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Info Services > Computing Guide > Data Backup > Backups to DVD on Linux

Backups to DVD on Linux


The best way to write optical media in Linux is via K3B. You can run this program by going to the Linux start menu or by issuing the command "k3b" from the command line.  See our documentation on k3b.


Single Session DVD

Another way is to make an ISO-9660 standard DVD (like burning a CD-ROM in one go). This can then be mounted as a read-only disk later.  You first need to format the DVD (yes, just like you used to format those old floppy disks!):

% dvd+rw-format /dev/dvd  # not necessary for DVD+R or DVD-R disks
% growisofs -Z /dev/dvd -R -J /some/directory
% mount /mnt/dvd
% ls /mnt/dvd             # to see that its all there
% umount /mnt/dvd

Multiple Session DVD

For DVD+RW media, you can add to an existing DVD that was recorded as above as follows, assuming there is enough space (see below for how to calculate this):

growisofs -M /dev/dvd -R -J /some/other/directory

It's critical you use the exact same options here that you use to create the initial ISO-9660 file system, specifically -R -J (use Rock Ridge and Joliet extensions).

As for space, a DVD can hold approximately 4.7 Gigabytes of data. To determine how much space is in a specific directory, use this command:

du -sm /some/area

But... don't include .snapshot areas! See the Snapshots section of Data Backup for a discussion of these. If you give that du command in your /users/{username} area, it will include these (and you don't want that!).