It’s A Long Way To Tipperary

Bought myself a USB DVD burner on Saturday. Trying to get it working on Sunday I learned that we are not 100% there yet in terms of DVD burning and handling. There where multiple things that did anything but just work. The first issue was that HAL and gnome-device-manager was rather flakey when it comes to handling the device. For instance if I booted my laptop with it connected nautilus etc., seemed unaware of its existence. Also if I plugged it in while having a blank DVD already in then my system also failed to deal with it. Only if I waited until the desktop was running, plugged the USB dvd writer in with an empty slot, then put in a empty DVD, only then did a ‘DVD+R blank disc’ icon appear on my desktop.

Trying to burn a myself DVD Nautilus complained that I needed to put in a supported media for example DVD+R disc. Problem was that a DVD+R disc was exactly what I had in the burner. Turned out that was a bogus error message and the real issue was lacking diskspace to store the temporary ISO image.

At this point I tried switching to GNOME Baker instead to create my DVD’s. At this point I also realized that handling two burners on the system was not something that worked two well. During my period of testing (which included a couple fo reboots) only my internal cdwriter was the only one recognized, only the USB dvd writer being recognized or in a few rare cases both where. That said even in the best of cases there seemed to be some permission issues when trying to burn as a normal user onto the usb dvd burner. In the end I tried running GNOME Baker as root, which did sorta work until I got error messages which I think where from cdrecord. At this point I decided to try out K3B hoping that since its been around a little longer it might have some workarounds or something for my issues. K3B seemed unable to handle the two drives also, but removing my internal writer physically eventually solved that problem. K3B did actually have a workaround or rather it didn’t use cdrecord, dvdrecord but growisofs to create DVD+R’s and some googling seemed to indicate that growisofs is the only linux library capable of doing so.

So to sum up there is still some work needed in the detection area and probably some library side work as well. At least ideally I guess we would want one intergrated set of libraries handling all kinds of cd and dvd burning. I will try to follow up on my problems by filing more bug reports, just need to figure out against what to file them, where to file them and how to find the information needed to file them first :)

As a sidenote I also tried Nero Linux. Since my burner supports ‘lightscribe‘ I figured the Linux version of Nero might have that as it was Nero for Windows that came bundled with the USB writer.
Discovered it didn’t and I also discovered that FC5 no longer is able to provide GTK1 based applications with any fonts it seems. Anyway know if there is any work being done on Linux ‘lightscribe’ support?


#1 moose on 02.27.06 at 23:46

I wonder why nobody[1] tries to turn cdrecord/growifofs/whatever into a proper library. IMO at least some of the problems with burning CDs and DVDs on Linux is caused by lack of integration between GUI frontends and burning backends. Showing cdrecord output to the user is just plain lame.

[1] Or did I miss something apart from libburn?

#2 Peter on 02.28.06 at 00:59

I feel your pain too. Long since given up trying to get my USB DVD Writer working well on my laptop with a CD-RW drive too. I believe the issue with it detecting the drive/media when plugged on startup is with udev or hal (or both) and I seem the same thing with any plugable media such as USB/FW HDD, Music Players, USB Keys etc.

#3 Matthias on 02.28.06 at 03:02

I’am running a debian unstable system, with kernel 2.6.15, hal 0.5.6 and udev 0.085. My Notebook has an internal dvd burner and I also own an external DVD burden. They both work like a charm – the usb burnener work whether present while booting or pluged in while running gnome. – There were AFAIK massive changes in udev, hal and g-v-m.

#4 Luke on 02.28.06 at 23:59

Hi Christian, I saw this blog entry on planet.gnome and wondered if you could provide some feedback on GnomeBaker? I am the lead developer of GnomeBaker and it would be great if you could help me get to the bottom of why it doesn’t work on your system. It’s rare that I get feedback from other developers.

GnomeBaker uses growisofs for dvd burning so I’m concerned that it looked like you were getting cdrecord errors.

#5 Johan on 03.01.06 at 06:42

I saw last year that the developer of K3B got funding from LaCie to develop Lightscribe for linux. Haven’t heard anything more since then, though.