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  1. Introduction: As you are likely aware, the FDK-AAC encoder was removed from Handbrake https://www.videohelp.com/software/HandBrake (from version 0.10.5 onwards) as it can no longer be publicly distributed due to GPL licensing issues (see: https://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=34143).

    The default AAC encoder Libav (https://www.videohelp.com/software/Libav) is lacking in quality compared to FDK (especially at lower bitrates) as its only a basic AAC encoder (see this website for more info about AAC encoders: http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=AAC_encoders), fortunately you can still compile HandBrake from source and enable FDK as an optional compile-time option, this guide will tell you how this can be done for the Windows version of HandBrake:

    Warning: This process is not easy and is only recommended to more advanced users!


    1. Fresh install Ubuntu (16.0.4 LTS is recommended due to a known set of packages and is easier for new users who want to attempt this process!), either on a PC via dual booting (or on a separate PC!), or on a Virtual Machine through software such as VirtualBox or VMware (recommended HDD space: 15-20GB with an allocated 2GB of RAM).

    Ubuntu download: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
    VirtualBox download: https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

    See this guide if you need help installing Ubuntu in VirtualBox: https://linus.nci.nih.gov/bdge/installUbuntu.html

    Alternatively, if you have the Windows 10 Creators update installed, you can complete this build process using the Windows Linux Subsystem (WSL), however it is command line only, requires additional packages to be installed, and is only recommended for more advanced users! (See: https://www.howtogeek.com/249966/how-to-install-and-use-the-linux-bash-shell-on-windows-10/)

    Obvious note: Don’t forget to press ‘enter’ after typing/pasting each terminal command to execute it!


    2. Open a Terminal Window (Ctrl + Alt + T) and maximise it if you want to see all the text go by more clearly, you should start in your "Home" directory, which is: user@computer:~$ (it should already be in the “Home” directory by default).


    3. Enter (or copy/paste the following commands into the terminal):
    sudo apt-get install cmake curl gcc git intltool libtool m4 bison flex pax make patch python tar wget yasm automake
    This will install/upgrade these required packages/dependencies to the latest versions.

    Note: You may be asked to enter your administrative password for Ubuntu after this command, type it in, press enter, then press ‘y‘ and press enter again to confirm.

    OPTIONAL: After the above command, if you see some sort of message about packages no longer being required, enter:
    sudo apt autoremove
    to delete them. These are usually old system kernels left over from software updates, and can/should be removed. The Ubuntu desktop uses System Settings->Details (the "gear" icon) to perform much the same function as Windows Update.


    4. Enter: This will download HandBrake from the repository and place it in a directory called "HandBrake". Note that this is the NIGHTLY "master" code, not the latest "stable" release. The Nightly builds are generally quite stable PROVIDED that you avoid cloning it during periods of intensive (i.e. multiple daily) developmental commits. (See: https://github.com/HandBrake/HandBrake/commits/master)

    OPTIONAL: If you want a specific stable release of HandBrake, enter the following commands, after executing the above command:

    cd HandBrake
    (this changes the directory to HandBrake)
    git tag
    (this lists the tags)
    git checkout tags/1.0.7
    (or whichever version you want from the list), this will pull that specific version of HandBrake from the repository you just downloaded, then enter
    cd
    to return back to the “Home” directory.


    5. Depending on whether you’re using the 32 or 64-bit version of HandBrake in Windows, enter one of the following commands:

    32-bit:
    HandBrake/scripts/mingw-w64-build i686
    64-bit:
    HandBrake/scripts/mingw-w64-build x86_64
    Remember: all folder/file names are CASE-SENSITIVE! This will take around 10-20 minutes (possibly longer depending on your PC setup!) to download the MinGW compiler and build it inside the "toolchains" directory (around 2-3GB).


    6. When Step 5 is finished, you'll see a message very much like:
    add to your shell startup script (usually .bashrc or .bash_profile):
    export PATH="/home/user/toolchains/mingw-w64-5.0-0-gcc-5.4.0/mingw-w64-x86_64/bin:{PATH}"



    7. Use your mouse to copy the export PATH= ...etc... (whole line), and paste it into the Terminal. You might have to use the right-mouse context menu to copy/paste. This adds the MinGW compiler into the command search path.


