To almost quote Wikipedia, ripping is the process of copying input audio or video content (typically from an optical disc such as a CD or DVD) and outputting to a "normal" storage filesystem. Ripping is typically more difficult than simple file copying (as when copying files from a flash drive or external hard drive) in that

Hence ripping audio or video involves at least 3 separate problems:

  1. reading the optical disc
  2. writing to the desired output format
  3. gathering (or authoring) metadata

Fortunately we Debian users have access to many services and software packages to assist us with these problems.

ripping audio CDs

Popular CD rippers with Debian builds include


ripping audio CDs with pacpl

pacpl will rip tracks from the current disc to any of several supported formats with commandlines like

pacpl --rip all --to flac
pacpl --rip 1,3,9,15 --to mp3

Install package=pacpl and read info pacpl (especially section=RIPPING OPTIONS).

ripping audio CDs to MP3s with Sound Juicer

If you want to rip audio CD's to MP3's with Sound Juicer, install the gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly package.

ripping audio CDs to MP3s with abcde

abcde (A Better CD Encoder) is a performant and reliable commandline tool for ripping audio CDs which can be installed from packages. For much more information about abcde, see

Modern versions of abcde come with logical defaults. An easy way to change the defaults is to copy /etc/abcde.conf to ~/.abcde.conf and edit the latter. Everything in the configuration file is commented out, so uncomment and change the values you want.

install abcde

Install abcde from packages with your favorite manager, or from source.

As of buster, abcde comes with many suggested packages that support it. One package that it does not come with, but is required for the default configuration is "eyed3"; that needs to be added separately.

running abcde

Put a CD in the CD reader of the system. Start abcde with abcde to execute with all the defaults and any configuration changes you have made. It will ask a few questions but then proceed to rip and save.

ripping video DVDs

See also

CategorySound CategoryVideo CategorySoftware