A place for opinions and notes of a valibuk.

Screencast On Linux

Tagged with: — ondrej at 4:51 pm on Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Ruby on Rails community has an interesting motto: Show, don’t tell. It is really worth to follow this idea, especially for tutorials or application pages. I usually look for links as Screenshots, Screencast or Demo on such pages — firstly you would like to see what a photo gallery looks like and then you will read instructions how to install it or how to change the background colour…

One of the mentioned presentations is a screencast. (Shortly: A record of everything what happened on your desktop (or its part) — window changes, keystrokes and mouse movements.)

How to create a screencast on Linux? There are applications such as xvidcap, vnc2swf, Istanbul and recordMyDesktop.

The main difference is the output format: mpeg (e.g. xvidcap), ogg (e.g. recordMyDesktop, Istanbul) or swf/flash (e.g. vnc2swf). The last one is probably the most suitable for Web (the majority of users already installed a Flash player). Although, I decided for an open standard: ogg.

recordMyDesktop is a command line application, but there is GUI: gtk-recordmydesktop.

On Gentoo, simply run: emerge recordMyDesktop gtk-recordmydesktop
Do not forget to compile the theora library (libtheora) with the encode flag.

Using of the application is intuitive, you can use it in 20 seconds :) I have not tried the sound recording yet.

Unfortunately the Select Window button did not work in the GUI (version 0.3.4), but there is a Select Area On Screen function in the context menu of the application icon in the system tray — with it you can quite easily select a window area.

I found a great manual how to play an ogg file on Wikipedia.

And here is an example from my rubyagent site.

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Comment by Gábor Farkas

May 20, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

there’s also a java applet for playing ogg files, so that would be also a solution to offer a something-that-does-not-require-installation solution.

and regarding the wikipedia article about ogg players:

it really seems to be a very comprehensive guide, but if you want to keep it simple, simply offer the ogg file, and put there a link to VLC (it works on every meaningful (linux/unix, osx, windows) platform).

also, did you experiment with adding audio to the screencast too?

p.s: it would be nice to have a comment-preview here. i’m using and it works nicely and easy to install.

Comment by ondrej

May 20, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

hi gabor :)

comment preview> thanks, i added it (this is a test comment ;)))

ogg & VLC player> ok, i will think about it.

audio> sorry, still no time for it.

thank you very much.

have a nice day :)

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