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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.


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 the /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/README.css file and #libdvdcss2 below.


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

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

  ./configure --prefix=/usr
  sudo make install

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:

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

Detecting and mounting

Use to detect your CD/DVD units:

wodim -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.

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:

See also