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Fixing VLC Segmentation Fault on Ubuntu 20.04

Ubuntu 16

In this article, we will be discussing a common issue that users of Ubuntu 20.04 face when using the VLC media player – the dreaded segmentation fault. This error typically causes VLC to crash when attempting to open any video file. The problem is believed to be linked to a bug in the iris_dri driver, a Linux Direct Rendering Infrastructure driver for Intel IRIS graphics cards. We’ll walk you through some solutions to resolve this issue.

Understanding the Issue

The segmentation fault in VLC on Ubuntu 20.04 occurs when the media player attempts to access a memory location that it’s not supposed to, leading to a crash. This is often due to a bug in the system’s graphics drivers, specifically the iris_dri driver used by Intel IRIS graphics cards.

Solution 1: Using the Intel i965 Driver

One of the most effective solutions to this issue is to switch from the iris_dri driver to the i965 driver. This can be done by defining the environment variable MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE=i965.

Setting the Environment Variable Locally

To set this variable locally, you can add the following line to your ~/.bashrc file:


This command sets the MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE environment variable to i965 for the current user session.

Setting the Environment Variable Globally

If you want to open VLC from the application menu or by clicking on a media file, you need to modify the .desktop file /usr/share/applications/vlc.desktop. Find the line beginning with Exec= and add the environment variable before the VLC command:

Exec=env MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE=i965 /usr/bin/vlc --started-from-file %U

This command sets the MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE environment variable to i965 globally, allowing VLC to use the i965 driver when launched from any location.

To set this globally for all applications, add the following line to the file /etc/environment:


Solution 2: Changing the Audio Output Module

Another potential solution is to change the audio output module in VLC. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Open VLC and navigate to Tools -> Preferences -> Audio -> Output module.
  2. Select a different audio output module from the dropdown menu.

This can help resolve any conflicts between VLC and your system’s audio drivers that may be causing the segmentation fault.

Solution 3: Resetting VLC Configuration

If the above solutions don’t work, you can try resetting VLC’s configuration by deleting the ~/.config/vlc/ folder. This will remove any potentially problematic settings and return VLC to its default state.

To do this, open a terminal and run the following command:

rm -r ~/.config/vlc/

This command deletes the ~/.config/vlc/ directory, effectively resetting VLC’s configuration.


While these solutions are designed to resolve the segmentation fault issue in VLC on Ubuntu 20.04, they may not work for all users or for all VLC crashing issues. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the VLC bug report for any updates or fixes that may be released.

Remember to always back up your system and important files before making any major changes. If you’re unsure about any of the steps above, consider seeking help from a knowledgeable friend or a professional.

How do I know if I have an Intel IRIS graphics card?

You can check if you have an Intel IRIS graphics card by running the command lspci | grep -i "VGA". If the output includes "Intel Corporation IRIS", then you have an Intel IRIS graphics card.

How do I open the `~/.bashrc` file?

You can open the ~/.bashrc file using a text editor. One way to do this is by running the command nano ~/.bashrc in the terminal. This will open the file in the nano text editor. You can also use other text editors like vim or gedit if you prefer.

How do I modify the `.desktop` file?

To modify the .desktop file, you can use a text editor. Open the terminal and run the command sudo nano /usr/share/applications/vlc.desktop to open the file in the nano text editor with root privileges. Make the necessary changes to the file and save it. Remember to use caution when modifying system files.

How do I delete the `~/.config/vlc/` folder?

To delete the ~/.config/vlc/ folder, open a terminal and run the command rm -r ~/.config/vlc/. This command will recursively delete the folder and its contents. Make sure you have a backup of any important VLC settings or configurations before deleting the folder.

How can I keep track of VLC bug reports and updates?

You can keep track of VLC bug reports and updates by visiting the VLC bug report page. This page provides information about reported bugs, their status, and any fixes or updates that may have been released. You can also subscribe to the VLC mailing list or join the VLC community forums to stay updated on the latest developments.

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