CD/DVD creation with Nautilus

In this first article by a new writer to GNOME Journal, Ken VanDine covers everything you need to know about burning data CDs or DVDs using Nautilus. If you’re looking for audio CD burning in GNOME, fear not, for we plan to cover this topic in a future GNOME Journal release.



In the past burning CDs or DVDs has not been a task for the inexperienced Linux user. Depending on hardware, one would have to pass boot arguments or compile custom modules into the kernel. This isn’t the case on a modern Linux system. In fact, if your system has a 2.6 kernel, it should work right out of the box; no tweaking, rebooting, or hair pulling. For those of us who use Gnome, burning CDs or DVDs is very simple. This article will cover creating data CDs or DVDs using tools that every Gnome user has. In the next edition, we will cover creating audio CDs.


Gnome’s integrated Nautilus makes CD/DVD burning simple. I recently stumbled on this powerful feature. For years now I have been using the command line tool, cdrecord. It is a great program, but not trivial to use. In fact, Nautilus uses cdrecord to handle the burning, it just provides a simple GUI. With Nautilus, it is as simple as drag and drop. Here is how!

First, insert a blank CD/DVD in the writer. A window like this will popup:

Drag the files you want to burn into the empty window like this:

When you have selected all the files you want on the CD/DVD, select file from the menu and choose “Write to Disc”.

You will then get a simple dialog like this one:

Update the Disc name to something meaningful, if you like and hit “Write”. When the disc is complete, it will eject.

Here is another little tip. To create an autorun script, create a plain text file named “autorun”, something like this:

#!/bin/sh dir=$(echo $0 |sed ‘s/autorun//’) cd $dir fullpath=$(pwd) exec /usr/bin/nautilus $fullpath

To make it executable, right click on the autorun script and set it to executable.

Drag it into the burn window with the rest of your files. Now, when the CD/DVD is inserted a new nautilus window will open and browse the CD/DVD.

How about creating a CD/DVD from an ISO file? Simple, using Nautilus, browse to the desired ISO file and right click on it.

You will notice an option called “Write to Disc…” at the bottom of the menu. Select that and burn away.

That’s it! You are now an expert at CD/DVD creation with Nautilus.

The Future

As most of you may have noticed already, Linux is evolving very rapidly. In fact, development of Linux and Linux tools have progressed at an astonishing rate. As good as Linux is today, the future is even brighter. Hardware support and integration are getting pretty good, and there are several projects that will make dealing with hardware a breeze. From a CD/DVD point of view, there is a project called libburn that has been adopted by the group. The intention of libburn is to abstract the process of burning CDs and DVDs from the applications allowing all applications to burn. This will provide consistency, better error handling, and broader support.

Discuss this story with other readers on the GNOME forums.


Posted on January 10, 2005, in January 2005. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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