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Original author(s)Jörg Schilling, Eric Youngdale, Heiko Eißfeldt, James Pearson
Developer(s)schilytools team
Initial release4 February 1996; 28 years ago (1996-02-04)
Stable release3.02 (18 September 2022 (2022-09-18)) [±][1]
Preview release3.02a09 (10 December 2017 (2017-12-10)) [±][2]
Written inC
Operating systemCross-platform
Available inEnglish
TypeOptical disc authoring software

cdrtools (formerly known as cdrecord) is a collection of independent projects of free software/open source computer programs.

The project was maintained for over two decades by Jörg Schilling, who died on October 10, 2021.[3][4]

Because of some licensing issues,[5] there is also a Debian fork of an older version of cdrtools called cdrkit.


The most important parts of the package are cdrecord, a console-based burning program; cdda2wav, a CD audio ripper that uses libparanoia; and mkisofs, a CD/DVD/BD/UDF/HFS filesystem image creator. As these tools do not include any GUI, many graphical front-ends have been created.

The collection includes many features for CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc writing such as:


Origins and name change[edit]

The first releases of cdrtools were called cdrecord because they only included the cdrecord tool and a few companion tools, but not mkisofs nor cdda2wav. A copy of mkisofs, created in 1993 by Eric Youngdale for Yggdrasil Linux, was incorporated in 1997.[7][8] In 1998, a copy of an experimental version of cdda2wav, created by Heiko Eißfeldt[9][8] was included in the cdrecord package.[10][11]

In 1999 the project started to be called cdrtools[12][10][13] to better reflect the fact that it had become a collection of tools.

DVD and Blu-ray disc writing support[edit]

DVD writing support (cdrecord-ProDVD) in cdrecord started in early 1998, at the request of the data archivists of the European Southern Observatory.[14][15][16][discuss] But since the relevant information required a non-disclosure agreement and DVD writers were not publicly available, it was not included in the source code.[citation needed] In 2002, Jörg Schilling started offering free license keys to the closed-source variant cdrecord-ProDVD for educational, and research use, shortly thereafter also for private use.[17][18] Unregistered free licenses were initially limited to single-speed writing and would expire every year.[18] On 15 May 2006, support for DVD writing was added to the open-source version 2.01.01a09 after switching the license to CDDL; thereby removing the need to get a license key.[17][19] Blu-ray disc support was added starting 2007.[20]

The lack of open-source DVD writing support in 2001 led to heated discussions on the mailing lists,[17] and to a number of unofficial patches for supporting the Pioneer DVD-R A03, the first DVD writer to reach mass market, and forks of cdrecord: Mandrake shipped a version called cdrecord-dvdhack,[21] whereas Redhat had dvdrecord.[22]

Hardware access controversy[edit]

Unlike cdrkit and libburnia, which use device files to access the hardware, cdrtools uses a different method known as CAM (for Common Access Method),[23] which is available on many operating systems, including some which lack device files or only allow the kernel to access them. This difference has turned into a controversy: some Linux users claim that the method used by cdrtools is not appropriate, while some Linux users claim that the users of cdrtools do not need to know which method is used.[citation needed]

In cdrtools, burning optical media (such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays discs) is done through the SCSI interface. Users of systems with more than one burning device need to provide a SCSI device (which is identified by a triplet of numbers, scsibus,target,lun). Users of systems with only one burning device, however, do not need to specify the SCSI device since cdrtools is able to find it. By 2002 more and more burners were using the ATAPI interface. Linux 2.6 allowed the users to detect the SCSI ID of a device from its UNIX device path (/dev/hdX) and a patch was published that made identifying the burner device for cdrecord simpler by allowing the user to specify the /dev/hdX device name (or even default to a udev managed link such as /dev/cdrw). Schilling, however, rejected this approach as well as other modifications used by Linux distributions, with the rationale that it would make the software more complex and less portable as this function was not available on other UNIX systems.[24] Linus Torvalds states that SCSI LUNs should not be used for addressing devices on Linux,[25] because these numbers are not unique,[25] and do not make sense for many devices anymore[26] (many devices will report 0:0:0 fake numbers[26]). Instead Torvalds recommends that devices should be addressed via their UUID, physical connection, or an alias symlink[26] as managed by udev on Linux. Torvalds pointed out that the ioctl's have been kept to ensure cdrecord compatibility[27] and do not return a meaningful value.[28]

License compatibility controversy[edit]

