Burnt by disc burning2 min read

I’ve been happily using various pieces of software over the last five years (especially nautilus-cd-burner and K3B) to burn ISO images, create data DVDs, etc. I’ve come to rely on that kind of stuff to work and keep working.
Not in Ubuntu 10.04. For some reason, I have been unable to burn a single data DVD tonight.

Let’s see:

  • I tried dumping one or two files into a blank data project in Brasero, putting a blank DVD+R in and hitting the Burn button. It seemed to work, then failed a few seconds after starting the burn process and dumped a truncated error log (not very helpful, but available further down below).
  • Cursing the good name of Brasero, I promptly uninstalled it and put nautilus-cd-burner back in place, expecting it to do the job where Brasero had left off (Brasero was at least able to create an ISO image). And there came the surprise. Nautilus didn’t work either. That’s news to me. Wait a second. I remember K3B not working either lately. Uh oh.
  • I then tried from the command line, with the following command: growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/sr0=GITS.iso

    • This worked with a (freshly blanked) DVD+RW.
    • …and then when I attempted the very same command with a DVD+R, it failed.

Is it growisofs’ fault? cdrecord? The kernel? Some other thing? There are so many pieces of software in the Linux CD/DVD burning ecosystem that it’s a maze for a non-connaisseur to figure out. And somehow, this is not very encouraging:

For the record, my computer is a Dell Inspiron 530n (ubuntu-certified desktop machine that has worked flawlessly so far) with an Optiarc DVD±RW AD-7200S. My Sony accucore DVD+R discs are the same ones I have kept purchasing over the years (the most reliable I have found).
Here is Brasero’s error log when trying to burn directly from a data DVD project, when trying to burn from a DVD ISO image, and here are my two attempts at using growisofs on the command line (DVD+RW = success, DVD+R = fail).
I’m stumped; I have wasted 3 blank discs and still haven’t been able to burn the data I wanted to give to a friend or even figure out why this is happening. Any ideas? Are there many users affected by this, or are we only a handful? Issues like these are hard to justify in an Ubuntu LTS release.
Update (2010 06 07): it seems the problem was Brasero creating incorrect ISO images. Trying to burn an existing ISO image works, so my drive, kernel, cdrkit/wodim/cdrecorder libraries are not to blame.


35 responses to “Burnt by disc burning2 min read

  1. What does dmesg say?

  2. bonz Avatar

    Brasero never worked for me.
    K3B does work all the time.

  3. ethana2 Avatar

    It’ll be nice ten years from now when the FOSS community spends its time resources on extensive testing instead of redundant packaging.

  4. Pieter Avatar

    I have seen this error too. I think there is nothing wrong with the image that was burned. After the image is burned it checks the cd/dvd image against the original and for some reason this check always fails. Just compare the checksum of the original and the image. Should be the same, at least most of the time 🙂 I get the best results with DVD-RW discs. DVD+RW fails a lot.

  5. @Pieter: no, in my case it’s obviously wrong because it fails at the beginning of the burn, not at the end. The data did not have time to be written entirely.

  6. @Maciej: tons of the following lines repeated:
    sr 1:0:0:0: [sr0] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
    sr 1:0:0:0: [sr0] Sense Key : Illegal Request [current]
    sr 1:0:0:0: [sr0] Add. Sense: Illegal mode for this track
    sr 1:0:0:0: [sr0] CDB: Read(10): 28 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00
    end_request: I/O error, dev sr0, sector 0
    I’ve seen this in some other(s) bug report(s), which could maybe be a sign of a kernel bug of some sort… for what it’s worth, that DVD±RW drive has no trouble playing back DVD videos, erasing discs, etc.

  7. penguin Avatar

    For some reason Debian, Ubuntu and some other distributions seem to use a broken replacement for the original cdrtools. Take a look at this statement from the developer of the original cdrtools for more information:
    There is also a bug report that mentions a ppa to replace the tools:

  8. Jonas Avatar

    Try using cdrtools utilities instead of the one bundled by default. See this bug https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/cdrtools/+bug/177154 for reference concerning the license issues discussed. Not sure if anything has been resolved, but a short summery: the tools in Ubuntu are forks of cdrtools’. Cdrtools seems much more stable, but has licensing issues.

  9. Philippe Rouquier Avatar
    Philippe Rouquier

    I agree with Jonas; cdrtools is a better alternative. Neither wodim nor growisofs seem to be actively maintained these days.
    Unfortunately I have received quite a few bug reports that look like yours and cdrtools may help. Another alternative would be to install libburn that should be automatically picked up and used by brasero if it sees it installed. Of course there is the risk of wasting another disc…
    As for the bug you mentioned in brasero namely the truncated report, it was fixed in stable branch which is worth pulling and using until it hits ubuntu repositories.

  10. François Avatar

    Gnomebaker works fine for me, while Brasero is not reliable on my Dell desktop.

