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Linux Magazine: Burn Your Own CDs. Now!

Jul 01, 2000, 12:12 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Perlow)

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"Burning your own audio and data CDs used to be an expensive proposition, but now that the cost of CD recorders and media has plummeted to an all-time low, this technology is available to just about every PC user."

"Until recently, CD recording under Linux was an arduous affair. CD-recording devices were not well-supported, and burning a CD generally required a cryptic command-line interface for anything more complicated than making a simple copy. If you wanted to do things the easy way -- with a nice drag-and-drop mastering interface -- Microsoft Windows was the only game in town. But that's all changed in the last year. Now there are some useful and slick CD-recorder programs for both the GNOME and KDE windowing environments."

"If you don't own a CD recorder already, the first thing you want to do is buy the fastest and best-quality recorder that you can afford. CD-R and CD-RW drives come in either SCSI (internal or external) or IDE models and are capable of 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, and now 12x recording speeds. Just to give you an idea of the reason for the vast price differences among models of various speeds, an 8x recorder can write a full 640 MB disc in approximately nine minutes, a 4x in approximately 20 minutes, and a 2x in about 40. Aside from write speed, one of the most important factors in selecting a good recorder is the size of its read-ahead buffer cache. Anything between 2 MB and 4 MB should greatly improve performance and reduce the possibility of the dreaded "buffer underrun." This happens when the recorder uses up all the data cached by the hard disk in your buffer and creates what is commonly referred to as a "coastered" or unusable CD ("coastering" refers to the art of turning a CD into a beer coaster via a technical snafu)."

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