By 2004, Linux distributions were maintaining a number of unofficial changes – such as allowing the use of /dev/hdX device names and (limited) DVD writing support – that were rejected by Schilling,[24] who repeatedly demanded that distributions stop shipping "bastardized and defective" versions of his "legal original software".[29] Starting with version 2.01.01a09 in May 2006, most code from cdrtools has been relicensed under the CDDL, while mkisofs remains licensed under the GPL.[30] This change led to an ongoing disagreement about whether distribution or use of precompiled cdrtools binaries is legally possible (the GPL permits collective works, but not derivative works; and the Makefiles used to build mkisofs are CDDL licensed). The following are one-sentence summaries of the different positions:

  • Jonathan Corbet, founder of the LWN.net news source argued that this change makes it impossible to legally distribute cdrtools binaries, because the build system used is CDDL licensed (interpreting cdrtools as derivative work of GPL and – GPL-incompatible – CDDL code) and the GPL requires "build tools and scripts also be released under the GPL".[31]
  • Jörg Schilling denied there was a license problem in cdrtools. In his interpretation, it consisted of independent works and thus has not mixed incompatible licenses (i.e. it is a collective work, not a derivative work). According to his interpretation, binary versions may be distributed.[32]
  • Fedora says the cdrtools is a "incompatible mix of the GPL and the CDDL"[33] and Schilling's opinion is a "set of unorthodox opinions on licensing which are not shared by the FSF or Red Hat Legal"[33] and thus cdrtools is forbidden on Fedora.
  • Fedora's legals also proposed three solutions to solve license incompatibility (adding some sort of GPL linking exception, replace CDDL with GPL-compatible license, or dual-licensing CDDL/GPL[34]) and consequently available to re-open discussion about including cdrtools.
  • As is common with the GPL and other open source licenses, very little case law exists to provide guidance to users and provide a definitive answer on whether binary versions are distributable.

As a result of this controversy:

  • Debian,[35] Red Hat,[36] Fedora[34] and Ubuntu[37] dropped the versions of cdrtools with CDDL code from their distributions and switched to the Debian project created cdrkit, a fork of the last GPL-licensed cdrtools version.[38]
  • Jörg Schilling continued to develop his version of cdrtools under the CDDL and GPL (mkisofs) licenses until he died in 2021, whereas the cdrkit fork has received next to no updates since Cdrkit 1.1.11, which was released in 2010.
  • Independent development efforts happen in libburnia which does not contain cdrtools source code, but includes a wrapper "cdrskin" to offer some command line compatibility with cdrecord and is available in many Linux distributions.
  • Gentoo Linux is unaffected, as the potential licensing issue only affects the distribution of precompiled binaries and this distribution compile from source code. It initially offers both versions, as well as libburnia, dropping cdrkit in 2017.[39]
  • Slackware only provided cdrtools (build script for cdrkit is available from SlackBuild.org,[40] but the two packages could not co-exists); libburnia was introduced in November 2020 as needed by KDE Plasma 5.[41]
  • Mandriva Linux, which had dropped its cdrtools package in 2007,[42] was returned by Mandriva to the community[43] and became OpenMandriva Lx, which ships the original cdrtools.[44]
  • openSUSE, which had dropped its customized cdrtools package in 2007,[45] added back the original cdrtools in Fall 2013.[46][47]
  • Since building cdrtools from source is widely accepted as legal, there exist compile instructions for many Linux distributions.[48]

Inclusion into toolset Schily-Tools[edit]

Cdrtools are part of Jörg Schilling's toolset Schily-Tools which was originally distributed on SourceForge.[49]

Schilling stopped updating the cdrtools-only alpha and stable branch in 2017 with version 3.02a9;[50] version 3.02a10 and higher are only included in the source package schilytools.

The "Schily" Tool Box is a set of tools written or managed by Jörg Schilling. It includes the programs: cdrecord, cdda2wav, readcd, mkisofs, smake, bsh, btcflash, calc, calltree, change, compare, count, devdump, dmake based on SunPro Make, hdump, isodebug, isodump, isoinfo, isovfy, label, mt, obosh, od, p, POSIX patch, pbosh, sccs, scgcheck, scpio, sdd, sfind, sformat, smake, sh/bosh (Bourne sh), star, star_sym, strar, suntar, gnutar, tartest, termcap, and ved.

