FFmpeg Automated Testing Environment

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

FATE is an extended regression suite on the client-side and a means for results aggregation and presentation on the server-side.

The first part of this document explains how you can use FATE from your FFmpeg source directory to test your ffmpeg binary. The second part describes how you can run FATE to submit the results to FFmpeg’s FATE server.

In any way you can have a look at the publicly viewable FATE results by visiting this website:


This is especially recommended for all people contributing source code to FFmpeg, as it can be seen if some test on some platform broke with their recent contribution. This usually happens on the platforms the developers could not test on.

The second part of this document describes how you can run FATE to submit your results to FFmpeg’s FATE server. If you want to submit your results be sure to check that your combination of CPU, OS and compiler is not already listed on the above mentioned website.

In the third part you can find a comprehensive listing of FATE makefile targets and variables.

2 Using FATE from your FFmpeg source directory

If you want to run FATE on your machine you need to have the samples in place. You can get the samples via the build target fate-rsync. Use this command from the top-level source directory:

make fate-rsync SAMPLES=fate-suite/
make fate       SAMPLES=fate-suite/

The above commands set the samples location by passing a makefile variable via command line. It is also possible to set the samples location at source configuration time by invoking configure with --samples=<path to the samples directory>. Afterwards you can invoke the makefile targets without setting the SAMPLES makefile variable. This is illustrated by the following commands:

./configure --samples=fate-suite/
make fate-rsync
make fate

Yet another way to tell FATE about the location of the sample directory is by making sure the environment variable FATE_SAMPLES contains the path to your samples directory. This can be achieved by e.g. putting that variable in your shell profile or by setting it in your interactive session.

FATE_SAMPLES=fate-suite/ make fate

Do not put a ’~’ character in the samples path to indicate a home directory. Because of shell nuances, this will cause FATE to fail.

Beware that some assertions are disabled by default, so mind setting --assert-level=<level> at configuration time, e.g. when seeking the highest possible test coverage:

./configure --assert-level=2

Note that raising the assert level could have a performance impact.

To get the complete list of tests, run the command:

make fate-list

You can specify a subset of tests to run by specifying the corresponding elements from the list with the fate- prefix, e.g. as in:

make fate-ffprobe_compact fate-ffprobe_xml

This makes it easier to run a few tests in case of failure without running the complete test suite.

To use a custom wrapper to run the test, pass --target-exec to configure or set the TARGET_EXEC Make variable.

3 Submitting the results to the FFmpeg result aggregation server

To submit your results to the server you should run fate through the shell script tests/fate.sh from the FFmpeg sources. This script needs to be invoked with a configuration file as its first argument.

tests/fate.sh /path/to/fate_config

A configuration file template with comments describing the individual configuration variables can be found at doc/fate_config.sh.template.

The mentioned configuration template is also available here:

slot=                                    # some unique identifier
repo=git://source.ffmpeg.org/ffmpeg.git  # the source repository
#branch=release/2.6                       # the branch to test
samples=                                 # path to samples directory
workdir=                                 # directory in which to do all the work
#fate_recv="ssh -T fate@fate.ffmpeg.org" # command to submit report
comment=                                 # optional description
build_only=     # set to "yes" for a compile-only instance that skips tests

# the following are optional and map to configure options
extra_conf=     # extra configure options not covered above

#make=          # name of GNU make if not 'make'
makeopts=       # extra options passed to 'make'
#makeopts_fate= # extra options passed to 'make' when running tests,
                # defaulting to makeopts above if this is not set
#tar=           # command to create a tar archive from its arguments on stdout,
                # defaults to 'tar c'
#fate_targets=  # targets to make when running fate; defaults to "fate",
                # can be set to run a subset of tests, e.g. "fate-checkasm".

#fate_environments=  # a list of names of configurations to run tests for;
                     # each round is run with variables from ${${name}_env} set.

