About Playing Back Non-DRMed Content

I have run across the idea several times, that unknown people in the Industry, wish to block the users’ ability to create Non-DRMed content – that being either Video-DVDs or Video-Blu-rays – and to play back that content on standard playback-devices.

According to my own experiences, this idea is an unsubstantiated rumor. In addition to such a measure seeming pointless – wanting to block content of which nobody claims intellectual ownership – in every case I’ve encountered myself, there was some sort of technical bug or incompatibility, arising from the actual data and its formats.

In my experience, playback devices do what my computers do, which is to play back content as best their logic allows, as long as the content is Not DRMed. Just as with computers, the logic of these machines does not always follow ‘Human Common Sense’.

What this also suggests, is that the description is largely hype, according to which UDF content urgently needs to be of version 2.50 . Higher UDF versions do serve a purpose, but that purpose was never meant to be, to restrict access to technology. Accordingly, I still find the concept plausible, that many consumers have content on Hybrid ISO9660 / UDF 1.02 disks, even if those disks were bought in a store, and that standalone playback-devices simply play them.



The UDF Standards fall under an ISO Specification.

In many of my postings, I have erroneously described ISO and UDF File Systems as being mutually exclusive. In fact, UDF is also known as ISO-13346, while what I was referring to as ‘Legacy ISO’, is actually known as ISO-9660.

Among other things, this means that software engineers were correct all along, to store UDF File System Images in .ISO-Files.

Only, my own habit of storing them with file-names that end in .UDF, will prevent my desktop-manager from offering to open these, with applications only compatible with ISO-9660.



UDF-Capable Disk Burning with K3b and Debian / Stretch

According to This earlier posting, I was using a Debian / Jessie laptop, the first part of which is also known as Debian 8, to burn UDF-Capable Blu-ray Disks, given an external Blu-ray burner, and that version of Linux required help. Specifically, I needed to modify the way K3b behaves, by uninstalling the package ‘wodim’, which provides ‘cdrkit’, and by custom-compiling ‘cdrtools’, which is meant to act as a drop-in replacement for ‘cdrkit’, except for the fact that for the moment, ‘cdrtools’ was more powerful than ‘cdrkit’.

Under Debian / Stretch, which is also known as Debian 9, ‘wodim’ is not suggested by ‘K3b’ anymore, but rather a required dependency, for which reason to uninstall ‘wodim’, would also uninstall K3b. And so I needed to know, whether the package-provided version of K3b, and all its dependencies, could still burn Blu-rays via the GUI.

And the short answer is that Indeed, under Debian / Stretch, the packaged software has the required capabilities, so that to try to modify the behavior of K3b ( v2.0.3 ) is not only a bit risky, but totally unnecessary.

I created a Data-DVD Project – which we would also do for Blu-rays, and then burned that onto a DVD+R with 3 sets of options:

  1. File System = “Linux+Windows”, back-end = ‘growsiofs’
  2. File System = “UDF”, back-end = ‘growisofs’
  3. File-System = “UDF”, back-end = ‘cdrecord’

What I next did, was to run the command ‘df -T /dev/sr0′ , after mounting each disk via the GUI, both actions as a regular user. I found that options (2) and (3) both showed up as a “udf” file-system, while option (1) showed up as an “iso9660″ file-system.

This is as much, as custom-compiling ‘cdrtools’ could do for the user. Also, when going into the Programs settings of K3b, the full range of supported back-ends shows up as being available. Using burning-options (3) above, starts out the dialog with “Using Wodim” in the GUI, but all 3 settings still show me in the K3b GUI, “Burning ISO9660 File System”.

(Updated 10/23/2017 :


If this is to be used seriously for burning Blu-rays, then there is something which the user should further know.

Continue reading UDF-Capable Disk Burning with K3b and Debian / Stretch