  11. I too have been having problems randomly with Brasero, never with the older nautilus-burn stuff or other methods.

  12. Tu peux tester Nero pour essayer un autre moteur

  13. I know it sounds stupid and is definitely not a fix, but the following procedure works for me(TM):
    1) switch of auto mounting of CDs/DVDs
    2) reboot
    3) burn with brasero, nautilus, etc as usual…

  14. Stuart Avatar

    I get this error with Brasero, but the disk has been burned correctly, as can easily be tested. Obviously I will never know if I do have a real disk error using Brasero.

  15. Jardík Avatar

    Where is the problem, just send few SCSI commands to your drive – you will need TEST UNIT READY to see if there is a disc. GET CONFIGURATION to see what kind of disc is inserted. READ DISC INFORMATION to see if it is blank or formatted. If the disc is DVD+RW (as in your case) and is not formatted, run background format using FORMAT UNIT. Then using WRITE(10) or WRITE(12) write your data on the disc. When you are done, issue SYNCHRONIZE CACHE and if the background format is still running, stop it using CLOSE TRACK/SESSION.
    Commands should be issued using ioctl/SG_IO.
    If you pay me, I will write you working iso burning application, not that piece of crap wodim is 🙂 But I’m not superman and it’ll take me a while.
    > This worked with a (freshly blanked) DVD+RW.
    DVD+RW cannot be blanked. DVD+RW can be either formatted or rewritten, blanking is possible only with DVD-RW and CD-RW. If brasero says it is blanking DVD+RW, it is piece of crap as it cannot succeed. The only thing it could do is rewrite part of thi disc with zeroes so it can look like it is blank, but there is no way to find out that DVD+RW is blank that is 100% working – heuristic analysis is required and heuristic analysis can give bad results…

  16. Me too =(
    DVD+R just gets spit out by the laptop without recognising it.

  17. Luis Medinas Avatar
    Luis Medinas

    Brasero is NOT nautilus-cd-burner or k3b.
    The state of cd burning tools (cdrkit, dvd+rw-tools etc…) on linux is in a very bad state brasero is trying to get over it.
    I encourage you to report bugs to gnome bugzilla and we try to get it fixed.

  18. Luis Medinas Avatar
    Luis Medinas

    Brasero is NOT nautilus-cd-burner or k3b.
    The state of cd burning tools (cdrkit, dvd+rw-tools etc…) on linux is in a very bad state brasero is trying to get over it.
    I encourage you to report bugs to gnome bugzilla and we will try to get it fixed.

  19. Jef Spaleta Avatar
    Jef Spaleta

    Just for clarity. Is this problem only with DVD+R media? Does DVD-R media work?
    Just as a check, I’ve asked a Fedora 13 user on irc to try the growisofs command with DVD+R media to do a burn. They’ve reported back that it works for them. I’ve also gotten reports that k3b and brasero work for users of DVD+R media. I don’t have any +R media myself. All I have is -R media.
    And this isn’t meant to throw stones at your distribution of choice. Hopefully this comparative report will help you figure out where the problem actually is. Maybe there is a patch difference that you can track down that accounts for the difference in commandline growisofs behaviour across distributions.
    I did a quick check of the patches applied to dvd+rw-tools in Fedora 13 and Ubuntu 10.04 packages and i didn’t see anything that stuck out as an obvious candidate. Maybe this is something at the kernel level? If it is then moving to an older Ubntu kernel or to a vanilla mainline kernel should change the behaviour and confirm its a kernel patch. Good luck tracking it down.

  20. I have tried with the packages from https://launchpad.net/~brandonsnider/+archive/cdrtools ; no joy. This rather looks like a kernel issue to me, as it used to work fine a 1-2 ubuntu releases ago.

  21. Try burning with 1x, 2x or 4x speed. I have the same problem on Fedora (and, worse, if I burn a coaster then the drive locks up and the only way to eject the CD is to reboot). But if I burn at no more than 4x speed, and not using the auto / highest possible speed, then it burns fine. If I select 4x then it burns at full speed (8.3x), incidentally.
    Related bugs in Fedora illustrate the problem:
    Whenever someone reports a problem like this, Jurg Schilling jumps into the bug report to point out how broken cdrtools is, e.g. http://cdrecord.berlios.de/private/linux-dist.html#problems . However I don’t get why nobody else in Fedora or Ubuntu has actually fixed the problems.

  22. Sorry, the above comment should say Jurg Schilling likes to point out “how broken forks of cdrtools are, e.g. cdkit”. And it seems that he’s right, the forks are broken. Here’s more on the debate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cdrkit#Fork

  23. Argh. I’m in the freshly-released OpenSUSE 11.3 (GNOME), and I’m running into the same effing problem right down to dmesg results, except using Sony & Staples CD-R discs. Hope they fix it soon… 🙁

  24. Johnner Avatar

    I`ve been using ubuntu for 2 and a half years.Brasero and cd writer used to randomly mess up burning dvds,but I put it down to the dvd brand and just assumed it would sort itself out.
    Then one day several months ago,my cd burning capability vanished.I`ve been searching for a solution ever since.
    I have two machines both running ubuntu,neither of them bootable from pendrives,so I`m currently stuck with a crippled ubuntu,but tonight I shall be going round to a neighbours house and burn pclinuxos and linuxmint.
    I spit on the name of Ubuntu and Shuttleworth.

