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Many people use Linux to burn CD-ROMs, because it is reliable and easy. No bluescreens while burning and no headaches about getting the right combination of hard- and software. It just works once properly set up. The CD-writing HOWTO explains the setup, how to put data on the media and gives some interesting applications kindly submitted by the readers.
Copyright Winfried Trümper 1996-2000. All rights reserved.
Redistribution and use, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission. In this sense, translations are welcome and need not to be authorized by me.
The author disclaims all warranties with regard to this document, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a certain purpose; in no event shall the author be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of this document.
Short: read and use at your own risk. No money-back guarantee. If you want to understand why this document has always been under a very weak license and not under the gnu GPL or similar restrictive, then you should read this article from the german computer magazine c't: http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/te/8375/1.html (currently only in German language).
As the editor of this document I mostly sum up what other people report to me. I'm not a software developer nor an expert in hardware, so for specific problems with hard- or software you may want to ask somebody else. What always makes sense is to report solutions for problems not already covered by the HOWTO to me.
I get several hundred e-mails concerning the CD-Writing HOWTO each year. So please be patient with me, as I cannot always answer within hours. However, I read everything immediately and put you on my CDR-queue. Before you ask a question, please make sure you are aware of the newest version of this document; it is always available from http://www.guug.de/~winni/linux/.
You may need the handbook for your Linux-distribution to learn about installing a new kernel. I'm really clueless about this issue when it comes to any other Linux distribution than my own.
The CD-R FAQ is a general FAQ about compact-disk recordables (CD-R), CD-writers and the required software. As most CD-writers can be used to read CD-ROMs, too, you may want to read the Linux CD-ROM HOWTO, the Linux SCSI HOWTO and the Linux Kernel HOWTO.
CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc Read Only Memory, a storage medium utilizing an optical laser to sense microscopic pits on a colorful shimmering disk. The pits represent the bits of the information and are so petite that some billions of them fit on the disc. Thus a CD is a mass-storage medium.
The term CD-R is a short form of CD-ROM recordable and refers to a CD that doesn't have those microscopic pits on its surface. Thus it is empty. The CD-R has a special chemical film inside into which pits can be burned. This is done by giving the laser which normally just senses the pits a little bit more power so it burns the pits. This action can only be taken once on a CD-R. You can leave out some areas for later writing, creating a so called multi-session CD.
The CD-ROM rewritable (short: CD-RW) was developed to work around the limitation of CD-R media. With a CD-RW burner the laser can do both, burn pits into the media and also melt the media back into its original state. This is possible, because the laser does not really burn holes into the media, which would get lost in a puff of smoke. A decent analogy for the technique is an ice-hockey game: by driving over the ice, a players (laser) leave scratches in it. The pattern in the ice (media) is a recording of what happened on the ice during one round. In between the periods of the game, the Zamboni cleaning car drives over the ice and fills the scratches by melting the very top layer of the ice. (Zamboni is the brand name for cleaning cars in ice-hockey stadiums). This way the pattern on the ice is cleared and a new round can begin. The scientific term for evaporating, condensing, melting and freezing is "phase change", thus the name "phase change devices" for CD-RW-writers.
This HOWTO deals with the task of writing CD-Rs and CD-RWs. Welcome on board, captain.
Adaptor vs. Adapter
The the most frequent spelling within the kernel sources is adapter (adapter: 4283, adaptor: 154). Even more important, the parameters of module options and aliases are naturally affected, like in "scsi_hostadapter". So in order to achieve a consistent spelling throughout configuration examples and document text, I follow that convention regardless of the correct spelling.
USB CD-writers are currently not supported at all. Apart from that you can safely assume that most newer IDE/ATAPI- and SCSI-writers work under Linux. Newer drives are mostly MMC-compliant and are therefore supported. If the SCSI-version of a particular writer works, the IDE/ATAPI-version will most likely work and vice versa. However, some people want to get a warm and fuzzy feeling by reading the exact model of their writer in some sort of compatibility list. That is the reason why I didn't throw the following list out of the HOWTO. Here is a comprehensive summary of drives reported to work with cdrecord:
The detailed list of models which have been reported to work or not to work under various Unix-like operating systems is available online from http://www.guug.de:8080/cgi-bin/winni/lsc-orig.pl.
If your hardware isn't supported you can still use Linux to create an image of the CD. You may wish to do so because most burning software for DOS does not deal with RockRidge-extensions (Unix-like filesystems on CD-ROM). In a second step, you can use DOS or Macintosh software to write the image to the CD-R.
Two There are two classes of utilities: the hardware drivers and the data-formatters. The hardware drivers support the following features:
The tools classified as "data-formatters" organize the data on the media ("put a filesystem on it").
The most obvious difference between the ISO 9660 filesystem compared to the ReiserFS or Extended-2 filesystem is: you can't modify files once they are written. Other limitations of the ISO-9660-filesystem include:
RockRidge is an extension to allow longer filenames and a deeper directory hierarchy for the ISO-9660 filesystem. When reading a CD-ROM with RockRidge extensions under Linux, all the known properties of files like owner, group, permissions, symbolic links appear ("feels like a Unix filesystem"). These extensions are not available when reading the CD-ROM under DOS or the heterogenous Windows-family of operating systems.
El Torito can be used to produce bootable CD-ROMs. For this feature to work, the BIOS of your PC must support it. Roughly speaking, the first 1.44 (or 2.88 if supported) Mbytes of the CD-ROM contains a floppy-disk image supplied by you. This image is treated like a floppy by the BIOS and booted from. (As a consequence, while booting from this virtual floppy, your original drive A: (/dev/fd0) may not be accessible.)
HFS lets a Macintosh read the CD-ROM as if it were an HFS volume (the native filesystem for MacOS).
Joliet brings long filenames (among other things) to newer variants of Windows (95, 98, NT). However, the author knows of no tool that allows long filenames under plain DOS or Windows 3.11.
Video-CDs can be directly played on DVD-devices.
Section 2.8 lists the availability of the mentioned software.
If you want to join the development team (with the intention
to actively help them), send e-mail to
email@example.com and put the word
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