Recording Your Desktop in Ubuntu

Album Cover: Diamond Hoo Ha

"I got to get you in my suitcase."
Supergrass / Diamond Hoo Ha Man

Posted on November 10, 2007 5:12 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

In order to show off whatever I was doing in my last post, I needed a way to record my desktop in Ubuntu. A few minutes of Googling led me to recordMyDesktop, a self-proclaimed "desktop session recorder for GNU / Linux."

After reading that application's user guide for a bit, I decided to try and see if I could use a couple apt-get install calls to install the app. Sure enough, sudo apt-get install recordmydesktop installed the "backend" application. I tried sudo apt-get install qt-recordmydesktop next, but apparently that application isn't in the Ubuntu repositories (or at least not in the repositories in which my computer is set to look).

Luckily, I was able to find the alternate "frontend," though, using sudo apt-get install gtk-recordmydesktop. According to the introduction to the user guide, "both frontends provide the exact same functionality through the exact same interface," so I had a feeling this would work out just fine.

After gtk-recordmydesktop was installed, the application automatically showed up in the Applications menu under Sound & Video (I love how good Ubuntu has gotten in this area!). I launched the application and unchecked the box next to "Sound Quality," since I wasn't interested in recording any sound, and then hit the Record button. At that point, the interface disappeared and I thought the application had crashed. After reading a bit more in the user guide, though, I realized that it had merely hidden itself (something I was actually hoping it would do). Once I got the hang of things, I hit the Record button again, flipped back and forth a few times, and then clicked the little checkbox that appeared in the upper-right of my screen in the taskbar to stop recording. After that, I waited for the video to encode and then clicked the "Save As" button to save the recorded video.

It doesn't get much easier than that! recordMyDesktop did exactly what I was hoping it would do. The best part is, it allowed me to do what I wanted to do with ease, and never really got in my way (it even got out of my way when I needed it to).

If you're looking to record your desktop or a specific window in Ubuntu, I'd highly recommend giving recordMyDesktop a try.

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