  25. @Johnner: just don’t use Brasero. Sadly, it’s still unreliable trash. I started using gnomebaker instead and it works fine

  26. Johnner Avatar

    I should have mentioned that I tried ALL of the ubuntu-repository disc burning alternatives.kb3,gnomebaker,cd-writer and they ALL failed.
    It seems this:
    is the reason,not that you`d ever find that out on the ubuntu site or forums,I was searching for months for a solution but only very recently did I get to the heart of the real reason for the failures.
    Looks to me like corporate-inspired sabotage.[snip]

  27. @Johnner: gnome-baker and others work for me; just had to make sure I didn’t reuse the broken iso images created by brasero.
    I really doubt Canonical or Ubuntu in particular has anything to do with this politically. This is an issue you have to bring up in Debian, on which Ubuntu is based on.
    Furthermore, do not post comments needlessly insulting or inciting hatred towards anyone. My blog is not 4chan/b/. I’ll edit comments that contain that kind of stuff.

  28. Hi Neko. Same problem as you — once I installed 10.04 there was no burning to be had on this formerly Debian 5.0.4 machine.
    I just wanted to say that I’ve been working on this problem for about 4 hours now, and I have some small results. Upgrading to 10.10 did not remove Wodim. I still use Wodim, though I am beginning to wonder if it really is the problem. In any case, my former burning methods are completely lost.
    As for the idea about corporate sabotage, I would not say that Canonical or Ubuntu could do something like that. However, if you read leaked enough ‘intellectual property law’ documents on Wikileaks, you will see that big corporations are indeed very hostile toward the idea of the GPL, and I wouldn’t put it past them to try discouraging people from using Linux (such as by disabling a very frequently used program and causing splits).

  29. Update — I strongly encourage anyone experiencing these problems to check where their media was manufactured. After about 5 hours of effort, I managed to burn one disk in 10.10… I was so pleased not to see that ‘unknown error.’ And then when I checked it for errors I found out that something had basically mangled all of the files I’d put on there. Half of them were just gone, the other half corrupt. Then I happened across this blog post: http://adterrasperaspera.com/blog/2006/10/30/how-to-choose-cddvd-archival-media/
    …which, although a few years out of date, is very relevant, explaining the difference between DVD+R and DVD-R, among other things, such as:
    “avoid any media made outside of Japan and Taiwan; especially avoid media made in India)”…
    I’ve got a pack of 15 Indian DVD-Rs I bought on sale a month ago. I’m sure that’s my problem. System fully upgraded, DVD-Rs suddenly stop working, nothing else makes sense as a possible problem.

  30. johnner Avatar

    “Update — I strongly encourage anyone experiencing these problems to check where their media was manufactured.”
    I`m using verbatium which I`ve read is the most highly recomended brand for cd burning.
    STILL no dice.
    As for PclinuxOs fresh install using k3b,what do you know,yet more coasters!
    I won`t even bother with linux mint as it`s ubuntu derived as well.
    I am totally stuck in a linux cd-burning cul-de-sac and getting mightily angry and yet more wasted evenings sifting yet more “googling”.
    I refuse to use windows so I`ll just have to try slackware which is supposed to be untainted by this burning madness,only problem is,the install of it looks daunting.

  31. Johnner Avatar

    Just did a fresh install of ubuntu 10.10
    It still won`t burn cd or dvd,both before and after install.
    I`m going for Zenwalk now,seeing as it`s based on slackware and is easier to install.

  32. johnner Avatar

    Sorry,I meant to say:”…before and after updates”.

  33. Johnner Avatar

    Right then,also scrub Zenwalk(no dedicated burning app,they recommend using command line-not what i`m looking for) and Vector Linux for cd burning.
    If anyone can recommend a single Linux distro with a functioning cd burning capability please,please,please,please do so.

  34. stefan Avatar

    Dear Johanner,
    I dont’t think that you are looking for a linux-distro. A linux distro is a collection of software, and most distros share this software. So changing the distro will not change the software in most cases.
    You are looking for a fix to a burning software. For me, it helped to simply shut down all automounting of all media. After this, I could burn CDs again.
    For you, the problem might be elsewhere. In the kernel, the driver, the burning library. Probably NOT in the distro.
    So if someone recommends a distro, you should be aware that this will probably not be a fix for your problem.

  35. Ton Veltman Avatar
    Ton Veltman

    What helped me in solving OpenSuse 11.3 issues with writing an iso-file to a new blanc CD/DVD is make changes in the File-Management-Preferences configuration:
    Uncheck the following settings in tab=Media:
    > Browse media when inserted
    > Never prompt or start programs on media insertion.