12 March 2007

K3b enters new era with approaching 1.0 release

"One of free software's premier applications, KDE's CD and DVD burning suite K3b, is about to hit the big 1-0. This milestone touts rewritten DVD video ripping and a refocused interface design. The new release represents a level of feature-completeness and stability that surpasses all previous K3b releases and, perhaps, all free software competitors.

The rewritten 1.0 DVD ripping system makes use of a specially designed KIO-slave. KIO is a KDE filesystem technology that allows remote or otherwise obstructed files, as well as local files, to be accessed by KDE applications through a single API. KIO-slaves add support for individual file protocols -- some as easily recognizable as HTTP or FTP and others more specialized. For example, K3b's videodvd:// KIO-slave, Trueg says, "allows [one] to copy the VOB files from Video DVDs with transparent decryption (if you happen to live in a country that allows libdvdcss)." Video DVDs are usually protected with Content Scramble System DRM, which must be decrypted before the video can be played back or copied. There may be legal issues surrounding this decryption in some locales. Once a VOB file for a video track is ripped from a DVD using videodvd://, transcode and a video encoder are automatically used to convert the file into a small, portable format. In past K3b releases, the DVD ripping system demanded that the user rip and encode the VOB files from a DVD in separate steps.

K3b's interface intelligently handles sophisticated functions such as track merging. Click to enlarge.

K3b's plans for KDE 4 consist mostly of changes to the underpinnings of K3b. Trueg hopes to separate the libraries powering K3b from the interface so that individual applications such as Konqueror and Amarok can implement their own CD burning interfaces using K3b as a back end. The current K3b application will also continue to grow and mature."

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