# One example of using fate_environments:

# target_exec="qemu-aarch64-static"
# fate_targets="fate-checkasm fate-cpu"
# fate_environments="sve128 sve256"
# sve128_env="QEMU_CPU=max,sve128=on"
# sve256_env="QEMU_CPU=max,sve256=on"

# The variables set by fate_environments can also be used explicitly
# by target_exec, e.g. like this:

# target_exec="qemu-aarch64-static -cpu \$(MY_CPU)"
# fate_targets="fate-checkasm fate-cpu"
# fate_environments="sve128 sve256"
# sve128_env="MY_CPU=max,sve128=on"
# sve256_env="MY_CPU=max,sve256=on"

Create a configuration that suits your needs, based on the configuration template. The slot configuration variable can be any string that is not yet used, but it is suggested that you name it adhering to the following pattern ‘arch-os-compiler-compiler version’. The configuration file itself will be sourced in a shell script, therefore all shell features may be used. This enables you to setup the environment as you need it for your build.

For your first test runs the fate_recv variable should be empty or commented out. This will run everything as normal except that it will omit the submission of the results to the server. The following files should be present in $workdir as specified in the configuration file:

  • configure.log
  • compile.log
  • test.log
  • report
  • version

When you have everything working properly you can create an SSH key pair and send the public key to the FATE server administrator who can be contacted at the email address fate-admin@ffmpeg.org.

Configure your SSH client to use public key authentication with that key when connecting to the FATE server. Also do not forget to check the identity of the server and to accept its host key. This can usually be achieved by running your SSH client manually and killing it after you accepted the key. The FATE server’s fingerprint is:





If you have problems connecting to the FATE server, it may help to try out the ssh command with one or more -v options. You should get detailed output concerning your SSH configuration and the authentication process.

The only thing left is to automate the execution of the fate.sh script and the synchronisation of the samples directory.

4 Uploading new samples to the fate suite

If you need a sample uploaded send a mail to samples-request.

This is for developers who have an account on the fate suite server. If you upload new samples, please make sure they are as small as possible, space on each client, network bandwidth and so on benefit from smaller test cases. Also keep in mind older checkouts use existing sample files, that means in practice generally do not replace, remove or overwrite files as it likely would break older checkouts or releases. Also all needed samples for a commit should be uploaded, ideally 24 hours, before the push. If you need an account for frequently uploading samples or you wish to help others by doing that send a mail to ffmpeg-devel.

#First update your local samples copy:
rsync -vauL --chmod=Dg+s,Duo+x,ug+rw,o+r,o-w,+X fate-suite.ffmpeg.org:/home/samples/fate-suite/ ~/fate-suite

#Then do a dry run checking what would be uploaded:
rsync -vanL --no-g --chmod=Dg+s,Duo+x,ug+rw,o+r,o-w,+X ~/fate-suite/ fate-suite.ffmpeg.org:/home/samples/fate-suite

#Upload the files:
rsync -vaL  --no-g --chmod=Dg+s,Duo+x,ug+rw,o+r,o-w,+X ~/fate-suite/ fate-suite.ffmpeg.org:/home/samples/fate-suite

5 FATE makefile targets and variables

5.1 Makefile targets


Download/synchronize sample files to the configured samples directory.


Will list all fate/regression test targets.


Run the FATE test suite (requires the fate-suite dataset).

5.2 Makefile variables


Verbosity level, can be set to 0, 1 or 2.

  • 0: show just the test arguments
  • 1: show just the command used in the test
  • 2: show everything

Specify or override the path to the FATE samples at make time, it has a meaning only while running the regression tests.


Specify how many threads to use while running regression tests, it is quite useful to detect thread-related regressions.

This variable may be set to the string "random", optionally followed by a number, like "random99", This will cause each test to use a random number of threads. If a number is specified, it is used as a maximum number of threads, otherwise 16 is the maximum.

In case a test fails, the thread count used for it will be written into the errfile.


Specify which threading strategy test, either ‘slice’ or ‘frame’, by default ‘slice+frame


Specify CPU flags.


Specify or override the wrapper used to run the tests. The TARGET_EXEC option provides a way to run FATE wrapped in valgrind, qemu-user or wine or on remote targets through ssh.


Set to ‘1’ to generate the missing or mismatched references.


Specify which hardware acceleration to use while running regression tests, by default ‘none’ is used.


Set to ‘1’ to keep temp files generated by fate test(s) when test is successful. Default is ‘0’, which removes these files. Files are always kept when a test fails.

5.3 Examples

make V=1 SAMPLES=/var/fate/samples THREADS=2 CPUFLAGS=mmx fate

This document was generated on May 18, 2024 using makeinfo.

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