Creating Screencasts in Debian

Istanbul and Xvidcap are the best options for creating screencasts in Debian. They’re free and are available in Debian’s free repositories. Istanbul gives an ogg file as the output, whereas xvidcap comes up with an mpeg file. An interesting cast of Istanbul screencasting itself is available here.

Another option is Wink. You can install wink in debian using apt-get install (sadly, your non-free repository section has to be enabled for this). This guide should help you to create the first cast. Even though creating a screencast using wink is a smooth sail, you should try to avoid it for two reasons:

  1. Wink is non-free
  2. The output generated is an swf file, which forces your browser to install non-free plugins.

A more challenging way of creating screencasts is described here. The instructions are quite easy to follow, but some of you might get an error message while trying to convert the .miff files to .m2v.

mpeg2encode: command not found

If you get the above error message,

  1. Download this package from
  2. Untar it, cd into the directory and make.
  3. You will find two directories mpeg2dec and mpeg2enc inside the src directory. If the make process is successful, an executable will be created in each of them, namely mpeg2decode and mpeg2encode resp. Copy these executables to /usr/local/bin and repeat the convert process. You should be able to get through this time.

recordMyDesktop, is another tool for the same purpose. An ogg file, containing the screencast will be created in your home folder once the recording is stopped.


December 7, 2007. Tags: , , . howto.


  1. Enlillene replied:

    Make love, not war!

  2. Slavko replied:

    thank you 🙂

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