Select provider of libav* libraries

Jonas Smedegaard dr at
Fri May 15 09:13:31 UTC 2015

Quoting Reinhard Tartler (2015-05-15 09:23:13)
> Also, given that Libav supports significantly less codecs and formats 
> (and in some cases specific variants or features of codecs), many 
> security issues simply don't apply.

I find above important, not only for security but for long-term 
maintenance in general.

To me the two libraries are like staying-bleeding-edge and conservative 
flavors of roughly same API.  Some upstreams favor bleeding edge - they 
are not bound by several-year maintenance commitment like us - but we 
really should favor the conservative of the two.

Just as Debian generally favors upstream formal releases over snapshots 
of upstream development: Might be less exciting code, but in the context 
of Debian "exciting" is a warning sign and "boring" is good!

If we must choose one I favor libav, and I envision a path to gradually 
make room for both - by treating one as the lesser exciting alternative:

  * For projects supporting both (either natively or by patching) either 
link only against the boring one, or do as mpv linking boringly targeted 
unstable and excitingly targeted experimental - both to aid in _library_ 
debugging and for those preferring to live on the edge.

  * For projects supporting only ffmpeg release only to experimental
    (for now - see below).

> What project is less effort for the security team?
> - I'd say Libav, the security patches have significantly better commit 
> messages and descriptions, and generally make much more sense at least 
> to me. Maybe Moritz can elaborate on this.

Nowadays the security team has a distinct way of flagging packages as 
not-security-supported (see e.g. package debian-security-support).

If we consistently treat the libraries as boring vs. exciting like I 
propose above, the security team might be convinced to tolerate both in 
stable - flagging the exciting one and anything linked against it as 
unsupported by them.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website:

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