My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Coordinated release of VLC 2.2.0

largeVLCSeven months after the VideoLAN team released version 2.1.5 of their VLC player, we are treated to two new releases. There is a version 2.1.6 bugfix release, but that is not really getting attention. Everybody’s eyes are focused on the brand new 2.2.0 release. For the first time in the history of the VideoLAN Client, nowadays better known as the VLC player, there are simultaneous releases for most Operating Systems, including Android, iOS, Windows RT and Windows Phone. Of course there’s a release for Linux too (ok… and Windows) so I built you all some packages for Slackware (compatible with 14.1 and -current).

The 2.2.0 release has been (very) long in the making. With nothing really exciting going on for many months – at least not publicly – I spent my time on other things and left the VideoLAN developers to do what they do best: release good software when it’s ready. A commendable philosophy, obviously they have eyes on Slackware as the shining example of releasing when ready, not before 🙂

A month ago, I took some time to check out the ongoing development because the number of show-stopping bugs had almost gone down to zero. I refreshed many internal support libraries, polished the vlc.SlackBuild and tested a git version of the player. Looked good! Most of the open bugs and remaining things to be done were not relevant to Linux anyway. Therefore it took no time at all to build packages for the official 2.2.0 release once that was announced yesterday afternoon.

I had a busy saturday, so the blog post took a while, but those of you who check the repository’s RSS feeds or are using slackpkg+ will already have seen the new packages yesterday.

What’s new in 2.2.0 apart from cross-platform support? There’s enhancements all over the spectrum: video decoding, encoding, supported formats etc. Here are some of the highlights taken from the official release notes that are relevant to the Linux player:

  • GPU 0-copy decoding-rendering for Linux using VDPAU
  • Improved support for UltraHD codecs, H.265 and VP9
  • Resume playback where you left off
  • Subtitles download from the web, using OpenSubtitles
  • Support for BD-Java menus and overlay in Blu-Ray
  • Acceleration of VP9 and H.265/HEVC decoders
  • Support for encoding in H.265, Opus and VP9
  • Rewritten support for WMV, Ogg, MP4 and AVI, notably for seeking

But under the hood there’s a lot more going on than these buzzwords can do justice. The team have indeed delivered a tremendous job. considering that this is an all-volunteer project.

Where to find the new VLC packages:

Rsync access is offered by the mirror server: rsync:// .

For BluRay support, read a previous article for hints about the aacs keys that you’ll need.

Note that I only built packages for Slackware 14.1 & -current. I stopped creating packages for Slackware 14.0 and earlier because of the effort it takes to build 4 packages for every Slackware release. One remark: I compiled the packages on Slackware 14.1 which is the cause of one bug in the package if you use it on Slackware-current: the ProjectM visualisation plugin does not work because of a libGLEW library version error. I have not yet been able to find a fix for it, but the impact is fairly minor so I let it pass.

My usual warning about patents: versions that can not only DEcode but also ENcode mp3 and aac audio can be found in my alternative repository where I keep the packages containing code that might violate stupid US software patents.

Have fun! Eric


  1. LoneStar

    Just installed it!
    Thank you Eric!

  2. fabio

    nice enough, on the official site, in the pre built packages for various linux systems. The slackware download options points to your packages Mr Eric. Also the warning about patents and the link to the restritect packages. Good to see your work recognized outside slackware community.

  3. Mike Langdon (mlangdn)

    Thanks Eric! I love VLC.

  4. alienbob

    Hi fabio

    Well, I wrote that VLC page myself, so surely I made it point to my own packages 😉

  5. manciuleas

    Hi alienbob,

    Thank you for this package.
    While using it I noticed that the HW decoding was not working. Since you delegated it to VLC instead of ffmpeg, the former – with Automatic HW accelerated decoding – fails to find VDAU on my system (ASUS laptop Intel + NVidia video cards). If I force it to VA-API X11 or DRM then I see errors about missing symbols and, of course, no HW decoding. The solution was to re-enable in make_libva the fix to get rid of unresolved symbols at link time as below:
    sed -i -e “/^Libs: /s/$/ -lX11 -lXext -lXfixes -ldrm -ldl/” \
    and now at least VA-API X11 HW decoding works (VA API DRM has no more missing symbols but fails to initialize)
    Hope this helps.

  6. alienbob

    Hi manciuleas

    I don’t have a hybrid video card here, and VLC used VDPAU nicely for hardware decoding:

    00007f7fba9ea108] avcodec decoder: Using NVIDIA VDPAU Driver Shared Library 340.24 Wed Jul 2 15:07:37 PDT 2014 for hardware decoding.

