I am exploring all the different license options of distributing a commercial Desktop software that uses FFmpeg.

From what I understand, there are two versions of FFmpeg full builds that can be downloaded:

  • LGPL - GNU Lesser General Public License
  • GPL - GNU General Public License

The TLDR version between these two licences (from what I understand is):

  • LGPL - if you use dynamic linking to ffmpeg executable, you do not need to disclose the source
  • GPL - Regardless how you use ffmpeg, the source needs to be disclosed

And the TLDR version between these two FFmpeg versions is (from what I understand):

  • LGPL version uses by default Open H246
  • GPL version uses by default x246 which has its own licensing

Hence why there are two versions of FFmpeg, from what I understand.

This has a great summary overview of the licensing with FFmpeg:

However, if you read more about the x246 license, it actually says if your units distributed is less than 100,000 per year, it is free:


And now to my question:

I don't know exactly what else is limited by the LGPL version of FFmpeg (apart from the used 246 encoder), but is it possible download the full build LGPL version of FFmpeg but use the (GNU) x246 encoder?

I don't have the means to compile FFmpeg myself, so I am hoping there is a way to do this without compiling my own version.

Does my question make sense and has anyone here done that?

  • No. x264 is only available in a GPL build.
    – Gyan
    Jul 30 at 10:42


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