If you use the program youtube-dl, you may have noticed that from time to time things stop working. Usually it’s because something changes on a site and youtube-dl needs to be patched to deal with it. But what sometimes happens is that someone will submit a patch and then the youtube-dl developers will ignore that patch for many months before they finally get around to merging it into the program. The speed at which the youtube-dl developers fix issues with sites can seem glacial at times.
What’s frustrating is that if you browse through the issues section of the youtube-dl support area using an appropriate search term, you may find the fix for your problem, and maybe it’s just been sitting there for quite some time. But, since youtube-dl is distributed as a compiled binary you may think you have no way to apply it. But that’s not really true – at its core, the entire program is simply a multitude of Python scripts, and it can be run without first being compiled. And if you use it that way, then you can apply patches as needed to any of the python modules, whether they are patches you have written or patches that you have found in the issues area, or elsewhere on the Internet.
So here is how you can install and use youtube-dl using actual source code.