User:Maffblaster/Drafts/Multimedia container formats

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For a computer novice or any person unfamiliar with the technical details of multimedia production, transmission, and even consumption, understanding how to view certain media can be quite a challenge. This article adds clarity and insight for end-users (generally on desktop profiles) on how enable Gentoo to display multimedia.


Under the surface, multimedia (video, audio, or both) is generally shipped in a container format. These container formats have various names and can hold various multimedia content (codecs).

The three most relevant multimedia formats on Gentoo are (links to Wikipedia for each entry):

  1. Audio file formats
  2. Image file formats
  3. Video file formats

For example, in 2017 Apple started using the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) to store photos that were saved using a .heic file extension. This same format can also be enabled for photo storage on Android. Without the proper USE flags enabled and supporting libraries (packages) installed, viewing HIEF coded files (.hiec files) will not be possible on Gentoo.


Depending on the container format desired, a search can be performed in order to determine what packages and USE flags correspond to the container format and the codecs.


For example, supposing a system administrator desired to enable HIEF support so that photos taken on an iPhone could be viewed on the Plasma desktop environment. The system administrator could use to perform a heif USE flag search to see if any heif or heic USE flags were available.

Alternatively system administrator could also search the local system using the euse command (included with [[Package|gentoolkit}}):

{{Cmd template error}}
Parameter 1 not defined. For correct usage see Cmd template's documentation on the 1 parameter.

Ah! A search on both packages.g.o and the local system revealed that an heic USE flag is supported by some packages.

To ease support, the heic USE flag can be added system wide via a made.conf addition:


See also