Update on Podcast Feed and Audio Changes on October 3rd

Since I posted my original announcement there has been one change for the better to the plan. I mentioned that chapter marks would be disappearing from the enhanced feed due to an apparent lack of tools under Linux for setting chapter marks on an AAC/MP4 encoded audio file. I was very pleased to be proven wrong on this point today.

Listener, friend and some time code collaborator Jay posted a comment with a pointer to the mp4v2 project at Google Code. One of the utilities in that project, mp4chaps, can consume a plain text file and set chapter marks on an existing audio file. I’ve done some minimal testing and it looks like it should be trivial to enhance my encoding script to include this step. Even better, I can very easily extract the time offsets and text from my note taking format for the show streamlining my overall production process just a little bit further.

So come Sunday the 3rd, the only effect of the cut over will be a one time re-download of old episodes in the feeds. I am thrilled that my change to using Linux and all open source and free software for producing the show will be virtually unnoticeable from the outside. That may seem like an odd sentiment but remember that it isn’t a priority at all for me to convince anyone else to adopt open source or free software.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are plenty of practical advantages in addition to the matters of principle that inform my own choice. I just think it makes more sense to have low drama conversations about relative merits, to provide a good example free of the usual zealotry, and ultimately respect everyone else’s choice to use whatever they wish.

In that vein, taking a hard line on producing only Ogg Vorbis and flac encoded audio is incompatible with my views. I think it is far better to keep offering the choice I have always offered (as long as the relevant patent holders make that feasible anyway) and be available to discuss rationally and quietly how unencumbered formats compare to their encumbered counterparts.

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