Ubuntu 10.04 – gtk recordMyDesktop screen casting

For a while now I have wanted to do some simple screen casts of my GNU/Linux Ubuntu desktop. A simple Google will provide you with the following tutorials recommending a few different programs such as XVidCap,  Istanbul Desktop Session Recorder  and gtk-recordMyDesktop. Though every program I tied seemed to make my system crawl along and crash if the recording area was larger then a small window. After much frustrating messing around with frame rates, quality , encoding and posting on forums I have found the answer to the problem, quite a simple one actually.

My graphics card is an ATI Technologies Inc Radeon HD 3870 which has never cause me any problems in the passed with compiz or anything like that. Though after reading a bug report on lanuchpad it seem that the proprietary FGLRX drivers which I had enabled where causing the problem. fortunately for me, when I removed the proprietary ATI drivers my Compiz still worked. Which some people have report on the launchpad thread is not the case for themselves.


  • All the following apply for Ubuntu 10.04
  • If you do not have gtk-recordMyDesktop installing go to the “Ubuntu Software Center” and install it.
  • If your Graphics card is an ATI Radeon and you have the proprietary FGLRX  ATI/AMD drivers install go to System->Administration->Hardware Drivers and you should see something along the lines of the following.
  • ubuntu-hardware-driver

  • As can be seen from the screenshot I have disabled the drivers and now gtk recordMyDesktop works perfectly at 100% quality with no lag at all


About the Author

Ciarán McCann

Flax Project Founder - Ciarán McCann is an extremely passionate and motivated programmer who has been programming for about 4 years now. Currently attending Carlow I.T studying computer games development. He has experience in many different programming languages, markup languages and general technologies. His role in the Flax Project is as a blogger/Web Designer and Flax Engine programmer. Please excuse any bad grammar/spelling, I am a bit on the Dyslexic side. Follow me on Twitter for info on what I am working on.

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  1. Try downloading the latest driver from the ati website https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/fglrx-installer/+bug/568988 many people are reporting that with version 10.6 of the driver this issue is fixed

    • Well thats good to hear, but removing the diver hasn’t effected my system negatively. Works fine without it, Compiz and everything fine.

      • As usual, everyone’s experiences/systems will be different. As noted on the bug report for some people the only way to get compiz effects is with the fglrx graphics driver. So, the new driver actually does fix this problem

  2. Vilasder March 21, 2011

    Specially for people having problems to record audio or sound with a GNOME based GNU/Linux distro:

    gtk-recordMyDesktop (records video + audio) and gnome-sound-recorder (records audio) can record both the system and the microphone sound. To choose the sound to be recorded open gnome-volume-control (from ALT+F2 for example), click on Hardware, then on Profile and there choose the corresponding option, depending on what will be recorded ..:

    + sound of the system: a) Analog Stereo Output; or b) Digital Stereo Duplex (IEC958)
    + sound from the microphone: a) Analog Stereo Duplex; or b) Digital Stereo (IEC958) Output + Analog Stereo Input

    In gnome-volume-control, it may be necessary to choose “Off”, close it, open it again, choose the desired option and close it again.

    Some of the other options may work sometimes, but they may record sometimes the system sound and sometimes the mic sound. And other options may record audio but could not permit to listen to the recorded sound. So it’s better not to use those options.

    NB: system sound is the sound of what one can hear from the speaker. It can be a .ogg or .mp3, … song played by Totem, or a Flash music video of a web site, …

  3. In Ubuntu I’ve tried xvidcap and gtk-recordMyDesktop. I’ve been able with both of them to record video and audio from the system or the microphone.

    But gtk-recordMyDesktop has 2 problems:
    a) When you click on stop it takes a lot of time to encode the video (in xvidcap you have it in the moment you stop the recording).
    b) It uses a lot of space in a folder called more or less /tmp/rMD-session-xxxx. Sometimes is deleted after the encoding but sometimes not (keeps on growing) and you have to delete it before your Linux root partition (/) gets full.

    In Ubuntu, to be able to record the sound with xvidcap you just need to follow a few steps:

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