Although discs are slowly becoming obsolete and being replaced by simple transfers or downloads over the Internet, there are still plenty of reasons for burning or copying some discs. In some cases, your Internet connection may not be sufficient enough to download the files you want. For example, distributing CDs/DVDs of Linux distributions is easier than telling computer-illiterate people to visit a website, download a large file, and burn it to a disc themselves. In any case, you need a trusty burning utility to do the job, and Brasero and K3b are your top choices.
I’ve covered Brasero in an article before and showed that it’s a highly capable burning utility. While functional, it does provide an extremely simple interface so that you only see certain functions in one view at a time. Brasero first asks what you’d like to do before it shows anything else.
In the case of disc duplication, you don’t see many other options besides a source and destination drive. If you choose to create a new project, however, you get to see the interface for adding files that you would like to burn. Additionally, if you open an ISO file with Brasero, you’ll be able to burn that image to a destination drive. Of course, settings like ejection after completion and speed control are also included.
Brasero should work with all disc burners without having to require any special drivers. I know that some Windows burning utilities look for specific drives; this is not the case with Brasero.
Brasero is commonly found with the Gnome desktop environment as well as any other Gnome-based desktop environments. Installing the burning utility is as easy as searching through your respective package manager for a “brasero” package.
It’s a very common application so I would be very surprised if your distribution did not have it. Gnome users should have an easy installation, but KDE users may need to be prepared to face a lot of Gnome dependencies marked for installation along with it if they choose to install it anyways.
K3b is the default burning utility for the KDE desktop environment. KDE applications are known to be less simple by valuing features and the ability to customize everything, and K3b is no exception. Unlike Brasero where you are only exposed to certain parts of the application at a time, K3b shows you everything right from the start. You can then use various buttons or menus to access the specific features you’re looking for. K3b’s main interface is concentrated on the idea of creating projects — the top portion of the window shows all of the files on your computer, while the bottom half is everything you want to burn onto the disc.
It may seem to you that K3b, interface aside, has the same features as Brasero, and you would be correct in thinking so. However, it also packs a few others, including a formatting tool for rewriteable discs, tools for ripping audio CDs, video CDs, and video DVDs, and support for plugins and themes. While the ripping features certainly isn’t necessary for a burning utility, all of these are still very nice to have. The plugins support can certainly be handy to extend the functionality of the application. Having different themes is also very nice, but it doesn’t change much besides a few graphics within the application.
Installation may be a bit tricky if you don’t have KDE installed, as K3b usually comes with the base KDE packages. You can try looking for a “k3b” package, or otherwise you’ll need to do some research to see in which package K3b is bundled into. Likewise to Brasero, K3b should work on all burners without question. No special drivers needed.
So which burning utility is ultimately the better choice? Both are pretty good choices, but I have to declare K3b as the winner. While the margin of victory mainly comes from the addition of formatting tools, plugins support, and ripping features, they’re still pretty nice to have. Otherwise, if you want simplicity, then choose Brasero. If you enjoy power, go with K3b. Either way, you’re making a good choice.
Do you still use burning utilities? Are there any noteworthy burning utilities for Linux that are underappreciated? Let us know in the comments!
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