Poll: What video player should Ubuntu MATE 17.10 ship by default?

That is a good argument @Patrice. It does make the transition to Linux easier, since it’s a familiar application. I’m sure that if there is a pros argument list for VLC, that one is at the top.


You’d be wrong to think that the alternatives are either console based or difficult to use. In fact, all the history of accumulated knowledge you had to gain to use VLC properly is now diluted from your memory. It was gained over time and as such no longer registers. But you’d probably be surprised if by some act of magic you could be handed the number of accumulated hours you spent learning to use VLC. VLC is one darn hard application to get into for a newbie and it takes time and perseverance to go through its configuration options (even the cosmetic ones), not to mention the infrequent, bugs with new releases.

You need to know that both the alternatives listed on the first post are not only full blown GUI applications, they are also considerably more streamlined and easy to use than VLC. Point in fact, you personally would be using them immediately without any efforts, I just know it.

And, even more important, for users who are new to computing or haven’t used VLC on Windows and Mac (by far on both systems the default media players that ship with them are the most popular), Gnome MPV or Totem would be far easier to immediately understand and operate than VLC ever would.

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What’s about Hardware-accelerated video decoding?
Would it be possible to make this available more or less out-of-the-box?
MPV in general supports VA-API and VDPAU, but can this be made available via GNOME MPV without dealing with complicated command-line parameters?

GNOME MPV will invoke mpv according to whatever is defined in mpv.conf. So, in case it eventually became the default media player on Ubuntu MATE, for sure you could expect mpv would ship pre-configured for you with both the hwdec and profile options for hardware decoding defined on the configuration file, courtesy of the Ubuntu MATE team.

And since mpv will automatically fallback to CPU decoding if it can’t use the GPU, you don’t even need to test for or remove those options if you install Ubuntu MATE in an {old|weak} machine.

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I voted for VLC - Not because it’s the best in the sense of minimalist requirements. But because it has always worked for me with almost anything I’ve thrown at it. It’s stable and will do a wide range of video and audio. Even if it’s not the default I would most likely install it shortly after installing the system

I should say I’m just a casual video user but everytime I’ve used VLC it’s worked for me.
Looking forward to 18.04 , using 17.10 alph2 right now and so far it’s been great. :slight_smile:

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Some people don’t want any Qt stuff in their install because there is nothing they really need from it. I say use MPV as default player and avoid Qt.
People that pull in other Qt stuff on first install of a Qt application either know what they’re doing, or they might never notice because they wouldn’t know what half the menu entries are anyway.

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I often do install VLC, but it always annoys me somehow. My go-to player is smplayer, but mpv will do fine.

We’re using 16.04 and will be until 18.04 is out and stabilized. But my wife is happy with the default VLC.

I’ve installed all the video players I can find and keep going back to Totem – it launches fast, plays most everything, and doesn’t have a lot of crap I don’t care about.

OTOH, at least on 16.04 none are as good as Kodi for playing HD video files as either m2ts or mp4.

I rediscovered SMPlayer for me, and it still best one around.
With MPV backend ( that utilizes youtube-dl) - best performance and network capabilities comparing to VLC, Totem, Gnome MPV.

VLC was clunky sometime, Gnome MPV/Totem on my system worked much worse than SMPlayer.

SMPlayer with MPV backend somehow uses less CPU, than MPV itself.

I don’t really care about video players. If I did maybe I would suggest the most performant video player. I use VLC for playing video and music. My three arguments for VLC are:

  1. It has a traditional UI that is less alien to MATE applications (maybe this isn’t a valid point anymore, cause I feel Ubuntu MATE is fast moving into Gnome 3 territory). I personally don’t mind the occasional Gnome 3 app, but if half of the apps come with headerbars then the retrospective future isn’t so retrospective…
  2. It’s a well-known cross-platform application
  3. VLC will still be around when Ubuntu MATE 18.04 ships

If Ubuntu MATE targets Windows/Mac users then VLC is a good choice even if it isn’t the best video player.


MATE itself has no plans to use headerbars, perhaps GTK will force our hand at some future date but so long as that is not the case then the traditional look and feel will be preserved.

However, now that Ubuntu is embracing GNOME I expect many more applications to use headerbars. After all Unity 7 used traditional window controls, so many applications haven’t adopted headerbars. That will certainly change. MATE and Ubuntu MATE can’t control what other application developers choose to do and we may have to choose default applications for Ubuntu MATE that use headerbars in the future, if the best application for the job utilises them.

We can mitigate the impact by styling headerbars so they are not so damned massive :wink:


The other day I found a package that adds traditional decorations around CSD style windows. If we can leverage some of the code from the global menu applet, we could make that package show the app menu within it’s decoration and style the headerbar into nothingness.

I forget the name of the package and I’m on my phone at the moment, but I’m wondering if it’s not such a far fetched idea…


I remember experimenting with a project called nocsd a couple of years ago to do the same. It caused many applications to segfault sadly.

If a more robust solution is available, I’d be interested in looking into it.


I voted for VLC because is the most familiar for my, but if another application can be more useful, has all the features of VLC and It integrates better to Mate desktop it could be a better option.

For me the most important is that a Video Player plays all kind of videos well, this is supported formats, subtitles, resolutions, do not have to wait for dependencies, etc. All other things are second place.

True. I originally voted for VLC but the comments of others convinced me to try the Gnome Media player, and I do find Gnome seems to work better.

Same here. I’ve been having better luck with GNOME MPV on Ubuntu MATE. With VLC I was getting graphical glitches when the video ended playback (the status bar jumping) and then also I was having issues with starting playback and no video displaying. I have to seek forward and then click back to the beginning when this happens.

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@marfig Agreed. VLC gets clicked in the main because it is the best known (I almost clicked on it myself) and in recent years has been famed for its ability to play multitudes of different formats. I use it for video capture as I don’t know of any other software that has that feature.

I voted here for Gnome MPV as it is straightforward, clean and easy to use. That, in my opinion, is what a default video player should be.