‘q’ dvdauthor vs. dvdstyler

Having returned to the world of Red Hat derived distributions, I’ve take a second look at many of the tools I previously used on that platform to see if there might be something better, or if what used to work still does.

Among the many practical things I do with my Linux computer is turn home movies into DVDs for viewing by family. When I originally moved over onto Ubuntu I had a pile of untouched .avi files that needed to be processed, some of them going back a year or more. There’s even more that have never been pulled off tape.

One of the most popular programs in the Debian/Ubuntu world for making DVD’s is qdvdauthor. As it happens it is also now available as an rpm. Previously the only program I could get to compile for this was dvdstyler, sometimes described as simpler but more limited that qdvdauthor.

After futzing (my Long Island heritage comes through here) around with qdvdauthor for a couple of days, I can safely say that it really does appear to be more sophisticated that dvdstyler. For one thing, the internal scripting engine sets up transcoding and de-muxing/muxing of video files, something dvdstyler doesn’t attempt to do. The only problem is, I’m apparently too stupid to be able to get it to work.

Having failed to build a readable DVD with qdvdauthor, I decided to give dvdstyler another try. At first I attempted to build the latest source, but discovered that it assumed a bleeding edge Ubuntu/Debian environment rather than the more stable setup of a Red Hat enterprise distribution. Falling back on a post I made 2 years ago, I got the source for v1.5.1_2 and was able to successfully built that. I then de-installed (’rm’ is your friend) and built it as an rpm just as I had in 2007.

Although dvdstyler requires you to do a lot of the heavy lifting, like transcoding and mplexing, yourself, on the kind of small productions I do that’s not such a big deal. In many ways it’s more efficient than waiting 10 or 15 minutes for qdvdauthor to fail and then have to go back and debug where the automated scripting engine got it wrong.