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If you want to try the GnomeBaker disc writer as an alternative to Brasero, or already had it only to find it uninstalled when you upgraded Ubuntu to 12.10, there is no version for Quantal Quetzal, but you can nonetheless get it to install. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as just getting Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Center to install it, as it won’t be found in the official repositories.

GnomeBaker CD/DVD Writer

First, you need to add the PPA, which you can do by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnomebaker/stable

Now you need to edit that source list:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gnomebaker.list

… and replace both instances of quantal with oneiric, then save/exit the file.

Next, run the following to update your software sources:

sudo apt-get update

… and then install GnomeBaker:

sudo apt-get install gnomebaker

You’ll now have GnomeBaker back on your system, or have a great alternative to Brasero if you’ve never used it before!

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If you’ve recently upgraded to 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”, you will notice that when you double-click an .iso disc image file, it will want to create an image checksum (for data verification) before it burns the disc. For most of us, this is annoying, as it needlessly adds time to the burning process.

What’s worse is that once the image has been burned to disc, it will want to do it all over again, even though it apparently does not even compare the first checksum with the final one.

If you’ve tried the Preferences button before burning the image only to find nothing useful, the answer can be found by opening the main program window (Applications > Sound & Video > Brasero Disc Burner), and going to Edit > Plugins.

You will see 2 plugins related to checksum creation/verification: File ChecksumEnables Brasero to check the integrity of files“, while Image ChecksumEnables Brasero to perform integrity checks on discs after they have been burnt. Also enables the writing of a small file which holds the MD5 sum of all the files on the disc“.

Now, in my situation the Image Checksum doesn’t seem to do anything but waste time. In theory, having it create a checksum file and sticking it on the disc for later verification seems a great idea, but I’m personally wary of that as it could render some bootable discs useless. Luckily, from what I have seen, it does nothing of the sort, and it seems no checksum file is created anywhere, meaning this plugin is really just wasting your time.

But simply uncheck the Image Checksum plugin to disable it, and your burn process will go back to how it was.

Extra Notes:

You can also uncheck the File Checksum plugin, since it is much simpler verifying data discs via the terminal, but this is not vital.

If you actually find this plugin useful, you can choose the SHA1 or SHA256 hashing algorithms instead of the default MD5, simply by clicking Configure.

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K3b is an excellent disc burning program with lots of features, and one of those is the ability to customise the quick start pane that is shown when there is no open project.

The 2 default buttons are New Audio CD Project and New Data Project, but you can add more to these, or replace them with whatever you please. As an example, I’ll show you how to add a button for movie DVDs while removing the rarely-used audio CD button.

To add a new button, you can right-click any existing button, and from the Add Button menu choose your option.

Alternatively, just right-click anywhere in that pane (other than on a button) and automatically the Add Button menu is displayed. Simply click on your choice and a button for it will be added to the end (right of existing buttons).

To remove a button, simply right-click it and choose Remove Button, and it will be gone from sight. Note that you cannot delete the More actions… button (which is actually a good thing).

As I said, you can add as many buttons as you want. In fact, you can pretty much eliminate the need to go back into the More actions... menu ever again.

However, if you want to keep it neat and tidy, and only really use a couple of options – like burning data discs and movie DVDs – just display buttons for those.

As you can see, it is incredibly easy to tailor K3b‘s quick start pane to your needs, so set it up how you want and you will rarely ever need to click More actions… again.

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Click here for all K3b tips

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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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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’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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