Running Fedora 15 (moving to 16 soon) -

I would like to take a screen shot every few seconds - something like:

$ while true; do import -w root png:$(date +%F_%R:%S).png; sleep 2; done

The problem with ImageMagick's import is that it doesn't seem to capture correctly in GNOME-shell.

  1. Doesn't render my terminal's transparency (appears opaque)
  2. Doesn't always show the window that is actually on top (seems to prefer firefox from what I've seen)
  3. Doesn't render the actual visual shell from GNOME-shell - so instead of seeing this:

what should be rendered

I would end up seeing whatever the screen looked like before I invoked the visual shell.

Alternatively, gnome-screenshot takes the screen shot perfectly every time, but also invokes this file name / location prompt:

proper screen shot

There does not appear to be a way to bypass this, I've looked over the gnome-screenshot help a few times, it doesn't seem to have a non-disruptive mode, nor does it appear to have a file name input the way import does.

Is there any way to get non-disruptive screen shots with file names specified via CLI and still have it be accurate? Is there an option other than import or gnome-screenshot that has this functionality? Is there an option of import that makes it render GNOME-Shell properly?

3 Answers 3


Try using scrot. The command for it would be something like scrot ~/images/filename.png -cd 2 which would take a screenshot in 2 seconds. Or while true; do scrot -cd 2 $(date +%F_%R:%S).png; done


Maybe you could use some kind of session recording software (GNOME Istanbul, ...) instead of periodic screen shotting. But this may not suit your needs.


As of this writing, GNOME 3.8 still ship gnome-screenshot to take screenshot of the system. There will be a built-in function to capture screenshot in gnome-shell in future version. But now we still can use gnome-screenshot to capture the desktop after an amount of delay. You simply do this. There is NO point to install imagemagick or scrot

The beauty of gnome-screenshot is that it will capture everything on the screen, including transparent windows, or any resize action happening on gnome-shell overview. It's the best tool for GNOME

To delay 3 seconds:

gnome-screenshot --delay=3

You could find out more options to take screenshot with:

gnome-screenshot --help

Take your time and master the things, the GNOME way ;)

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