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Review: NeroLINUX 2.0

By Matt Moen on April 05, 2005 (8:00:00 AM)

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There's a growing trend for traditionally Windows-centric software companies to release Linux versions of their products. Nero AG recently decided to jump on the bandwagon by releasing a Linux port of their very popular CD burning software. In this review I'll take a look at what it offers and how it compares to K3b, an established Linux CD writing application.

About NeroLINUX

There are other CD burning programs for Windows, but Nero has the "it just works" reputation. When I heard about their Linux port I was pleasantly surprised and curious as to how it stacked up against K3b, the open source "CD Kreator," which has its own "it just works" reputation in the Linux world.

Installing NeroLINUX

NeroLINUX comes with .deb and .rpm packages. I installed the .deb on my Debian Sarge box, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the packaging. I'm not a Debian packaging expert, but it seems to mostly follow the Debian packaging policy, and added menu items to GNOME as well as Debian's universal menu creation scheme which supports all available window managers. According to the manual, it's supposed to support KDE menus as well.

Running NeroLINUX

When I first tried using NeroLINUX, I was running a 2.4 series Linux kernel. The very detailed manual stepped me through the numerous changes required to get NeroLINUX to operate under a 2.4 kernel (including adding boot-time arguments to my GRUB or LILO configuration and rebooting). Unfortunately, NeroLINUX still couldn't detect my DVD burner. After about an hour of wrestling with the documentation and doing exactly as it instructed, I gave up and decided to use a 2.6 series kernel for the remainder of my NeroLINUX evaluation. I should point out that K3b worked just fine with my 2.4 kernel.

NeroLINUX also presented me with some errors regarding the permissions of certain /dev/sg* devices. The manual thoroughly explained how to resolve these, both with traditional device files as well as the modern udev system. In order to resolve these sorts of things without so much manual intervention, K3b automatically runs its k3bsetup program if it needs to.

I was also presented with some errors about NeroLINUX conflicting with GNOME's magicdev. The manual thoroughly explained how to disable magicdev, complete with pictures. K3b has never had a problem with magicdev.

Attempting to burn CDROMs

I got an ISO of Games KNOPPIX (mostly because it looked interesting) and tried to burn it with NeroLINUX. The program balked at it, saying that my disc was "not writeable." I've heard that some CD burning software is picky about media, so since the first CD was a cheap Office Depot disc from a 100 piece spindle I bought for peanuts a few years ago, I decided to try a Memorex brand disc. Despite being higher quality, these too were "not writeable." In order to confirm my sanity, I burned Games KNOPPIX onto both types of discs with K3b, and both copies booted flawlessly on a separate system.

Feeling lucky, I installed a spare, plain old HP CD burner in another system also running a 2.6 series kernel. I installed NeroLINUX and jumped through all the same hoops again. Even with the 2.6 kernel, NeroLINUX didn't detect my CD burner on this system. Again, for the express purpose of testing my sanity, and this configuration, I tried K3b, and it "just worked."

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Other features

NeroLINUX seems to support many of the same features as K3b, such as dragging and dropping files and directories from file managers into the NeroLINUX window. When I tried simulating the creation of an audio CD, it allowed me to drag and drop .mp3 files, but had trouble with one because its filename contained dashes. It didn't know what to do with the .flac files I dragged to it.

There is volume licensing available with favorable terms. NeroLINUX can be installed on a central server, and there doesn't seem to be any mention of a license server. Instead you're supposed to have some sort of "reasonable mechanism" in place to ensure you're not exceeding your available licenses. This is far better than punishing customers with annoying license server software.

NeroLINUX has potential

When the NeroLINUX developers iron out these fatal flaws and shave off the rough edges, corporations looking to migrate to Linux desktops should seriously consider NeroLINUX. Many users are already familiar with Nero's interface from having used it on Windows.

It's a shame for Nero's sake that they're coming to market this late. K3b has been around for a while and has become quite mature. Had Nero released a functioning program a few years back, they would have sold copies like hotcakes. A friend of mine from a nearby LUG was actually able to get his copy of NeroLINUX working with his hardware. However, he had this to say about it: "Why anyone would bother with Nero when a much superior product, K3b, does it faster, better, and is fully GPL'd, is beyond me." In order to overcome this type of sentiment, the NeroLINUX people need to ensure that their next release isn't inferior to K3b, as is clearly the case with this release. It needs to be better than the free programs currently available.

Purpose CD/DVD Burning
Manufacturer Nero AG
Architectures i386
License Proprietary
Price (retail) $69 if you buy the Nero license online
Product Web site NeroLINUX

Matt Moen is a sometimes freelance writer who is glad that he took notes about this product and wrote this review the following day. He's disturbed at how much more inflammatory his notes are.

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on Review: NeroLINUX 2.0

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Sums up the Entire Article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 06, 2005 02:49 AM
"Why anyone would bother with Nero when a much superior product, K3b, does it faster, better, and is fully GPL'd, is beyond me."

Indeed. Nothing to see here, please move along.

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Re:Sums up the Entire Article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 06, 2005 03:15 AM
I have NeroLinux and like it. It's the only reason I bought Nero. Yeah k3b is an awesome app. However, I look forward to commercial apps being ported to linux. As they find acceptance, more commercial software should find it's way to linux.

