This document describes the hardware, software and procedures needed to encode, play, mix and stream MP3 & Ogg sound files under Linux.
The MP3 file format was developed by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG.), which owns the patent on the format. Recently FhG. have been asserting that all new developments of MP3 based technologies must pay FhG. a royalty to use their technologies.
As a result, this means that customers and developers cannot legally create MP3s (even streaming MP3s) without paying a royalty of some kind, and that open source / free software developers cannot legally create MP3s using these patents.
An alternative format, which is 100% royalty free and open source/free software based license, has been developed and released called OggVorbis which has the extention .ogg.
This new format aims to be as good, if not better, than MP3.