The Linux Letter for August
I always thought that the smell of burning
plastic was one of the most offensive odors known to the nose of
man. So when I started burning CD's, I created this odd picture
in my mind of fire spitting out of my computer. Now, given the
temperatures that we routinely achieve in the NOSPIN Network
Operations Center, fire breathing computers might not seem too
far out of the ordinary, but fortunately, it hasn't happened
CD-Recordable and CD-Rewriteable drives get
cheaper and cheaper as time passes. A fewyears ago I bought a
Hewlett Packard 4020i for about $400. That was a great price.
But now I can purchase something four times as fast for about
the same price. Since I love to use Linux on my computers at
home and at work, you can bet that I spent some time finding
just the right CD recording software to use.
At the NOSPIN NOC, we have a Pentium II-300
system that provides several services. It is theprimary
nameserver for several domains, it hosts some Windows 95
applications using VMWare and we create the RedHat Linux CD's
that people like you purchase. That system uses the tried and
true HP 4020i CD recorder.
Installing the hardware is virtually a
no-brainer. A CD recorder is really no different from aCD-ROM
drive. In fact, you can mount a disk in a CD recorder the same
way that you mount a disk in a CD-ROM drive. The real test comes
in actually creating disks. There are several software packages
that are available under the GNU Public License, but most of
them have at their heart a command line utility called cdrecord,
and perhaps a few others.
Now, cdrecord is perfectly useable as your
sole program to author recordable CD's. Of coursethe question
that begs asking is, "Why would you want to?" While
there may be some obscure reason why cdrecord would make a fine
stand alone product, I don't know of one, so I rely on graphical
interfaces to help me do my work.
Several programs are available, including
some that are designed with a particular environmentin mind,
such as toaster (for GNOME), but the easiest to use and most
reliable to me is X-CD-ROAST. This program is written with gtk
and c. It offers a full suite of utilities, including creating
masters from groups of files, copying from one disk to another
and creating music CDs.
The interface is very simple and clean. The
only sticking point was the configuration. Since Iused a SCSI
interface, the configuration program required that I enter some
SCSI ID information that was somewhat difficult to find and a
bit clumsy to enter. I'm told that the next version of the
software will alleviate that problem.
Creating a CD is very easy. Copying one CD
to another is simply a couple of mouse clicksaway. But one of
the most effective uses of this software is to master a CD, or
create an image of the CD in a file on the hard drive. Usually I
create a daily master of the Linux installation tree to burn to
a set of CDs. The process takes about 10 minutes, then CD burns
are much faster and reliable.
X-CD-ROAST supports any CD-Recordable drive
that cdrecord supports, which includes mostIDE and SCSI drives.
It also supports many parallel port CD-R devices.
Linux is an excellent platform for
recording compact discs. Because the operating system is so
responsive and does not require substantial system resources for
itself, you'll find that you can "burn" a CD while you
read an mail or surf the web...something that you would not
dream of doing on a Windows-based system!
The current version of X-CD-ROAST is 0.96e.
0.98 is scheduled for release very soon and sample pictures of
the interface are available on the web. As with most Linux
software, X-CD-ROAST is free.
Hewlett Packard: http://www.hp.com
The latest and greatest Linux kernel is
available, version 2.2.11, and here's a tip that mayspeed up
Find the line "make=make" and
replace it with "make=make -j 5
Remove the "#" from the line
You can potentially speed up kernel
compiles by allowing the system to compile 5 things at once.
Thanks to Dave Bechtel and the gang at http://tunelinux.com