Recording Screencasts on Arch

Today I learned that there’s a trick to getting sound to work on Arch using recordmydesktop.

The Issue

yaourt -S recordmydesktop
recordmydesktop test.ogv

Was met with the classic error:

Couldn't open PCM device hw:0,0
Error while opening/configuring soundcard hw:0,0
Try running with the --no-sound or specify a correct device.


I tried passing all the devices from /dev/snd, and none of them worked.

To see whether a graphical UI might install some silent dependency, I installed qt-recordmydesktop and ran it. This failed to record in the same way as before, but an advanced settings tab mentioned that jackd was not running.

I then manually tried to start jack by invoking jackd at the command line, and hit a useful error message emitted by the sanity check.

The Fix

recordmydesktop was unable to work out of the box because the user as whom I invoked it was not a member of the audio group:

usermod -a -G audio username

made the error disappear, and now recordmydesktop works with the default device.


My first successful recording, test.ogv, is about 5 seconds of me wondering aloud where the program went, cursing at it, and typing loudly to killall recordmydesktop.