Terminal Session Recording

14 Best Free and Open Source Terminal Session Recording

The vast majority of computer users depend on a graphical user interface, and fear the command line. However, the command line holds significant power and versatility. Commands issued from a shell offer system administrators a quick and easy way to update, configure and repair a system.

Command-Line InterfaceThe benefits of the command line are not only confined to system administration. The ability to transverse the file system quickly, give more information about files and directories, automate tasks, bring together the power of multiple console tools in a single command line, and run shell scripts are just a few examples of how the command line can offer a potent, multifarious toolbox.

A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, often carrying audio narration. Screencasting software takes a series of screenshots of a running application, recording the user’s actions, and creating a video file. This type of software was brought into prominence by the commercial Windows application Lotus ScreenCam in 1994. The vast majority of screencasting tools capture a graphical environment. However, here we examine tools that capture your terminal sessions. Think of them as console screencasting tools.

Screencasts have a wide variety of uses. This type of software is often deployed to describe software projects, report bugs, and for evaluating technical skills. Plain text screencasting lets you explain and perform commands at the same time, simultaneously offering a tutorial and showcase. Further, plain text screencasting uses less bandwidth than video, and provides a powerful educational tool.

Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. Only free and open source software is eligible for inclusion.

Ratings chart for best free and open source terminal screencasting tools

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each program.

Console Screencasting Tools / Terminal Session Recording
TerminalizerGenerates animated GIF images of your terminal
asciinemaRecord and share terminal sessions
ttystudioExcellent terminal-to-gif recorder
termtosvgRender SVG animations of shell sessions
ffscreencastShell wrapper for ffmpeg that allows fool-proof screen recording
ShowtermTerminal record and upload utility
tty2gifRecord scripts into both binary and gif formats
TermRecordTerminal session recorder with easy-to-share self-contained HTML output
ttyrecTerminal recorder, incudes a playback tool
termrecSet of tools for recording and replaying tty sessions
ShelrBroadcast plain text screencasts
screencastInterface to record a X11 desktop
IPBTHigh-tec terminal player
scriptThe granddaddy of terminal recorders

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