cdrtools vs cdrkit: flogging the dead horse

Davyd McColl davydm at
Wed Jan 14 12:17:16 UTC 2009

Good day

I am quite new to the devel mailing list, so please bear with me.

Recently, I've had a lot of trouble with wodim -- failed burns, refuses to
blank a CD-RW until I have already done so with cdrecord from cdrtools. It
seems that I'm far from being alone.

My initial investigations (prior to most of my issues with wodim) into the
cdrkit vs cdrtools debacle left me feeling that Mr Schilling was just being
plain rude, and that the Debian guys had done a reasonable thing with the
cdrkit fork. Subsequent to the numerous problems that I've had, and the
resolution coming in the form of installing the latest cdrtools from schily,
wherafter wodim on the same drive and media suddenly behaved has lead me to
question exactly why the official cdrtools are omitted from the repository
-- at least, from the "non-free" section, if the licensing (which I have to
admit I haven't examined in-depth, but it probably wouldn't make a
difference since I don't speak fluent lawyer) is an issue.

One of the reasons I shifted from Debian to Ubuntu was the fact that Ubuntu
made an effort to service the best interests of the userbase, even if it
meant including non-free content (sometimes in an optional repository).
Shining examples of how the user has benefitted have come in the form of
NVIDIA/ATI binary blob redistribution (which has been an absolute blessing:
when I had an ATI card, the initial driver install was clean but susequent
installs caused all 3d functions to break -- a problem that took me at least
a month of quake-free computing to rectify) as well as the Firefox artwork.
Where possible, free alternatives are supplied (such as the nv driver and
iceweasel). I whole-heartedly support both schools of thought, though I tend
towards Linus' approach that the BEST solution is always better, even if
it's not necessarily totally free.

The long and the short of it is my question to the mailing list that if
Ubuntu already makes better, non-free alternatives available to the user
base, why isn't there an official package for cdrtools, most notably for the
people like me who have had issues with wodim? I'm in the fortunate position
of being a geek, so finding the cdrtools source, compiling and installing
weren't an issue. But Ubuntu is "Linux for human beings" -- the users who
benefit most from the great work on Ubuntu are the ones who wouldn't be able
to resolve the wodim issue. The issue of cdrkit vs cdrtools doesn't seem to
be all that different from the issue of opensource and proprietary video
drivers -- but perhaps I'm just missing something fundamental here? If I'm
not, then why are they not treated the same?

To add insult to injury, because I can't replicate the problem easily, I
can't even supply more debugging information for the trouble ticket that I
registered (as yet, though I will if I ever do get to replicate the

Truth doesn't cease to be just because you don't agree with it.
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