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KDE vs. GNOME: Who Does DVD Burning and Ripping Better?

"Ease of Use" vs. More Features

May 4, 2010

Bruce Byfield

DVD tools are more important on Linux than on most operating systems. While Windows or OSX users rarely burn CDs or DVDs except for an occasional backup, for many Linux users, burning a Live CD to investigate a distribution is a common task.

Similarly, although the users of other operating systems may extract audio or visuals from a CD, all the really large local content libraries I have seen tend to be on Linux. What is an occasional convenience to others are standard tools in the free and open source lifestyle.

For this reason, DVD tools are well-represented in both KDE and GNOME. On both desktops, earlier tools like X-CD-Roast that are formidable in their options have been replaced with more user-friendly default tools: K3b for KDE, and Brasero for burning and Sound Juicer for audio ripping for GNOME.

All these tools perform their basic tasks well enough for most users. However, what is striking is how clearly each of them demonstrates the design philosophies of the desktops with which they are associated.

Brasero and Sound Juicer typify the radical simplicity of the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines, as well as the old Unix principle of designing a separate application for each task. By contrast, K3B reflects the KDE tendency towards centralized applications that include every option and do every task in their categories. As Amarok does for music, or digiKam does for image management, so K3B is an all-in-one application for everything to do with CDs and DVDs.

Brasero and Sound Juicer and the Typical Use-Cases

For several releases, GNOME included a basic burner in Nautilus. However, the Nautilus burner offered few options beyond the selection of files, and some users may have found it mildly confusing to use. At any rate, for the last three GNOME releases, the Nautilus burner has been replaced by Brasero, which is almost as limited in functionality...

Read the rest of this Linux DVD story at

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