Firefox not playing videos in Fedora? Let’s fix that!

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

If you use Firefox like I do, after installing Fedora on your desktop or laptop computer, you may find that it won’t play most online videos. Other Linux distributions like Ubuntu will be able to play them, but Fedora due to legal and ideological concerns won’t.

This is not a stopper though. Fedora is well able to play anything just like any other Linux distribution, but we have to install some missing packages first. With Firefox, installing codecs will not be enough unfortunately as it will stubbornly still refuse to comply. What we need to do actually is install ffmpeg.

What is ffmpeg?

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Why ffmpeg though? Well to quote the authors, “FFmpeg is a complete and free Internet live audio and video broadcasting solution for Linux/Unix. It also includes a digital VCR. It can encode in real time in many formats including MPEG1 audio and video, MPEG4, h263, ac3, asf, avi, real, mjpeg, and flash”. It does everything Firefox would need to play any possible kind of video from the Internet.

It’s also used internally by Firefox to make videos work but if it won’t find it installed, it will simply fail silently and videos will look like they just won’t load. In reality they do, but Firefox just lacks the ability to play them. Ok, enough talk, let’s install it!

Installing ffmpeg in Fedora

Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

It’s not too difficult to install ffmpeg in Fedora but it does require an extra step as simply running sudo dnf install ffmpeg won’t work. Due to the already mentioned legal and ideologic reasons, ffmpeg is not included in Fedora’s standard repositories. What I am hearing though is that it will soon be. Until then, we need to grab it from rpmfusion so let’s install that first:

#sudo dnf -y install$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
#sudo dnf -y install$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

There are two rpmfusion repositories and we need them both. After installing them, we can easily grab ffmpeg:

#sudo dnf install ffmpeg

That’s all there is to it. Firefox will now play any online video, no matter the format.

I hope this article will help you and I hope it will end video playback frustrations for many Fedora users. The fix is certainly not a secret, nor a mystery, but for me it took a while to connect ffmpeg to the problem. I was usually trying to install all sorts of codecs and codec libraries. Only later it occurred to me to try ffmpeg and of course, it worked. Enjoy your online videos and see you next time!




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