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It's straightforward to set vlc as default using the GUI, but straightforward doesn't mean easy(I have to do the same thing over and over many times each time I install a new system). I just need a short command for this(e.g. set a gconf or dconf key). Please no answers like right-click and select Properties.

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That information is stored in .local/share/applications/mimeapps.list, I save a copy of that file and copy it to new systems.

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is there a better way of doing that? – James Dec 8 '12 at 13:17

You can set the default mimetype handler with the gvfs-mime command. Unfortunately, you need to do this for each mimetype. There's no way I know to set it for all video at once.

gvfs-mime --set video/mp4 vlc.desktop

You could of course script that.

#!/bin/bash

MIMETYPES="video/x-flv video/mp4 video/mpeg video/ogg video/x-theora+ogg"

for i in $MIMETYPES; do
   gvfs-mime --set $i vlc.desktop
done

To makesure you get all the mimetypes that Totem is set to handle, you could parse it's desktop file for the MIMETYPES variable like:

MIMETYPES=`cat /usr/share/applications/totem.desktop | grep "MimeType" | cut -d '=' -f 2 | tr ";" " "`
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