Bizarre Breezy DVD issue.

Michael T. Richter ttmrichter at
Mon Mar 27 09:13:57 UTC 2006

OK, this is weird.

I can use various media players to play DVDs under Breezy.  (It's
annoying that I haven't yet found a player that does all DVDs, but I can
at least always find one that works.)  I can also use AcidRip, vobcopy,
et al (but not dvdrip because it has a user interface from Hell) easily
to rip movies -- protected movies -- from DVD.  (I naturally only do
this for archival purposes -- specifically of movies I need for my
teaching that would be hard to replace should they get damaged.)

So my wedding comes around and I get a DVD from the photography firm.
The DVD plays in a regular DVD player.  It also plays in...  I think
this one was one that only Xine could play.  (Totem-xine chokes,
naturally, but that's OK: I've never got totem to reliably play
anything.)  Anyway, so far so good.  I have relatives in Canada, half a
world away, who want a copy of the video.  It is, naturally, mine to
give.  So I fire up AcidRip and start copying.

AcidRip gives me an AVI with no audio.

Confused, I again run AcidRip, quickly checking it on a commercial
("protected") DVD.  Everything works fine.  I try again on my
unprotected disk.  I get an AVI with no audio.

I can open the disk up, go to the VOBs and play them directly.  No
problem.  Even Totem can play that way.  (If I try to get Totem to play
the disk it says "bad media" -- and then proceeds to play fine from the
bad media when I go to the VOBs directly.  Another meaningless Totem
error message?)  

So I decide to copy the VOBs using vobcopy.  That works wonderfully.  It
merges the VOBs together into a big VOB that plays just fine.
Emboldened and happy, I run ffmpeg on it to convert it to an AVI.
ffmpeg does its stuff and.... the resulting AVI has no audio.  It
identifies the audio channel properly (MPEG 2 format).  It identifies
even the correct sampling rate, number of channels, etc.  But damned if
it will actually WRITE any of that audio to the AVI.  (It claims to
have.  It gives a size for it.  But there's nothing there.)

Again, just to be safe, I check the VOB by playing it directly.  It
plays fine.  With audio.  The AVI is dead silent though.

Giving up on that route for now, I go to Nautilus and right-click the
disk icon, selecting "copy this disk".  The disk suddenly falls off the
face of the universe.  The media is unmounted and has to be ejected and
closed again before it's visible.  (Mount doesn't like whatever state it
finds itself in when Nautilus does its magic.)

So, now I have a question: how can I share this disk with my family?  I
can't send them the AVI version of it because I can't make one that
works.  (And trust me, they REALLY will not be able to figure out how to
play a VOB.  Yes.  I know.  Trust me on this.)  I can't copy the disk to
an ISO file for them to burn.  (Strangely they can handle that.)  What
Magic Incantations<tm> do I need to add to make the various
programs--each of which has worked just fine when ripping protected
DVDs, mind!--recognise that there is audio to copy?

Michael T. Richter
Email: ttmrichter at, mtr1966 at
MSN: ttmrichter at, mtr1966 at; YIM:
michael_richter_1966; AIM: YanJiahua1966; ICQ: 241960658; Jabber:
mtr1966 at
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