Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Copying a DVD for the first time

I rented the last of a series my friend and I were watching (Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex) I highly recommend you watch the entire series anyways, he was supposed to come down for the weekend but couldn't make it, so I figured I'd try to make a copy of the DVD for future watching.

Let me preface all this by saying that I've never nor had I ever had an interest in copying DVDs. I know a little bit about it, mainly the different encoding schemes used, and that everything has to be just right. Since I didn't have any future intrest in copying DVDs I decided i wouldn't bother with all that encoding/decoding/recoding/size/quality/height/width/bullshit/etc crap. I was going to do it quick and dirty. I was going to use Linux.

I rebooted my laptop into Fedora Core 4 Linux and played the movie with xine (media player) with no problems. The way xine plays DVDs is that you create a symbolic link called /dev/dvd and point it to your dvd drive (in my case /dev/hdc). Since I had tons of space on my laptop I simply copied the entire 4.3 gigs of the DVD onto my hard drive.** I then changed the /dev/dvd symbolic link from /dev/hdc to /mnt/dmz/gitssac/ (the directory I copied it to) fired up xine and clicked the DVD button and it came up like it was the real DVD. The software didn't even know the difference.

The reason I was able to do this with linux is because everything is a file. There's no registry, no drivers that have to answer to software, no WMI components, or any other crap to seperate me from my hardware.

Funny I should bring up seperating me from my hardware... You could never do this with Windows.

What's funnier is that the reason you couldn't do this in Windows is not because your computer isn't capable, it's because because windows wouldn't let you.

Which is very strange. You bought the computer, paid the extra $50 for that DVD player, paid for a network card so you could get DSL/Cable, got the huge hard drive, and by simply installing Windows you're unable to get the fullest usage out of that hardware.

Your DVD watching is subject to Licensing crap, copy protection (which can foul up and leave you unable to watch a DVD), and anything else MS gets pressured into adding to "Curb the tide of illegal ______ing"

Your network card will not allow you to use raw sockets which (if your a programmer) can make things very difficuilt. There are many tools out that require raw sockets, and you just don't get them.

Your Hard Drive comes standard with NTFS which while claiming to be more stable causes more headaches than it prevents in a standard home environment. FAT32 is slightly faster, but not enough to speak of. Of more intrest is the recovery from a crash or lost data is simple with FAT32, but with NTFS it's a pain and a half. Anyways, proprietary formats simiply complicate things.

So if your Operating System doesn't do what you want it to do, who exactly does it work for?

If it disables any form of functionality because of pressure from the RIAA, MPAA, and anyone else with deep pockets *cough*DRM*cough*, it really belongs to them. so why the FUCK are you shelling out $199 for it?! Especially when you can get an OS that WON'T limit the abilities of you hardware for FUCKING FREE! To quote the song I'm currently listening to; "Where's your head at?!" (it must be up M$'s ass, because they have you so surrounded with shit that it's almost impossible to see that you have alternatives)

Take back your computer. Use Linux.

** incidently, it took so long to copy all that data that I hacked together a shell script that would output the percentage complete by finding the disk usage of the directory I was copying it to, and piping it to AWK where it was divided by the disk usage (size) of the dvd and multiplied by 100 to get a perentage, coupled with some leading newlines I just squished the terminal so the newlines caried the last output off the screen, and i got an hacker's copy percentage! (also I added a sleep .3 to keep it from pegging my CPU)

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