    8. Enter:

    32-bit:
    i686-w64-mingw32-gcc -v
    64-bit:
    x86_64-w64-mingw32-gcc -v
    to make sure Linux can find the compiler. If you see some "not installed" messages, go back to Step 6 and check carefully. There is no error message for adding a non-existent path string to ${PATH}.


    9. Finally, enter:
    cd HandBrake
    (to change to the HandBrake directory), then enter one of the following commands to execute the build process:

    32-bit:
    ./configure --cross=i686-w64-mingw32 --enable-x265 --enable-qsv --enable-fdk-aac --enable-libav-aac --launch-jobs=1 --force --launch
    64-bit:
    ./configure --cross=x86_64-w64-mingw32 --enable-x265 --enable-qsv --enable-fdk-aac --enable-libav-aac --launch-jobs=1 --force --launch

    10. After around 10-20 minutes (and mind-boggling walls of text!), you should get a SUCCESS message. If you do have persistent problems with the build process, your best chance of success is to use a fresh Ubuntu install, use the File Manager to delete any existing “HandBrake” and “toolchains” directories you might have, only installing the packages from Step 3, and not go fiddling about too much with your Ubuntu setup.


    11. Use the File Manager to copy the HandBrake/build/HandBrakeCLI.exe (no longer used by the HandBrake GUI in Windows from version 1.0.x) and HandBrake/build/libhb/hb.dll files to a location that Windows can access (e.g. through a shared folder if on a Virtual Machine).


    See this guide for setting up a shared folder between Ubuntu guests and Windows host machines in VirtualBox (requires Guest Additions to be installed first): https://www.howtogeek.com/187703/how-to-access-folders-on-your-host-machine-from-an-ub...in-virtualbox/


    12. Copy the file(s) from Step 11 into your HandBrake installation directory in Windows, overwriting the old ones. (Make sure that the version you built corresponds to the version you have installed!)

    Note: You should backup your existing \Program Files\HandBrake directory, and definitely export your presets. There's a good chance a new version may wipe out your user presets.


    13. Load up HandBrake in Windows and see if it works (do some test encodes/check the logs!), FDK-AAC should now be available to select as an audio codec in the dropdown list!

    Note: The first time running it may result in missing UI elements or options. Exit & restart HandBrake, and all should be good. Sometimes, to fix crashing on startup, you also need to delete the "Users\(you)\AppData\Roaming\HandBrake" directory in your Windows drive, so that HandBrake can create a fresh configuration.



    Warning: Doing this counts as a custom build of HandBrake and there is no support for it on their forum if you experience any issues, you are also NOT allowed to distribute custom builds of HandBrake with FDK enabled as its no longer GPL compatible.

    Remember: Updating HandBrake through the GUI will overwrite the hb.dll file in the Windows installation directory, therefore losing FDK, you therefore need to repeat this process if you want to continue using newer versions of HandBrake with FDK-AAC!

    Thanks to ‘WhatZit’ and ‘rwatt’ for original posts on the HandBrake forum: https://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=34953&sid=c6ac32dc3242cc17e283d83a5c5e18b0

    I have also made this guide into a Word document and attached it to this post (along with 2 screenshots) for your convenience!

    If any of you attempt this, let me know how you get on in this thread, and if you have any questions about this guide/build process, please let me know in this thread or send me a PM and I will do my best to answer them!


    P.S. It would be great if someone could make this into a video guide and put it on YouTube!


    Also, please rate this guide out of 10 on here if you find it useful: https://www.videohelp.com/guides
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    Last edited by AntW93; 27th Nov 2017 at 07:12. Reason: Updated the guide and added some more info
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    I did not try ... but if it works: Congratulations! This guide looks promising.

    Remember: According to the license restrictions, you may build this software from sources for yourself. But do not distribute. Keep it for yourself. Or, at least, don't tell in public if you gave anyone a copy.
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  3. Far too goddamn old now EddyH's Avatar
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    Without wanting to threadjack, does this also offer a way to incorporate e.g. the free Nero AAC encoder? It seems to be decent quality and not particularly slow, with the advantage of seemingly more compatible with fussy hardware players.
    (certainly it causes far fewer lockups with a certain mp3 player of mine!)

