[LAU] ffmpeg or libav

Robin Gareus robin at gareus.org
Sun Jan 13 15:55:29 UTC 2013

On 01/13/2013 10:54 AM, Fritz Meissner wrote:

> I'm not aware that there was any licence change in the ffmpeg/libav
> situation ? It just seems to have been a personality and development style
> issue between maintainers.

This is correct. The fork had nothing (or very little) to do with
licensing and copyright issues.

AFAIK the only license related dispute in the wake of the fork was about
the ffmpeg logo (designed by a libav dev, but still used by ffmpeg)!!

> I hear that Debian's decision was based on the
> fact the Debian maintainer concerned was a member of the libav camp, rather
> than any real technical issue.

spot on again.

Yet, there are also minor technicalities. ffmpeg is more /cutting edge/
and -for example- does not concern itself much with security issues.
libav is a tad more conservative which is favored by debian.

> I cannot speak about technical matters, but the change is extremely
> inconvenient
> And why the libav developers need to change command line options is
> beyond me

I have similar feelings about it. Since quite a lot of my software
depends on it, I needed to come up with a compatibility header files and
wrapper scripts. It's no fun.

But note that ffmpeg also changed commandline options a few times in the
span of its life. There are good reasons to do that occasionally between
major releases, so it's unfair to hold that against libav.

>From a technical standpoint I still prefer to use ffmpeg - both feature
wise as well as for interface and commandline use. Also, me using ffmpeg
has so far proved more robust and stable compared to libav. I was more
productive and ran into less limitations with ffmpeg, compared to using
libav/avconv (e.g ffprobe's JSON exporter or ffmpeg's filters are great.
 yes, ffmpeg regularly deprecates interfaces, but it's usually straight
forward to update software: The new interfaces are mostly backwards
compatible requiring little to no changes. Even in its short life, libav
broke things more than once in my experience). I'm currently pulling
ffmpeg from deb-multimedia.org and/or compile and package it myself.

So, to answer your question, Rusi: yes at this point in time it is IMHO
still worth jumping through a few hoops in order to get a recent ffmpeg.

However, from my personal experience: So far I have only met one person
of the ffmpeg team and was not able to talk to him. The libav devs are
very lively, visit conferences, listen to their user-base and the
community is fun to interact with. While I do not approve of their
methods of the fork, I'm warming up to libav in general, but this is
very subjective.


More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list