VLC for Android sucks

25 Oct 2022

Surprise! I didn't think I'd make a blog post this October but here I am!

It's not all good smells though.

Unfortunately, as good as the rest of the application is, VLC on Android has one huge glaring flaw which basically ruins its utility for me. What is this huge glaring flaw you say? It can't connect to DLNA or SFTP servers.

Why does this matter? My Android is terrible, it only has a mere 4 gigabytes of usable storage and hence I can't store much in the way of music on it considering that everything is taken up by some apps I need to use and VLC anyway, not to mention my Music library at the moment being 11 gigabytes (I use MP3s not FLACs because I'm not insane) so I was trying to simply get VLC to talk to MiniDLNA (aka ReadyMedia) on my laptop so I could just stream the audio from my laptop to my phone. Easy task right?

Wrong! VLC simply refused to see DLNA servers. I know it's worked before so I'm not sure why it doesn't work now! Well that sucks, I thought, so I decided to try SFTP (not FTP over SSH).

This also didn't work! I used the recommendation on the bug tracker to use username:password in the username field (stupidly insecure as well!) and it still didn't work.

Off to my laptop I went, it'd been about 20 minutes at this point and I just wanted to get to hanging out the clothes with the music on so I could focus and I just gave up when I saw the logs I was being given.

Oct 25 11:20:08 grapes sshd[13214]: Unable to negotiate with port 44427: no matching host key type found. Their offer: ssh-rsa,ssh-dss [preauth]

Fuck sake. Turns out this entire time, VLC used unsupported and insecure SSH host key choices. OpenSSH rightly so terminated the connection since it couldn't use its newer, more secure and supported key types. This is an issue that they've known about for a while but it still pisses me off how an app like VLC doesn't use the newer protocols!

I even checked the VLC play store page and in the latest update from September, the patch notes literally say "Fix UPnP/DLNA discovery" and yet my server wasn't showing up! What did they even do to break DLNA discovery when the desktop VLC app can see it fine?!

At this point, I've cut my losses. I'm getting a flash modded iPod soon anyway and I know, after being restored, Linux can work with them fine with the correct applications and at least that way I won't have to faff with SFTP and DLNA. I sure hope that this gets fixed though.

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