    At the present time if I want to incorporate it into handbrake-encoded video I have to rip the audio and convert it separately in e.g. Foobar then mux it back in as an additional step.

    NB I'm not even familiar with FDK so it may well be the exact same thing for all I know.
    EDIT: yes I'm aware that this would also be a violation of the GPL conditions (whilst Ahead freely give their codec away, they haven't released the source), and I would like to make the point that I really don't care so long as the damn thing works


    Two additional dumb questions:
    * Don't you need to restart the computer/VM, or at least close and reopen the terminal, after adding the path setting to the startup script, given that it's, well, a startup script? I expect there's some way to reconfigure it "live" much like there is in MS-DOS, but that doesn't seem to appear here.

    * Is there no way to get hold of the source and a Windows compiler and just compile it straight up on the target platform, if you want the Windows rather than Linux version? Last time I tried to install Ubuntu in a VM in order to use a stubbornly Linux-only application, it gave me botulism and ran over my cat. Which was especially galling given that I didn't even HAVE a cat until then. (That effort actually failed, fwiw) ... I can't imagine that there aren't any options for compiling (presumably) C++ under the Windows environment, or for downloading the Handbrake source.
    Last edited by EddyH; 4th May 2017 at 05:44.
    -= She sez there's ants in the carpet, dirty little monsters! =-
    Back after a long time away, mainly because I now need to start making up vidcapped DVDRs for work and I haven't a clue where to start any more!
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    Originally Posted by EddyH View Post
    Without wanting to threadjack, does this also offer a way to incorporate e.g. the free Nero AAC encoder?
    No. NeroAacEnc is a separate application; Handbrake won't use this kind of additional encoders, it can only use libraries included in the ffmpeg core of itself.
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  5. Originally Posted by EddyH View Post
    Without wanting to threadjack, does this also offer a way to incorporate e.g. the free Nero AAC encoder?
    No, this build guide is only for enabling the FDK-AAC encoder within HandBrake, the Nero AAC encoder is commercial and therefore not GPL compatible, and so has not/will not be included with HandBrake, and so there is no way to build HandBrake with the Nero AAC encoder inside it, the same issues also apply to the QAAC encoder!

    See: https://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=36195&p=170274


    Originally Posted by EddyH View Post
    Don't you need to restart the computer/VM, or at least close and reopen the terminal, after adding the path setting to the startup script, given that it's, well, a startup script? I expect there's some way to reconfigure it "live" much like there is in MS-DOS, but that doesn't seem to appear here.
    No, you don't need to restart the computer/VM, otherwise I would have mentioned that in the guide!

    Originally Posted by EddyH View Post
    Is there no way to get hold of the source and a Windows compiler and just compile it straight up on the target platform, if you want the Windows rather than Linux version? I can't imagine that there aren't any options for compiling (presumably) C++ under the Windows environment, or for downloading the Handbrake source.
    As far as I know, HandBrake for Windows can only be cross-compiled, not natively compiled, it even says in its online documentation that building HandBrake for Windows requires Linux and a recent MinGW-w64 toolchain, see: https://handbrake.fr/docs/en/1.0.0/developer/build-windows.html

    I would love to be proved wrong though and shown that HandBrake can be compiled under the Windows environment, but I don't think it can, unfortunately!
    Last edited by AntW93; 4th May 2017 at 14:27.
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  6. This article would be useful before last year, but FFmpeg's internal AAC encoder has been much improved since last year, at least at 128kbps.

    Listening test report last year (Japanese):
    http://d.hatena.ne.jp/kamedo2/20160215/1455552816

    I guess this is the reason for HB dropping fdk encoder
    (the license issue has been there a long time)

    For the compiling part, i have not tried that myself, but the Linux Subsystem on Win10(after Creator Update) may do the job, sparing the trouble to setup a VM. After all, FFmpeg can be cross-compiled in the Linux Subsystem
    Stopping development until someone save me from poverty or get me out of Hong Kong...
    Twitter @MaverickTse
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  7. Originally Posted by MaverickTse View Post
    This article would be useful before last year, but FFmpeg's internal AAC encoder has been much improved since last year, at least at 128kbps.

