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Sometimes it’s good things that look for you, not the contrary.

Yesterday night, I’ve been contacted on IRC by Vadim. Turned out he was in the development team of Shutter and told me to take a look to the new release (0.7).

Shutter ?!..

Shutter

Shutter, formerly known with the unfortunate name of gScrot, is a nifty GTK utility to take screenshots. After a first look, I was happily surprised. As I am blogging more these days, I’ve becoming more and more frustrated about taking screenshots.

Problem is: taking screenshots wastes an awful amount of time. Usually you hit print screen, save somewhere (don’t even try to save in clipboard, that won’t work with GIMP), open gimp, select, crop, save. Upload. Uff..

What’s even more frustrating to me about the whole process is the number of window GIMP opens, that bring additional confusion in my already messy workspace setup (irc chat, firefox, terminal etc). I really hate that.

While the screenshot plugin of Compiz allowed me to slice through the gimp burden in some cases, it’s not feature rich as Shutter.

Shot of launchpad bug #1. I had to crop (and resize) it later as the original was 20.000 pixel tall !

Screenshot of LP bug #1. I had to crop (and resize) it later as the original was 20.000 pixel tall !

Shutter allows to take screenshots in 4 ways:

  • Full Screen: takes a screenshot of the whole screen
  • Window: makes a shot of a single window. While this can be normally accomplished with Alt+PrntScrn, Shutter is capable to grab window decorations as well. Furthermore, no background will be visible if your window decoration has rounded corners. Nice thing is it will even let you select the window to grab from a dropdown menu, without the need to even leave Shutter’s window.
  • Section: will grab just a part of a window. After selecting the window you want to grab, the various components of the window (such as button bar, treeviews, etc) will be highlighted as you hover the mouse.
  • Web: another cool thing. You can take the screenshot of a whole webpage. Just copy paste the URL (it will also auto-detect if you clipboard contains an URL) and you’ll get a picture of the whole webpage, tall as it is, without scrollbars or anything.
Shutter selection mode

Shutter selection mode, featuring a nice semi-transparent overlay

Features

Along with usual and much needed configurable preferences (where to save, filename format and naming etc), there are also a bunch of other features worth mentioning:

  • a bunch of plugins to make your screenshot look like a polaroid photo, have a shadow, have an edge etc. If you blog and wanna annoy your readers, that’s the path to go ;-) .
  • an useful resize plugin, to let you resize your shots right from inside the program.
  • an internal editor, to add annotations and basic shapes to your pictures. Goodbye Gimp !
  • integrated upload. Imageshack, Ftps and your Places menu are at hand.
  • pdf export (may be useful with webpages, maybe ?).

How to get it

Ubuntu repositories are available on launchpad for both the Stable and the development version.

To get the stable add those lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/shutter/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/shutter/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

then

sudo apt-get install shutter

Downloads for other distributions and further informations are available at their download page:

http://shutter-project.org/downloads/

Criticism

Of course Shutter is not perfect, even though is quite mature and has a fair amount of features. During my tests I experienced some sporadic freeze (which could be related to my nVidia driver btw, my MacBook+Ubuntu setup doesn’t really feel stable at the moment).

Also as Shutter gives me the strong sensation of being mostly feature complete, I’d really like it to refactor the user interface a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s evident that the UI got many attentions and much  careduring the development process, but I really think some more polish and streamlining may be done. I really think that could be a nice goal for the next milestone.

Also other things I’d have liked:

  • Crop plugin : currently only a resize plugin is available.
  • Blog plugin: leveraging the XML-RPC format to upload images and insert a reference to them into your blog database. Well, that’s asking much, but ain’t I allowed to dream ?

References

18 Responses

  1. > Problem is: taking screenshots wastes an awful amount of time.
    > Usually you hit print screen, save somewhere (don’t even try to
    > save in clipboard, that won’t work with GIMP), open gimp, select,
    > crop, save. Upload. Uff..

    I have to disagree ­— that “waste of time” is just what Gnome imposes on you, in their attempt to simplify the desktop they make it more complex. KSnapshot can do the various screenshots that you mentioned here for Shutter (whole screen, window, or region). The Screenshot-of-URL sounds like a nice addition however.

    > What’s even more frustrating to me about the whole process is the number
    > of window GIMP opens…. I really hate that.

    As do we all, but Gimp people don’t want to listen to that. Daamn shame too.

  2. I like this program but I stopped using it. When I do captures 80% of the time I have post processing to do on it. So I might as well avoid a step and use GIMP to do the screen cap. Then I am right in the pic ready to do the manipulations.

