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CD/DVD units are generally detected as /dev/sr*, where * is a number starting at 0. So your first drive will be /dev/sr0, second drive /dev/sr1, etc.

Symlinks /dev/cdrom, /dev/cdrw, /dev/dvd, or /dev/dvdrw (pointing to /dev/sr0) may also be created depending on the detected capabilities of your device.

Older versions of Debian may have used device names like /dev/hdc or /dev/scd0 depending on the kernel version and which driver (PATA/SATA/SCSI) was being used for the device.


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. Since most DVDs are protected by CSS (Content Scramble System) you will require the installation of libdvdread4:

# apt-get install libdvdread4

libdvdcss2 is required for the decryption of CSS protected-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.


You can download libdvdcss directly from the project's homepage:

Read the file INSTALL and follow the instructions, e.g.

Done. You should now be able to watch CSS-encrypted DVDs with your favourite Video-Player.



<!> 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

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/sr0, /dev/hdc or /dev/scd0), type:

ls -al /dev/cdrom*

Users need to be members of the "cdrom" group to use an optical device on Debian.

On older versions of Debian, you may have to manually set up group permissions on the optical device to allow some users to play music CDs on the CD-ROM drive; to accomplish this, 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

Optionally add the GPG key.

Note that with adding this repository, you will see further different versions (e.g. Audacity) from this site. Alternatively, you can download the file libdvdcss directly from .

aptitude update
aptitude install xine-ui

aptitude search libdvdcss2

aptitude install w32codecs

aptitude install w64codecs

See also: