FFmpeg is an audio/video streaming server for Linux suitable for live broadcasts. It supports real time audio/video compression in several formats (mpeg, mjpeg, real, flash, asf) and bitrates at the same time. A soft VCR is also included.

From: Holden Hao (
To: Philippine Linux Users Group Mailing List (
X-Mailer: Sylpheed version 0.8.11 (GTK+ 1.2.10; i586-pc-linux-gnu)
Subject: Re: [plug] audio/video streaming on linux
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 14:17:19 +0800

> Video streaming... That's a little more dicey apparently. Since > there is still no open video format (Ogg Theora is apparently still > quite raw as of this writing), that's quite problematic. There may be > proprietary solutions around though.

Ffmpeg can stream video using Real and other formats. I have tested it personally but not production wise. Get it from:

From: Orlando Andico (
To: Philippine Linux Users Group Mailing List (
Subject: Re: [plug] audio/video streaming on linux
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 13:37:07 +0800 (PHT)

On Fri, 24 Oct 2003, Rafael 'Dido' Sevilla wrote:
> Video streaming... That's a little more dicey apparently. Since
> there is still no open video format (Ogg Theora is apparently still
> quite raw as of this writing), that's quite problematic. There may be
> proprietary solutions around though.

icecast for audio. ffmpeg for video. been there. done that. ffmpeg can stream ASF. it can stream multirate from a single video source.
Port of FFmpeg to the Quicktime architecture, currently capable of decoding various MPEG-4 and MSMPEG-4 variants, including DivX, XviD and 3ivx. Support for Huffman YUV, WMA & AC-3 is planned. DivX Doctor II is recommended for AVI playback.
MPEG4IP: Open Source, Open Standards, Open Streaming

MPEG4IP provides an end-to-end system to explore MPEG-4 multimedia. The package includes many existing open source packages and the "glue" to integrate them together. This is a tool for streaming video and audio that is standards-oriented and free from proprietary protocols and extensions.

Provided are an MPEG-4 AAC audio encoder, an MP3 encoder, two MPEG-4 video encoders, an MP4 file creator and hinter, an IETF standards-based streaming server, and an MPEG-4 player that can both stream and playback from local file.

Our development is focused on the Linux platform, and has been ported to Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, BSD/OS and Mac OS X, but it should be relatively straight-forward to use on other platforms. Many of the included packages are multi-platform already.

This code is not intended for end users, and does not contain executables. Please read all the legal information to determine if it is suitable for you.
Darwin Streaming Server

What is the Streaming Server? Streaming Server is server technology which allows you to send streaming QuickTime data to clients across the Internet using the industry standard RTP and RTSP protocols. It is based on the same code as Apple's QuickTime Streaming Server.

Darwin Streaming Server 4.1.3

Welcome to Darwin Streaming Server 4.1.3, the streaming media server that combines industrial strength performance with engaging ease of use.

Darwin Streaming Server 4.1.3 provides a number of security enhancements.

Features include:

QuickTime Broadcaster Remote Administration: Now you can control QuickTime Broadcaster remotely via the administration interface of QuickTime Streaming Server 4.1.3 when both are installed on the same machine. Start and stop broadcasts, select audio and video settings, and more. Note: This feature only works with Mac OS 10.2 ("Jaguar") and later.

Instant-On Streaming: Instant-on dramatically reduces the delay caused by buffering of the media stream prior to playback, allowing broadband users of QuickTime 6 to begin watching streaming media, both on demand and live, right away. With Instant-On, broadband users can also "scrub" forward and back with the time slider through an on-demand media stream and have playback updated instantly.

MPEG-4 Support: Now you can serve ISO-compliant hinted MPEG-4 files to any ISO-compliant MPEG-4 client, including any MPEG-4 enabled device that supports playback of MPEG-4 streams over IP. You can serve on-demand or live MPEG-4 streams, and reflect playlists of MPEG-4 files.

MP3 Streaming: You can serve standard MP3 files using Icecast-compatible protocols over http. Build a playlist of MP3 files and serve them to MP3 clients such as iTunes, SoundJam and WinAmp for a simulated live experience.

Skip Protection: Skip Protection uses excess bandwidth to buffer ahead data faster than real time on the client machine. When packets are lost, communication between client and server results in retransmission of only the lost packets, reducing impact to network traffic. By buffering ahead a high-quality "copy" of the media, QuickTime Streaming Server delivers a high-quality media stream time after time.
Camserv is a free program to do streaming video through the web Streaming video can be sent to both Netscape and Internet Explorer clients. However, Internet Explorer under Windows cannot apparently handle the multi-part JPEGs, and therefore a special javascript page must be setup. One is included in the distribution as an example.
Stony Brook Distributed Video Server Project
MEC4 is a Video On Demand Streaming Server based on a multithreaded architecture and running on the Linux Operating System. The server can handle multiple concurrent streams which it delivers by mean of a proprietary simple protocol called CMTP (or SSP/MSP). "Proprietary" means that we created it and it works well for our purposes. The server is under development and, although stable enough for testing, I believe it must be considered in a beta stage. Note that it needs glibc2. Main features are:

* Unlimited number of concurrent streams (the hardware is the only limit).
* Throughput up to 2 Gbit/s per server.
* Extended clustering capabilities with unlimited number of servers
in the cluster.
* Very simple but effective streaming protocol: SSP/MSP.
* Extremely tunable.
* User validation based on IP address and permissions.
* Per user file access control.
* GPL.
Ogg Theora is a video codec and integration project by the Foundation, based on On2 Technologies's VP3 video codec, and designed to fit into the Ogg multimedia framework -- under development during 2003, beta pending soon.

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 14:51:39 -0700
From: Jack Moffitt (
Subject: Re: [linux-elitists] Streaming Video solution for Linux

> Another to add to that list could be the stuff at
>, I need to check into that tomorrow also. It's
> a video codec which ogg is involved. I'm not sure about server/client
> or what is actually available yet, I need to research that a bit more.

It's safe to say that it's not ready for production use. We've been updating the ogg infrastructure for it, and my guess is that we'll see something good this year from that effort.

On the icecast side, there has been little work if any on integrating video, but since it deals with Ogg and not vorbis specifically, it probably wouldn't be very hard.

To my knowledge, Real is still the best thing you can do for video that is cross platform. They support multiple arches of linux as well, ppc and x86 at the very least. But they are expensive...


[Audio only, though the development team is expected to get around to streaming video in due course, as per the above:]
MP3 Streaming :

Icecast was created in January of 1999 by Jack Moffitt and Barath Raghavan to provide an open source audio streaming server that anyone could modify, use, and tinker with. It is developed under the GNU General Public License by many people scattered around the globe.
XviD -- a non-patent-encumbered, GPLed ISO MPEG-4 video codec.

From: "Joselito A. Layno" (
To: Philippine Linux Users Group Mailing List (
Subject: RE: [plug] Video Conference
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 15:46:22 +0800

Addition info regarding videoconferencing and videostreaming:

From: Rick Moen (
Subject: Re: Linux Helix Producer Basic 9.0
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 15:29:07 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.5.13-20020703 ("Chop Suey!") (UNIX) (Linux/2.2.19 (i686))

Chris Olson ( wrote:
> For those that are interested in streaming media, and creation of Real
> Media files, RealNetworks has released Helix Producer Basic 9.0 for
> Linux (free download). I haven't tried it yet on the Linux platform,
> but I have converted mp3's to Real Media files on Win2K with it.

An interesting offering. Of course, those of us who've followed the rather unpleasant history of Real Networks, Inc. will have predicted the fly in the ointment: the extremely draconian licence agreement.

Summary: You may install it only on two computers and use it only on one machine at a time. Real Networks can modify this licence in any way it pleases, with fourteen days' notice. You're allowed to develop software that talks to Real Networks's ActiveX interfaces, but then may not distribute your own software without Real Networks's separate permission. You may not redistribute the program. You may not reverse-engineer or modify it.

You must be in compliance with export laws and not associated with countries the USA considers naughty, like Cuba. You mustn't be on the USA Treasury or Commerce Department's lists of naughty people (drug smugglers, terrorists, export-regs violators, etc.).

You may not use the program in a DMCA-style "circumvention" manner. You may not attempt to circumvent the built-in "serial copying management system". You may not develop software that can be used to stream or export your Real Networks-encoded data to any other format, or that generates live-transmitted Real Networks-encoded files.

Full text:

At least it doesn't have the spyware/secret-modification provision that the RealPlayer licence does. Summary: You consent to the program reporting unspecified information about your computer and its doings to Real Networks. You may not circumvent "digital restrictions management" (note: corrected from the common but polemical expression, "digital rights management") functions of plug-ins. You consent to that DRM code reporting unspecified unspecified information about your computer and its doings to the DRM code's unnamed authors, and to their substituting anything they want in its place without notice.

(The rest of the licence terms are pretty much the same as for Helix Producer Basic, except RealPlayer's licence is valid for personal, non-commercial use only, and specifically not for usage involved in any way with any commercial service or application.)

Full text:

Real Networks has a long history of suing into oblivion any individual or company that constructs any software that can read Real Networks formats, using its claimed patent coverage and the DMCA.

The Ogg Vorbis people are starting work on a new, unpatented streaming video format without RN-type police-state licensing. All of it will be openly documented, and their implementation will be open source.

From: Rick Moen (
Subject: Re: Linux Helix Producer Basic 9.0
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 20:49:29 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.5.13-20020703 ("Chop Suey!") (UNIX) (Linux/2.2.19 (i686))

Chris Olson ( wrote:

> Sure the Real Networks license is restrictive - that's because they
> hold patents and copyrights. Welcome to the Real world of business
> (pun intended).

Luckily, few businesses conduct themselves in as outright evil a fashion as Real Networks does. Luckier, someone who is forewarned about the outrages they tell you _up front_ they're going to visit upon you, such as the spyware and we-may-substitute-anything-without-notice provisions of the Real Player licence, can avoid their products entirely. And Microsoft Corporation's.

Luckiest still, there exists an open-source streaming, all-platform media system developed by a couple of guys at Cisco, doing a streaming variant of MPEG4. They gave a lecture and demonstration about it at SVLUG, a few months back:

Of course, that implementation's primary codec's exist under the shadow of a patent threat. The Ogg Vorbis work will remove that problem.

I do wonder why you recommend proprietary products that have unusually evil licence provisions, without even saying word one about that aspect. Are you one of those people who still think licensing doesn't matter, even in the DMCA era? Or are you just accustomed to signing away all your rights, every time some software company pops up a EULA in front of you?

From: Rick Moen (
Subject: Re: Linux Helix Producer Basic 9.0
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 23:53:43 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.5.13-20020703 ("Chop Suey!") (UNIX) (Linux/2.2.19 (i686))

Chris Olson ( wrote:
> Rick Moen wrote:
>> I've found that businesses are really adverse to being the targets of
>> industrial espionage. I hope you mention to your clients that they're
>> consenting to same in their Real Player licence agreements.
> Well, I think they don't see it that way at all.

I infer that calling your clients' attention to particularly notable licence restrictions and peculiarities is a new concept for you. I hope you consider doing so in the future. There's a term for consultants and service industries that fail to disclose vital terms to their customers: failure of due diligence. Trust me, you don't want to be there.

Anyhow: One very hot button for corporate decision-makers is inability to control business risk. From that perspective, software that is prone to incompatiblity-inducing changes outside the company's control is an uncontrolled risk. Software whose licence can be unilaterally withdrawn or modified at will by the other side, with no discussion and only fourteen days' notice, is an uncontrolled risk. Software whose licence authorises the other side collecting unspecified private information about the inner workings of the company is an uncontrolled risk.

And: An executive who allows his company to becomes dependent on software he is not allowed to see inside, let alone change, has lost control of his business, and is on the wrong side of a monopoly relationship with a vendor who can thereby control his business.

> We have a local corporation here that uses Real streaming media to
> deliver desktop presentations for customers and investors, and also
> uses it for employee training.

Employee training sounds to me like a perfect test case for MPEG4IP, given the company's IT control over both client and server ends. But of course other considerations may apply.

> RealNetworks happens to provide excellent customer support, and has one
> of the best end to end solutions available. They also have *the* best
> streaming media application server available and it's very cost
> effective at < $5500 (Helix).

Actually, performance really rather sucks (by most measures) compared to some of the competition. MPEG4IP, for example, uses Apple's Darwin Streaming Server (open source), and it performs the hell out of anything Real Networks ever did. The latter didn't get to its market position by being better, so much as by being their early and having meaner lawyers than anyone else.

I mean, for crying out loud, all they have in the way of a codec is a slightly modified version of the ITU's H.263 protocol. That's antique.

From: Rick Moen (
Subject: Re: Linux Helix Producer Basic 9.0
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 06:15:29 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.5.13-20020703 ("Chop Suey!") (UNIX) (Linux/2.2.19 (i686))

Chris Olson ( wrote:

> There's no room for "testing" here. It has to work.

I don't want to belabour an obvious point, but one of the advantages of open-source software is that you can prototype it before deployment -- run pilot projects -- without lock-in. It's... um... a little startling to have to point this out.

>> MPEG4IP, for example, uses Apple's Darwin Streaming Server (open
>> source), and it performs the hell out of anything Real Networks ever
>> did.
> You are wrong, my friend. I've run both on Windows NT Server, Linux
> and Solaris. We had a demo of Quicktime Server running on Mac OS X
> Server from a local vendor and it *does* perform very well on that
> platform. Quicktime Streaming Server doesn't run on anything but Mac,
> however.

