Oggs and University Servers

Oggs and University Servers

The short of it: I can’t make my audio lectures publicly available as .oggs because my university server doesn’t allow it. I can, however, make them available as MP3s. The issue—what’s more important; making them available or ensuring they are available in a free format? Arghghghg...

One of the things I value most about being a professor in a large state university is teaching students not only how to write well, but also how to live well. What I mean by that is not always acting selfishly or from a profit-motive, but thinking of ways they can benefit their society and promote freedom. Most professors seem to share this view. One difference between me and many professors, though, is my understanding of “my students”. For me, anyone who wants to learn from me is my student, regardless of whether they attend my university and have paid the requisite fees. To this end, I make all my teaching materials freely available online. Before I thought much about it, I was fine using LAME to make mp3 versions of my lectures for download, but after reading about OGG, I knew I wanted to make the switch. However, there’s a problem—my U server doesn’t recognize .ogg as a valid file and will give a “Page not found” error. Now, I can change the name to .mp3, but that confuses winamp. I can also add the file to a .zip, but that’s an extra step that’s really unnecessary.

I emailed the techs, who say they are looking into it. What I was wondering is if there is a more convenient workaround—or if there is something more specific I could tell the techs to help them get this accomplished. I’ve never operated a server and can’t really be sure what the problem is myself.



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Submitted by admin on

Comment from: Haakon Meland Eriksen [Visitor] · http://far.no/

02/01/06 @ 00:26
Hi Matt,

Your techs need to update the MIME-type information on the web server. Here is a description of MIME:

A way to describe the kind of document being transmitted. Its name comes from that fact that its format is borrowed from the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It consists of a major type and a minor type, separated by a slash. Some examples are text/html, image/gif, and application/octet-stream. In HTTP, the MIME-type is transmitted in the Content-Type header."

Ogg files are described as application/ogg since 2003, see http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3534.txt

If your techs use Apache 1.3.x, then the file mime.types needs updating, usually found in the conf directory.

If they use Apache 2.x.x, then have them consult

If they use Microsoft Internet Information server, they need to do the same thing, just somewhere unknown to me. :-)


Comment from: Matt Barton [Member] · http://mattbarton.net

02/01/06 @ 00:31
Thanks! I sent this to them. Hopefully, they'll be able to fix this problem so I can go OGG.

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Matt Barton is an English professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He is an advocate of free software, wikis, and the Creative Commons. He also studies and writes about videogames and computing history. Matt also has blogs at Armchair Arcade, Gameology, and Kairosnews.