The Audio Cassette - First Open Source Audio Format

I just learned that two weeks ago, the man who is credited with inventing the venerable Audio Cassette format, Lou Ottens, passed away at 95. “How is this relevant to a Linux forum?”, you may be asking. It is an interesting story.

He worked for Philips, and Philips wanted it to become the new standard. To do this, they went to license the technology to Sony. After some negotiation, Sony managed to license the technology for free. This license came with a clause that Philips could not charge ANY license fee to anyone else. This lead to a wave of innovations on the tech from other companies that improved in the format. Eventually, with the release of the Sony Walkman in 1979, it became the format of the “masses.” Throughout all of this, Philips did not receive any royalties on their product.


I wished they also had that bright plan with every format that is out there and the ones that died. I mean, the useless platform wars between VHS and Betamax, DCC and Minidisc, DVD HD and Blu-ray and tons of more examples like this.


I agree completely. The format wars were just silly.

Ah yes. My favorite format after I stopped using cassettes. I had a Car player, portable player, and a HiFi component. All of which I had to import directly from Japan. That format was really big there. It was still popular, but on the downward trend, when I finally got to Japan in 2008.


I used Minidisc through the entire nineties until the iPod came on the scene. Minidisc felt like the format of the future back then.


Thx for sharing! :slight_smile:

And look on them now…
minidisc is only used by some hipster musicians releasing their music on “most obscure” formats :laughing: