The Lab Book Pages

An online collection of electronics information

Dr. Andrew Greensted
Last modified: 18th November 2009

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CD Tools

Some information on handling CDs under Linux. This includes info on burning CDs. Normally I'd use the excellent k3B, but when in grumbles the command line can be more successful. Further, more detailed, information can be found on this page.

Making an ISO from a Data CD

Below are a couple of ways that you can make an ISO image from a CD.

> dd if=/dev/cdrom of=image.iso
> cat /dev/cdrom > image.iso

Backing up to an ISO

It's quite easy to create an iso from a directory of files using the mkisofs command. The command has a lot of switches for generating various image types. Below is a quick example for general use.

> mkisofs -v -l -r -J -R -allow-leading-dots -allow-multidot -o image.iso dir

This generates an iso image called image.iso that contains the files within the directory dir. A brief explanation of the command switches is given in the table below. Take a look at the man page for fuller descriptions.

Switch Description
-v Verbose output
-l Allows 31 character filenames
-r Sets file uid and gid to 0 and permissions to globally readable
-J Generate Joliet extensions. Allow windows to read the CD
-R Generate Rock Ridge extensions
-allow-leading-dots Allow filenames to start with a dot
-allow-multidot Allow filenames to contain more than one dot

Mounting an ISO

Mounting an ISO image is a very handy trick. You can access the ISO files just like they came from a CD, but the access is a lot quicker because it's coming from your hard disk (If the ISO is on your hard disk!). Note: You need to be root to do this.

First create a directory that you will mount the ISO to.

> mkdir mntDir

Now issue the mount command.

> mount -o loop -t iso9660 image.iso mntDir

When finished, just unmount it.

> umount mntDir

Copying Audio CDs

The tool of choice for copying Audio CDs (on the command line) is cdrdao.

First use the scanbus option to find your cd drive(s).

> cdrdao scanbus

You use the following command to do the copy, if you only have one drive it will prompt you to change the CD. The 'tocFile.toc' argument specifies where the CD's table of contents file will be written to.

> cdrdao copy --device ATA:1,0,0 tocFile.toc

It's possible to do the read and write stages separately. Below is the read command, followed by the write command. Again, 'tocFile.toc' specifies where the CD's table of contents will be written. The raw data will be written to a file called 'data.bin'. This can be changed with the --datafile switch.

> cdrdao read-cd --device ATA:1,0,0 tocFile.toc
> cdrdao write --device ATA:1,0,0 --buffers 64 tocFile.toc

A specific driver, rather than using the automated choice, can be specified. The driver list on the cdrdao homepage can be used to find the correct driver for your CD drive.

Ripping Audio CDs

There are a whole bunch of programs for ripping audio CDs to mp3 or ogg files. However most of them are just a graphical front end for cdparanoia and encoders like lame and oggenc. Personally I prefer a command line based tool, you get to see more when things go wrong. A particularly nice program is abcde, A Better CD Encoder. It is in fact a shell script that controls the mentioned programs, but does other things like a CDDB look up.

What makes abcde great is the simple config file you can use to control the program's operation. With the right settings you can get a set of ogg files just by issuing the abcde command.

> abcde

Here is an example configuration file, ~/.abcde.conf.

File: ~/.abcde.conf
# ABCDE config file ~/.abcde.conf
# Set CDROM device location

# Set file output directory

# Set file output format

# Set output type to ogg vorbis

# Adjust encoding quality

# Change the mungefilename function to allow spaces in filenames
mungefilename ()
  echo "$@" | sed s,:,-,g | tr / _ | tr -d \'\"\?\[:cntrl:\]

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