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Linux on Dell Precision M90 - Part VI: DVD Viewing/Burning

by: dsmith - May 19, 2006

This section of the document describes the setup of the CD-ROM / DVD in Linux. While this is written specifically for Slackware on the Dell Precision M90 and using a TSSTcorp DVD+-RW TS-L532B drive, many of the items apply generically to a Linux setup.

Optical Drive Setup

If you have been following along with all of these instructions your DVD drive should not even be recognized at this point! If you haven't followed along, it is critical that you set up your kernel to use the SATA bus only. The performance of the drive is not adequate for watching DVDS or burning disks if you don't do this. If you have not recompiled your kernel to use the SATA bus, then go to Part III and follow the instructions there. The rest of this document assumes that the optical drive is set on the SATA (SCSI) bus.

The first thing to do is to get the drive to be recognized at boot-up. This is done by simply editing the lilo.conf file and adding a line to use libata:

To do this, add this line in your lilo.conf file under your current Linux boot entry:

Generic Code Example:

image = /boot/vml2616
  root= /dev/sda5
  label = Linux
  append = "libata.atapi_enabled=1"		<--- Add this line here
  read-only

Please note that this will only work with kernels newer than 2.6.14. There is a different work around for older kernels, but you should just upgrade your kernel. :wink:

Make sure to run lilo and reboot your system. Your optical drive should now be mapped to /dev/sr0. A very easy way to see if your drive is recognized is to try to eject the drive:

Generic Code Example:

eject /dev/sr0

Now you need to set soft links to both /dev/cdrom & /dev/dvd with the following commands:

Generic Code Example:

cd /dev
rm cdrom
ln -s sr0 cdrom
rm dvd
ln -s sr0 dvd

Finally, the device /dev/sr0 should be in a group called cdrom with r/w permissions for that group. If it isn't, then you need to change the group to cdrom which can be done with the following command:

Generic Code Example:

chgrp cdrom /dev/sr0
chmod 660 /dev/sr0

Now you should add any users to this group that are going to be using the DVD/CD-ROM drive. For each user that you want to add to this group, use the following command:

Generic Code Example:

usermod -G cdrom <username>

DVD Viewing Setup

If you have done the above step, everything should be set to work with xine. It is always good to check though. If you type in xine-check at the command prompt (as a user), the program will check all of your devices and settings. If there are no problems here then you are set to go.

I found DVD playback to be smooth and extremely responsive, as long as you are on the SATA bus.

DVD/CD-ROM Burning Setup

If you are using cdrecord or any program that is going to use cdrecord (e.g. k3b), then you are going to need to modify the device permissions of sg0 in a similar manner to sr0. This can be done with the following commands:

Generic Code Example:

chgrp cdrom /dev/sg0
chmod 660 /dev/sg0

To test your setup, try erasing a CD-RW with cdrecord:

Generic Code Example:

cdrecord -dev=1,0,0 blank=fast

If cdrecord grumbles about your dev, try scanning for a device as root:

Generic Code Example:

cdrecord -scanbus

This will give you the correctly found device. Try erasing the CD-RW again as a user. If it still doesn't work, then you need to check your permissions.

KDE Software
This is not very specific to setting up Linux, but if you are looking for a good, graphical and easy to use burning software, I highly recommend K3b. I tested every feature that I could think of and it appeared to be stable and fast with CDs and DVDs.

In my experience, I had to download and install several dependencies. If you download K3b from the previous link and do a ./configure it will tell you the files you may need and where to get them.

Once you have it installed, just make sure that you set it to use the burning group as cdrom. This way, you should have no problems with permissions. This is changed under the Settings menu and selecting K3b Setup.

The DVD/CD-ROM fully works with every feature. Using the media keys as described in the previous section, you can have a fully featured multi-media setup.

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