The final version of Schily-Tools published by Jörg Schilling himself is the 2021-09-18 release.[51] After his death, development of Schily-Tools has been taken up by a group of volunteers. Instead of hosting it on SourceForge, it is hosted on a-not-for-profit platform, Codeberg. To mark his passing, his cdrtools final version, 3.02a10 (where the a indicates the software is semantically alpha) was declared to be the new stable version 3.02 with no substantial changes.[52]

Version history[edit]

Version history of cdrtools
Project name Preview releases Stable release Notes
first last version date
cdrecord 1.00 1996-02-04
1.01 1996-10-04
1.02 1996-12-20
1.03 1997-05-16
1.04 1997-05-23
1.5a1 1.5a9 1.05 1997-09-15
1.6a01 1.6a15 1.06 1998-04-18
1.6.1a1 1.6.1a7 1.06.1 1998-10-19
1.8a01 1.8a40 1.08 2000-01-28
1.8.1a01 1.8.1a09 1.08.1 2000-04-27
1.9a01 1.9a05 1.09 2000-07-20
cdrtools 1.10a01 1.10a19 1.10 2001-04-22
2.00 2002-12-25 DVD-Video support since July 2002.[53]
2.00.3 2003-05-28
2.01a01 2.01a38 2.01 2004-09-09 This series was the last GPL-licensed version and was used as base for the fork cdrkit.
2.01.01a01 2.01.01a80 3.00[54][55] 2010-06-02 In May 2006, most parts of cdrtools were switched to the CDDL.[30] Blu-ray support is available since July 2007[56]
3.01a01 3.01a31 3.01[6] 2015-08-26[6]
3.02a01 3.02a09[2] 3.02 2022-09-18 DVD-Audio support since December 2015.[57]

See also[edit]


Software that can use cdrtools[edit]


