Backing up/ripping a blu-ray disc

A while back I started to back up my DVD collection using Linux (dvdbackup and Handbrake). For Blu-ray disks I have unfortunately not found any good solutions for Linux and only open source software. Therefore, this guide will show how you may back up your Blu-rays on the MS Windows platform, using AnyDVD HD, BDInfo, Eac3to (inkluding Eac3to and More GUI) and tsMuxer.

1. Backup disk and remove copy protection


AnyDVD HD does a good job removing the copy protection and backing up the disk to your hard drive. It is a proprietary piece of software, but I found that a lifetime license was worth the investment (about € 100).

Please note that removing copy protection may be illegal in some countries. In Norway (where I live) it is, to my best understanding, illegal to circumvent effective copy protection measures. As far as I see it, AnyDVD makes the copy protection on Blu-rays very ineffective. However, there are, to my knowledge, no court orders that defines what effective is. Removing the copy protection may therefore be in the gray area. Nevertheless, I strongly believe consumers should be able to back up their own DVDs and Blu-rays, and use software like XBMC to manage their media collection.

2. Identifying the movie streams


You may want to store the whole blu-ray with all its files and folders. I am however mainly interested in the main feature itself. To identify the stream(s) that contain(s) the movie I use BDInfo. The first and longest playlist normally contain the stream(s) that constitute the movie. The movie in the screenshot above was contained in only one stream (“00000.m2ts”). The streams are always located in the folder “[movie root]\BDMV\STREAM”.

If only one stream (.m2ts file) contains the whole movie, you may simply store this file where ever you like, and watch it with XBMC or any other viewer you’d like. If the movie is constituted of several streams you should use tsMuxer to join/append these streams in the order shown in BDInfo.

Please note that the .m2ts container does not contain subtitles and chapters. If you want this you could for instance use the mkv container. However, since I normally do not care about either, I just back up the .m2ts file.

3. Adding an AC3 sound track and removing unnecessary tracks (optional)


Some players are not able to decode DTS sound tracks. As a consequence of this I normally add an AC3 (Dolby Digital) track to my .m2ts containers. This is done by first encoding the DTS to AC3 using Eac3to.


Next, create a new .m2ts file by adding (muxing) the newly created .ac3 file to the .m2ts file from the blu-ray. This is done using tsMuxer.

While muxing the two files I normally remove tracks that I do not need. This may be languages, presentation graphics, or video tracks with lower resolution. To remove them, simply uncheck the tracks that you do not want.

BankID and Java plug-in in Firefox on Ubuntu Part 5

I have previously written about getting BankID to work on a Linux/Ubuntu computer. Even though BankID worked on a fresh install of Ubuntu 11.04 with OpenJDK, it seems to work best with Sun’s Java implementation. This post will guide you through installing Sun’s JRE and removing OpenJDK.

First install Sun’s java implementation. I installed it from the 10.04 repository (lucid) using the following commands (or Synaptic Package Manager):

sudo add-apt-repository "deb lucid partner"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-fonts

However, I am pretty sure using the 11.04 (natty) respository would work as well (Synaptic should already have an entry for partner software):

sudo add-apt-repository deb-src natty partner

Then remove all the packages concerning OpenJDK (my computers had six different packages). It is probably easier to find and remove the packages by using Synaptic.

Finally, select the java version to use by typing in the following command (pick the one saying “sun jre” and “auto”):

sudo update-alternatives --config java

I have tested the above on two different computers and it is working. If you have problems, leave me a comment and I’ll see if I can help.

Backing up shared, encrypted content with Ubuntu One

Providing a shared folder across the home network is a very useful way to store documents. The documents are available to all the computers in the network, and it is far easier to back them up using one of the many online services. Some of these services provide encryption of your data. However, Ubuntu One does not yet encrypt your data. Even though I do not have any big secrets in my documents, I do not want it to be easy to read them for other people. Therefore, I wanted to encrypt them before uploading them to Ubuntu One.

This post shows how to use a machine with Ubuntu as a central server, how to encrypt your data, and how to back them up using Ubuntu One. The guide assumes that you have a disk (array) containing the data that is mounted outside your home folder in Ubuntu.


There are several ways to encrypt your data. Ì chose to use a virtual, encrypted file system that encrypts my data on the fly. There are several ways to do this, but I chose encfs. It was recommended around the net, and it seems to be working great. Setting it ups is relatively easy. Just follow this great guide by HyRax1 (thanks man). Just take note on how to share the folder with samba (assuming that you already have set up file sharing/samba on your machine. Just google it if in doubt.)

The guid will ask you create two folders. One for the encrypted data, and one for decrypted data. The folder for decrypted data gives you a view that allows you to read and modify your data.

Please make sure to remember your password!

Linking the folder into your home folder

Since Ubuntu One only supports synchronization of folders within your home folder, you have to bind the folder (the encrypted one) into your home folder. Create a folder named “private_documents” in your home folder, and in a command prompt type:

sudo getdit /etc/fstab

Then add a line similar to the one below into your fstab:

/path/to/encrypted_data /home/[user name]/private_documents       none    bind        0       0

Synchronize data with Ubuntu One

Right click your private_documents, select “Synchronize on Ubuntu One”. See this guide for more info. Now you are all done.

The data may now be downloaded and decrypted on another computer simply by installing encfs and mapping the folder:
encfs /path/to/encrypted_data /path/to/decrypted

C Sports: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo: Part 2

Last year, I complained about the pricing and lack of Linux support from the C Sports service. It was at the time, the only service (legally) providing Premiere League streams through the Internet (at least here in Norway). Now, things have changed. TV2’s Sumo is now the new provider of Premiere League streams here in Norway. Since I have subscribed to TV2’s option through cable TV, I have not yet tested their Internet service.

Lennon against Aresenal -
Lennon against Arsenal -

Nevertheless, C Sports has also changed a bit. The good, C Sports now support for Linux through Flash, and they provide streams from the Carling Cup. The bad, the prices are still too high. 79 NOK (10 €) for a game in the first round of the Carling Cup, is still too expensive. At least with the service quality they offer. The ugly: the image! The picture quality on my stream was very poor. Charging 10€ for it is almost a robbery. Moreover, the stream ended five minutes before the game ended!! I could at least not reconnect at the end of the game.

Nice to see more streaming services available on the Linux platform. However, the image and service quality needs to increase, and the price needs to decrease.