Since Ubuntu 11.10, I can't use the --no-existing-session parameter that is used to launch multiple instances of Totem, because it has been removed from newest versions of Totem.

Is there a new way to do that now? If so, how do I do that?

4 Answers 4


Yes, there is. But as doug mentioned you need to change some lines of code.

If you are running ubuntu quantal you can use my ppa. I build a totem version which includes that --no-existing-session command.

You can find packages here:



Simple - you can't, at least not without altering the source code. Vlc is an option if you have need to run multiple instances.

As far as 2 totem instances - the only way I see is to use 2 different versions of totem, here I continue to keep a self-built totem-xine around, in that case both can run at the same time

currently on 12.04


One possible escape from the limitation is to use two/multiple user accounts - which each allows for one instance...

Though not very correct from the "safety/permissions/security" point of view one could do the following command

xhost +x; sudo bash -c "totem &"

(the command is used in the terminal of the active user, no need to do any logout/user switch at all)

which will run another totem instance under under the root-user. This arguably is a major security concern, but still maybe ok for listening to *.ogg *.mp3 in rare occasions. Also it would be smart to check for a safer substitution to the xhost + command to allow the x-server access in a more restricted manner.

The mehtod of using two/multiple user accounts can be a workaround to the limitation of only one instance per user. maybe a smart person can even create a kind of sandboxing "on-the-fly-user-creation" script which will call a totem instance. Which then could be hopefully less a concern then using the root account.

  • There is only a very thin security barrier between root and user: All a virus has to do to elevate privileges is wait for the next time you run sudo and grab your password.
    – Zaz
    Jul 19, 2022 at 23:40

Based on humanityANDpeace's answer:

sudo -u ${USERNAME} totem &

works as well, but without the security risks.

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