Istanbul is a desktop session recorder for the Free Desktop. It records your session into an Ogg Theora video file. To start the recording, you click on its icon in the notification area. To stop you click its icon again. It works on GNOME, KDE, XFCE and others.

Why the name Istanbul?

I named it Istanbul as a tribute to Liverpool's 5th European Cup triumph in Istanbul on May 25th 2005


23 February 2007 - Istanbul 0.2.2 "Camp Nou, 21 Feb 2007"

This release is in memory of the win by the European Champions of 2005 (Liverpool FC) against the current European Champions (Barcelona) in the first leg of the last 16 of the Champions League at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. This release contains many major bugfixes and it is highly recommended to upgrade.

Features of this release

  • Ability to select a window to record
  • Ability to start a screencast from the command line

Support and Bugs

Istanbul uses Gnome bugzilla for bug reports and feature requests.


SVN is hosted on svn.gnome.org in module istanbul

Contributors to this release

  • Zaheer Abbas Merali
  • Frederic Peters
  • Wouter Bolsterlee
  • Marc-Andre Lureau

28 July 2006 - Istanbul 0.2.1 "Freedom to record speech" is released

This release is dedicated to the people (Christian, Jew, Muslim and other) who have died in the ongoing war in Lebanon and Israel. Everyone wants an immediate halt to the fighting yet it is not happening, we can only plead by showing our distaste at this unnecessary bloodshed.

Features of this release

  • Re-factor of code to make it more modular and so easier to read and add new features.
  • Live recording of audio synchronised in with the screencast video.
  • Numerous bugfixes.

Support and Bugs

Istanbul uses GNOME bugzilla for bug reports and feature requests.


CVS is hosted on cvs.gnome.org in module istanbul

Contributors to this release - Zaheer Abbas Merali - Remi Cardona - John N. Laliberte - Marc-Andre Lureau

14 July 2006 - Istanbul 0.2.0 "Zinedine Zidane" is released.

This release is a tribute to one of the best players of the last 10 years. He nearly moved to Liverpool at one point, and would have been welcome by most fans. He also seems to have the media all with him, as evidenced after Italy won the world cup. There whas been more coverage of Zidane than of Italy's win.

Features of this release

  • Completely revamped UI, no more preferences dialog.
  • Use gconf to store settings.
  • Ability to select an area of the screeen and only record it.

Support and Bugs

Istanbul uses Gnome bugzilla for bug reports and feature requests.


CVS is hosted on cvs.gnome.org.

Contributors to this Release

  • Zaheer Abbas Merali
  • Christian Rose
  • Luca Bruno
  • Kiddo (sorry I don't know your real name)

17 June 2006 - Istanbul 0.1.2 "Come on England!" is released.

Release notes for Istanbul 0.1.2 "Come on England!"

I am proud to announce a new release of Istanbul, a desktop session recorder.

Features of this release:

  • Works with 0.10 series of GStreamer
  • Improved video scaling method

Contributors to this Release:

  • Zaheer Abbas Merali
  • Edward Hervey
  • Danilo Å egan
  • Alessio Frusciante

1 July 2005 - Istanbul 0.1.1 "Transfer Window" is released. Changes include:

  • Cool new preferences dialog
  • Ability to change framerate
  • Ability to stream to Icecast2 servers
  • Ability to encode later (saves CPU by using a simpler encoding when recording, then encoding to theora after stopping)
  • Many bugs fixed


Version 0.2.2 can be downloaded from http://zaheer.merali.org/istanbul-0.2.2.tar.bz2

Debian packages are available for the Testing and Unstable branches.

For Ubuntu Feisty and Debian unstable, download the package here.


Istanbul requires at least:

  • GStreamer 0.10
  • Gst-plugins-base 0.10
  • PyGTK 2.6
  • Gnome Python Extras >= 2.11.3

  • Gst-python 0.10
  • python-xlib


'Why is it so sluggish when recording?'

The problem is that the theora encoder takes up a lot of CPU power. Things you can do to reduce that effect:

i) use libtheora 1.0alpha6 or greater. This will speed up on x86 and amd64 architectures. ii) record at a lower width and height iii) select a smaller part of the screen.


Development is done in GNOME git. Clone the repository using:

git clone git://git.gnome.org/istanbul


Contact me at zaheerabbas at merali dot org Feel free to submit patches, especially UI patches to the Istanbul product in GNOME Bugzilla!


Projects/Istanbul (last edited 2013-11-23 01:46:12 by WilliamJonMcCann)