  1. ^ Clausecker, Robert (19 September 2022). "New features with AN-2022-09-18". The schilytools project. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b Schilling, Jörg (10 December 2017). "cdrtools 3.02a09 announcement". cdrtools.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  3. ^ "RIP Jörg Schilling". Archived from the original on 13 October 2021. I have received message from his family that Jörg Schilling has passed away
  4. ^ "Fraunhofer FOKUS | IT original Jörg Schilling has passed away". www.fokus.fraunhofer.de. Archived from the original on 1 January 2022. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  5. ^ "cdrtools - a tale of two licenses". lwn.net.
  6. ^ a b c Schilling, Jörg (26 August 2015). "cdrtools 3.01 announcement and release notes". cdrtools.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Announcing mkisofs 1.13".
  8. ^ a b "CDRTOOLS = cdrecord + cdda2wav + mkisofs".
  9. ^ "Cdda2wav".
  10. ^ a b "cdrecord-1.8a10 (cdrtools) ready".
  11. ^ "NEW features of cdrecord-1.8a6".
  12. ^ "cdrtools-1.8a19 ready (cdrecord+cdda2wav+mkisofs)".
  13. ^ "Information for build cdrtools-2.01-11.fc7".
  14. ^ "Using DVD Technology for Archiving Astronomical Data" (PDF). European Southern Observatory.
  15. ^ "The Prospects of DVD-R for Storing Astronomical Archive Data". Astronomical Society of the Pacific - Provided by NASA Astrophysics Data System.
  16. ^ "Using DVD Technology for Archiving Astronomical Data (cont'd)". Astronomical Society of the Pacific - Provided by NASA Astrophysics Data System.
  17. ^ a b c "Re: cdrecord floating point exception".
  18. ^ a b "cdrecord will not burn DVD ISO's".
  19. ^ "README".
  20. ^ "Changelog" (in German).
  21. ^ "Support / Security / Advisories / Mandrakelinux 8.2 / MDKA-2002:011-1 / Mandriva". Mandriva. Retrieved 16 October 2014. cdrecord-dvdhack-1.11-0.a31.1.1mdk.ppc.rpm shows that Mandrake maintained a "cdrecord-dvdhack" version.
  22. ^ "dvdrtools - dvdrecord". Archived from the original on 1 December 2002. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  23. ^ "Common Access Method Transport and SCSI Interface Module". International Committee for Information Technology Standards. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  24. ^ a b Corbet, Jonathan (11 August 2004). "The value of middlemen". LWN.net. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  25. ^ a b Torvalds, Linus (27 March 2006). "Re: [PATCH] Move SG_GET_SCSI_ID from sg to scsi". LKML. Retrieved 22 October 2015. the SCSI ID simply doesn't make sense to [Many (most) Linux devices] and they have none. So it's _not_ a unique ID.
  26. ^ a b c Torvalds, Linus (27 March 2006). "Re: [PATCH] Move SG_GET_SCSI_ID from sg to scsi". LKML. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  27. ^ Torvalds, Linus (27 March 2006). "Re: [PATCH] Move SG_GET_SCSI_ID from sg to scsi". LKML. Retrieved 22 October 2015. it does a few ioctl's that cdrecord wanted [...] does NOT try to claim that those numbers "mean" anything [...] BUS/ID/LUN crap really doesn't make sense for the majority of devices out there. Never has, never will.
  28. ^ "Linux source code, scsi_ioctl.c, function scsi_get_idlun". Linux Cross Reference. Retrieved 22 October 2015. return put_user(0, p); [i.e. they always yield 0]
  29. ^ Corbet, Jonathan (12 August 2009). "The unending story of cdrtools". LWN.net. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  30. ^ a b The license change took place on 15 May 2006, when cdrtools-2.01.01a09 was released. (Source: AN-2.01.01a09)
  31. ^ Corbet, Jonathan. "cdrtools - a tale of two licenses". LWN.net. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  32. ^ Schilling, Joerg (27 June 2011). "Comment 17 for bug 213215". Ubuntu bug tracking. Nobody is violating a license for distributing cdrtools either in source or in binary form.
  33. ^ a b "Forbidden items - FedoraProject". fedoraproject.org.
  34. ^ a b "Re: [Fedora-legal-list] Legal CD/DVD/BD writing software for RedHat and Fedora". www.redhat.com.
  35. ^ "#377109 - RM: cdrtools -- RoM: non-free, license problems - Debian Bug report logs". Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  36. ^ "Information for build cdrtools-2.01-11.fc7". Retrieved 4 August 2007. moved back to version 2.01 (last GPL version), due to incompatible license issues
  37. ^ "Minutes from the Technical Board meeting, 2008-08-26". 26 August 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2008.
  38. ^ "cdrkit (fork of cdrtools) uploaded to Debian, please test". Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  39. ^ "591778 – app-cdr/cdrkit removal request". bugs.gentoo.org.
  40. ^ "SlackBuilds.org - cdrkit". slackbuilds.org.
  41. ^ "Welcome to vtown, volkerdi's friendly takeover of alienBOB's ktown Plasma 5 packages - testing/packages/vtown/deps/libburn-1.5.2.pl01-x86_64-1_vtown_1.txz: Added".
  42. ^ "Mandriva Cooker : The Inside Man V". Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  43. ^ "Mandriva SA official blog: Mandriva Linux will return to the community". Mandriva. 17 May 2012. Archived from the original on 23 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  44. ^ Packages of cdrtools for OpenMandriva Lx are available from both the OpenMandriva Association at github.com and RosaLabs's auto build farms at abf.rosalinux.ru
  45. ^ "openSUSE 10.3 Release Notes". www.novell.com.
  46. ^ "[openFATE 311186] original cdrtools - openSUSE Features". openSUSE Mailing Lists. 22 December 2013.
  47. ^ "Joerg Schilys cdrtools". openSUSE Build Service. 14 May 2013.
  48. ^ "CDRTools.org : The unofficial cdrtools website to ease building cdrtools from source". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  49. ^ "The official Shily-Tools project website:" http://schilytools.sourceforge.net/
  50. ^ "cdrecord | Release notes for cdrecord at SourceForge.net". sourceforge.net.
  51. ^ "Schily Tools: Browse files".
  52. ^ Clausecker, Robert (18 August 2022). "cdrecord: bump version to 3.02". codeberg.org. The schilytools project. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  53. ^ Full DVD-Video support (in mkisofs), contributed by Olaf Beck, was added to preview release 1.11a27 on 21 July 2002 (Source: AN-1.11a27) and to stable release 2.00 on 25 December 2002 (Source: AN-2.00)
  54. ^ Schilling, Jörg (18 May 2010). "cdrtools 3.00 release announcement". Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  55. ^ Schilling, Jörg (2 June 2010). "cdrtools 3.00 release notes". Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  56. ^ Support for Blu-ray Discs was added on 4 July 2007 to cdrtools 2.01.01a29. (Source: AN-2.01.01a29)
  57. ^ DVD-Audio support (in mkisofs), contributed by the DVD audio Tools project —credits to authors Jerome Brock and Fabrice Nicol are in source file mkisofs/udf.c— and available in the external packages folder of dvda-author as a patch against cdrtools 3.00, has been refreshed and included in cdrtools 3.02a04 on 16 December 2015. (Source: AN-3.02a04)
  58. ^ "dvdrtools - Summary". GNU Savannah. 28 January 2002. Retrieved 24 January 2016. dvdrtools is a fork of cdrtools/cdrecord with support for writing to DVDs.
  59. ^ "dvdrtools - News: dvdrtools 0.2.0 released". GNU Savannah. 5 February 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2016. dvdrtools 0.2.0 has been released. (This was the last release of dvdrtools before the project was abandoned.)
  60. ^ "cdrtfe - open source CD/DVD/BD burning program for Microsoft Windows". cdrtfe.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 28 November 2015. cdrtfe is a win32 frontend for the cdrtools (cdrecord, mkisofs, readcd, cdda2wav), Mode2CDMaker, VCDImager and other well-known tools.

External links[edit]