    I guess this is the reason for HB dropping fdk encoder
    (the license issue has been there a long time)
    I know that significant improvements have been made to FFmpeg's internal AAC encoder, but these improvements have not yet been merged into LibAV which HandBrake uses, and we don't know if they even will, see: http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=AAC_encoders and https://forum.handbrake.fr/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=34793

    I therefore recommend using the FDK-AAC encoder in HandBrake for the time being, if you are able to compile it from source!

    Originally Posted by MaverickTse View Post
    For the compiling part, i have not tried that myself, but the Linux Subsystem on Win10(after Creator Update) may do the job, sparing the trouble to setup a VM. After all, FFmpeg can be cross-compiled in the Linux Subsystem
    Interesting, I shall look into using the Linux Subsystem on Win10 for compiling HandBrake to save having to use a VM!
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    Originally Posted by AntW93 View Post
    Originally Posted by MaverickTse View Post
    For the compiling part, i have not tried that myself, but the Linux Subsystem on Win10(after Creator Update) may do the job, sparing the trouble to setup a VM. After all, FFmpeg can be cross-compiled in the Linux Subsystem
    Interesting, I shall look into using the Linux Subsystem on Win10 for compiling HandBrake to save having to use a VM!
    Apologies for the slight necroposting. I was able to successfully build on WSL following your instructions.

    However in step 3 I had to add the g++ package in, the MinGW build required it, and later I had to add packages specified in these walkthroughs:
    https://mattgadient.com/2016/06/20/working-around-hiccups-when-compiling-handbrake-on-linux/
    https://handbrake.fr/docs/en/latest/developer/build-windows.html

    Since WSL is command line only (for the time being), the kosher way to copy the built files is to specify the destination path simply as
    cp hb.dll /mnt/c/{path} (Replace c with *NTFS* drive letter of your choice).
    Accessing the files directly through the Windows Explorer will corrupt the WSL filesystem.

    Other caveats: archive extraction and build is SLOW on WSL. WSL uses a "worst of both worlds" approach to disk access (and the linux store is hosted on my SSD). My computer was more than likely also a bottleneck, so whichever was the bigger factor, Step 5 took me almost 2 hours.

    After building, I did a few test converts and was satisfied with the results. TBH I don't find libav to sound much different from FDK, but I can appreciate a better compression algorithm.
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  9. Originally Posted by tealsuki View Post
    Originally Posted by AntW93 View Post
    Originally Posted by MaverickTse View Post
    For the compiling part, i have not tried that myself, but the Linux Subsystem on Win10(after Creator Update) may do the job, sparing the trouble to setup a VM. After all, FFmpeg can be cross-compiled in the Linux Subsystem
    Interesting, I shall look into using the Linux Subsystem on Win10 for compiling HandBrake to save having to use a VM!
    Apologies for the slight necroposting. I was able to successfully build on WSL following your instructions.

    However in step 3 I had to add the g++ package in, the MinGW build required it, and later I had to add packages specified in these walkthroughs:
    https://mattgadient.com/2016/06/20/working-around-hiccups-when-compiling-handbrake-on-linux/
    https://handbrake.fr/docs/en/latest/developer/build-windows.html

    Since WSL is command line only (for the time being), the kosher way to copy the built files is to specify the destination path simply as
    cp hb.dll /mnt/c/{path} (Replace c with *NTFS* drive letter of your choice).
    Accessing the files directly through the Windows Explorer will corrupt the WSL filesystem.

    Other caveats: archive extraction and build is SLOW on WSL. WSL uses a "worst of both worlds" approach to disk access (and the linux store is hosted on my SSD). My computer was more than likely also a bottleneck, so whichever was the bigger factor, Step 5 took me almost 2 hours.

