Vlc wont close?

Strange VLC problem?
I’ve recently migrated to Linux for my main rig, and I seem to be having a strange problem with VLC/Ubuntu
Even though I have closed all vlc media players, the cones in the taskbar won’t go away.
killall vnc doesn’t help. but it also doesn’t return "no process found"
Very strange to me. Seems like it’s respawning
Anyone else have this happen?

1 Like

Also yes, I’m aware the close/minimise buttons are on the right in Chrome and on the left in everything else. Very annoying.

That’s wacky. Let’s see if they are indeed respawning. In your terminal do,

ps -ef | grep vlc

That will get you all of the VLC processes. Then run your killall vlc command. Then the above command again. See if the PIDs (first column) are different.

1 Like

Turns out they aren’t respawning, it’s the same PID’s every time.
I believe I have encountered ‘zombie processes’?
The internet says to get rid of a zombie process i have to kill the parent, which I think in this case is my display manager so that’s not fun. Maybe I’ll just wait for a reboot… in a week or so lol


Dont you love unity :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Oh, that’s a real pain in the butt! Try a kill -9 on them and see if that affects them. Also, if you don’t want to reboot, maybe a quick log off and log on will solve it. Not that it’s a whole lot better than a reboot.

I for one am thrilled to welcome our new unity overlords™
It’s really unfortunate that a lot of software pages are like "Our supported operating systems are:

  • Ubuntu linux 16.04"

I should’ve gone with mint, but I wanted at first to literally stick to the letter of the docs so I would be able to complain if it didn’t work.
The good news is I have Tensorflow running on AMD vega!


I personally reccomend fedora but its not for everyone. You could give a different flavor of ubuntu some love like ubuntu gnome, lubuntu, etc.


1 Like

Do you actually have a zombie?


ps aux | grep 'Z'

I believe

I would probably be fine with Ubuntu Gnome, I’ve been running debian based since about 8 years ago so there’s a lot of friction there to leaving that ecosystem

1 Like

We could persuade you perhaps, but that’s a different thread and discussion.

Ubuntu 17.* has gnome by default fyi.

1 Like

ps -xal | grep vlc returned a bunch of:
0 1000 19188 1345 20 0 2803448 202280 futex_ Sl ? 1:49 /usr/bin/vlc --started-from-file /$path

Going through kill -9 for each of the pid’s killed them, and the icons are gone

I wonder why they were resistant to killall and pkill, but kill -9 works? Is it sending a different signal?
Also thanks @Eden, ps aux | grep ‘Z’ revealed a process:
crews 19986 0.0 0.0 1808292 0 ? SNl Feb05 0:00 /usr/bin/totem-video-thumbnailer
that was started days ago

If VLC doesnt have a “Z” it probably isn’t a zombie.

the thumbnailer on the other hand, sounds like it. You’d never have noticed either.

1 Like

Because those commands send a ‘polite’ signal for the program to end.

kill -9 brutally halts the process.

1 Like

-9 is a signal that kill sends.

By default, kill, killall, pkill sends SIGTERM (15). SIGTERM tries to kill the process gracefully, and allow the process to clean up. SIGKILL will try to kill the process without regard to anything else.

You can read more at man 7 signal about the different signals.


you could of done a :

pstree | grep vlc

to get the parent process(es) and just killed those.

Thanks for the extremely helpful information!

The “man 7 signal” brings up a question I’ve had for years but never really known exactly how to ask.
What is the “7” doing, and why?

Man pages have different sections that you address thru the numbers.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_page:

  1. General commands
  2. System calls
  3. Library functions, covering in particular the C standard library
  4. Special files (usually devices, those found in /dev) and drivers
  5. File formats and conventions
  6. Games and screensavers
  7. Miscellanea
  8. System administration commands and daemons

Since different sections can have entries for the same name, by supplying the number (in this case 7), you get the right man page.

Turn off hardware acceleration. Repeat test.
If this solves it the hardware driver conflicts with vlc / vice versa.

It’s been 10 years since i used ubuntu(well before unity desktop), but wouldn’t a ctrl+alt+backspace do the job(googling now)?

Hrm, maybe this might still work: