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Revision as of 16:58, 20 September 2008 by Geal (talk | contribs) (→‎Final configuration: --enable-ffmpeg doesn't exist anymore)
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Prepare your environment

VLC uses gcc, automake, autoconf and friends for compilation. Make sure they are up to date and usable for your system.

Get the source

Start by getting the source, using FTP for releases, or using Git for development.

If your are using the release, download source code and extract the archive and go into your VLC directory.

% cd /path/to/your/vlc/folder/

If you are using the Git version, start by bootstrapping your VLC.

% cd /path/to/your/vlc/folder/
% ./bootstrap

Get the 3rd party libs

Now you can start to configure VLC. Remember to first take a look at ./configure --help. Take a good look at that enormous list of options.

General info

It is very important that you install and enable all the 3rd party libraries that you will be needing and let me tell you that that are a lot. If you don't install them you will end up with an application that well..... essentially doesn't do anything. See here for a complete list.

There are some very important dependencies: gettext (nls) for international support (required), libdvbpsi for mpeg files and streams support, libmad for mp3 decoding, libmpeg2 for mpeg 1 and 2 video support, ffmpeg (libavcodec, libavformats, libswscale) for support of mpeg4 and many other types of video, liba52 for dolby (AC3) sound, alsa for proper audio output, xvideo for proper video output, QT4 for proper GUI support and libdvd* for DVD support.

Be careful! Some of the libraries are better not to be installed (at all, beware of old installations) and should be linked to directly. These are mostly ffmpeg and liveMedia.

There are also some libraries that are no longer being maintained and which we advise not to use. These include the gtk, gnome and kde GUIs, the glide and mga modules.


There are a few ways to get those libs. You should use only one method at a time:

  • Using your distribution or portage system, in order to get all the needed libs (this is the preferred way):

For example on Debian or Ubuntu:

# sudo apt-get build-dep vlc
  • Using the contribs system in VLC's sources
 % cd extras/contrib;
 % ./bootstrap;
 % make;

This should download and build a lot of those libs for you.

  • Read the list, download them and build by hand.


You need to tweak your configure line.

./configure is used to check whether your system is able to compile VLC. Also you choose the functionalities of your build.

% ./configure --help

will show you the various options

Special libs

Use --with-live555-path=path/to/livemedia/source/tree in connection with --enable-live555. For ffmpeg, the only reliable way for VLC's configure to know how your ffmpeg's libs were compiled is to use pkg-config. So you need to set PKG_CONFIG_PATH correctly if your ffmpeg is not installed at the default place or you want to use static linking.

Final configuration

If you want to install VLC into another directory, run

% ./configure --prefix=/path/to/install/folder/

This is an example of a typical VLC configure line:

% ./configure --enable-x11 --enable-xvideo --disable-gtk --enable-sdl --enable-avcodec --enable-avformat --enable-swscale --enable-mad --enable-libdvbpsi --enable-a52 --enable-libmpeg2 --enable-dvdnav --enable-faad --enable-vorbis --enable-ogg --enable-theora --enable-faac --enable-mkv --enable-freetype --enable-fribidi --enable-speex --enable-flac --enable-live555 --with-live555-tree=/usr/lib/live --enable-caca --enable-skins --enable-skins2 --enable-alsa --disable-kde --enable-qt4 --enable-ncurses --enable-release

Here is another.


Compile VLC:

% make

As root (type "su" to change to root account):

# make install

To remove files created during the compile (optional) type:

% make clean



Compiling on Cygwin may be broken from time to time.


Debian users who want to compile VLC should install the packages below. Note: If you just want to use VLC media player then simply install the package vlc (sudo apt-get install vlc) - the unstable version is normally very up-to-date (and stable is, er, stable ;-)


This HOWTO has been originally written by Derk-Jan Hartman.

It has been modified and updated by Jean-Baptiste Kempf.

It was spelled-checked and sudoed by materthron.