[FFmpeg-user] ff* command lines that work

Phil Rhodes phil_rhodes at rocketmail.com
Mon Mar 9 23:22:51 EET 2020

To be scrupulously fair, documenting something like ffmpeg (which is what we're really talking about here) is always going to be very difficult because it does a huge range of things, some of which are very much orthogonal to each other. It'll convert files; it'll act as a streaming server.

Whether it's a good idea for one commandline utility to include so much widely variegated capability is academic at this point. Reasonably, it shouldn't, as to do so rather offends the philosophy of creating individually simple commands that do one thing well, but it's hardly the most egregious failure of management ever to hit the (typically very, very badly managed) world of open source software. The name alone makes it abundantly clear that the thing has grown rather haphazardly from much simpler beginnings.

Inasmuch as there are actually a few pages of documentation with worked examples, it is actually better-written-up than the vast majority of open source projects. What's there is woefully incomplete, although someone could probably write something the size of an encyclopedia and not cover all of what ffmpeg can do. Almost nobody actually needs it all, in any case.

Certainly the idea of examining the source to figure out how it works is pretty absurd. The source tree for ffmpeg (let alone the many external dependencies require to make it useful) is vast, and evaluating commandline options by examining it would be the work of - literally - months.


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