DVDs in Linux

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computing: software: operating systems: Linux: DVDs

Overview

Reading and writing data DVDs in Linux is generally very easy. In situations where Windows, for example, would require installation of a driver in order to be able to burn discs, Linux generally has a driver already installed; Most Linux distros include free software for burning DVDs and CDs (e.g. k3b).

Video DVDs, however, pose some issues for Linux due to the legal semi-quagmire surrounding the CSS copy protection/encryption technology.

Playing Movie DVDs

Playing commercial (encrypted) video DVDs is most commonly done using the libdvdcss descrambling library. Although it does not appear to be illegal, there is enough grey area in the laws surrounding CSS – and enough sabre-rattling by the movie industry – that many Linux distros choose not to include the file, which is nonetheless easily available and (in most cases) not difficult to install.

Applications

  • DVDFab is proprietary software for Microsoft Windows which runs well under WINE; the free demo version does basic decryption, providing files which other programs can use to burn a new DVD.
  • gbDVDenc: "rip & encode DVD into mpeg4 files"
  • k9copy: reads a dual-layer (8.5 GB) DVD and re-encodes it to fit on a single-layer (4.7 GB) disc; it apparently can't read encrypted DVDs without the Medibuntu package, however.
  • VLC can play encrypted DVDs and a number of file formats even without the Medibuntu package.

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