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Best Screencasting Tools For Linux

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/23/2009

Screencasting tools provide you with the ability to record your desktop activities. These tools are used to create videos of your desktop activities for various purposes like making a tutorial, etc. In this article we take a look at some of the screencasting tools available in Linux.

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    You may have often used the PrintScreen key on your keyboard to take a snapshot of your computer desktop. The PrintScreen key makes it very easy to take a picture of your desktop without using any specific tools for it. But what if you wanted to take a video of your desktop? Working on a project or tutorials and want to show a video of how to do a certain thing on your computer? You can actually record your desktop activities with certain tools which are known as screencasting tools. Some of them also let you edit and add audio and have other advanced features. Let’s have a look at some the screencasting tools available for Linux.


    vnc2swf is a cross platform screen recorder tool that runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Solaris etc.. It is a simple and easy to use tool which doesn't have many features, but is good enough for basic screen recording. Two different versions of the software are available for different platforms. The Python version works on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows etc., while the C version works only on platforms that support X11 (Unix, Linux, etc.)


    XVidCap is a free and open source screencasting tool for UNIX/Linux. It lets you capture videos of your X-Window desktop. It aims to be a standard based alternative to tools like Lotus ScreenCam. XVidCap also lets you embed an audio recording with the screen cast. It uses the FFmpeg libraries for encoding.


    Istanbul is a free screen casting tool for Linux. It works on Gnome, KDE, Xfce, etc., and is very simple to use. All you have to do to start a recording session is to click on its icon in the notification area and to stop the recording session just click on the icon again. It's so simple. It records your screencasts into Ogg Theora video file. The latest version also introduces features like selecting a window to record, starting screencasts from the command line, etc.


    It is a single file screen casting tool inspired by Istanbul (mentioned above). It runs on Linux and other similar operating system which runs GStreamer 0.10 and PyGTK 2.8. It works almost the same way Istanbul does and hence is pretty simple to use.


    glc is another open source screen video capture tool for Linux. It can capture any application that uses ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) for sound and OpenGL for drawing. It supports multiple simultaneous audio and video streams, supports recording voice to a separate audio stream, and is optimized for minimal application overhead.


    recordMyDesktop is a free and easy to use screen casting tool for Linux. This tool is a combination of two different modules; a simple command line tool to perform basic tasks of capturing and encoding and another module exposing the program’s functionality in a way to make it usable. recordMyDesktop can also record audio. It uses open file formats like theora for video and vorbis for audio.