I was not able to view built-in videos on twitter and other websites so I wanted to install ffmpeg. I ran the command snap install ffmpeg and it didn't work but after running the command sudo apt-get install ffmpeg it installed too many files and it worked. What is the difference here?

  • 1
    The difference is every Debian based installation like Ubuntu has access to sudo apt update && sudo apt install. Not every installation has snapd running. I don't for example simply because I don't have time to baby-sit it. Mar 22, 2021 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


Below distinction will not explain the issues you experienced installing ffmpeg.


From Wikipedia: "Snap (package manager)":

Snaps are self-contained applications running in a sandbox with mediated access to the host system.

The snaps are furthermore mounted as loopback filesystems.

Packages installed from Ubuntu repositories

Packages installed via aptitude (e.g. apt-get install command) can require and result in further dependencies being separately installed.

See this technical comparison for a detailed explanation.


For the end user, the most important issue is the available version.

Here is the latest version of ffmpeg as a deb package.

$ apt policy ffmpeg
  Installed: 7:3.4.8-0ubuntu0.2
  Candidate: 7:3.4.8-0ubuntu0.2
  Version table:
 *** 7:3.4.8-0ubuntu0.2 500
        500 http://es.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic-updates/universe amd64 Packages
        500 http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic-security/universe amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     7:3.4.2-2 500
        500 http://es.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic/universe amd64 Packages

Here is the snap package,

$ snap info ffmpeg
name:      ffmpeg
summary:   A complete solution to record, convert and stream audio and video.
publisher: Snapcrafters
store-url: https://snapcraft.io/ffmpeg
contact:   https://github.com/snapcrafters/ffmpeg/issues
license:   GPL-3.0+
description: |
  FFmpeg is the leading multimedia framework, able to decode, encode,
  transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter and play pretty much anything that
  humans and machines have created. It supports the most obscure ancient
  formats up to the cutting edge. No matter if they were designed by some
  standards committee, the community or a corporation.
  This snap is maintained by the Snapcrafters community, and is not
  necessarily endorsed or officially maintained by the upstream developers.
snap-id: Ee7LGphwQR669pcfCCdl0oJQouta69to
  latest/stable:    4.3.1 2020-11-08 (1286)  83MB -
  latest/candidate: ↑                             
  latest/beta:      ↑                             
  latest/edge:      4.3.1 2021-03-04 (1297) 123MB -

Therefore, the snap package of ffmpeg is at version 4.3 (2021-02-20). The deb package of ffmpeg is at version 3.4 (2020-07-04).

A side-effect of security for the snap package, is that you cannot play video files from /tmp/. Just that issue.

  • When I install ffmpeg from snap, Firefox cannot display videos on Twitter and some other websites. If I install from apt there is no hassle. That is bad because I want to install it from snap as I have downloaded the package on a flash disk and can install offline. Mar 28, 2021 at 9:49
  • 1
    Firefox can use the gstreamer ffmpeg plugin to play videos. The snap package for ffmpeg has the application only.
    – user4124
    Mar 28, 2021 at 16:50
  • I searched for gstream plugins (sudo apt search gstream ) but can't see any file related to ffmpeg. Mar 29, 2021 at 13:45
  • There is a chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra. I could not find the one for Firefox but did not search that much.
    – user4124
    Mar 29, 2021 at 18:05

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