There are many reasons why one would want to rip a disc to an ISO file. The ISO format stores the disc locally on your hard drive in a way that it can be easily and quickly burnt again to removable media. If you’ve ever wanted to keep a backup copy of some software on your computer, or you would like to store entire DVDs locally on your filesystem, Linux can help you out with that. The program “dd,” provided by most Linux distributions by default, allows for quick, simple ripping of CD’s and DVD’s from a terminal. Let’s get ripping.
“dd” has to be one of the easiest command line programs that there is to work with on Linux. Open up a terminal and we’ll demonstrate just how simple this is. Enter the following command to start the rip:
dd if="/dev/dvd" of="my-dvd.iso"
Is that it? Yep! “dd” will quietly and painlessly rip your disc to your hard drive in the location specified by “of”. It takes “/dev/dvd” as the input to rip from, so you’d probably want to change this to “/dev/cdrom” if you’re ripping from a CD. Let’s demonstrate how to rip from a CD next:
dd if="/dev/cdrom" of="my-cd.iso"
Easy, right? Exactly! Now you can store all of your software and discs locally on your computers hard drive. Since I actually used to use Windows, I can make backups of my Windows XP install disc easily and painlessly. And if you’re a VLC user, you can actually rip a DVD movie to an ISO using the above commands and play back the DVD as if it were in your drive (menus and all!) by opening the ISO with VLC! “dd” is truly a powerful little tool that can quickly get an often-complicated job done without any fuss.