Allow to detect ffmpeg in runtime
Closed, InvalidPublic


Some Linux distros don't package ffmpeg due to licensing problems. At least the RHEL family (RHEL, CentOS, Fedora).

Compiling Blender without ffmpeg support makes it unable to import videos, which makes the Video Sequence Editor useless.

Current workaround is to download Blender directly from, but it would be desirable to be able to use the distro-packaged version.

Possible solutions that come to my mind:

  1. Enable another backend, such as GStreamer, where free codecs come by default everywhere, and additional codecs can be plugged-in (and you can even combine that with PackageKit to install required codecs on demand).
  2. Make Blender discover existence of ffmpeg at run time instead of build time (not sure if this is possible).

Maybe I'm saying something stupid here, sorry for that


Bastien Montagne (mont29) claimed this task.

There is a much much easier solution to this problem: compile ffmepg without copyright-problematic pieces. Debian does it without any problem, and afaik they are as touchy as redhat/fedora on this topic.

In nay case, thanks for the report, but this is absolutely not a Blender bug, this is a distro issue.

Hello Bastien,
I am one of Blender maintainer for Fedora referred by the reporter. I learned that Firefox had similar issue when adding ffmpeg as requirement. If possible could your team take a look a Mozilla approach? Here is the bug report on how they did

The reason Fedora , being sponsored by Red Hat a commercial open source company, cannot include copyright-problematic pieces is avoid being a potential legal target and the abidance tho US Software Patent laws. Even Opensuse avoid them as well. Hope that brings clarification.

Yeah, I’m perfectly aware of those issues, but afaik many organizations found ways to handle those copyright stupid stuff, Debian is also an american company, and very, very careful about being free and everything, and yet they still distribute a version of ffmpeg - with all the “problematic” codecs (like mp3 etc.) simply disabled from their build.

The point being here, that you cannot ask us to go doing some huge change in Blender itself, just for solving an issue that is purely self-imposed by some distribution. And I quite doubt there is some serious alternative to ffmpeg these days, working on all OSs, being mature, really stable, really powerful…

In any case, that’s not a developer topic really, this is more like politics and design etc., so if you want to raise that kind of topic, it would be much better to send a mail to bf-commiters ML.

And please do not reopen tasks…