Warning message from ffmpeg program needs update

Bug #939863 reported by Doug McMahon on 2012-02-23
This bug affects 24 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
libav (Ubuntu)
Marc Deslauriers

Bug Description

The warning message from the ffmpeg program needs to be updated. It should instead say
"This program is only provided for compatibility "
"and will be removed in a future release. Please "
"use avconv instead.\n"

This is patched in Debian. See [1].

[Impact] - Users are seeing a different message everytime they run the ffmpeg program. The original message is causing confusion amongst general users of the ffmpeg who are not aware that the ffmpeg program provided in Ubuntu is the ffmpeg program originally made available from the Libav project.

[Development Fix] - Message just needs to be updated. See [1]. Note that the ffmpeg binary has been dropped completely in the development tree in libav.

[Stable Fix] - See [1].

[Test Case] - Just run the ffmpeg program. Running 'ffmpeg -L' is sufficient to see the warning. The original warning reads,
"This program is not developed anymore and is only "
"provided for compatibility. Use avconv instead "
"(see Changelog for the list of incompatible changes).\n"
The new warning should read,
"This program is only provided for compatibility "
"and will be removed in a future release. Please "
"use avconv instead.\n"

[Regression Potential] - There's no potential regression.

1. http://anonscm.debian.org/gitweb/?p=pkg-multimedia/libav.git;a=blob;f=debian/patches/04-ffmpeg-warning-change.patch;h=0472d450a743ff0b3918c80e91da16d4c4b35d2b;hb=HEAD

Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

You are correct that it shouldn't say that ffmpeg is no longer developer. Reinhard, could you have a look at this please.

Changed in libav (Ubuntu Precise):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Triaged
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

That should be no longer developed not developer.

llogan (loul) wrote :

Attached is a patch that rewords the message as: "Ubuntu now uses libav instead of FFmpeg. The ffmpeg binary is only provided for compatibility. Use avconv instead (see Changelog for the list of incompatible changes)."

The attachment "libav-now-uses-avconv-ubuntu.patch" of this bug report has been identified as being a patch. The ubuntu-reviewers team has been subscribed to the bug report so that they can review the patch. In the event that this is in fact not a patch you can resolve this situation by removing the tag 'patch' from the bug report and editing the attachment so that it is not flagged as a patch. Additionally, if you are member of the ubuntu-reviewers team please also unsubscribe the team from this bug report.

[This is an automated message performed by a Launchpad user owned by Brian Murray. Please contact him regarding any issues with the action taken in this bug report.]

tags: added: patch

Well, that's half the truth. Libav 0.7, which is shipped in precise, *does* ship a /usr/bin/ffmpeg binary that behaves more pretty much exactly as the binary that was shipped in libav 0.6. This is done to not break applications in ubuntu that rely on that behavior.

The /usr/bin/ffmpeg binary from FFmpeg, however, did change command line options and positional behavior. For this reason, I don't think that applying the patch from Comment #3 is a good idea.

Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

Thank you Mr. Tartler for the explanation, certainly more useful than the current message received.
Users should be conveyed some of that instead of the implied notion that the FFmpeg project is dead, intended or not, as to a reason not to continue to use the 'ffmpeg' command

Reinhard Tartler (siretart) wrote :

What part of the message does refer to the FFmpeg project?

Anyway, existing packages in Ubuntu need to be changed to use avconv instead of /usr/bin/ffmpeg. Therefore, I think the message itself is justified.

Changed in libav (Ubuntu Precise):
status: Triaged → Opinion
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

Sorry, I tend to disagree. The need to migrate to avconf is justified, libav devs saying ffmpeg isn't developed is not, please consider making this message more about the need to migrate.

Changed in libav (Ubuntu Precise):
status: Opinion → Triaged
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

Sorry, that should be avconv intead of avconf :)

llogan (loul) wrote :

It's implied that the message is referring to FFmpeg. Many users don't even know they are using libav when they are using "ffmpeg" (I often see this in #ffmpeg IRC and bug report tool). Users may equate the binary name ffmpeg with the project name FFmpeg and assume that FFmpeg is dead with such a message. As a developer the difference between libav and FFmpeg are obvious to you, but think in terms of the general user.

The problem is with "This program is not developed anymore". If that section were removed then I at least would be fine with the rest.

Jools Wills (jools) wrote :

The current message is certainly not clear. I concur with the others here. A user may not know all the background information regarding the project so it could easily be misleading.

I'm happy to improve the wording, but the current proposed wording is
just not acceptable.

