Parole playing a video using GStreamer as a back-end
|Initial release||January 11, 2001|
|Operating system||Linux, BSDs, Android, macOS, iOS, Windows|
GStreamer is a multimedia framework for audio and video playback, mixing and editing. It is modular in design with a lot of separate packages for bundles of codecs. It is used as a back-end for many lesser-known free software video players such as Parole and GNOME Videos as well as video editors like Pitivi.
GStreamer is very tied to the GNOME desktop environment and "apps" made for it. Everything multimedia-related "made for GNOME" uses GStreamer. It is, luckily, not particularly popular outside of the GNOME "platform".
Features And Usability
GStreamer will many cases do an acceptable, but not very good, job at playing video files in the video players who use the library. It is specially bad at playing partly broken files or files that slightly deviate from the specification. Video players based on it are generally very poor in terms of both features and playback capabilities compared to players using ffmpeg, like mpv, and VLC (which has it's own libvlc library). They have done a better job at fixing this and making it stable/work with broken files, but in terms of feature parity they are still behind FFMpeg and other frameworks on many features.
Due to its multithreaded approach, Gstreamer was/is prone to crashing/segfaulting alot of the time, hence leading some to call it "GCrasher". The situation has gotten better however.
GStreamer has a very modular pipeline design. It allows applications to input a media file and play it, transcode it, processes it or stream it. It has everything you need to build a media player or a video editor.
The GStreamer homepage is at gstreamer.freedesktop.org/