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Archive for the ‘CDs & DVDs’ Category

K3b is a versatile CD/DVD burning utility that makes a great addition to anyone’s arsenal of multimedia apps. It has features many others lack, like the ability to successfully burn VIDEO_TS folders to playable movie DVDs, and even if you’re happy with your current burning app, it’s good to have just in case. But it is so feature-rich and easy to use that it could well become your disc burning app of choice.

K3b is actually made for KDE (Kubuntu’s desktop environment), but runs fine in Gnome. If you have KDE installed as a secondary desktop environment, then you’ll already have all the libraries and dependencies K3b will need; if you’re only running Gnome, when you install K3b any bits and pieces of KDE it needs will be installed along with it. It will probably look a bit different than your Gnome apps, because it will be themed by KDE, but should work absolutely fine.

K3b is user-friendly, yet has advanced options, and is even customisable. If you’re using another app and come across something it can’t do for you, you’ll probably find K3b has no such problem. And even if K3b can’t seem to do it, there is probably a way, if you just look around.

In this post you will find all tips related to K3b, so hopefully you can find answers for your burning needs, whether you currently use another program (like the default Brasero) or already use K3b.

If you don’t already have K3b, you can install it via Synaptic, or enter sudo apt-get install k3b into a terminal. Any dependencies will be installed automatically.

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Burn VIDEO_TS Folders to Playable Movie DVDs

Customise K3b: Add or Remove Quick Start Buttons

Long File-Name Support for Burning Data Discs with K3b

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There are many great disc burning apps for Ubuntu, but (just like in Windows) you may find not every one does everything you need. In Windows, you may have found a lack of support for burning ISO images (in Ubuntu, you just right-click and choose “Burn to disc“), but in Ubuntu and its siblings the feature nearly every one of them is missing is the ability to burn a VIDEO_TS folder to a playable disc.

With some, there just is no option for a proper movie DVD, and don’t be too surprised if those that do give you one playable on your computer, but not in the DVD player in the lounge. That’s where K3b comes in.

When you click the More actions… button, choose “New Video DVD Project” from the menu that appears.

You can then just drag and drop the VIDEO_TS folder into the blank project (or browse via the pane above).

You can then double-click the label (“K3b data project“) and enter your own disc label (the old name will be selected so just type away).

When you’re ready to proceed with the burning, insert a blank DVD and click the Burn button. When the dialogue appears, you may want to uncheck the default option of “Verify written data” before proceeding, as when the disc is burned the process will only be 50% through, since it will then scan the disc to verify the data. You may also want to check that “Simulate” is not enabled too, as that will force it to do a test-run before actually burning. Note that any changes you make will become the default, so you won’t have to manually do so again.

You can also choose how many copies you want, lower the burning speed if you’re spitting out coasters, and “Only create image” to “burn” the movie project to an ISO image for burning later. Once you’re ready to burn your DVD, click the Burn button.

You can view the progress via the “Writing Video DVD” dialogue, or just look to the progress bar at the top of your screen.

That’s it! Your movie disc will be watchable in any DVD player.

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Click here for all K3b tips

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Every now and then, you’re going to need some technical info about your optical disc (CD or DVD) drive. For example, if you’re using a command like that outlined in Fix “Cannot find input plugin for MRL [dvd:/]” Error in Kaffeine, MPlayer & Other Media Players in Ubuntu, being sudo ln -s /media/cdrom0 /dev/dvd, it will be useless if /media/cdrom0 is not the actual mount point. Often I see in forums people complaining a command couldn’t find the disc drive, but the command would work if the correct mount point was specified (they’re not universal, which I think many people expect them to be).

But finding out the mount point of your CD or DVD drive is actually quite easy: insert a disc, wait for it to be mounted, and when a folder window opens to the drive automatically (if it doesn’t, open it manually), simply note the path/address in the Location bar! Yes, it’s that easy, since the location won’t be the disc’s label, but the mount point on your system.

Another way to do it is simply browse through the subfolders in /media (or could even be /mnt on older systems) until you find the one that shows your disc (you’ll need to have one in the drive, of course).

Or if you want to do it via the terminal, you can use mount|grep ^'/dev' which will display info as follows:

/dev/sda2 on / type ext3 (rw,relatime,errors=remount-ro)
/dev/sda1 on /media/Windows-XP-x64 type fuseblk (rw,nosuid,nodev,allow_other,blksize=4096)
/dev/sr0 on /media/cdrom0 type iso9660 (ro,nosuid,nodev,user=ozzman)

In this case, /dev/sr0 is the device path, and /media/cdrom0 is the mount point, so if you ever come across a command for your disc drive where the mount point is specified as (for example) /media/disk1, you can pretty much expect it not to work, but at least you know that you can replace the incorrect value with /media/cdrom0 (or whatever your mount point actually is).

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If you are trying to load a movie DVD into Kaffeine or MPlayer, or any other multimedia or video player, and you get the error:

Cannot find input plugin for MRL [dvd:/]

… then creating a symlink via the terminal might be the quick and easy answer to your woes. Basically, you need to link your disc drive’s address to the device /dev/dvd, then all should be good.