Sorry to hear that you've missed three years of news: Darwin Streaming Server runs on pretty much any *ix platforms. It was ported to Linux within (if memory serves) less than 24 hours of its initial release, a couple of years ago, at the time that Apple open-sourced it and Darwin itself.

Naturally, it runs a great deal faster on Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris than it does on MacOS X Server.


I must say, Chris, you seem to have suffered from a great deal of very bad advice. First, somebody mislead you into believing, in error, that Darwin Streaming Server runs only on OS X -- which a twenty-second Google search would have shown is not the case -- and then you got the "IT Comparison" from that university guy, and following that the "security expert" bloviating about system security.

> The Darwin Streaming Server is pretty close to Helix performance-wise > on both Windows NT Server and Linux, but Helix has the added advantage > of being able to handle three different streaming formats > simultaneously - Darwin does not.

If you'll look at the way it's implemented in the MPEG4IP architecture, you'll see that it handles numerous codecs and data formats simultaneously. It doesn't handle numerous _streaming_ formats simultaneously because it doesn't need to: Either RDP/UDP or RTP/RTSP/TCP (per the deployment's requirements) accomplishes all that the server has to do.

>> I mean, for crying out loud, all they have in the way of a codec is a
>> slightly modified version of the ITU's H.263 protocol. That's
>> antique.
> I thought it's H.263++ ...

Chris, H.263++ is Real Networks's name for its slightly modified proprietary extension of H.263 -- which is exactly as I said.

> ...which just happens to be a video standard, and which is also used by
> Quicktime/Darwin.

No, H.263 is an (antique, relatively poorly performing) International Telecommunications Union standard. Real Networks's proprietary "H.263++" variation on that standard is not a video standard, by any reasonable understanding of that term.

From: Rick Moen (
Subject: Re: Linux Helix Producer Basic 9.0
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 16:40:43 +0000 (UTC)
User-Agent: tin/1.5.13-20020703 ("Chop Suey!") (UNIX) (Linux/2.2.19 (i686))

Chris Olson ( wrote:

> Now, re-read what I said again. Quicktime Streaming Server happens to
> be a different product than Darwin Streaming Server. I said Quicktime
> only runs on OS X, I didn't say anything about Darwin only running on OS X.

<sigh> It's the same code. The distinction is solely a marketing /
product-positioning one. The code is called Apple QuickTime Streaming
Server when compiled for PPC and bundled with OS X Server. It's called
Darwin Streaming Server otherwise. You can see that for yourself, here:
and here:
and here:

I quote from the latter:

Q: Does Darwin Streaming Server have the same features as QuickTime Streaming Server?
A: Yes. While there are inherent performance differences as a result of the platform, all versions have the same features.

They're saying that they use platform-specific compiler optimisations, in compiling the PPC-binary version that ships with OS X Server, plus they probably put a spiffy label on the box that says "Apple<tm> QuickTime<tm>". Otherwise, no difference at all.

Quoting the same page:

QuickTime Streaming Server, while designed for Mac OS X Server, is also available via the Darwin open source project, which offers a high level of customizability to just about any network. Sharing the same code base as QuickTime Streaming Server, ready-made versions of Darwin Streaming Server are available for Linux, Windows, and Solaris. In addition, since source code is available, it can be ported to most any platform by modifying a few files.

Thus the FreeBSD port whose URL I provided, earlier.

> Tell you what, Mr. Moen. I didn't start this newsgroup to have some
> idiot lunatic dominate it with his personal rantings, authoritatively
> hand out bad advice and information, and personally attack the other
> subscribers on the group on any topic available, and make it perfectly
> clear that there's *NOBODY* who knows more than Rick Moen.

Chris, surely you know better: The above is pure ad hominem attack from you.

Nor have I ever personally attacked other posters. I'm sorry, that's simply in error. I have disputed factual assertions where I have held different views; I have not attacked posters. There's a world of difference.

And you will find that I have started quite a number of threads, not to mention providing information on Debian, other distributions, and WordPerfect for Linux that many have found useful.

> Now, I'm going racing for the rest of the week. When I get back, I
> expect that I won't see any more posts from you on this group, and I
> expect that you won't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

I hope that when you return, you'll have calmed down, and realised that you flew off the handle unreasonably. If not, well, I suppose you can do something draconian like autodeleting my articles or blocking my IP netblock.

[RM notes: In retrospect, it seems likely that the main reason Chris Olson flew off the handle was that his business clients were reading the (now-defunct) newsgroup, causing him embarrassment when both his technical knowledge and his business judgement / due-diligence were questioned, however politely. In any event, I was immediately banned by him from the newsgroup, received numerous flamemails, was threatened with litigation for cancelling my own posts on the way out, and was accused of criminal abuse of his computing facilities. Go figure.]