by Rob Williams on October 12, 2009 in Linux
One of the best features of Linux is its sheer number of free available applications. But once in a while, certain commercial offerings deliver enough features and an ease-of-use that makes it worthy of consideration. Nero Linux is one of those. Now in its third iteration, Nero Linux remains the definitive optical-burning tool for the OS.
One of the more interesting parts of these menus is where one of the latest features lay, the boot section. When you look here now, you’ll notice that the “Profile selection” option now offers you the ability to burn a disc as an ISOLINUX format, which is important for either creating your own Linux distro, or burning a distro when all you have are the files themselves, and not the original ISO. This is where things get technical, and Nero offers absolutely no documentation on this feature. So, if you plan on using it, it’s best that you already understand the basics of creating an ISOLINUX disc that will boot the way you want it to.
There are other options here as well, such as the ability to create a Windows XP/Vista bootable disc, which would be used for the same purpose as building a bootable Linux disc. You can also choose which type of emulation to use if you are feeling ambitious, with the options being Floppy (1.20MB – 2.88MB), hard drive and also no emulation at all. To use the “User defined” option, you’ll have to understand which options to insert for the load segment and loaded sectors sections.
I admit that most of the time when I use Nero Linux, it’s to either burn an ISO or regular data, but there are many other aspects of the application I don’t pay much attention to due to lack of need, or because it doesn’t offer a feature I’m looking for. Here’s a good example, the audio CD ripping feature:
By default, Nero will not automatically find the track names for your audio CD until you hit Internet DB. I had a major issue with this in Nero Linux 3 (the process of grabbing the names would never end, so I was forced to manually kill the entire application), but this time around, I had no such issue. In fact, the song names were grabbed incredibly fast… I was impressed. While that’s all fine and good, one thing you’ll notice on the “Output” section is that even though MusePack support is boasted, it’s actually only available as a decoder, not an encoder. This is something Nero conveniently forgot to mention on their product page.
To be fair, I am doubtful many people are going to be too concerned over the loss of that feature, but what I don’t get is why the option isn’t there at all. Musepack is a completely free and open-sourced codec, so there’s no need to not include the support for encoding. This could very well be something Nero accidentally overlooked, but I’m really not sure how one of the very few new features in Nero Linux 4 could be overlooked like this. Plus, from an audiophile perspective, who on earth wants to recode an already very lossy format? You’d imagine converting from a lossless source to MusePack would make more sense than the vice versa.
Looking at the product page for Nero Linux on the company’s website, you’ll notice that they put “Audio Features” on its own tab, which would lead me to believe that the audio features is one area where they find the application excels. Sadly though, there’s one lacking feature that keeps me from using Nero Linux to rip my audio… secure ripping. K3b offers cdparanoia support, so why not Nero? Nero Linux already uses some completely free solutions, so I can’t see it being too difficult to implement support for secure ripping.
Whether it’s obvious or not, if you have a large music collection, chances are good that at least one or two discs has scratches that result in audible skips when listened to. That in turn will result in a skip or crackle when ripped to a digital format. Support for secure ripping would greatly lessen the chance of your music ever being ripped with skips in it, so I really hope to the feature added in some future version. I should note that at last check, the Windows version of Nero lacked this feature also.
Nero Linux Express
I’ve left the best new feature for last, Nero Linux Express:
Looks familiar, huh? If you’ve used the Windows version of Nero at any point in history, you probably recognize the “wizard-style” of burning, and to be honest, I quite like it. I don’t tend to look for the easy way out of things (who am I kidding?), but Nero Linux Express is so straight-forward, that when all you need to do is burn some data, then it’s easily the best way to get it done. It’s so straight-forward, that even someone not familiar with Linux or Nero in general could figure it out with ease. You choose your project, add the files, then click burn. Simple.
The options that are included in Nero Linux Express are as follows:
- miniDVD Files
- DVD-Video Files
Image, Project, Copy
- Copy Entire CD
- Copy Entire DVD
- Disc Image or Saved Project
Since Nero Linux supports Blu-ray burning, an option relative to that might appear here if you have a writer, but I couldn’t find any evidence of that anywhere… so it might possibly be left to the full-blown application only. Overall, Nero Linux Express is a great addition, because it makes the entire burning process even easier, for when you just want to get something done, and get it done fast.