    It just eliminates a step.

  3. Stefano Forenza

    @Lefty: hey, I thought what you said was implicit. I fully agree with you on everything !

  4. Stefano Forenza

    @JohnMc: well, I guess it depends on which post processing you need. Shutter seems fine for my purpouses and I play to use it exclusively from now on.

  5. For screenshot of web page, if you use that feature often, I think you are better off with a browser plugin.

    With Firefix I am using Screengrab, works really nice:
    http://www.screengrab.org/

  6. Stefano,

    For me generally a lot. Guess its a matter of working style.

    But it was a good review none the less.

  7. [...] If you blog, Shutter will rock your socks While the screenshot plugin of Compiz allowed me to slice through the gimp burden in some cases, it’s not feature rich as Shutter. [...]

  8. Gnome Screenshot in Jaunty and KSnapshot both do that overlay-and-select-what-you-want thing. With KSnapshot, using Intel (not Nvidia) graphics, my system also froze. I haven’t tried with Gnome Screenshot.

  9. Stefano Forenza

    @Mackenzie: true, in Jaunty the select thing is present. To be fair, Shutter includes a range of other features.

  10. I have the ImageMagick packages installed, and then I made a little bash script with this in it:

    import -pause 5 -window root topher_desktop.jpg
    convert -sample 150×112 topher_desktop.jpg topher_desktop_thumb.jpg
    scp topher_desktop.jpg user@host.com:~/path/graphics/
    scp topher_desktop_thumb.jpg user@host.com:~/path/graphics/

    Then I made a menu item in my window manager to call it. It takes the shot and puts it on the web for me. When I want a desktop screenshot, it takes less than one second of work for me, and about 6 seconds to get it on the web after that.

  11. Stefano Forenza

    @Topher: that’s a nice trick. But what I very miss as a blogger, is not really just the upload or resize (wordpress does the thumbnailing for you for example), but a fast way to make annotations on the image. Shutter does take care of that, even if the GUI really need to be improved.

  12. Hi,

    I do Blog about Linux, and have some other Web Sites going and one of those is also about Linux. For Blogs I use WordPress, and Web Sites – Joomla!. Also for Forums I use SMF.

    KSnapshot works for me – but doesn’t really allow me “crop” or cut”. But, I can show the whole shoot in a neat pop-up window on my Web Sites using “shadowbox”. For Blogs I’m not sure what the utility is here?

    Imageshack is my Photo Host, so I’m pretty much good to go. I’ve got GIMP, and a hosting service.

    Basically, I’m not sure what the Title – If you blog, Shutter will rock your socks – means to me as a Blogger.

    One interesting point here is that more and more application posts show that the Ubuntu version of the app is in the UBUNTU repositories, all other come second. LOL!

  13. Stefano Forenza

    @JJMacey: utility for blogger and writers is the ease to shot and upload screenshots. Sure, you can take schots of the whole screen, but that’s not always the right thing.
    Sometimes you want the reader to focus on this or that detail. That is made easier if you can shot just a part of the screen, and – even better – annotate it with some text or arrows.
    Some authors, also, run their boxes at resolutions like 1680×1050 or more. In those situation, a full screen screenshots is un-pratical.

    By the way, I am not sure what you mean with:
    “One interesting point here is that more and more application posts show that the Ubuntu version of the app is in the UBUNTU repositories, all other come second. LOL!”

  14. joe

    My favorite screen grab tool is still xv – it’s been around for more than a decade and still works great for basic image viewing and screen grabs.

  15. Stefano Forenza

    I’ll check it out.
    Also, seems like it’s *extensively* documented :-) ))
    ftp://ftp.cis.upenn.edu/pub/xv/docs/xvdocs.pdf

  16. Stefano,

    As a Blogging utility I know what you mean.

    My point about the getting your app and UBUNTU was that more and more people mention UBUNTU.

    I run .rpm versus .deb applications. Do you get my point?

    You may want to try to go directly to WordPress or Joomla! with an extension.

  17. Vadim P.

    @JJMacey: I don’t get you either, but some packagers made mandriva and fedora rpm’s for shutter.

  18. Stefano Forenza

    I get your point. I usually blog about ubuntu because I do use ubuntu.
    I won’t provide instructions for other distros, for example, simply because I couldn’t test these.

    While it may be saddening that every new linux application gets more buzz to ubuntu but not to other distros, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do about it.

  19. No Problem!

    I’ll be switching back to Ubuntu soon.

  20. [...] via: LifeHacker y Stefano Forenza [...]

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