Just take note of your drive’s actual mount point, or visible address, which should be something like /media/cdrom0 (and don’t worry if it has the word “cdrom” in it, as it just means any optical disc drive, including DVD burners). Then simply enter the following into a terminal (replacing the drive’s address, if need be), and your DVDs should now open fine:

sudo ln -s /media/cdrom0 /dev/dvd

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Command won’t work? Then your mount point doesn’t match the one listed in the command (/media/cdrom0 is quite common, but by no means universal). All you have to do is change it to the correct address; if you don’t know what your mount point is, then read this.

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Note that you may need to repeat this after rebooting, so you can just hit the on your keyboard to save you retyping it in the terminal, or just make an alias for it. If it’s a common bug, it should get fixed soon enough, but at least it isn’t that much of a major deal getting Kaffeine working again in regards to DVD playback.

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If you’re unfamiliar with MD5 checksums (or MD5sums for short), they are simply a string of numbers (hashes) generated when each file is scanned, to be used to later verify the integrity of the data. You may have noted when downloading Linux .iso images or similar that there either was a text file with it – usually with the same suffix as the main file, but with perhaps an .md5sums extension – or the actual hash below the download link.

Also, you probably know you can check your Ubuntu CD for defects while at the boot menu, but since that just looks to an md5sum.txt file (most common name on Linux live CDs), you can also do so in Ubuntu via the terminal. So, for example, if you’ve burned a copy of the latest Ubuntu (or other Linux distro) live CD for a friend, you can simply open a terminal and check it without having to reboot.

But the most important use of the md5sum command is to create data verification for folders on your drive, as well as data CDs and DVDs, and even video DVDs. If you just wanted to periodically make sure no files are corrupt in a given folder (or whole drive if you want), this is the way to go. If you have a whole bunch of things in a folder you want to burn to a data disc, then the checksum file you create will let you check the disc for defects.

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So when you want to create the checksums, open a terminal in that folder and enter the following:

find -type f -exec md5sum "{}" \; > md5sum.txt

Note that this will also create a hash for the file itself, ie:  md5sum.txt, which will produce an error when checked, since it was generated while the file was still being created:

md5sum: WARNING: 1 of 103 computed checksums did NOT match

When you scroll up the terminal to see the cause of the error, you’ll find:

./md5sum.txt: FAILED

You will need to manually edit out the line for md5sum.txt, and if the file is really large, just hit Ctrl+F and search for md5, and it will take you to the line you need to delete.

OR:

To avoid md5sum.txt being added to the checksums altogether, run the following instead:

find -type f -exec md5sum "{}" \; | sed '/md5sum.txt/d' > md5sum.txt

Note that not only the md5sum.txt currently being generated will be left out, but any other files of the same name that already exist in other folders being checked. If you want to include all the other md5sum.txt files, run the first command instead, and just edit out the reference to the one that was generated in the root folder.

Once that’s done, you can verify the folder/drive any time you wish. With discs, it isn’t limited to data, or rather since the .vob files etc of a DVD are data, you can generate the md5sum.txt in the parent folder of the title (ie: the one VIDEO_TS resides in) and check movies as well as data backups.

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To check a folder, open a terminal there and enter:

md5sum -c md5sum.txt

To check a disc that has that file, including the likes of the Ubuntu CD, you’ll need the terminal pointing at the disc. But rather than open a folder window and choose Open in Terminal from the context menu, you can do that via any open terminal and incorporate the checking command above with:

cd /media/cdrom0 && md5sum -c md5sum.txt

Occasionally systems don’t have cdrom0 as the device name for the disc drive, so when you open a terminal there the other way, make note of the device name and alter the last command accordingly.

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When the check is over, if there are any errors, it will tell you how many failed the test out of how many listed. In the following example, you are actually presented with two errors at the end, the first complaining of a missing file, the other reporting one that seems to be corrupt:

md5sum: WARNING: 1 of 102 listed files could not be read
md5sum: WARNING: 1 of 101 computed checksums did NOT match

You can then scroll up the terminal if need be and find those that didn’t pass:

md5sum: ./Wallpaper01.jpg: No such file or directory
./Wallpaper01.jpg: FAILED open or read

./Wallpaper002.jpg.jpg: FAILED

In this example, Wallpaper01.jpg is seen as “missing”, because it was in fact renamed to Wallpaper001.jpg (to keep in line with the 3-digit numbering of the rest of the files) after the checksum was created (so Wallpaper001.jpg is totally ignored, since there was no hash created for it, and Wallpaper01.jpg is seen as missing, since there is no longer a file of that name). Wallpaper002.jpg is probably corrupt, though not all files that do not pass the test fail to open (but, generally, the case is that the file is corrupt, and the larger the file, the  more chance there is of that).

Otherwise, if all you see is the command prompt with the last file above it with an OK next to it, then all is fine:

./Wallpaper100.jpg: OK

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To make all this easier, make command aliases, like make5 (to generate an md5sum.txt file), 5 (to check a folder) and cd5 (to check a disc that can be verified). This will save you memorising and typing long commands, or even copying and pasting from a text file of commands you’ve probably got (if you’re clever).

