Monday, November 21, 2011

ffmpeg - x264 (FAIL)

Links: forum discussion of circular dependency for lavf
Full disclosure: This post is not a solution - it's a vent about program dependencies, one of those items where you're forced to waste a DAY or TWO for no good reason other than developers didn't use their heads around installation. Anyone who uses ffmpeg knows it's linked to libx264 like a hand-in-glove. Yesterday, I came across a very unappetizing twist in this relationship. I was deep into shrinking some videos into qvga format for a NAXA device (see previous post) and found that my 1 yr old ffmpeg release was concatenating video and audio streams into an AVI file in ways giving flaky playback. Video(libxvid) and audio(MP3) were stable individually but, once concatenated, could not reliably playback on every device. With MP2 audio, there was no problem, so that it appeared possible the problem was how MP3 streams were being packaged by ffmpeg. To rule this out, I started an update on ffmpeg.


After deleting my old version of ffmpeg, I downloaded ffmpeg version 0.8.6 and found during ./configure that my version of x264 needed updating. I blasted my old x264 and got on that, whereby I learned that I wanted yasm, of course, for an assembled (faster) version of x264. Yasm in, I returned to x264, and found that lavf support was not showing during ./configure. WTF? This is where I learned of a motherfarking CATCH-22 circular dependency that x264 developers had implemented. X264 LAVF support requires a version of ffmpeg already installed. But ffmpeg requires that x264 be installed. Each requires the other for lavf support, so where can you start? This means I could not install x264 or or ffmpeg with lavf support or, in other words, that they would both be USELESS CRIPPLEWARE. WTF?

The only solution possiblity I can see for this GARBAGE is to install x264 without lavf support, subsequeently install ffmpeg without lavf (because it's not in the x264, because it's not in the ffmpeg, because it's not in the x264, because...), then turn around and blow out the x264 and reinstall it with the crippled ffmpeg already in place (and no LAVF support within) and HOPE that the x264 can somehow provide LAVF when it doesn't see any in the ffmpeg. Finally, blow out the ffmpeg again, and reinstall it with x264 support enabled. Altogether, this would be 4 installations, but I don't see any other way to get the LAVF in there. Thanks, guys.

All I wanted was to get some videos down to qvga size, which was already days, now I see I'm going to have to fix the thing that i need to fix the other thing, etc etc etc, in order to, days later, have a working ffmpeg again, in order to get back on the long road to making qvga sized videos. What a bunch of shiat.

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