Whenever I recommend a video/movie to a friend, I face one of two possible situations

  • He/she doesn't care about watching it on a PC/laptop. In this case, he/she usually knows how to install, configure, and use Mplayer. So on this side of the fence, there are no problems involving in passing the video to them.

  • He/she doesn't want (or knows how, it doesn't matter) to watch it on the PC, and would rather watch it on, usually, a DVD player. Now that is a problem. Most of the material I watch isn't packaged as a DVD, but instead some random avi, mpg, ogm, or whatever format it came encoded as. Plus, if we are lucky, with some .srt subtitles.

The second case was a problem, since I didn't know any way of creating a DVD from a video file. I tried once, and the way I found involved calling mencoder (the companion of mplayer) a couple of times, then adding the subtitles, and then giving up because I was not going through all that pain again and I didn't even had yet the ISO image I wanted.

Fast forward a few months. I began my search again, with some much more well defined requirements. I wanted a tool that

  • Allows me to create a DVD using whatever video I throw at it, regardless of the format it is encoded, the audio encoding, etc.

  • Allows me to add the subtitles of the video, if necessary.

  • Doesn't require me to provide constants/encoding methods/whatever to the encoder. Hell, I don't even want to know there is a encoder involved. Just do it.

Fortunately, now there are tools that do this (that even fullfill my grumpy-guy requirements :) ). I'll mention the one I'm using: devede. It has slackbuilds available for slackware and proper packages for Debian.

Using it is dead-simple: Tell it which videos do you want to convert to DVD, and tell it where are the subtitles, if needed. Next, Next, Next, Next, wait an hour or so, burn ISO image to DVD. Enjoy.

It looks like you also can create fancy DVD menus, and do more advanced stuff with devede. That's good, I guess. But I use it because it reduces the problem of DVD authoring to a complexity I can afford to manage, and because it provides sensible defaults for all the options it has. Period.

My only complain about it is that it has a GUI. No, is not a rant about how everything should work on the CLI. The thing is, is rather silly to have a GTK app sitting on my desktop, doing nothing for an hour or so, and taking screen space (is worth noting that I stole this idea from somewhere, IIRC linux.com). It would be nice if it were a CLI app, I guess.

So, there you have. Do you want to author DVDs (btw, that is the proper term when searching for these kind of applications. DVD authoring tools. Knowing this will help your sanity and Google a lot) without being forced to understand the nuisances of video encoding? try devede.