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How To Record Screencast GIFs On Linux

Looking to record GIFs on Linux? With the Peek recording tool, users can easily capture their screen and encode it directly to the GIF image format. Before using this tool, you’ll need to install it on your Linux PC. There are many different ways to install this software on Linux. Go through and select the instructions that pertain to your specific operating system.

Install Peek

Ubuntu

Peek isn’t available in the traditional software sources for Ubuntu. As a result, users won’t be able to see it in the Ubuntu software store right away. To fix this, just add the official Peek PPA. Open up a terminal, and enter these commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peek-developers/stable

After adding the PPA to the system, you’ll need to refresh Ubuntu’s software sources.

sudo apt update

With the software sources up to date, use this command to install the software. Alternatively, open up the Ubuntu software center, search for “Peek” and install it.

sudo apt install peek

Debian

Using Peek on Debian means making your own installable Deb package. To do this, start out by installing all of the required dependencies to the system.

Note: you may need to repeat this process each time an update to the source code is available.

sudo apt-get install cmake valac libgtk-3-dev libkeybinder-3.0-dev libxml2-utils gettext txt2man git

Everything needed to build Peek as a Debian package is now on your PC.  Use the commands below to start making the app.

git clone https://github.com/phw/peek.git

mkdir peek/build

cd peek/build

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr -DGSETTINGS_COMPILE=OFF ..

make package

Following these steps correctly should generate an installable Deb package. Install it on your Debian PC with:

sudo dpkg -i peek-*-Linux.deb

Arch Linux

Peek is readily available on Arch Linux via the AUR. To get the latest version, grab the PKGBUILD with Git.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/peek.git

cd peek

Now that you’ve got the package built use makepkg to generate an installable Arch package. Be sure to use the makepkg command with -si to ensure that all required dependencies are installed. Also, using these flags during build process makes installing the package more accessible. You won’t need to specify the exact package, as makepkg -si will automatically install it.

makepkg -si

Fedora

Grab Peek for Fedora, by following these steps. First, enable the RPM Fusion Free software repository.

Note: Change X with your version of Fedora.

sudo dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-X.noarch.rpm

Then, enable the Peek Copr repository.

dnf copr enable dani/peek

Lastly, install the software on Fedora using the DNF package manager.

sudo dnf install peek ffmpeg gstreamer1-plugins-ugly

Flatpak

If you’re looking to use the Peak GIF recording tool, but don’t see an option to install it on your operating system, consider using the Flatpak version. Much like the packaged versions of this tool, it still has access to recording everything on the X desktop. To install it, be sure that you’ve already got the latest version of Flatpak on your Linux PC, and enabled. Don’t have Flatpak? Check out our guide here!

When everything is up and running, install the Peek Flatpak.

flatpak install --user https://flathub.org/repo/appstream/com.uploadedlobster.peek.flatpakref

Run Peek by browsing for it in your applications, or with the following command:

flatpak run com.uploadedlobster.peek

Using Peak

To record a GIF with Peek, open it up. When it’s open, use the mouse to scale the Peek app window to fit the part of the screen you’d like to record. From here, click the “record” button. Peek will instantly start recording the item on your screen in the GIF format. When you’re finished recording, click the “stop” button. Upon pressing stop, you’ll be prompted to save your new GIF somewhere. Use the file-browse dialog to find where you’d like to save.

Record other formats

Peek’s main draw is to record screen activity on the Linux desktop as an animated GIF file. That said, if you need to record a quick video, it is possible. Officially, in addition to GIF, the software supports APNG, WebM, and MP4. To record in any of these formats, click the arrow button next to “record as GIF” and select your preferred format.

Note: to record in MP4 and other formats, you’ll need to have FFPMEG, as well as Gstreamer, installed. Get both of these tools by opening up your operating system’s package management tool, and search for “gstreamer” and “FFmpeg”.

Editing GIFs

Need to edit the GIF image files you’ve recorded? Consider installing the GIMP image editing tool. You can easily import recorded GIFs, and edit each frame as an individual layer. The GIMP image tool is perfect for editing these types of images. To install the Gimp image editor, open your software center, and search for “gimp”. Alternatively, head over to their website and click the download button to get it running on your favorite Linux distribution.

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