From what I gather from the comments, the wording should probably point

 - this program (/usr/bin/ffmpeg) is intentionally kept at an old
   version for compatibility purposes only.

 - it will be removed in a later version of ubuntu

 - Users and Applications are urged to convert to /usr/bin/avconv, which
   does receive maintenance and development.

Any takers for proposing a patch?

Reinhard Tartler, KeyID 945348A4

All in all this *issue* is just a speck of dust, still, considering the high degree of intelligence of those concerned I fail to see why the point is not 'gotten'

I think this or there-abouts would be appropriate

This program is only being provided for compatibility purposes and doesn't reflect the current active state of the FFmpeg project.
It is now recommended to use avconv instead (see Changelog for the list of incompatible changes).

Andres Mejia (amejia1) wrote :

Reinhard, this definitely should be worded better. I believe the proper term to use that everyone (users, developer, system adminstrators, etc.) understand is 'deprecated.'

Here's my suggestion.

This program will be removed in a future release. Please use avconv instead (see Changelog for the list of incompatible changes).

The compatibility purposes is implied with the term 'deprecated' and it's now clear that it will be removed in the future (thus everyone should migrate their scripts, etc. to avconv). Also, the suggestion to go to 'Changelog' should point to the full path to Changelog, or better yet, some migration guide (if one exists).

Reinhard Tartler (siretart) wrote :

I more and more unsure if we can rely on implied meanings here, although I somewhat like the


part. I currently feel that your proposed wording makes sense, I'd only drop the parenthesis. What do the others think?

Simos Xenitellis  (simosx) wrote :

Looks fine to me to have

This program will be removed in a future release. Please use avconv instead.

Savvas Radevic (medigeek) wrote :

+1 - The ffmpeg package is already marked as a transitional package. Avoiding to mention 'ffmpeg' definitely clears out any misinterpretations.

If possible to improve the first sentence, I would add:

This program is part of libav source package and will be removed in a future release. Please use avconv instead.

reagle (joseph.reagle) wrote :

I'm just an ordinary user and the existing message is not helpful whatsoever. I'm using precise and went to transcode a show, and my preset options fail.

ffmpeg -i MB.S08E14.Cold.Feet.mp4 -b 885k -r 23.976 -vcodec libx264 -threads 2 -crf 24 -vpre medium -vpre ipod640 -acodec libfaac -ab 127k MB.S08E14.Cold.Feet-renc.mp4

It took me a while to realize there's all this fork and politics going on -- and find my way to this bug -- and I still don't know what to do, what binary and options to use to transcode again.

Daniel Holm (danielholm) wrote :

Nor do I..

James Lewis (james-fsck) wrote :

Is "avconv" able to read from the x11 display, previously I've used ffmpeg to produce screencasts, rather than for file format conversion.

Andres Mejia (amejia1) wrote :

Reinhard, I think this bug merits a stable release update, especially since it's such a trivial change.

summary: - When users run ffmpeg <whatever> they are presented with a message that
- is somewhat erroneous & completely childish
+ Warning message from ffmpeg program needs update
Andres Mejia (amejia1) wrote :

Reinhard, would you mind nominating this bug?

description: updated
Changed in libav:
status: New → Fix Released
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

It's already targeted for precise, if I can get a debdiff, I'd be happy to sponsor it.

Andres Mejia (amejia1) wrote :

Here's a debdiff to fix this issue.

Micah Gersten (micahg) on 2012-05-14
Changed in libav (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → In Progress
Changed in libav (Ubuntu Precise):
status: Triaged → In Progress
assignee: nobody → Micah Gersten (micahg)
Changed in libav (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Micah Gersten (micahg)
Micah Gersten (micahg) on 2012-05-15
Changed in libav (Ubuntu Precise):
assignee: Micah Gersten (micahg) → Marc Deslauriers (mdeslaur)
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package libav - 4:0.8.1-0ubuntu2

libav (4:0.8.1-0ubuntu2) quantal; urgency=low

  * Update warning to make clearer the deprecation of ffmpeg binary.
    (LP: #939863)
 -- Andres Mejia <email address hidden> Sun, 13 May 2012 13:07:30 -0400

Changed in libav (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Released
Micah Gersten (micahg) on 2012-05-15
Changed in libav (Ubuntu):
assignee: Micah Gersten (micahg) → nobody
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package libav - 4:0.8.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1

libav (4:0.8.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1) precise-security; urgency=low