    After building, I did a few test converts and was satisfied with the results. TBH I don't find libav to sound much different from FDK, but I can appreciate a better compression algorithm.
    hi there tealsuki, i have sent you a pm, regarding the topic of this thread...

    greetings benny
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  10. Hello all! Thank you for putting this guide together! I am excited at the prospect of getting higher quality AAC streams back and am running into issues with steps 6-9:

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    I am a super noob at Ubuntu so I am not able to figure this out - is my variable incorrect?

    Thank you in advance!
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    Originally Posted by Forefield View Post
    Hello all! Thank you for putting this guide together! I am excited at the prospect of getting higher quality AAC streams back and am running into issues with steps 6-9:

    Image
    [Attachment 43409 - Click to enlarge]


    I am a super noob at Ubuntu so I am not able to figure this out - is my variable incorrect?

    Thank you in advance!
    Try
    Code:
    export PATH="/usr/bin:$PATH"
    and then
    Code:
    rm -r /home/user/toolchains
    and then going back to step 5.

    Also, anybody know what to do if you encounter
    Code:
    ERROR: fdk-aac not found.
    when compiling Handbrake 1.0.7 using WSL? I'll probably try full Ubuntu in a VM next if I can't figure it out.
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  12. Originally Posted by tombunyon View Post
    Originally Posted by Forefield View Post
    Hello all! Thank you for putting this guide together! I am excited at the prospect of getting higher quality AAC streams back and am running into issues with steps 6-9:



    I am a super noob at Ubuntu so I am not able to figure this out - is my variable incorrect?

    Thank you in advance!
    Try
    Code:
    export PATH="/usr/bin:$PATH"
    and then
    Code:
    rm -r /home/user/toolchains
    and then going back to step 5.

    Also, anybody know what to do if you encounter
    Code:
    ERROR: fdk-aac not found.
    when compiling Handbrake 1.0.7 using WSL? I'll probably try full Ubuntu in a VM next if I can't figure it out.
    Thank you Tom!! So the variable WAS messing up the sequence! I had to run
    Code:
    sudo apt install gcc-mingw-w64-x86-64
    before running the export PATH command and mingw-w64 installed fine! Now for a new one:


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    I have not updated Python or messed with it - what version is it looking for?

    Thank you again! And I hope you are able to get WSL working!
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  13. Originally Posted by Forefield View Post
    Hello all! Thank you for putting this guide together! I am excited at the prospect of getting higher quality AAC streams back and am running into issues with steps 6-9:

    Image
    [Attachment 43409 - Click to enlarge]


    I am a super noob at Ubuntu so I am not able to figure this out - is my variable incorrect?

    Thank you in advance!
    It looks like you didn't press 'enter' to execute the required command from Step 5 (HandBrake/scripts/mingw-w64-build x86_64), after typing/pasting it in, it can take a while to download and build MinGW (2-3GB!) depending on your PC setup, it should come up with walls of text detailing the download/extraction process!
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  14. Originally Posted by AntW93 View Post
    Originally Posted by Forefield View Post
    Hello all! Thank you for putting this guide together! I am excited at the prospect of getting higher quality AAC streams back and am running into issues with steps 6-9:

    Image
    [Attachment 43409 - Click to enlarge]


    I am a super noob at Ubuntu so I am not able to figure this out - is my variable incorrect?

    Thank you in advance!
    It looks like you didn't press 'enter' to execute the required command from Step 5 (HandBrake/scripts/mingw-w64-build x86_64), after typing/pasting it in, it can take a while to download and build MinGW (2-3GB!) depending on your PC setup, it should come up with walls of text detailing the download/extraction process!
    Thank you!! I am not sure if I got that part right this time or leaving out trying to use the 1.0.7 tag but I've got it built with the Nightly! Woohoo!

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  15. Originally Posted by Forefield View Post

    Thank you!! I am not sure if I got that part right this time or leaving out trying to use the 1.0.7 tag but I've got it built with the Nightly! Woohoo!

    Image
    [Attachment 43432 - Click to enlarge]
    Well done! The more you repeat this build process, the clearer it'll become, its certainly not easy and there is quite a big learning curve for those not familiar with Ubuntu/Linux based commands!
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  16. Thank you for all this info!

    I have a quick question - after I've done all the above steps, I have the exe for the CLI after compiling.