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Re:Sums up the Entire Article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2006 09:13 PM
We just don't know what we want...

We all cry for window applications to be ported to linux...
when companies listen to us and port them, we also cry that we have better ones in linux...

What do we really want???
There are more than 20 programs for linux that do the same exact thing as k3b, they might not be as good, but we never complain:

"Why anyone would bother with X-CDRoast when a much superior product, K3b, does it faster, better"

The problem is simple...We want window programs to be ported to linux, yet we live in denial, we always assume that a linux software is better than a window based software and we are afraid of window based programs dominating linux....

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Nice to see more options available!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 06, 2005 07:13 PM
While it's obvious and expected that a first bleeding port of a Windows program cannot quite match up to a full-grown and very usable OSS app (k3b), it's very nice to see Nero actually do something about it, as opposed to many other companies who still just take the (very dangerous, IMHO!) "let's wait and see" approach that is so painful to many people who would like to get into Linux but don't find their main applications ported.
(but admittedly Nero is almost too late, as already said above, given k3b's almost or actual superiority)

IMHO Nero should cover the weaknesses of this first version by focussing on the main aspects of this program: being An Alternative that enhances media capabilities of Linux, by working on those parts that k3b DOESN'T support or parts that could be best done with Nero expertise, i.e. add some nice multimedia creation capabilities that this companies is excelling at (but don't add too much! we don't want bloatware but useful applications!).

If they manage to establish a well-made multimedia talent that quite strongly sets itself apart from the relatively "basic" CD burning support of k3b, then I can see many people buying it.
Otherwise they mainly remain a candidate for the Windows migrating people only that are already familiar with the well-known Windows version and want to be able to use that environment on Linux, too.

Note that my girlfriend is working at that particular company, so consider my opinion tainted<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;-))

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Your Write Error

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 07, 2005 12:09 AM
I've had the same "need writable disc" error problem in k3b. Turns out I had to modify my fstab to let the users group access the drive. For a quick fix, try running Nero as root and see if that works.

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Re:Nice to see more options available!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 25, 2006 07:31 AM
People should actually try using it before they criticize NeroLinux. Try this is K3B: Click on a drive icon and drag it to the "add files" section. You get an empty folder!!!!!!! In NeroLinux, it adds the entire contents of the drive to the "add files". For backing up the contents of a drive to a DVD, NeroLinux is the hands down winner!!!!!!

Doug Roberts
Columbus, OH

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Nero Linux is not a port of the Windows app

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 07, 2005 12:36 AM
As someone else mentioned, it is an old and seriously outdated GTK1 app modified to use Nero's underlying libraries instead of cdrecord and mkisofs.

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Kernels

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 07, 2005 04:24 AM
Not to detract from the overall tone of the review - but on the subject of kernels...

It makes sense to me that they would put their effort (such as it is) into supporting 2.6, as it's a new product and 2.4 is likely to have a declining user base. 2.6 is probably better suited to CD burning anyhow.

That doesn't excuse claiming to support 2.4 but failing however.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;)

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why is it so difficult to accept window programs?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2006 09:18 PM
why is it so difficult to accept window programs?

We all cry for window applications to be ported to linux...
when companies listen to us and port them, we also cry that we have better ones in linux...

What do we really want???
There are more than 20 programs for linux that do the same exact thing as k3b, they might not be as good, but we never complain:

"Why anyone would bother with X-CDRoast when a much superior product, K3b, does it faster, better"

The problem is simple...We want window programs to be ported to linux, yet we live in denial, we always assume that a linux software is better than a window based software and we are afraid of window based programs dominating linux....

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Nero Linux

Posted by: Administrator on April 05, 2005 11:59 PM
I suspect that many other Windows applications that are ported will find it hard to gain a foothold in the Open Source arena. Because of the superior development model of OS, there are few mediocre apps under Linux (and other OS OSes).



K3b is indeed a shining example of mature code that "just works". It did not get that way overnight. It also arrived at it's premier Linux app status after successfully competing with other OS apps such as X-CDRoast.



ISVs could take a lesson from this. It might make sense to start with the OS app first and pattern their offering to the capabilities they find. Then sell it to Windows users !!



I have trouble thinking in terms of proprietary apps anymore as I have used Linux (in various flavors) for 10+ years. The last area where I had a little trouble with Linux is now konquered (spelling error intentional) as well with the latest adds to Linux for removable media and hotplug USB. Now my MP3 player, flash drive, and USB scanner "just work" too.



I happen to be using the Ubuntu distro. With apt-get/Synaptic, I am amazed every night at how the improvements just keep coming. Unless Microsoft purchases the federal government outright, and makes anything but Windows illegal, there is no way I am going back to proprietary software. Come to think of it, even if that did happen, I would just default to being a criminal until I could move out of the US.



Just an old hippie that loves his "free"dom.



Doctor Digital

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nerolinux really gnomebaker

Posted by: Administrator on April 06, 2005 06:10 PM
the author should've mentioned that in nerolinux's about menu, you'll see that it's licensed the gui from gnomebaker. a quick look at gnomebaker's site for screenshots and you'll see how the two are almost exactly the same.

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