I use LICEcap fairly extensively when answering questions on Stack Exchange - its a VERY intuitive tool for making gif-based screen captures

LINEcap gif example

You open the application, select an area to record, choose a filename to save it, and do your thing so it can record.

However, this is Windows and OS X only - I've occasionally toyed with using a Linux VM and capturing the VM window, but I'd like a native alternative that would record a gif the same way.

What could I use?

  • 2
    Would you like other animated images as well or is the file format "gif" a necessary requirement? Feb 16, 2014 at 13:58
  • Well, I don't really want/need video. Gif's the 'accepted' standard for animated images. If its something that should work universally, it would be ok, but I can't think of any other format that would be a suitable replacement Feb 16, 2014 at 14:34
  • 1
    MNG (extension of PNG) does this. Feb 16, 2014 at 15:24
  • oh, if its something I can shove into an internet facing server, and open on a browser I'm fine. Feb 22, 2014 at 8:06
  • 3
    As an aside, licecap runs on wine perfectly well, much to my surprise. Of course, this is limited to x86 boxen, has a fairly large set of dependencies and so on, but its what I think I'll be using for now. The selected answer would do the trick, but it lacks the elegance the licecap UI has. Feb 22, 2014 at 8:17

6 Answers 6


Update 10/22/2014: Seth Johnson has improved the Ubuntu PPA so that only the Silentcast PPA is required. (Previously, 3 PPA's were needed.)

Update 10/13/2014: Version 2.0 released. Added options to create webm or mp4 videos instead of just animated gifs. Added a script to do a full install without root privileges.

Update 10/4/2014: Runs in Unity, no problem, and there's now a PPA for installation - Thanks to Seth for his Unity Indicator patch and PPA. Please have a look at the installation instructions below which I've updated today. Also, you can run it without installing it. Follow the Any Linux Distro instructions, but don't run the install script. With Xfce, just open the extracted folder and double-click bash silentcast. With other desktops, run from the terminal from within the extracted folder. That's it! Nothing will be copied into your system files and deleting the extracted folder will completely remove it from your system.

I wasn't happy with either of these answers so I wrote my own: Silentcast.

If anything doesn't work for you, please file a bug at Silentcast Issues

Notice there's a stop icon stop1.png in the Notificaton Area before I even start Silentcast, then a 2nd stop icon stop2.png appears when recording begins. That's because I already had Silentcast running to make these animated gifs of how to use Silentcast. Silentcast 1 keeps going after I stop Silentcast 2.

Fullscreen: How to use Silentcast to record Gimp


Transparent: How to use Silentcast to record 2 windows


Interior: How to use Silentcast to only record the drawing


Entirety: How to use Silentcast to record 1 window



... (skipping over some stuff - in the full README, this includes a list of dependencies and distro specific instructions for installing them)

...(see full README for how to install dependencies for your distro)

  • Arch Linux Full Install

    • Use an AUR helper, like yaourt -S silentcast. This will automatically install the latest release and missing dependencies. Keep your install up to date the usual way with your AUR helper, like yaourt -Syua. Uninstall with sudo pacman -R silentcast
    • Without an AUR helper, just Download silentcast.tar.gz from aur.archlinux.org, extract, and do makepkg -si from the extracted directory. This will do exactly the same thing as an AUR helper would do for installation, but you will have to keep track of updates yourself. Uninstall with sudo pacman -R silentcast
  • Ubuntu Linux Full Install

    • For 14.04 and 12.04 run the following commands to install Silentcast (for older versions of Ubuntu follow the "Any Linux Distro" instructions below):

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sethj/silentcast  
      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install silentcast  

      Or run the following, condensed, command:

       sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sethj/silentcast && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install silentcast  
      • Uninstall
        Run sudo apt-get remove silentcast. You can then remove the PPAs with sudo add-apt-repository -r like so:

        sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:sethj/silentcast && sudo apt-get update

Launch Methods

  • Menu Hierarchy
    • Graphics -> Silentcast
    • Multimedia -> Silentcast
  • Search Box Terms
    • silentcast
    • screencast
    • record
    • gif
    • (and other things will work too)
  • ALT+F2
    • silentcast
  • Terminal
    • silentcast

Find Silentcast in the menu under either Graphics or Multimedia, type silentcast into the search box, or ALT+F2 silentcast. It can also be run from a terminal as silentcast.

