Six Top Screen Capture Tools for Linux

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 13, 2009

Basic screenshot software is really handy to have on hand, even if you don't use it often. If you rely on screengrab tools often, however, you know how important it is to have software with lots of tools and features. No matter what your screen capture software needs are, you're sure to find something you like in this list of the top six open source options.

recordMyDesktop - Here's a desktop session recorder written in C and with a choice of two front ends -- pyGtk and pyQt4. Besides screen capture, this tool will also record just audio through ALSA, OSS, or the JACK audio server. If you need to produce files in multiple formats, then skip this app because your only options with recordMyDesktop are theora for video and vorbis for audio, using the ogg container.

ZScreen - This Windows-only screen capture app has tons of features. It grabs a shot of the active window, a selected window, or the entire screen. Once you've got the image, automatically open it in your image editor or upload it to Twitpic, YFrog, Flickr, or one of several other supported services. ZScreen caches all your images, even ones on the clipboard, so there's always a history of your screenshots right at your fingertips.

Wink - This free tool isn't open source but it does work reliably on Linux. You can capture screenshots or use pre-made images in one of several formats. Wink supports many different output formats as well, including Macromedia Flash, Standalone EXE, PDF, PostScript or HTML. Wink will also capture screenshots automatically based on mouse and keyboard gestures, which is a great feature to have if you take a lot of screengrabs.

Shutter - Use Shutter to take a timed or instant screenshot of your entire desktop, a single window, or a particular area of your screen. You can even dispatch it onto the Internet to take a snapshot of a Web site and bring you back the results.Once you have the shot you need, use the highlighting tool to call attention to certain areas of the image or the pencil to draw freehand. Spotlight any section of your screenshot with arrows, circles, boxes, ovals, or shading.

xvidcap - This tool captures movement on an X11 display, either a single frame at a time or in the form of an MPEG video. Unlike some screen capture apps, this one will capture the specific shape your mouse pointer if the Xfixes extension is installed. If not, xvidcap will simply record using the default mouse shape.

Greenshot - Here's an app that the developers say is "optimized for productivity." It will capture a shot of a single window, a region of the screen, or a full screenshot, then export it in one of several image formats. Once you've got your shot, use the built-in editing tools to apply text and shapes to it before saving.