Firefox with VA-API for brave Fedorans

A rocket propelled butterfly? –

It’s been a long journey since the first VA-API implementation in Firefox. Two years ago Firefox 77.0 come to Fedora with accelerated video playback on Wayland which was more a tech preview than a working solution.

Since then X11 support was added, fixed many bugs, AV1 decoding was implemented so we can claim VA-API code as mature enough to enable it for testing in Firefox Nightly 103. As we don’t want to scare peaceful Ubuntu users and grandmas watching their favorite show, VA-API is enabled in Nightly channel only and stock Firefox 103 won’t be shipped with that.

But ‘Real Men‘ wants more challenge. ‘Quiche Eaters’ can use polished software, LTS distros or even Mac. That’s nothing for adventurers running on the edge. Thus new Firefox updates (Fedora 35, Fedora 36) has VA-API enabled by default ahead of upstream to get what you asked for, brave Fedorans.

Along with a bunch of upstream VA-API backports I also added a fix for mozbz#1735929 to make life easier for those who did a life mistake with NVIDIA hardware. I hope you’ve got a lesson and your next card will be AMD.

And how to fruitify it? It’s embarrassing it doesn’t need any complicated, cryptic, powerful, unforgiving and dangerous edits of Firefox about:config preferences, setting env variables on terminal or midnight vows. If VA-API is configured property Firefox just takes it and claims at about:support page.

VA-API is enabled

More details are available at

6 thoughts on “Firefox with VA-API for brave Fedorans

  1. Nice work!

    How will this work for ubuntu (etc.) in the future? Will the Va-api packages be inside the snap/flatpak package? Or will it have some sort of dependency and installed during the installation of firefox?

    Just interested how the “normal” user will get vaapi.


    1. I hope Firefox 104 may enabled it by default if everything goes well. You need working VA-API environment for it which depends on your scenario. I’m not sure how VA-API is supported by snap/flatpak, that depends on actual distro or flatpak runtime.


  2. Thanks for the article.

    I am a non-Fedora user, but I use Firefox developer edition (currently on 102.0b9), I think I cannot have access yet to that experimental feature, am I reading it correctly?

    Or is there a way for me to enable that? I think I have all the relevant packages installed, here’s the output of vainfo (using the Intel iHD driver for Intel(R) Gen Graphics v.22.4.2):


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