The Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) is a method of compressing audio data. Whereas the widely known MP3 format sacrifices sound quality for a smaller compressed size, FLAC does not lose information in the encoding process. FLAC is an open source software project, and its homepage contains downloadable encoding utilities for most common operating systems. An excellent overview of the FLAC format is given, which explains the underlying architecture and features of the codec. This section also provides links to background information and research papers upon which the development of FLAC was based. Thorough documentation is included online.