Apple’s lossless audio codec, known as ALAC, is now officially open source. The codec is capable of compressing audio to 406-% of its originally size with no quality loss, and is supported by all of Apple’s modern platforms.
Apple describes the codec as follows:
The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes. ALAC is a 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.
The codec has been in use by Apple since 2004, and Apple’s decision to open source the codec could help fuel a more widespread adoption of the codec. In addition to the codec itself, the project also includes a command line utility called alacconvert which can read and write audio data to and from Core Audio Format, as well as Wave files.
The codecs and source are available under the Apache license. For more information, visit the Apple Lossless Audio Codec project page on Mac OS forge.