I had a problem with VLC, using outdated proxy settings rather than connecting directly, even with no proxy configured in VLC’s settings (and even when trying to override it using command-line options).
(It would show that it was trying to use a proxy:
[0x134b4b0] main access error: connection failed: Connection refused [0x134b4b0] access_http access error: cannot connect to supernova:3140
(supernova:3140 was the proxy setting it was picking up.)
After using strace to follow the execution of VLC when trying to play a network stream, I realised it was getting the settings via gconf; I needed to execute gconf-editor, navigate to system, http_proxy, then untick use_http_proxy – and also edit the value of the host setting to an empty string (without doing this, VLC ignored the use_http_proxy setting being false, and tried to use the proxy anyway!).
I could have done the same using gconftool-2 with:
gconftool-2 -s /system/http_proxy/use_http_proxy --type bool false gconftool-2 -s /system/http_proxy/host --type string ''
Blogging for my own future reference, and for anyone else who’s using vlc on XFCE and wondering where it was getting the proxy settings. I’ve used Gnome 2 on this machine before, and I think that system proxy setting was set by Chromium (Google Chrome).