Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Whether you want to demonstrate how to run a piece of software, or giving a Linux newcomer a visual guide of the operating system, you’ll get the best results from a screen recording tool.
While Windows, macOS, and even Android have some good screen recorders available, the Linux software library is surprisingly sparse in this area. Fortunately, we’ve been able to bring you five Linux screen recorders that you can use to record your desktop on any computer, even the Raspberry Pi!
What You Should Look for in a Screen Recorder
Before proceeding, let’s take a look at the typical functions of a desktop screen recorder.
For example, it should be able to capture either the entire desktop, or a single app window. Additionally, you can expect to be able to set the recording to a particular resolution and video file type.
Do you need to appear in the video? If so, some screen recorder tools offer the ability to detect video from your computer’s webcam, and audio from the mic.
Other features can also be found, such as a zoom/follow mouse tool. In short, screen recorders come with various features on offer, making it tricky to find the one you need. But we can help with that.
Available from the Ubuntu repository, with support for ARM and PowerPC devices as well as 32-bit and 64-bit, Kazam is an efficient desktop video capture tool. Capable of recording full screen, all desktop screens, a single window, and areas of the desktop, Kazam can also capture audio from the speakers and your mic.
Install via your software manager, or:
sudo apt-get install kazam
Once you’ve recorded your desktop activity, you can stop via the system tray. You’ll be prompted to Save for later, or edit with your usual video editing software.
With the ability to select audio devices, video formats and even take screenshots, Kazam is a great Linux screen recorder for beginners.
With a straightforward UI and a nice collection of features, Vokoscreen is yet another screen recording option for Linux. Capable of recording and streaming your desktop, you will need a top-end gaming rig to get the benefit of streaming in HD.
Available via GitHub, Vokoscreen can also be installed via the command line by adding a PPA.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vokoscreen-dev/vokoscreen sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install vokoscreen
Once launched, Vokoscreen is ready for action pretty much right away. You can capture from the entire desktop, a window, area, or a specified magnification around the pointer. This is useful for close-up video captures.
Video and audio codecs can be selected, while audio drivers, video format and frame rate can also be changed to suit. You’ve also have ability to include footage from your webcam in your screen recording. Easy to use buttons let you record, stop, pause and play the screen capture. There’s even a sharing option, but this is limited to email. Naturally, you’ll need to keep an eye on the file size here!
Vokoscreen is a handy screen recording tool, easy to set up and use.
It may call itself “simple”, but this app actually has more features than some of the others listed here. Upon launching, you’ll be presented with a single screen with plenty of options. These include the expected full screen recording, recording a selection, following the cursor, and also the option to record GL for video game captures.
To save time, you can also create profiles suited to different screen capture tasks. Audio can also be recorded, and video type changed via the subsequent screens found via the Continue button. Once you’re ready, hit Start Recording — by default, the resulting video will be saved in your Home directory.
Again, if you’re using an Ubuntu-based distro, you’ll need to install a PPA repository before you can install Simple Screen Recorder.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder
If you’re running a 64-bit system and want to record 32-bit OpenGL applications, install:
sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder-lib:i386
(Instructions for installing to other distros can be found on the developer’s website.)
Simple Screen Recorder is certainly not simple, but it is straightforward and offers some useful features.
Unlike the other screen capture tools in this list, ScreenStudio is a Java-based application, enabling you to record your desktop, include footage from your webcam, and even stream to Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.
Getting started with this is easy. You’ll need to download directly from the link above, and then ensure that you have ffmpeg, PulseAudio and Java installed on your computer before running. You can then use the Sources menu to setup your desktop and webcam as a source, add audio if necessary, select your Output format and tap Ctrl + R to begin and stop recording.
Ideal for vloggers and Twitch regulars, ScreenStudio is lightweight and flexible, although it misses some of the more common desktop capture features.
The original screen capture tool for Linux, RecordMyDesktop will run on virtually any system, including the Raspberry Pi. While you can use the basic version via the command line, installed using:
sudo apt-get install recordmydesktop
You can also use the tool with a choice of two GUI frontends, gtk-recordmydesktop and qt-recordmydesktop.
Once installed, this simple tool — which offers some additional options in the Advanced menu, and the ability to select entire windows or just sections — is ready to record. Just remember to give it time to encode your video after capture. Videos will be output to your Home directory.
Which Linux Screen Capture Tool Do You Use?
We’ve given you a look at five Linux desktop recorders for capturing activity in apps and games on your computer.
But which is your favorite? Have you used any of these utilities, or have you somehow stumbled upon another? Tell us in the comments!
Image Credits: 3Dalia/Shutterstock