Full MP3 support coming soon to Fedora

Both MP3 encoding and decoding will soon be officially supported in Fedora. Last November the patents covering MP3 decoding expired and Fedora Workstation enabled MP3 decoding via the mpg123 library and GStreamer. This update allowed users with the

gstreamer1-plugin-mpg123

package installed on their systems to listen to MP3 encoded music.

The MP3 codec and Open Source have had a troubled relationship over the past decade, especially within the United States. Historically, due to licensing issues Fedora has been unable to include MP3 decoding or encoding within the base distribution. However, many users utilized 3rd party repositories to enable MP3 support.

A couple of weeks ago IIS Fraunhofer and Technicolor terminated their licensing program and just a few days ago Red Hat Legal provided the permission to ship MP3 encoding in Fedora. There will be a bit of time whilst package reviews are carried out and tools that are safe to add are identified, as only MP3 is cleared and not other MPEG technologies. However, it will soon be possible to convert physical media or other formats to MP3 in Fedora without 3rd party repositories.

New in Fedora

16 Comments

  1. That’s great news! Thanks for letting us know. That will be one more thing to make Fedora easier for new users.

  2. Good news, but I noticed that working with .ogg files saved me more disk space without reducing sound quality. Either way it’s a good thing to have .mp3 support ready to use.

    • Paulo Alfredo

      Good news, but I like to use ogg files.

  3. That’s awesome.
    However, like Rodrigo de Araujo said .ogg is better.
    I wish one day we would all be using nothing but open source and no manufacturer will produce closed source stuff.
    This is still totally awesome though.

    • Ogg and other more modern formats are generally better โ€” I mostly use lossless these days anyway โ€” but it is important to note that we are not adding any closed source to Fedora. The mp3 playback we have and encoding we are adding are all 100% free software / open source.

  4. Dude

    Opus is the way to go. It is completely open (made by the same guys as Vorbis/Ogg), however it has much better quality (much better than MP3/Ogg/AAC/HE-AAC).

    Android supports it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_(audio_format)

    • Olivier

      HE-AAC is from the same generation as Opus, so the sound quality should be similar at high latencies. For lower latencies, that AAC can’t match, the comparison is more the AMR family of codecs used in 3G telephony and once again Opus gives largely the same quality at similar bitrates. So in summary, it’s a bit misleading to say that Opus is better, but it’s entirely true that it gives the same quality without patent hassles.

  5. That’s good. I hope that there won’t be any problems.

  6. Anonymous

    Dolby Digital AC3 is also free now, since March. For more information see https://web.archive.org/web/20170401170436/https://ac3freedomday.org/ Maybe Fedora could include it by default as well?

    Anyway, it’s nice to see that a format as important as MP3 is now patent free and will soon be included in Fedora ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Roger Hammer

    Very good. That’s an obstacle to general acceptance of Fedora that we won’t need to deal with any longer. I was a paying customer to Fluendo for a good long time but eventually realize it was mostly superfluous for my purposes and I switched to using the gstreamer plugins supplied by fusion repo. I can’t say that I am missing anything that Fluendo supplied. I was an .ogg user ’til I ran across a podcaster who advocated using AAC; the person,an old guy like me, therefor has credibility in my eyes. Now, most of the music I listen to regularly is .m4a, and gstreamer has a plugin for that.

  8. sunnyhere

    Personally I feel it is a little late to the game as I stopped using the mp3 file format years ago and is happy with more modern formats, but Good thing nontheless and a win for FOSS!

  9. Be

    Today, when a 1 TB USB hard drive costs just $50, lossy compression is obsolete for storage. Lossy compression still has uses for streaming, for which MP3 is still widely despite less bad lossy codecs being available, so I’m glad those streams will just work in Fedora now.

  10. Ryan K

    I’m glad to hear this.

    Yes, there are many better formats than MP3s for audio, but MP3s are still the most widely adopted and compatible formats between all the non-FOSS software and hardware out there.

    Choices are good.

    • Timothy

      Agreed. I’m new. I am an advocate of fedora even though I am largely ignorant of all the possibilities. It will be nice when attempting to win over others, to be able to have an M3P operable with no additional work or work arounds.

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