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FLAC 1.1.0 is out. New features include ReplayGain and cue sheet support, improved 24-bit compression, and tag editing in the plugins. See here for the full list.

Note that the minor version has incremented, meaning forward compatibility was broken (forward compatibility means an earlier decoder can play all streams made by a later decoder). This is only because of a bug in 1.0.4 and prior where the decoder could not properly skip unknown metadata. The stream format itself has not changed and FLAC is still fully backward-compatible. All it means is that a FLAC file containing cue sheet metadata will not decode in older decoders. This bug is fixed in 1.1.0.

Attention AudioTron users: Bery Rinaldo has released his Samba File Extension Mapping VFS Module that allows FLAC files to be played on the AudioTron.

If you use FLAC and have suggestions or patches, please join the mailing list. Bugs can be filed here, but make sure to check the known bugs section first.

last updated 2003-Jan-26

what is FLAC?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Grossly oversimplified, FLAC is similar to MP3, but lossless. The FLAC project consists of:

  • the stream format
  • reference encoders and decoders in library form
  • flac, a command-line program to encode and decode FLAC files
  • metaflac, a command-line metadata editor for FLAC files
  • input plugins for various music players

"Free" means that the specification of the stream format is fully open to the public to be used for any purpose (the FLAC project reserves the right to set the FLAC specification and certify compliance), and that neither the FLAC format nor any of the implemented encoding/decoding methods are covered by any known patent. It also means that all the source code is available under open-source licenses.

FLAC compiles on many platforms: most Unixes (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, OS X), Windows, BeOS, and OS/2. There are build systems for autoconf/automake, MSVC, Watcom C, and Project Builder.

See the features page, documentation page, or FLAC format page for more info, or the comparison page to see how FLAC compares with other lossless codecs.


Visit the download page for links to the source code or pre-built binaries, or go directly to the source on SourceForge.


The documentation is available online as well as in the distributions. The general installation and usage documentation for flac and the plugins is here. For a detailed description of the FLAC format and reference encoder see the FLAC format page.

id registration

If you have an application that uses FLAC and would like it to be able to tag FLAC files with custom metadata, visit the registration page to register an ID for your application.

26-Jan-2003 :
  Version 1.1.0 released
24-Sep-2002 :
  Version 1.0.4 released
22-Aug-2002 :
  FLAC support for Rio Receiver
03-Jul-2002 :
  Version 1.0.3 released
13-Feb-2002 :
  FLAC goes hardware
03-Dec-2001 :
  Version 1.0.2 released
14-Nov-2001 :
  Version 1.0.1 released
20-Jul-2001 :
  FLAC 1.0 is here!

SourceForge project page
Freshmeat page
Hardware supporting FLAC:
PhatNoise car audio system: Phatbox + FLAC
Rio Reciever and Dell Digital Audio Receiver via RioPlay client
Turtle Beach's AudioTron via Bery Rinaldo's Samba VFS Module
Software supporting FLAC:
Patch for abcde (A Better CD Encoder)
Arson: KDE ripper/burner
Boss Ogg: Audio client/server
EasyTAG versatile tagger
FLAC frontend (Windows GUI)
GStreamer streaming media framework
JReceiver servlet-based audio server
MacFLAC Mac OS X FLAC distribution
MediaXW includes FLAC DirectShow filter
MMIOFLAC, Multimedia IOProc for OS/2
MythTV: Linux PVR and more
Ptarmigan media parser for XML
rawrec/rawplay recording/playback tools
rip command-line ripper/encoder
SDL_sound audio add-on to SDL
Soepkip TNG music playing daemon + web interface
sonice FLAC to Vorbis transcoder
Split_wav WAV+CUE splitter
Tag comprehensive tagger (frontend available)
Communities supporting FLAC:

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 Copyright (c) 2000,2001,2002,2003 Josh Coalson