Tuesday, August 5, 2014

FFmpeg and libav libav from the Ubuntu repositories

FFmpeg and libav

libav from the Ubuntu repositories

Ubuntu started shipping the libav fork instead of FFmpeg in recent releases. If you installed the ffmpeg package, then you actually installed the libav-tools package and a program that told you to use avconvinstead of ffmpeg in the future, giving the impression that ffmpeg is deprecated, which it is not.
The transitional ffmpeg package seems to have been removed from trusty/Ubuntu 14.04 (compare thepackage files listing for saucy and trusty of the source package).
So one option is to install the libav-tools package and use avconv instead (NB that this is not "mainline" FFmpeg but a prominent fork instead).

FFmpeg from a PPA on Launchpad

Another option is to use a PPA that provides FFmpeg. Please have a look at the FFmpeg download page for details of possible PPA's.
Related questions:

Install from source

Another option is to install FFmpeg dependency packages, then manually compile+install it from source.

The following is what I could find, when researching this topic. I haven't been following the development of both projects closely and it is not my intention to blame anyone. You as a reader shouldn't do either.

How did the fork happen?

Wikipedia states that the forked project as well as the initial release were announced on March 13th 2011, however there is a bit more that was going on.

Digging through Git commits

Official announcements on libav.org

The following posts are from the news section (with the oldest in last):

August 09 2011

Updated on 12.09.2011.
For consistency with our new name we have renamed ffplay to avplayffserver to avserver andffprobe to avprobe. Their behavior is the same, just the names were changed.
With ffmpeg (the command line tool) we decided to use this opportunity to fix some longstanding usability problems, which involves breaking compatibility. Therefore we have added a new tool named avconv which is based on ffmpeg, but has a different (hopefully more powerful and easier to use) syntax for some options. ffmpeg will be kept in its current state for some time, so no scripts or frontends using it will break. However it will not be developed further.
Differences between avconv and ffmpeg are:
Note that the avconv interface is not considered stable yet. More incompatible changes may come in the following weeks. We will announce here when avconv is stable.
And earlier in 2011:

Mar 18, 2011

We have just pushed another point release from our 0.6 release branch: Libav 0.6.2. This is another maintenance-only release addressing two security issues.
From now on, we will be using our new project name libav. But don't worry, compared to the preceding release 0.6.1, the only functional changes are the two security fixes for the VC1 and APE decoders. This means that libav provides a painless drop-in replacement for existing FFmpeg installations.
Moreover, we are proud to accompany this source release with executables and libraries for thewin32 platform. These binaries include H.264 encoding using the bundled x264 library. Enjoy!
Distributors and system integrators are encouraged to update and share their patches against our release branches.

Mar 17, 2011

We have just pushed another point release from our 0.5 release branch: FFmpeg 0.5.4. This is another maintenance-only release that addresses a number of security issues.
Distributors and system integrators are encouraged to update and share their patches against our release branches.

March 13, 2011

We, as a group of FFmpeg developers, have decided to continue developing FFmpeg under the name Libav. All existing infrastructure will be transferred to the libav.org domain.
You can update your git repository using the following command:
git remote set-url origin 'git://git.libav.org/libav'
For now we are still reachable over FFmpeg's mailing lists and IRC channels but we will migrate to libav.org counterparts. For a transition period both the website and source might still contain references to FFmpeg. These will disappear over time, except where historically relevant.

February 24, 2011

FFmpeg development has moved to Git, and the SVN repository is no longer updated. The SVN repository may be removed in a near future, so you're recommended to use a Git repository instead.
The last revision committed to SVN was r26402 on 2011-01-19 and replaced the svn:external libswscale with a standalone copy.
Note that FFmpeg development has in fact moved to a Git repository by now and that there are two Git repositories. See the corresponding projects download page.

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