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To check a disc image or other file you’re downloading that has a checksum listed, you can generate a checksum, and simply compare the output with what is listed on the website:

md5sum name_of_the_image.iso

Obviously, you’ll need to replace the name in the example with the actual name of the file, but to save typing it if it is long, you can just enter md5sum (followed by a space), drag the downloaded file to the terminal and drop it there, then hit Enter (though you can, of course, just copy the file’s name as well). Then, as I said, simply compare the numbers in the terminal and website.

Now, if you’re downloading a bunch of stuff, all with checksums supplied, you can create your own master checksum file, which will check them all in one go when you’re ready. Syntax is very important, so the lines should look like this:

8790491bfa9d00f283ed9dd2d77b3906 *ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso
3faa345d298deec3854e0e02410973dc *ubuntu-9.10-alternate-i386.iso
dc51c1d7e3e173dcab4e0b9ad2be2bbf *ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso

In this example, Ubuntu CDs are used, but they can be anything, as long as you lay it out like that. You can name the file what you want, but if you want to stick with tradition, and to make it easier to check  (via the command above, or its alias 5), name it md5sum.txt. And you can use this before you get all the files, as when you run the check, it will just tell you 2 out 0f 3 couldn’t be found (and you’ll see the one you did download listed, hopefully with an OK next to it).

If you name the checksum file something different, or in the case of the Ubuntu discs downloaded a master checksum file for all images, and it has a name like Ubuntu 9.10.MD5Sum (though that’s the name I actually gave it), it doesn’t matter. You can just enter md5sum -c (followed by a space), then either type the name of the file, or drag the file to the terminal. Note you can also do this with the alias 5 – it will complain it didn’t find md5sum.txt, but then go on to verify the files recorded in Ubuntu 9.10.MD5Sum (or whatever your file is called). Of course, you could just rename the checksum file to md5sum.txt, but as you can see, you don’t really need to.

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When you’re going to backup a folder to DVD, always run a check on it first. That way, if you’ve done something like renamed a bunch of files after the md5sum.txt file was created, you’ll know before burning a disc that will always come up with those “errors”. You can then either generate new checksums, or open md5sum.txt and replace the old names with the new ones (renaming files does not alter their checksum hashes, so you do not need to generate new ones for them).

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So, hopefully that’s all you need to get you going in setting up some data verification, which comes in handy when wanting to make sure all the data on a DVD is valid before passing it on, or deleting the copies off your hard drive if archiving. And now that you know what those hashes or .md5 files are on websites, make sure you grab them, so you can verify the integrity of your downloads. And if you set up those aliases, all of this becomes even simpler, as those names are short and easy to remember.

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By far the best method of getting your package manager Synaptic to be able to find lots more useful software is to add the Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions In Ubuntu) repository. By adding it, you in fact get access to a whole lot more repos, and you could end up finding packages in a Synaptic search that you couldn’t even find via Google when hoping to download them from the developers’ sites.

Besides finally being able to install those programs you’ve seen recommended but could never locate, Medibuntu makes it painless to get a whole bunch of “non-free” packages (proprietary, copyrighted, or other legal issues). This can range from popular software you usually need to download (and often register for first), like Skype and Google Earth, to even more multimedia codecs that you didn’t get with ubuntu-restricted-extras.

Codec packs and multimedia extras to install once Medibuntu has been added are libdvdcss2 (for playing encrypted retail DVDs), non-free-codecs, and “Win32” codec binaries (required for the decompression of video formats that have no open-source alternative) w32codecs (for 32-bit “i386” systems; for 64-bit systems, install w64codecs, and PowerPC Mac users install ppc-codecs).

For those who just want libdvdcss2, you can download the 32-bit, 64-bit and PowerPC versions (37Kb .DEB installers).

Go to the Medibuntu documentation page for more info, or just enter the following command in a terminal, and it’s all done for you! You can then open Synaptic and see all the extra software available to you, and install those invaluable codecs. Note that all of the below is one command, so copy and paste the lot:

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list \
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update

If this doesn’t work, you could be reading this when it’s outdated, so go to the site and check the command is still the same.

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A nice little media catalog program for keeping track of your data CDs and DVDs is CD Cat (Disc Catalogue). It scans discs, notes all the files and folders, and adds it all to the database. It will even include the tags of MP3 files, and you can add extra comments for any folder or file. You can do searches for words, and it will include your extra comments.

Not only that, but you can use the Add Media button to scan local folders or even entire drives! So, not only can you catalogue your discs, but also your whole hard disk, or just specific folders. You can then use Rescan media to update the database, and do quick searches which will bear even more fruit if you’ve added keywords of use to you in comments on some of the files and folders.

There are other similar programs out there for Linux, but having tried a few, CD Cat is my recommendation. To install it, simply open Synaptic and mark cdcat for installation. Or even quicker, paste the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install cdcat

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