1) Duh, MP3 is not an image file format, and (2) "not recommended" does not imply forbidden.

I disagree with the policy of banning MP3s. Most public domain sound files you can download over the Internet are in MP3 format. We don't want people to take these files and degrade them by transcoding to OGG. Mirror Vax 00:49, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)