    How did u get the GUI working? I used ver 1.0.7
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  17. Originally Posted by enormo View Post
    Thank you for all this info!

    I have a quick question - after I've done all the above steps, I have the exe for the CLI after compiling.

    How did u get the GUI working? I used ver 1.0.7
    Copy and paste the hb.dll file from the HandBrake/build/libhb folder in Ubuntu (its in amongst a lot of other files within this folder once you've completed the build process!) into HandBrake's installation folder in Windows, overwriting the old/previous hb.dll file!

    Then load up the GUI and see if it works!
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  18. OMG! Thank you so much AntW93 That did the trick. In my desperation I did a couple of encodes via the CLI and it was so tedious. hehehe
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    Thanks alot for this great step by step guidance to handbrake with FDK aac - works like a charm (nightly build 20171107) I am so happy with it... took me some time to get things straight (was a bit tricky to copy the hb.dll from Ubuntu into Windows since Guest Additions for Ubuntu seem to be buggy atm.), but was worth it - perfect solution now!
    Last edited by NeoRider; 10th Nov 2017 at 13:25.
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  20. Hello,

    I stumbled upon this thread looking to acquire FDK AAC in handbrake. I'm very new to Linux and Ubuntu and I'm not sure what I was doing. I first started off installing Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS on a boot drive, and logged in as guest. I entered the command

    "sudo apt-get install cmake curl gcc git intltool libtool m4 bison flex pax make patch python tar wget yasm automake "

    and it said it was unable to locate yasm. I then tried to figure out how to install yasm manually, and I've went and downloaded the source files off of the site and tried to compile, build and install yasm. However for the life of me, I wasn't able to get yasm to install through the method.

    Is there any way I can get yasm to install without compiling it? Ubuntu for some reason is not able to find yasm and install it.

    Sorry, for my newbish questions.
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  21. Originally Posted by Nazugar View Post
    I stumbled upon this thread looking to acquire FDK AAC in handbrake. I'm very new to Linux and Ubuntu and I'm not sure what I was doing. I first started off installing Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS on a boot drive, and logged in as guest. I entered the command

    "sudo apt-get install cmake curl gcc git intltool libtool m4 bison flex pax make patch python tar wget yasm automake "

    and it said it was unable to locate yasm. I then tried to figure out how to install yasm manually, and I've went and downloaded the source files off of the site and tried to compile, build and install yasm. However for the life of me, I wasn't able to get yasm to install through the method.

    Is there any way I can get yasm to install without compiling it? Ubuntu for some reason is not able to find yasm and install it.
    I'm not sure, you should try logging in as an administrator/primary user (with a password) and see if that works with the above command, or try fresh installing Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine in VirtualBox instead and try again!

    yasm is one of the essential packages for compiling/building Handbrake and will not function without it!
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  22. Originally Posted by AntW93 View Post
    Originally Posted by Nazugar View Post
    I stumbled upon this thread looking to acquire FDK AAC in handbrake. I'm very new to Linux and Ubuntu and I'm not sure what I was doing. I first started off installing Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS on a boot drive, and logged in as guest. I entered the command

    "sudo apt-get install cmake curl gcc git intltool libtool m4 bison flex pax make patch python tar wget yasm automake "

    and it said it was unable to locate yasm. I then tried to figure out how to install yasm manually, and I've went and downloaded the source files off of the site and tried to compile, build and install yasm. However for the life of me, I wasn't able to get yasm to install through the method.

    Is there any way I can get yasm to install without compiling it? Ubuntu for some reason is not able to find yasm and install it.
    I'm not sure, you should try logging in as an administrator/primary user (with a password) and see if that works with the above command, or try fresh installing Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine in VirtualBox instead and try again!

    yasm is one of the essential packages for compiling/building Handbrake and will not function without it!
    I don’t know where to begin. After spending an entire day trying to figure it out, I’ve succesfully got AAC FDK in Handbrake! I did a full reinstall on a SSD (instead of a USB) and turned down any overclocks I’ve had as it was unstable when using Ubuntu (constant freeze, lockups...etc). Everything worked flawlessly as the guide was written. Thank you so much for the guide and apologies for my question.
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