Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another win for Linux

Here's my tale...

I was down in Chattanooga visting my sister and brother in law the other weekend and I did not have my trusty open source laptop in tow. My sister recently had a baby and so they were give a camcorder to record the little girls beginnings. This camcorder is of the type that burns its movies to little mini dvds.

As the families resident Computer Guy (my dad's been in management for years so he has no pratical skillz left), I was asked to help move some movies off the mini dvds onto regular dvds so the mini dvds could be reused. With a sigh I sat down at the windows box to get to work.

Since the computer came with a dvd burner, I was lucky to find some version of Nero which claimed to let me copy dvds. Except when I clicked copy dvd, it openend a popup telling me how to buy the full version. *Sigh* Strike one. So I grabbed my trusty google and set off over the intarwebs, knowing there must be some open source program that would let me copy a friggin non-commercial dvd.

After wading waste-deep through crapware for a couple hours (synaptic long ago ruined my windows freeware searching skillz), I found a program that would do what I wanted. Or at least start to.  This program would start to copy the dvd to some proprietary disc image format on the hard 
drive, but then it would fail with some sort of io error. I noticed it would always fail at the same percentage so I figured I'd try to watch it and see if it looked ok.  I loaded up the crappy bundled dvd player software (which took so long to load, I thought it wasnt working) and it too would sieze up at one particular part about 8 minutes in. It would sieze up so hard that I'd have to eject the disc and kill the process to get it to stop. Then I tried it in VLC  (and set it as the default player for dvds). It froze just as hard in the same spot, so I figured it must be a bad spot on the disc. I decided to bring it home with me and try to copy it using Linux.

This is where the story gets awesome. I popped the disc in and up came totem, which played right past the bad spot without a glitch. So 
I was about to go off looking for some high quality open source dvd copying software when I noticed that the right click menu on the dvd icon on the desktop had a copy dist option. 30 seconds later, the lappy was happily copying the disc to an iso on my desktop, which tool another right click to burn to a blank disc. It was almost too easy. Way to go Ubuntu!

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