Note: In many jurisdictions it is illegal to copy music CDs and video DVDs or to reproduce their contents. Generally speaking, the only works you are allowed to reproduce are those over which you hold a legal copyright. The instructions that follow are intended to cover that situation only.
DVD/CD burning programs have five major functions:
- Copying existing CDs or DVDs on to CD or DVD blanks.
- Creating a playable music CD or a video DVD by copying music or video files from your PC.
- Burning data files on to a CD or DVD – e.g. for backup.
- Burning a DVD or CD into an ISO image file for storage on a CD or some other medium.
- Re-burning an ISO file on to a CD or DVD.
In the GNOME versions of Mint the default burning program is Brasero, and in KDE it’s K3B. Inserting a blank CD or DVD should bring up a prompt which triggers the program.
Figure 44: Brasero opening screen
Brasero opens with a user-friendly splash screen where you specify the ‘project’, or type of activity, that you want to carry out. If you select ‘Disk Copy’ or ‘Burn image’, it will walk you through the necessary steps. You will need to have enough pace somewhere on your hard disk to store a temporary copy of the disk.
The other possible actions require you to select files from the hard disk, so they will bring up a file selection window. If you’re making a playable CD or DVD, you can drag music or video files to the window until you fill the time bar at the bottom of the screen. Music files can be in any recognised format, but video files should be MPEG-2. Applications for converting video file formats are described below.
For creating a data CD or DVD, the steps are similar, but any kind of file will be accepted. You can copy across a complete directory structure, or create one on the disk as you add files. Brasero will warn you if you exceed the available size, or if any of your filenames don’t match the Microsoft Windows standards – potentially making it difficult to open them on a Windows system.
An icon in the notification area will indicate the progress of your copy or burn.
To create an ISO file from a disk using Brasero, choose the ‘Copy’ option. A dialog box will open with the option ‘Select disk to write to’. Open the drop-down list and select ‘image file’. Naturally you’ll need to choose a location with enough space to store the file.
ISO files created from CDs and DVD can usually be ‘opened’ and played in media players in the same way that the physical disks they are copied from can.
K3B is less user-friendly than Brasero, but it has the same capabilities. It opens with a screen split three ways; an upper section with a folder browser at the left and a list of files to the right, and a panel below into which files and folders can be dropped. To start burning or copying, select ‘New Project’ from the File Menu, and specify the project type. Tools/Copy Medium allows you to make a 1-to-1 copy of a CD or DVD. You can use the same option to create an ISO file from a disk; select ‘Only Create Image’ in the Options tab, and specify a name and location for the image file in the Image tab. Click on ‘Start’ to begin the process.
Ripping CDs and DVDs
Most music player programs in Mint support copying music tracks to files on disk. Video ripping capabilities are less common, and even players that support this may not work with locked or proprietary DVD formats. The most widely-used general-purpose DVD ripping program in Mint is Handbrake, which can be installed with the Synaptic Package Manager.
Handbrake can scan a DVD and break it down into its component tracks. A built-in viewer allows you to preview the contents. You can specify which tracks you want to copy, where you want to save them and in what format – including optimisation for streaming over the web. A ‘queue’ system allows you to stack a whole sequence of tracks for copying and run them while you are away or doing something else. This is useful, because the process can take a long time. The queue window also shows the progress of the job.