This campaign is for the average bloke (yes, you), who would like to further help and promote the use of your favorite free format. The MailOgging is a strategy to get the attention of hardware and software vendors whom do not know the Ogg family, do not care about it, or do not know how many people care about it. The MailOgging provides free templates that you can use (and change according to your likeness) to create letters that you can then send to the corporations you want to nag. Nagging as many as you can is appreciated and gives you magical elite points.
Here's a list of things you'll need to replace in the text:
- XXX = Name of the corporation, company, or person (e.g. Creative, Peter Pawlowski)
- YYY = Your name. If you'll be using snail-mail, don't forget to sign the letter with a pen!
- ZZZ = Name of the product (e.g. iTunes, Creative Zen, etc.)
You also need to know what formats you'll be requesting support for, since you'll need to edit out the template to remove what shouldn't be there. Don't forget that asking for all of them at once is probably not wise. The list is as follows:
There's also a few slashes "/" so you can choose what's more appropriate for you and the letter. Don't forget to make decisions on what goes and what stays.
Template usage examples are available here.
Request support in players (hardware/software)
Through this letter, I, YYY, would like to request you to support other digital formats in the ZZZ, namely Vorbis, FLAC, Speex, Theora and XSPF. I'm one/I intend to become one of your customers/users and, as such, I believe I have a say on what I'd like you to provide me, after all, XXX exists to provide services for the people.
Now, as you may have guessed, I took the time to put this letter together because I really want this feature, I really want the XXX to be able to play the digital formats that I like. I have my music/videos/media under those formats, and so I believe I have the right to at least ask if my favorite product could one day support my media.
I'm pretty sure your fine technicians already know these formats I've mentioned above, but I'll make a brief introduction to each of them, so you'll understand why I have chosen them to store and encode my media.
Vorbis, commonly known as Ogg, because of its container format, is a lossy audio codec with higher quality over MP3 and WMA. It also streams pretty well over the Internet. The specification is available free of charge, it's not encumbered with patents, and there's no need for you to pay royalties to have the ZZZ play it.
FLAC is a lossless audio codec with high compression. It stores songs with all quality possible. The specification is available free of charge, it's not encumbered with patents, and there's no need for you to pay royalties to have the ZZZ play it.
Speex is an audio codec for speech. It can be used for both audio books and VoIP, among other things. The specification is available free of charge, it's not encumbered with patents, and there's no need for you to pay royalties to have the ZZZ play it.
Theora is an advanced video codec like MPEG 4. It streams pretty well over the Internet. The specification is available free of charge, it's not encumbered with patents, and there's no need for you to pay royalties to have the ZZZ play it.
XSPF is a playlist format based on XML with a lot of features that make life easier for both consumers and vendors. It's simple, cute and mean. The specification is available free of charge, it's not encumbered with patents, and there's no need for you to pay royalties to have the ZZZ play it.
But don't take my word for it. Wikipedia offers detailed articles that may be found at:
So, please, dear XXX. Be kind enough to consider my request. Outdo your competition, hear the voices of your customers/users. Add support for Vorbis, FLAC, Speex, Theora and XSPF in the ZZZ.
For online shops
I'd like to congratulate you on XXX's recent decision to supply music downloads in a DRM-free format. By doing this you have made it easier for you customers to listen to the music they purchase using the player of their choice and I hope that they will reward you for this bold move.
But there is still something missing. Currently you offer your downloads in MP3 format; this was one of the first to become popular for digital music and hence has widespread support, but MP3 is still covered by a multitude of patents which makes it illegal in places to play it with open source software. In addition, though I clearly don't know what your commercial arrangements are, I can guess that you must pay a licensing fee to use the MP3 format. It's for this reason that Free Formats such as (Ogg) Vorbis were developed.
Vorbis was designed as a patent-free format and is widely supported by open source software, with support on Windows, Linux and Macintosh platforms as well as support in many hardware players (from high-end manufacturers such as IRiver and Cowon to the “mp4 players” that predominate on eBay). It is now being used as the sound format for high profile projects like Wikipedia and One Laptop Per Child.
I'm not going to try to convince you that you should give up on MP3 and provide downloads in Vorbis instead, but I would ask that you consider supplying Vorbis as an alternative where practical. You may even, for high quality options, want to consider FLAC, a lossless counterpart to Vorbis. You have already taken a step towards regaining some of the trust between consumers and music stores; please consider the next one, I hope it will gain you an even wider audience.
If you would like any more information on Free Formats please get in touch with me or look at www.spreadopenmedia.org.