I need to check the current version of VLC I have running, however I don't know where it is installed (can't see it in /etc or /bin).

If I do vlc in a terminal then the application starts, but is there a way to do like a pwd vlc command where it shows me the actual path of where the vlc app is being called from?

I want to see if the actual file name contains the software version since I can't find the version within the software itself.

I have a statement asking me to explain why this is different from another post. It is different because this is a 2 part question, where I am trying to understand the install package location (which is the same as the other link), however I also wanted to know how to check the VLC version, hence the title (and why this question is different).


Use the command :

vlc --version

Most of the programs (i have used) provide their version by the --version option.

Also you should check the man page of the commands to get details idea about them.


There are many ways to check where a binary file is stored, vlc in this case :

type -a vlc
command -v vlc
which vlc
  • lol. I love how simple the answer is. Thank you. Can I ask if you know if there is an actual way to check the directory of a program? I will tick this as the answer in 11 mins when it allows me to do it.
    – john smith
    Jul 5 '15 at 18:54
  • @johnsmith check my edits..
    – heemayl
    Jul 5 '15 at 18:57
  • I like that which command, that seems to be finding them all. Thank you.
    – john smith
    Jul 5 '15 at 19:00

Also other commands that can be found within different SE websites:

apt-show-versions vlc

But it has to be installed sudo apt-get install apt-show-versions then it will output for example:

vlc:i386/trusty 2.2.1~trusty uptodate

Using aptitude:

aptitude versions vlc

Will output the complete list/tree of packages related to vlc and the installed ones including the package vlc will contain letter "i"(meaning installed) before package name.

Similar but a bit shortened:

aptitude search vlc -F "%c %p %d %V"

And more programming one:

dpkg -l vlc | grep -E "^ii" | tr -s ' ' | cut -d' ' -f3

Will output 2.2.1~trusty

  • 1
    Aptitude, a great tool +1
    – A.B.
    Jul 5 '15 at 19:57

You can check version of an installed Ubuntu package by running

dpkg -l | grep <package_name>

dpkg -l | grep vlc

It will give you versions of vlc-related packages.

To get path to vlc binary run

which vlc

But in Ubuntu it is very rarely needed to know where the binaries are located, if they are installed using dpkg or apt.


simply start this command

apt-cache policy vlc

Sample output

  Installed: 2.2.0-1
  Candidate: 2.2.0-1
  Version table:
 *** 2.2.0-1 0
        500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ vivid/universe amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

From man apt-cache

   policy [pkg...]
       policy is meant to help debug issues relating to the preferences file. With no arguments it will print out the priorities of each source. Otherwise it prints out detailed information about the priority selection of
       the named package.

And to check the installed files:

dpkg -L grep vlc

Sample output

  • What does the policy keyword mean? Also does this mean the it is installed in /var/lib/dpkg/status?
    – john smith
    Jul 5 '15 at 18:56
  • oh and HOW do you upgrade this to 2.2 like you have ? I was about to start another thread asking how to update it. I can't update it using canonical, it says "Canonical does not provide updates for VLC media player. Some updates may be provided by the Ubuntu community"
    – john smith
    Jul 5 '15 at 18:57
  • @johnsmith to upgrade vlc check here
    – JoKeR
    Jul 5 '15 at 19:19

open the terminal and type the following command

type vlc command also includes the word 'type'

This gives you from where it was called .

For vlc version do vlc --version

  • And how is it related to version?
    – Pilot6
    Jul 5 '15 at 19:01
  • It was a 2 part question really. So this still helps.
    – john smith
    Jul 5 '15 at 19:01
  • edited @Pilot6 :)
    – jerry
    Jul 5 '15 at 19:04

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