Ubuntu – How to replace avconv with (the real) ffmpeg and have it work right


UPDATE (original text preserved below)

With the real ffmpeg about to return (in 15.04), Jon Severinsson's PPA no longer working (for ffmpeg), and both avconv-ffmpeg (now called "libav") and the real ffmpeg (now back to just "ffmpeg") dropped from interim releases, the question has become: How to most easily install ffmpeg in pre-2015 distros?


Anyone know how to install the real, current ffmpeg (not the older version by avconv that comes w/ Ubuntu) without having the problems mentioned here?


  • Everything works (or so many have written),
  • Use the new syntax, and
  • After some research — and without getting into the controversy — I
    simply believe the packagers made a mistake going with avconv. This is a fix.

Apparently it's not as easy as it should be due to versioning conflicts, and that avconv and ffmpeg can't coexist on the same machine (noted in the accepted answer of the above-linked post). Though at least one guide mentions installing ffmpeg locally (~) to achieve coexistence.

My release is Precise 12.04.3 LTS, but it appears this would apply to newer ones also.

Best Answer

Updated Answer for Pre-2015 Releases

Because no one is maintaining an all-inclusive ppa like Jon Severinsson's, Rmano's method of using a static build is now easiest. Note updates have to be checked and done manually.

  1. After heading to the official ffmpeg download page, click the link under Linux Static Builds. (The target may change so it's not linked directly here.)
  2. Click the appropriate (32- or 64-bit) and desired (snapshot or numbered) release to download. (Snapshot is recommended.)
  3. If the libav version of ffmpeg was installed, remove it. The two can not reside on the same machine. If libav was not previously installed, skip to 4.

    sudo apt-get remove ffmpeg  
    sudo apt-get purge libav-tools  
    # *Ignore any autoremove message that may appear.*
  4. Extract the files (and two directories) as follows:

    • For single-user systems: to $HOME/bin
    • For multi-user setups: to /usr/local/bin

Static build install is done and ffmpeg is ready to use.

To update: Upon checking and finding a newer release, the install folder can be sorted by date and the existing version files quickly identified and deleted. (The timestamps will all be the same as the ffmpeg binary.) The update can then be downloaded and extracted the same as the earlier release.

Should a comprehensive ffmpeg repo re-emerge, it would install as before:

# Replace avconv with the real ffmpeg
#   www.askubuntu.com/a/373509/165265
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:<name of ppa here>
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

With the real ffmpeg returning to 2015 releases and beyond, the need for this work-around will eventually fade away.

Much gratitude to the community for the help.