  • 1
    I'm having some trouble getting this to work on fedora 20/KDE - what would be the appropriate place for a bug report? Sep 24, 2014 at 11:23
  • 1
    Since my source is on github, that would be the best place to file a bug report: Silentcast Issues Sep 24, 2014 at 14:24
  • 2
    Small mistake on my part. sudo yum install ffmpeg yad xdotool xorg-xwininfo wmctrl python-gobject python-cairo xdg-utils ImageMagick should pull in all the deps on fedora. I seemed to have forgotten ImageMagik. I like this enough to toss it a 50 rep bounty, which I'll award once the waiting period is over ;) Sep 24, 2014 at 15:06
  • 1
    You've made me very happy. As far as I know, this is the first software I've created that is being enthusiastically used by someone other than myself. I'm surprised something similar wasn't already done because all I did was give already existing command line tools a GUI using yad and some python code I found with google. Sep 24, 2014 at 17:14
  • 2
    This is ridiculously awesome. I just found two wonderful tools to play with today. Sep 24, 2014 at 20:53

One possible solution is byzanz if you don’t mind using the CLI. Byznaz run on Ubuntu and I didn’t test it on different Linux distributions. I tested it only on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

It's a rather rudimentary screen recorder with limited options.


Byzanz records GIF's and runs in a terminal only. It is not included in Ubuntu repositories and it can be only installed through a PPA.

To install use this commands

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/byzanz
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install byzanz

Man pages:


  byzanz-record [OPTION...] record your current desktop session

Help Options:
  -?, --help               Show help options
  --help-all               Show all help options
  --help-gtk               Show GTK+ Options

GTK+ Options
  --class=CLASS            Program class as used by the window manager
  --name=NAME              Program name as used by the window manager
  --gtk-module=MODULES     Load additional GTK+ modules
  --g-fatal-warnings       Make all warnings fatal

Application Options:
  -d, --duration=SECS      Duration of animation (default: 10 seconds)
  --delay=SECS             Delay before start (default: 1 second)
  -c, --cursor             Record mouse cursor
  -a, --audio              Record audio
  -x, --x=PIXEL            X coordinate of rectangle to record
  -y, --y=PIXEL            Y coordinate of rectangle to record
  -w, --width=PIXEL        Width of recording rectangle
  -h, --height=PIXEL       Height of recording rectangle
  -v, --verbose            Be verbose
  --display=DISPLAY        X display to use
  • I suppose its close enough. Telling it which pixel ranges to record seem unnecessarily troublesome. That said, barring a better answer, I'd be unfair if I didn't select this as the correct one. Feb 9, 2014 at 10:18
  • 1
    Actually there is a tool with lets say better screen recording options and nice GUI but so far I were not able to save it in GIF. Although recording screen or part of screen in some other format is breeze.
    – danijelc
    Feb 9, 2014 at 19:03
  • you have to type in the location and size? cringe Apr 24, 2014 at 23:17
  • There is a RPM build which seems to be available from the default Fedora repos as well - RPMs can also be found here
    – Wilf
    Jul 24, 2014 at 11:57
  • 1
    You can run xrectsel and drag your mouse to get the location and size of the desired recangle, and then use those numbers to run byzanz.
    – dusan
    Nov 5, 2016 at 22:21

LICEcap works on Linux with Wine -- check it out:

Scrolling through the LICEcap webpage

This is on Arch Linux, 64-bit and wine 1.7.18.

  • Oh, I'm aware of this - It isn't a wrong answer, but I may want to run it on non x86 architectures, say on a raspberry pi, and wine is pretty heavy, comparatively - hence my preference for a native option May 9, 2014 at 9:40
  • Also the cursor doesn't appear if the licecap window isn't focused..
    – gandalf3
    Jul 13, 2014 at 8:51

You could take a look at Peek too.

Peek is a simple tool that lets you record a section of your screen and save it as an animated GIF image.

Peek screenshot: Peek screenshot

Peek recording:

Peek recording

Peek requires FFmpeg + ImageMagick to be installed and currently only works with X11 and is targeted at GNOME 3 (thus it should work even in Unity so long as you don’t have Locally Integrated Menus enabled).

  • This demands >700 MByte in download and 2.5 gigs of disk space...?!?
    – DevSolar
    Apr 2, 2020 at 12:51

I Haven't seen it mentioned here, so try Scrot.

Scrot In Synaptic Package Manager

It's part of my Ubuntu packages so should be in universe at the least without PPA's

I Have zero experience in using it, but I'll generally go with a distro package managed version over a third party ppa or repository 90% of the time for such software.

  • 3
    Does it do animated gifs? I'm pretty sure scrot does static screenshots from the command line. It has its uses, but I'm not convinced its the right tool here May 29, 2016 at 12:56
  • I Have no clue what it does, but I'm pretty sure with a bash script you could make it collect multiple images, then put them all into an animated gif or png. It was just meant to be another option.
    – MrMesees
    Jan 16, 2018 at 15:45
  • I don't think scrot records gifs Sep 24, 2021 at 18:31
  • Perhaps this is a language barrier. I suggested recording separate images. Those images would (implicit separate later author action) be what the author converts to a gif.
    – MrMesees
    Sep 26, 2021 at 3:16

I use 1. Byznaz for recording

sudo apt-get install byzanz #ubuntu
dnf install byzanz #fedora
  1. python-xrectsel for area selection
pip install python-xrectsel

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