    If that modification to the SlackBuild script make it work for you then I must certainly look into it. If it still works for me too, it is a good bug fix for hybrid card users.

  7. alienbob

    manciuleas, I rebuilt the 64-bit vlc package with the changes you proposed, and hardware video decoding still works here. Do you want to try this package and report your findings?
    You can find the new vlc package at (it comes with an .asc file so you can do a gpg check to verify it is actually mine).

  8. manciuleas

    Hi alienbob,

    Unfortunately the package you provided didn’t work for me. The VA-API X11 module could not be loaded because of missing symbols. I wonder what could be different between our environments as I used your sources and build script with the change I mentioned.

  9. alienbob

    manciuleas – what are the exact error messages you are getting? And what do you exactly enable in the player?

  10. manciuleas

    Hi alienbob,

    Here’s the error message:
    [00007f94e0044c38] core generic warning: cannot load module `/usr/lib64/vlc/plugins/codec/’ (/usr/lib64/vlc/plugins/codec/ undefined symbol: XextFindDisplay)
    [00007f94e0044c38] core generic error: corrupt module: /usr/lib64/vlc/plugins/codec/
    [00007f94e0044c38] core generic debug: no hw decoder modules matched

    It’s the same message I got before recompiling your sources with my change.
    The VLC settings to reproduce this error:
    Settings -> Input/Codecs -> Hardware-accelerated video decoding: VA-API video decoder via X11

    One way to avoid the missing symbol error message without recompiling is to LD_PRELOAD libXFixes, libXext and libdrm.

  11. alienbob


    I failed to spot that you added some extra libraries in the line:
    sed -i -e “/^Libs: /s/$/ -lX11 -lXext -lXfixes -ldrm -ldl/” \
    and had just re-enabled the two commented-out lines in my vlc.SlackBuild

    I am rebuilding vlc now and will let you know when I have refreshed the package.

  12. Ricardo J. Barberis

    Thanks Eric!

    I’m more of an mplayer guy myself, but VLC comes handy from time to time so I keep it installed.

  13. tomjas

    Some bug in slackbuild?

    make[1]: Leaving directory `/tmp/build/tmp-vlc/vlc-2.2.0′
    mv: cannot stat ‘/tmp/build/package-vlc/usr/share/doc/vlc/*’: No such file or directory
    cp: cannot stat ‘HACKING’: No such file or directory
    tar: *.diff: Cannot stat: No such file or directory
    tar: *.patch: Cannot stat: No such file or directory
    tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors

    Any help?

  14. alienbob

    manciuleas, I have a again rebuilt the 64-bit vlc package, this time with the correct modification,
    can you try out this package and report your findings again?
    As before, the new vlc package can be downloaded from

  15. alienbob

    tomjas if the script exits there you will probably have modified my vlc.SlackBuild.

  16. manciuleas

    Hi alienbob,

    Now HW decoding works fine.
    Note to interested users having Intel integrated video that one must set the VA VAPI X11 driver explicitly in the VLC settings. Also, the VA-API drivers must be installed as well.

    Do you have any news regarding the suspend/resume issue?

  17. alienbob

    Hi manciuleas

    Thanks for testing the vlc package, I will upload these to my repository.

    I have not had time to look at my KDE 5 issues this week. Too much going on at work.

  18. manciuleas

    Hi alienbob,

    I was just curious if you had any news regarding the KDE bug you reported. The suspend/resume/shutdown issue that we have seems to be deeper that just related to building/packaging.

  19. alienbob

    manciuleas – this is an article concerning VLC. If you want to talk KDE then that’s for another article’s comment section…

  20. manciuleas

    Hi alienbob,

    Yes, you’re right, my bad.

  21. Lee

    Thanks, Eric. I did a fresh install for VLC. The only trick I have to do is that I need to choose sound output device from Audio –> Audio Device –> My output device. The default setting is disable all sample(playback).

  22. alienbob

    Lee, unfortunately that is a VLC default choice, not mine. Once you pick ALSA it will be remembered.
    It stumped me the first time too… no sound! Why? Until I checked the preferences.

  23. tomjas

    alienbob – never changed your slackbuild. To be sure just downloaded again and there is the same failure.

  24. slack

    Doesn’t disable xlock even if the option “Disable screensaver” is on.

  25. alienbob

    slack – better create a VLC bug report then:

  26. alienbob

    tomjas – the real compilation error is probably somewhere before the part that you showed here. Check the log of your compilation for other errors.

  27. harland

    Hi alienbob,

    Just wanted to let you know that I had the same problem as manciuleas and the updated package fixed the problem. This is with a laptop using the NVIDIA binary blob.

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