CD/DVD units are generally detected as /dev/hd* (i.e. if you have two hard disk and a DVD unit, /dev/hdc can be the DVD).


You can use many video players on Debian to read video DVDs, including ?Xine (or players with a Xine backend, such as totem-xine) or MPlayer . Most DVDs will require the installation of libdvdread3:

# apt-get install libdvdread3

libdvdcss2 is often required for decryption of many DVDs. This cannot be obtained from the Debian repositories due to the licence restrictions in various countries. It can be downloaded from other sources, such as Please read this file /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/README.Debian and #libdvdcss2 below.



<!> Beware! Much of this is old information. In the age of devfs and udev (or kernel version 2.6), you may not even have an (eg.) /dev/hdc if your drive isn't in the machine when you boot. As of Sarge, they're intended to be used as so:

(1) infidel /home/keeling_ ls -al /media    
total 4
drwxr-xr-x   4 root root 1024 2005-11-08 15:49 .
drwxr-xr-x  23 root root 1024 2005-11-03 19:24 ..
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root root    6 2005-11-03 18:12 cdrom -> cdrom0
drwxr-xr-x   2 root root 1024 2005-11-03 18:12 cdrom0
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root root    6 2005-11-08 15:49 cdrom1 -> cdrom0
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root root    7 2005-11-03 18:12 floppy -> floppy0
drwxr-xr-x   2 root root 1024 2005-11-03 18:12 floppy0

Furthermore, use of SCSI emulation drivers for ATAPI interfaces is deprecated. Instead, you can (and should) use the correct device name directly:

cdrecord speed=8 dev=/dev/hdc -eject -tao -data /scratch/iso/track_01.img


The IDE CD units are called /dev/scd0 (for the first unit) and /dev/scd1 (for the second) in linux

Detecting and mounting

Use to detect your CD/DVD units:

cdrecord -scanbus

To check which special file /dev/cdrom is a symlink to (i.e. /dev/hdc or /dev/scd0), type:

ls -al /dev/cdrom*

To allow some users to play music CDs on the CD-ROM drive, do: 'chgrp cdrom /dev/hdc' ( If it is hdc) or if it is something else (i.e. /dev/scd0) do the corresponding thing. Then type 'addgroup USER_ID cdrom' to allow the user to play music CDs. Changing the group of /dev/hdc (or scd0 or whatever) is necessary, because otherwise you would need to add the user to group disk, which is bad for security.

You can allow any user mount cdrom adding to fstab:

/dev/cdrom /mnt/auto/cdrom iso9660 noauto,users,ro 0 0

You can see if fstab points to the right device typing:

dmesg | grep ATAPI


4GB per File limitation

Writing _file_ larger than 4GB on an iso-9660 dvd is tricky (read wikipedia). The easiest way might be to use UDF.

Converting DVD

Reading encrypted DVDs

Some Video DVD are scrambled, and you need a library (libdvdcss2) to read them:


deb stable main

dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2007.02.14_all.deb

aptitude update
aptitude install xine-ui

aptitude search libdvdcss2

aptitude install w32codecs

aptitude install w64codecs

See also:

GNU/Linux Laboratory