While I've given away the ratings already, I thought it would be useful to summarize my final thoughts. What I found over the course of writing this article is that while there is no one clear app for everyone, Linux offers many useful tools to do the job. And it's an easier job than you might expect.
The keys areas for most apps to improve is in creating a single click rip and transcode, better default settings that don't have to be changed by most users, and fixing the known bugs. If more work is put into these three areas then GNU/Linux DVD rippers will finally reach their potential.
I chose K3b as the best DVD ripper because of its clear and attractive interface and its ability to get the job done quickly with minimal fuss and configuration. dvd::rip adds the subtitle feature that is missing from K3b, but goes a step farther to be the only app I found that includes a cluster mode to harness the power of multiple machines on your home network.
If copying a DVD from one physical disk to another is your method of choice then I would look no further than K9Copy. It's simple, easy, and effective.
My final app mention is Thoggen. Its beta status clearly showed during my tests, but the idea and organization of the program makes it a strong future candidate, particularly if you are a Gnome user.
DVD's are great and I've spent more money than I care to count on them, but if you are like me and have more movies than you can remember, a few TV series spread out over too many discs, or a desire to watch in whatever way is most convenient, you start to wish for a better way to watch. For many of us that means moving our DVD's to hard drives so we can watch them where and when we want. It sounds reasonable and should be straight-forward, but for many it's still a mystical art that takes knowledge and patience.
Today makes the first full length review on Linux App Finder, and I'm please to report that ripping a DVD to your hard drive has never been easier, and you if you are a KDE user you might already have one of these programs installed and not even know it. Eights apps were compared on their ability to rip and transcode a DVD, with a special focus on ease of use. A ninth, Drip, was originally going to be included in the review, but it had missing dependencies in Debian unstable and I was unable to install it.
dvd::rip is another ripper with a Gtk based GUI, however it still hasn't made the transition to Gtk2 in the stable release. Fortunately the website lists that the unstable release addresses this deficiency, however, I tested with the 0.52.7 version that is the most recent in the Marillat repository, so I was unable to evaluate the new interface.
A two step program, dvd::rip took slightly more than 5 minutes to rip my DVD and roughly 3.5 hrs to complete the transcode which ranks it as the second fastest in my round-up. It's worthwhile to note that the two quickest apps both used transcode for their back-end.
Other than the GUI, one of the first thing you'll notice is the need to set Preferences prior to ripping a DVD. I'm not sure why it doesn't default to the user's home directory, but it doesn't so you need to set it manually. The developers really should change this so the default is at least usable. Another feather in dvd::rip's cap is that it is very easy to determine if the needed support programs are installed and/or correctly configured. Each tab in the Preferences window also displays the status of any helper programs that are needed. Installing all of the Suggested and Recommended programs in Debian should have you covered.
One really cool sounding feature is Cluster Mode. I did not take the time to set it up for my test, but it is definitely worth looking into if you have a lot of DVD's to transcode or need to do them quickly once you start. For an activity as compute intensive as ripping and transcoding video, having the ability to use multiple computers on your home network can drastically improve your performance. Couple that with dvd::rip already being one of the fastest with just a single computer and you have a real speed demon on your hands.
As with AcidRip, I'll do the step-by-step assuming default settings. I had to make a couple adjustments on my system though. DivX4 is the default codec, but it did not run so I switched to DivX5 instead. I also notice some slight clipping of the file so I set the presets to No Modifications on the Clip & Zoom tab.
Step-by-step (with default file size and options):
- Set Preferences.
- After completing the Preferences, select New Project from the File menu.
- Type in a Project Name in the Storage tab.
- Select Read DVD table of contents from the RIP Title tab.
- Select RIP selected title(s)/charter(s).
- Switch to the Transcode tab.
- Click Transcode in the Operate section at the bottom of the window and wait for it to complete.
As you can see, there are a few more steps that are needed than with AcidRip. Along with the better default preferences that I mentioned above, a one click button that rips and transcodes would be useful and would dramatically simplify the ripping process.
Despite my dislike for dvd::rip's current appearance, it has the right combination of features, ease of use, and performance. Because of this I decided to give dvd::rip a break and not count it's GUI against it because of the impending redesign. The plan to update to Gtk2 is enough to solidify it's number two position with a four star rating and a second place finish.
I'm currently in the process of writing a comparison of available DVD ripping programs for GNU/Linux. I picked the best contenders that I'm aware of and compared their features and ease of use. The goal was finding the best app for converting the main movie of a DVD to a single file playable on any computer and the winner is a surprising one (at least to me since I almost didn't include it). As a bonus I threw in a few apps targeted at creating DVD ISO's for burning back to a rewritable disk. Hopefully it will be ready to go within a week. Keep an eye on the News RSS feed for an announcement.