I previously did a Tech Snippet on how to give Firefox native notifications, which you can read here, if you already haven’t. This post is similar to that in that it will show you how to set up native notifications on another application. However, this time it doesn’t require an addon/workaround, it’s a default (albeit un-enabled) setting, on everyone’s favorite open-source media player, VLC.

vlc media player with native notifications

VLC Media Player with Native Notifications – Just started playing a song

VLC is a great piece of software and has the reputation for playing just about anything you throw at it. It has a slew of features, half of which most users don’t even know exist, like screen-recording, audio/video conversion, play YouTube videos, subscribe to Podcasts, play Internet radio, apply effects – both Audio and Video, and even, for your geeky side, play videos in ASCII characters.

Enable Native notifications for VLC on Ubuntu

It’s really pretty simple, it only takes six steps to get this working. Maybe not as simple as installing an addon for Firefox, but still pretty easy. You won’t have to download anything or mess with hidden configuration files, just enter the domain of super-(not)-secret-settings.

First off with VLC open, click on the Tools menu and the select the Preferences menu item.

vlc settings

VLC Settings – Set to All

The preferences window will open, you should look to the bottom-left-hand corner for the Show settings radio buttons. They are labelled Simple and All and you need to change/make sure that it is set to All.

Now, there are a lot of settings you can change. So, instead of playing setting-sweep, we’ll just search for notify. That’ll bring up a much smaller list of results, of which you want to select the Control interfaces option. Then, check the LibNotify Notification Plugin checkbox.

vlc settings - control interfaces

VLC Settings – Control interfaces – Select LibNotify Notification Plugin

And that’s it!


You may notice that my pop up in the first screenshot has just the VLC logo (don’t let the Numix Circle icon through you off,) while the album art shows in the window. I think this may be because VLC isn’t minimized. It does appear if VLC is minimized.

Also, I’ve noticed that the notification will update if new information is found about the current song, and if you skip through several songs in a row the notification will show all of those notifications (changing every few seconds) until they are fully updated. This can be a bit annoying, though if you don’t skip through songs quickly you’ll be fine.

Ubuntu Tech Snippet #6 – Add native notifications for VLC

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