Apple open sources something

It is written that before the end of the world there will be many strange signs. Normally these involve old men dreaming dreams, young men having visions, lambs being born with two political preferences, but this week has turned up one that no one could have predicted.

Apple, which is famous for never giving up control of anything, has released something it made to the open source community.

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes. It is a natty data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file.

Apple has launched the Lossless Audio Codec project and released the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder. Also included is an example command line utility, called alacconvert, to read and write audio data to/from Core Audio Format (CAF) and WAVE files.

A description of a ‘magic cookie’ for use with files based on the ISO base media file format (e.g. MP4 and M4A) is included as well.

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license-2.0. It is not as popular as the FLAC standard but heck, Apple gave something away!