  * Update to 0.8.3 to fix multiple security issues. (LP: #1012132)
    - CVE-2012-0851
    - CVE-2012-0947
  * debian/patches/04-ffmpeg-warning-change.patch: Update warning to make
    clearer the deprecation of ffmpeg binary. (LP: #939863)
 -- Marc Deslauriers <email address hidden> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 10:14:44 -0400

Changed in libav (Ubuntu Precise):
status: In Progress → Fix Released
naught101 (naught101) wrote :

I agree with reagle. From a user's perspective, this is a really low move on the part of the libav/ubuntu/debian team. Regardless of the semantics, the name ffmpeg is inevitably linked to the ffmpeg.org project. The message "THIS PROGRAM IS DEPRECATED" is highly deceptive, especially now that ffmpeg and libav have started to diverge a bit more. While it may be true that the /usr/bin/ffmpeg link in ubuntu is deprecated, it's just an outright lie to say that the ffmpeg program is deprecated. That's like saying making a link from msword to lowriter, and then stating that Microsoft Office is deprecated.

Anyway, it's been, what, 3 or 4 versions of Ubuntu since this switch was made? Why not just deprecate it already? Or is there some fear that then users will start installing the real ffmpeg (e.g. from https://launchpad.net/~jon-severinsson/+archive/ffmpeg), and using that instead?

Uriel Tunn (u2n) wrote :

Competition between the two teams (ffmpeg<->libav) undoubtedly makes each package better.

Given the robust development happening in each camp, should Canonical really be picking the winner/loser here to begin with?

Personally, I don't like the symlinks to a lesser release. My inclination is to remove everything avconf (incl. bogus links with ffmpeg name) and install a real ffmpeg w/codecs.

libav is sync'ed from Debian and (as of Trusty) is in Universe. Canonical as
a corporate entity isn't involved in it.

sunweb (sunweb) wrote :

lol ffmpeg version 0.8.8-4:0.8.8-0ubuntu0.12.04.1 - bug is present again
Seriously, maintainer should chill. You want to make everything competitive - use libav name instead and have ffmpeg as ffmpeg and not a name for libav. This isn't childs play right?
There are mplayer and mplayer2 in repositories even though they are direct competitors as well. I mean damn. We have to use ppa/compile ourselves because someone didn't stay in kirdengarden long enough.

burek (burek021) wrote :

I have to mention a bit more serious issue with libav team's activities regarding ffmpeg... It is a copyright infringement to say something like:
ffmpeg version 0.8.6-6:0.8.6-1ubuntu2, Copyright (c) 2000-2013 the Libav developers
because Libav is not a Copyright holder of ffmpeg, but FFmpeg is.
Claiming a copyright on something that is not yours is a criminal act, in most of the countries around the world. Debian/Ubuntu should be aware of that, since if anyone, from FFmpeg team, decides to sue Libav, they could easily win the case (no to mention they could also sue the Debian/Ubuntu community). It is obvious that Libav team made a move that is at least malapert and insolent, confusing everyone who's been using FFmpeg so far.
If Libav team doesn't want to change the false copyright message or even worse the claim that "ffmpeg is deprecated" or "not developed anymore", it is Debian's/Ubuntu's responsibility to remove such a package from their repositories.

Uriel Tunn (u2n) wrote :

This fired me up to get rid of libav and install the real ffmpeg.

It's not necessary to compile. See my post here: http://askubuntu.com/a/373509/165265

BenJ (ben-jolitz) wrote :

This is unacceptable.

I asked for FFMPEG, not AVCONV.

Please remove the ffmpeg placeholder and restore it to the FFMPEG.org sources.

If I wanted AVConv, I would've installed avtools.

Dylan Morrison (insidious) wrote :

This program is not, nor has it ever been, "deprecated". A fork can't "deprecate" the original while the original is still in development. Therefore, this message is *still* highly misleading.

After a long day of compiling my own ffmpeg and recompiling the programs I had that depended on libav after the libav fork consistently failed to produce working results in an RTMP streaming setup, I decided to create my own little script that runs whenever anything on my system tries to run "avconv" instead of "ffmpeg."

I won't bore you with it but it begins "*** THIS PROGRAM IS CRAP ***" and goes from there.

Kevin Shepherd (c4zxx8) wrote :

Please restore ffmpeg. It is a much more powerful program than avconv.
I too am recompiling it from sources each time I update Linux.

Marco Ciampa (ciampix) wrote :

Please restore ffmpeg.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Duplicates of this bug

Other bug subscribers