[Libav-user] LGPL and Android's apk file format

Alex Cohn alexcohn at netvision.net.il
Fri Dec 13 22:05:16 CET 2013

On Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 6:37 AM, Kevin Kratzer <kevin.kratzer at uei.co.jp> wrote:
> Is it allowed to distribute an application which integrates the libav
> library and my library together in an archive file where it is possible to
> replace the libav libraries with a modified version?

IMHO, the life would be much easier if there were an official
distribution of FFmpeg libraries for Android, like there is for some
(other) flavours of Linux, or at least a de facto standard
distribution, similar to Zeranoe builds for Windows.

I believe that until then, too many electrons and developer effort are
wasted for maintenance of these libraries by each individual Android
developer, and many people are stuck with obsolete, buggy versions of
FFmpeg libraries on their devices, sometimes posing security risks.

It's nice that, thanks to LGPL, any person may reverse engineer the
application and replace the libraries if they wish. But 99% or more of
the users are not developers, and don't have the skills to undertake
such job, or even to understand that there may be a good reason to do
so (e.g. a buffer overflow bug found in the protocol that they
actually use in an app they installed on their device). Note that
quite often Android apps are abandoned by their developers, but still
remain installed on end-user devices or even available for download
from the official PlayStore.

Luckily, Android system allows independent distribution of libraries,
although this is less obvious than for (other) Linux distros.
Unfortunately, I don't see significant interest among ffmpeg
developers (see e.g.

Alex Cohn

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