All GIFs must die

I’ve taken the giant leap forward in recent months, to the realization that All GIFs Are Evil, and it’s time to abandon that format. They’re heavy, slow, poor quality and just a drudge from a world of 20 years ago. And they tie up my meager Internet connection.

Of course, I say that knowing full well that a tenth of the images I’ve hosted here are cobbled together PNG files made into rudimentary GIFs. I’m working on changing that to something that will embed in’s atrocious post markup, but not require me to link to YouTube or beyond.

All of that aside, here’s one way to exterminate those cretinous GIFs: And of course, I have nothing to show for it, unless I post a before-GIF and an after-OGV. And chances are, they’d look remarkably the same to you. Which they should, if was actually doing its job.

And my preliminary attempts seem to confirm it. You can adjust the quality or speed settings in the script, but for what I’ve seen it doesn’t accept any flags. Which is probably as well, since mplayer is involved, and mplayer has more choices than some ice cream shops.

avconv is also involved, and I mention that because avconv is something that appears in Debian-based distros, probably under libav-tools. If there is an Arch package that contains something called “avconv,” neither me nor yaourt nor pkgfile could find it. I’m sure it’s out there though. šŸ˜

I don’t know what else to tell you about I seem to have a fair number of script-gimmicks in my list though, so perhaps these quick-fix tools will become a regular addition to applications. Then again, what’s the difference? šŸ˜‰

8 thoughts on “ All GIFs must die

  1. Sam Stuewe

    I mentioned this a while back, but you should consider using something like It allows you to create pausable (and copiable) command-line casts. There’s even a command-line tool for making them (perhaps a valid candidate for you to cover some day) and uploading them much like a command-line paste client.

    All the best,

    1. livibetter

      I’d advise not to use service like that — if it’s not something you could self-hosting the data files — when you can’t 100% sure it would last as long as, say, this blog.

      Don’t know if anyone still remember an old free image hosting, which I believed K.Mandla’s old blog did use that. I think that’s more than five years ago. When it died, all images are, well, gone. I’ve forgot of its name, but I vividly remembered how it hit me, and that’s when I learned not to use free image hosting like it.

      Images, videos, term recordings, are all the same. When you use a service and totally relies on it, you better pray that it only dies with your blog or whatever the website is using the service.

      I have nothing against those free service, but in terms of confidences of feeling their longevity, it’s very low in me. I just can’t trust them would last, not even for a few years.

      So, no, don’t use that unless it’s as popular as YouTube or And, yes, even those big names could die one day. But since this blog is on, they would all die together, then it doesn’t matter that much.

      1. Sam Stuewe

        Actually, showterm’s client and server are completely open-source, and there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from hosting your own server.

      2. livibetter

        Actually, there is one thing, at least for me, would stop you: the level of commitment of maintaining on your own that you need to put in.

        Years ago, I ran my own webserver for blog, wiki, files, even a name server. But it’s too much stuff to handle. Even just a file server using stable open source project, it’s too many thing to take care of, and it’s not just server side, also think about the client side that is something not under your controls.

        If you are adventurous, then running on your on is truly nothing could stop you.

        For me, I will rather be giving the life of my stuff to someone else, than worrying something isn’t working and I can’t fix on my own. If the service provider can’t fix or don’t fix fast enough, then it’s the way as should be. Even I can code, run, and fix a few stuff, but I’d rather let Blogger handles my blog, Flickr and Picasa for photos, YouTube for videos, GitHub and Bitbucket for codes, Gmail for emails. Running on my own, I had tried, it’s not for me.

  2. livibetter

    IIRC, avconv is just the binary program of libav, as in ffmpeg. In ffmpeg, the tools are named ff[something], in libav, they are av[something]. So, basically you could just s/avconf/ffmpeg/, the script should run fine, because basically, ffmpeg does use libav as library or did. As long as command-line options doesn’t change, they should be almost interchangeable.

    About three years ago, I submitted patch to ffmpeg, didn’t get immediately merged, then I re-submitted to libav. Merged, then a week or a month later perhaps, they got pulled in ffmpeg.

    I don’t know what’s going on between libav and ffmpeg now, but at the time, when I read why libav forked ffmpeg, it was a very interesting read.

    On to the GIFs, personally, I disagree they are evil, as long as they are now running for minutes for one loop. A few seconds, a GIF is better option than video file, which would be “All videos must die,” so it’s not evil, but a wrong choice. Every thing could be “evil.”

    Truth to be told, I mostly don’t view your GIFs, because I have no idea how long they are and from the experiences of early times, they tended to be long (5+s counts as long by my definition), and I just don’t want to watch them.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      I knew about the friction between libav and ffmpeg, and I figured that was related to avconv. I usually don’t mind skipping to another distro to find a program though, so I am willing to admit not looking hard enough for an Arch equivalent.

      I was being a little facetious when I said GIFs should “die”; much of that comes from my frustration with a very slow connection (I don’t know how I lived through the 56K modem era).

      And thanks for the feedback about the GIFs I post here. If they’re not useful or interesting, I can stop scraping around for an alternative. Cheers!

      1. livibetter

        I just realized that I wasn’t reading much from the word “die” until seeing you quoting the word in your reply, even though I did re-use “must die.”

        Anyhow, I didn’t mean to discourage or attempt to persuade you to give up the use of animated GIFs, only meant to let you know how I think about them. I am sure there are people like the way you use them, and I’d believe it might be the majority since I find many people don’t share the same view as I have.

        Maybe you can specially make a post for a poll? If I’m not mistaken, has poll feature. That would be a better way to get a right picture of your readers of how they think about the GIFs. Me, I am only one reader and I actually prefer to read (your) words than view images or GIFs.

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