This time I'd like to share with you a simple method for creating a screen cast, adapt it to a common format and finally publish your job to YouTube or another web video sharing service. In my everyday job I need to create documentation and a video is something simple, direct and easy to understand for everyone.
Publishing some videos has never been so easy if you work with a Linux workstation, this is a step by step guide for the average Linux user.
One of the simplest program around for recording screen casts is “RecordMyDesktop”, if you use Gnome you've gtkrecordmydesktop, on KDE there are qt-recordmydesktop and recordmydesktop-kde, by the way, it doesn't matter which version you're using, when you start it you'll have a tiny window like this:
In my example I'll record a GEDIT session, but before selecting the full screen or the targeted window let's check the advanced settings to see my changes, just press “Advanced” button to see something, here's what I've changed:
in the “Performance” tab I've setup a low frame rate because I'm recording just desktop applications, I've disabled “Encode on the fly” and enabled “Zero Compression”.
With these settings even if you've a low end computer you'll have a quite decent video and audio, my first big problem with RecordMyDesktop was related to audio or video out of sync, with a setting like that you'll waste a lot of space but at least you've a well formed audio/video stream; you'll process your video later to adjust size and various optimizations.
Let's record something...
Resize your window to meet your needs and press the “Record” button and do something with your app, when you're done just press “Stop” in the top right corner where RecordMyDesktop resides (Gnome App for me...).
If you're a command line guru and you prefer to use a script or something like that you can run a command like this:
recordmydesktop --width=1024 --height=768 -x=10 -y=50 --overwrite -o out.ogv
This starts RecordMyDesktop with a 1024x768 window located starting from X=10, Y=50 from the top left, so I can place my app in that position and cut my Gnome menu bar, this is what I do for recording web screen casts, “overwrite” wipes existing out.ogv (default output file) if any. Take a look at the man page for further details. If you're using the command line directly you need to hit Ctrl-C to stop the recording.
Process your video
Now it's time to process your video and encode it in a well common format, if you upload videos on YouTube you can upload basically everything you want, from open formats like OGV, 3GP files from cellular phones, AVI files and so on. I've decided to convert my videos to AVI files and then upload them to YouTube, I just need to shrink my uncompressed video, resize it and convert into an AVI container. To achieve this task you can use one of these tools:
mencoder your.recorded.file.ogv -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts
-vf scale=1024:768 -o your.recorded.file.avi
ffmpeg2theora --videoquality 10 --audioquality 10 -optimize -x 1024 -y 768
your.recorded.file.ogv -o your.recorded.file.avi
ffmpeg -threads 2 -i
your.recorded.file.ogv -f avi -r 29.97 -vcodec libxvid -vtag XVID -s
1024x768 -aspect 4:3 -maxrate 1800kb -b 1500kb -qmin 3 -qmax 5
-bufsize 4096 -mbd 2 -bf 2 -flags +4mv -trellis -aic -cmp 2 -subcmp 2
-g 300 -acodec libmp3lame -ar 48000 -ab 128kb -ac 2
All these commands resize an input video to a 1024x768 (HD) AVI file suitable for a YouTube upload. I personally prefer the third option and I always use ffmpeg heavily, command line options were taken from WinFF (ffmpeg GUI), I suggest to use it to avoid audio/video sync problems.
Adjust size to proper values if you need a different resolution, in my example I'm using 1024x768.
Now with your new AVI file you'll be able to upload it directly to YouTube without worries and having it quickly available without heavy post processing jobs from Google
Here's a sample.
News Update: Do you want to convert smartphone .3GP files to an AVI in the same way ? Read my "Convert 3GP to AVI (from smartphone to PC or YouTube)" blog [linux.com]
Glad to receive your comments and add your tips to the command list as well
KOffice team have released the third beta of the upcoming 2.3 version KOffice suite. According to information on the oproject`s official site,
"Between 2.3 beta 2 and 2.3 beta 3 there have been 443 commits by 29 different authors.
All applications have received bug fixes and improvements. Krita is the application with the biggest team behind it and therefore also the most active one."
The KOffice project is clearly getting more and more usable and with 2.3 release more users will be ready to use it in real-life applications. While 2.2 release was clearly for early adopters this next one will be interesting for much wider audience.
This release provides some important improvements, such as:
- improved support for reading MS Office documents
- much-waited KPresenter slide-sorter mode
- decent track changes support in KWord
Although KOffice lacks some of the functionality (for example, a proper support for tables in word processor) it advances quickly and expands in some areas that are quite new for open-source office tools (for example supporting google docs).
Ubuntu is a great linux OS, if not the best, that offers so much in the opensource world. I’ve used it for almost a year, fully, and up to this point, have not had one major complaint. Now it is my primary desktop system, yeeha!!!
One of the reasons why ubuntu has been so successful is its ability to support different file formats, like mp3, wma, MPEG-4, .doc. PDF and others. This support codecs are not enabled by default, however ubuntu developers will be porting default codecs that will read these files.
One of the codecs I like is the adobe flashplayer. This allows my PCs the ability to watch online movies. To do that, you need the media file that can view online media content, that being adobe flash.
In Windows you have to install flash from the adobe website and off you go. The same is true in ubuntu, huge points given for this. The difference is you have to download the .deb or .tar.gz compressed file package. I rather use .deb because it allows the system to install the file automatically. This is done for the 32bit version of ubuntu, however, it is more trickier for the 64bit version.
I started out with the 32bit version of ubuntu, which, for lack of a better phrase, “just works”.Now I am using an AMD64 dual core architecture and want to take full advantage of its power, so 64bit ubuntu was installed. As you can imagine, what I did in the 32bit I wanted to do in the 64bit.
The first thing to do was enable adobe flashplayer. Unfortunately, there are no .deb package files to install, it has to be done manually. This is when you start to get into the nuts and bolts of the command line.
Adobe flash for 64bit ubuntu is still in the alpha mode and adobe plans to release the stable version for linux 64-bit sometime in the year of 2010. Goods news though, the alpha release is stable for the most part and works fine on my system.
To get things started, you will need to download “libflashplayer-latest_closed_beta.linux-x86_64.so.tar”.
You can download it directly from this site: http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=nxadm.wordpress.com&url=http://home.scarlet.be/var/tmp/libflashplayer-lasted_closed-bete.linux-x86_64.so.tar.gz&sref=http://nxadm.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/install-64-bit-adobe-flash-player-on-ubuntu-904/
I prefer to download the file to your preferred folder through the terminal using the wget command.
cd <to you preferred folder>
wget <download link>
Once the file is downloaded, it will be in a .tar zip file. Unzip the file.
Within the folder thar flash file was downloaded to:
tar xvzf libflashplayer-latest_closed_beta.linux-x86_64.so.tar
Now you are going to create a plugin folder in your home directory instead a system directory. Flashplayer is a browser plugin that allows internet browsers to decode media content. The plugin is accessed by the browser from an application plugin folder located on your system.
To create the plugin folder, change to your home folder:
cd <home folder.
sudo mkdir –p .mozilla/plugins
Then you are going to move the decompressed libflashplayer.so file to the plugin folder.
mv <location of the decompressed libflashplayer.so file>/libflashplayer.so .mozilla/plugins
If you can’t move the file into the plugin folder form the terminal, as I had that problem, you can do it manually by dragging and dropping.
Go to places>home folder>
Type, ctrl+h, this will reveal all hidden folders and files.
Move the libflashplayer.so file to the .mozilla/plugins folder.
Restart firefox and go to the about:plugins to see if libflashplayer.so is visible.
In the address bar, type, about:plugins
Under shockwave flash, you should see the libflashplayer.so file. This mean flash is enabled.
You are all done. Now you can listen to you favorite online music sites or watch your favorite online movies and videos.
Flashplayer only works for the user account it was installed under. To use it for any other accounts on your system, you will have to repeat the process.
To view the site where I got this information visit,
After getting the laptop out of the box and removing all the protective stickers out of it, I plugged the power cord and fired the thing up.
As far back as I can remember, I have been a Windows user. I can clearly recall using Windows 3.0 on one of my mother's engineering computers in the early nineteen-nineties, or browsing the Internet for the first time in Internet Explorer. This pattern of Microsoft loyalty continued unabated with only minor dabbles into the world of Macintosh in secondary school into my current college career at Central Michigan University.
Microsoft Vista changed everything for me. A sub-par operating system from a hardware and software standpoint, Vista was worthy more for a laugh than a laptop. On the other hand, I frankly could not afford to purchase any of Apple's computers, nor was I pleased when reviewing the technical specifications of said computers in relation to what I would be paying for.
The choices before me were as follows; purchase broken Windows or an over-priced Apple. I made my choice, and I've never been happier using a computer.
With all of this being said, you may be wondering which operating system I use, Windows or Apple?
I use neither; I am an Ubuntu Linux user.
Before I continue, I must break down what constitutes Ubuntu Linux, as this may be the first time you have ever encountered these terms.
According to information from the Linux (pronounced “lih-nucks”) Online! website, Linux.org, Linux was originally created in 1991 by a Finnish college student named Linus Torvald. The software was unveiled in the early 1990's with the arrival of the first Linux Kernel, which forms the elemental basis of how everything works within this or any other operating system. Since this new operating system was released under the GNU (pronounced “guh-new”) General Public License, every aspect of the content's source code could be altered and acquired by anyone, anywhere free of charge. This ability to freely edit and distribute content is referred to as “open-source,” with a popular example of an open-source program being Mozilla Firefox.
Based upon the aforesaid original Linux kernel is the Ubuntu (pronounced as “ew-bun-too”) operating system, which is also free and open-source. The phrase “Ubuntu” is roughly translated as “humanity towards others” from the Bantu languages of southern Africa. The word choice creates an apt description for software made by community members for global communities. As stated on the Ubuntu Linux website, (ubuntu.com), the operating system will always be freely available for use on any type of computer. Furthermore, you can even try out a fully-functional copy of Ubuntu on a “Live” disc prior to installation.
You may be asking yourself, “Open-source sounds great, but what about content?”
The next time you see me on campus or at a convention with my laptop, I'd be more than happy to show you the eye-catching Desktop Cube I use to navigate my four separate desktops. Or, when I switch to Expo mode and navigate between my other 4 desktops with the click of a button. My computer, like other Linux machines, does not crash nor does it suffer from malware such as trojans, viruses or worms due to how the kernel handles security. This is exactly the reason why most servers which power the Internet use Linux instead of Windows, and to a lesser extent, Mac.
Much has been said by devout users of Windows and Macintosh regarding benefits of exclusive proprietary applications on either system. Mozilla Firefox web browser, VLC multimedia player (similar to Windows Media Player) and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite (the Linux equivalent to Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, etc.) are just three examples of free open-source programs found on Linux systems. Concurrently, they are also largely available for use on all computers, Windows and Mac, on campus here at Central Michigan University. Need an iTunes alternative for managing your music collection? I use Rhythmbox. Love 3D modeling and digital animation? Try Blender. Are you a gamer? I highly recommend playing Nexuiz (soon, Xonotic).
If you can not immediately find a program you wish to use, you can get in contact with other users who are just as interested in creating content as you are; others such as the members of online forums such as Ubuntu Forums or here on linux.com. With a healthy mixture of programmers and imagination, before you know it, you will have a fully customizable and free program for anyone to enjoy.
Imagination, freedom and helping others; welcome to the world of Linux.
After few forums and some hour searching on the web and divided opinion about this, I just made to have transparent Windows and Menus (main menu, dropdown menu) on Fedora 13 with Gnome. o.k. maybe it was easy for some of you, but after looking on the web, there are a lot of people who doesn't know how to accomplish this, so I decided to make a simple but useful tutorial about this. So let's begin:
You heard that right, I officially went mobile this week. I travel more than before, therefore I am away from my desktop (hence my files) more often. It was a tough decision, but I decided to shop for a laptop.
Shopping the thing
My brother was delighted when he heard I was considering buying a laptop - I was more afraid of the task more than anything else. I always considered laptops to be a problem. First of all, I'm a clumsy guy. I drop stuff. I sometimes put stuff in places I forget. And a laptop, well, would be one more object (and a pricey one) to protect from my clumsiness. Finally, there's a heck of a lot of brands, lines, models... I haven't quite kept track through time of which manufacturer is good or which one I must avoid. However, I think (maybe it's wrong to think so, correct me if it's the case) that laptops that cost around 500$ (not netbooks) tend to be... maybe... cheap. In a pejorative way. As I've been told before, "Stay away from Satellites. They're good to send into orbit." So basically, I tried to stay above the 700$ bar.
Fortunately, the laptop I searched for needed to satisfy one condition, narrowing down the choice a lot : it had to come with Linux. And if the manufacturer could be one that builds laptops specifically for it, so much the better.
For the sake of comparison, me and my trustworthy brother looked at HP, Dell and even Apple for more "standard" laptops (my brother has an HP one with openSUSE on it, works like a charm).
We made a stop at ZaReason to see its line of Linux notebooks, but nothing really appealed me. While the prices were interesting, the configurations available were not quite what I wanted. I already had an eye on system76 laptops. I knew system76 for the Ubuntu stickers I ordered from them a couple of years ago for my desktop (talk about far fetched!)
After a couple of review reading, price comparison I'll spare (I don't even remember the details anyway) and a couple of evenings spent drooling on online showcases, I opted for the system76 Pangolin Performance.
Buying the thing
You may now at this point say "Wow wait, what are the specs"? I feel lazy tonight, so I give you this wonderful link leading to the Pangolin Performance product page. For the others, in a nutshell: feature packed, reasonable price. It sports a decent screen resolution (not that whatever x 768 nonsense), a DVD burner, Bluetooth, USB ports, HDMI and VGA out, a fine CPU and enough RAM to run pretty much any GNU/Linux distro you want. And it came with Ubuntu.
The only thing I changed from the standard configuration was the warranty. I went overkill and opted for the 3 years peace of mind package. It's the first time in my life I opt for an extended warranty, so it was quite a big step.
First of all, I'll mention this about system76's Web site : I really liked it. Straightforward, fast, efficient and "to-the-point". Go to the laptops section, select your model, configure it using simple radio buttons on the spec page, order and voilà. No fuss, no flash, no frustration. I wish more Web sites were like that.
As for the cart/checkout process, I had a little problem with my credit card not working because of some weird address format issue or something like that. I kind of expected the process to be a bit more complicated since I live in Canada. However, an email and a call to system76 and the order was back on track.
About 10 days later, I was in possession of the big brown box containing the mystical laptop. Will it be good? Will it work? Will Captain Kirk defeat Khan? You'll find out in system76 Pangolin Performance part two!
Here I going to describe our experience in a large-scale FOSS deployment in our region. And first I show you the task.
The task is to deploy Linux and a pack of FOSS programs in the schools, here in Nizhny Novgorod region, Russia. Nizhny novgorod region have a population of 3.5 m, and the Nizhny Novgorod itself have a population of 1.3 m. There are 1392 schools in Nizhny Novgorod region (more than 200 in Nizhny Novgorod), and even more objects — like sport schools, youth clubs, training centers. Every school have at least 12 computers, plus some administer tasks — director, school management and so on. Special object usually have less than 5 computers.
So, today we estimate, that we need to deploy more than 35000 computers untill the end of the year.
We started a pilot project with the help of the Nizhny Novgorod Linux Users Group. Today they alreadey deployed FOSS programs in 14 schools of Nizhny Novgorod. Not bad start, but next week we are going to make a real breakthru — we made an agreement to install the software on more than 40 schools of Dzerzhinsk, a city near Nizhny Novgorod (~250k people).
We are use a special developed ALT Linux distribution, which was intended to be installed in schools and contain all needed programs, including an amazing iTalc software class management tool.
The main problem of the project is that the school teachers are not well-trained to use Linux. I can't say that they are resisting to use it at all, but some of they are. We are working on this problem too — and going to make our own special training course with support of Nizhny Novgorod Education Development Institute.
Follow this blog to know more.
The version 1.2 of the well know wine is now released and you can download it from the next link. If you don't know what wine is, let me explain a little and short. wine is a program (wine is not emulator) that allow you to run windows programs. Some of the new features from wine after 2 years without a stable release.
This release represents two years of development effort and over 23,000 changes. The main highlights are the support for 64-bit applications, and the new graphics based on the Tango standard.
Source: Wine Reviews
Spotify is an on-line music player with thousands of songs, music, etc. This program was available for Windows and Mac (and you can run it with wine) but now you can use it on your Linux system.
A lot of our developers are using Linux, obviously they want to listen to music while they’re coding away and looking at the feedback we get it appears that they’re not the only ones. So today we’re pretty happy to present a preview version of Spotify for Linux.
Built by our brilliant developers during hack days and late nights, it shares most of the same features as our Windows and Mac OS X desktop applications. Unfortunately, there are issues regarding decoding of local music on the Linux platform so we haven’t included support for local files in this version.
Source: Spotify Blog