Sometimes when looking for something to write about, I will just look through my applications. Lots of good choices for apps, but there are few I just could not work/live without. There are just those ‘one’ applications that you need whether working on Windows, Mac, or Linux, of which I do all three. So you need a very strong app. One usually doesn’t think of a media player as one such application, but for me, VLC is definitely one of those apps.
What I like most is the fact that even though I have it loaded on my home laptop (Ubuntu), Asus eeePC 701 (UNR), Macbook Pro, home desktop (Ubuntu), and work desktop (XP), the setup is the same. It works smoothly across all operating systems. Further, my playlist files will transfer. If I use my portable hard-drive at work to create a RAWK playlist, that file will work on my home Ubuntu machines.
VLC will also play just about any file, video and audio, right out of the box. Come to think of it, I am not sure I ever found a file format that it did not open. I just now needed to open up a Real Media file on my Ubuntu laptop, and sure enough, it played without needing any extra codec downloads. Very helpful when you use a variety of media types on a variety of operating systems.
So where do you get this? Well, first of all you can download it from Portable Apps and run it from a flash drive. VLC uses such a small footprint, that you can run it off the smallest of flash drives. You can get the portable app version at http://portableapps.com/apps/music_video/vlc_portable.
If you want the full fledged version, with still a small footprint, find it at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/