18.5. Creating and Using CD Media

Contributed by Mike Meyer.

Compact Disc (CD) media provide a number of features that differentiate them from conventional disks. They are designed so that they can be read continuously without delays to move the head between tracks. While CD media do have tracks, these refer to a section of data to be read continuously, and not a physical property of the disk. The ISO 9660 file system was designed to deal with these differences.

The FreeBSD Ports Collection provides several utilities for burning and duplicating audio and data CDs. This chapter demonstrates the use of several command line utilities. For CD burning software with a graphical utility, consider installing the sysutils/xcdroast or sysutils/k3b packages or ports.

18.5.1. Supported Devices

Contributed by Marc Fonvieille.

The GENERIC kernel provides support for SCSI, USB, and ATAPI CD readers and burners. If a custom kernel is used, the options that need to be present in the kernel configuration file vary by the type of device.

For a SCSI burner, make sure these options are present:

device scbus	# SCSI bus (required for ATA/SCSI)
device da	# Direct Access (disks)
device pass	# Passthrough device (direct ATA/SCSI access)
device cd	# needed for CD and DVD burners

For a USB burner, make sure these options are present:

device scbus	# SCSI bus (required for ATA/SCSI)
device da	# Direct Access (disks)
device pass	# Passthrough device (direct ATA/SCSI access)
device cd	# needed for CD and DVD burners
device uhci	# provides USB 1.x support
device ohci	# provides USB 1.x support
device ehci	# provides USB 2.0 support
device xhci	# provides USB 3.0 support
device usb	# USB Bus (required)
device umass	# Disks/Mass storage - Requires scbus and da

For an ATAPI burner, make sure these options are present:

device ata	# Legacy ATA/SATA controllers
device scbus	# SCSI bus (required for ATA/SCSI)
device pass	# Passthrough device (direct ATA/SCSI access)
device cd	# needed for CD and DVD burners


On FreeBSD versions prior to 10.x, this line is also needed in the kernel configuration file if the burner is an ATAPI device:

device atapicam

Alternately, this driver can be loaded at boot time by adding the following line to /boot/loader.conf:


This will require a reboot of the system as this driver can only be loaded at boot time.

To verify that FreeBSD recognizes the device, run dmesg and look for an entry for the device. On systems prior to 10.x, the device name in the first line of the output will be acd0 instead of cd0.

% dmesg | grep cd
cd0 at ahcich1 bus 0 scbus1 target 0 lun 0
cd0: <HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GU70N LT20> Removable CD-ROM SCSI-0 device
cd0: Serial Number M3OD3S34152
cd0: 150.000MB/s transfers (SATA 1.x, UDMA6, ATAPI 12bytes, PIO 8192bytes)
cd0: Attempt to query device size failed: NOT READY, Medium not present - tray closed

18.5.2. Burning a CD

In FreeBSD, cdrecord can be used to burn CDs. This command is installed with the sysutils/cdrtools package or port.

While cdrecord has many options, basic usage is simple. Specify the name of the ISO file to burn and, if the system has multiple burner devices, specify the name of the device to use:

# cdrecord dev=device imagefile.iso

To determine the device name of the burner, use -scanbus which might produce results like this:

# cdrecord -scanbus
ProDVD-ProBD-Clone 3.00 (amd64-unknown-freebsd10.0) Copyright (C) 1995-2010 Jörg Schilling
Using libscg version 'schily-0.9'
        0,0,0     0) 'SEAGATE ' 'ST39236LW       ' '0004' Disk
        0,1,0     1) 'SEAGATE ' 'ST39173W        ' '5958' Disk
        0,2,0     2) *
        0,3,0     3) 'iomega  ' 'jaz 1GB         ' 'J.86' Removable Disk
        0,4,0     4) 'NEC     ' 'CD-ROM DRIVE:466' '1.26' Removable CD-ROM
        0,5,0     5) *
        0,6,0     6) *
        0,7,0     7) *
        1,0,0   100) *
        1,1,0   101) *
        1,2,0   102) *
        1,3,0   103) *
        1,4,0   104) *
        1,5,0   105) 'YAMAHA  ' 'CRW4260         ' '1.0q' Removable CD-ROM
        1,6,0   106) 'ARTEC   ' 'AM12S           ' '1.06' Scanner
        1,7,0   107) *

Locate the entry for the CD burner and use the three numbers separated by commas as the value for dev. In this case, the Yamaha burner device is 1,5,0, so the appropriate input to specify that device is dev=1,5,0. Refer to the manual page for cdrecord for other ways to specify this value and for information on writing audio tracks and controlling the write speed.

Alternately, run the following command to get the device address of the burner:

# camcontrol devlist
<MATSHITA CDRW/DVD UJDA740 1.00>   at scbus1 target 0 lun 0 (cd0,pass0)

Use the numeric values for scbus, target, and lun. For this example, 1,0,0 is the device name to use.

18.5.3. Writing Data to an ISO File System

In order to produce a data CD, the data files that are going to make up the tracks on the CD must be prepared before they can be burned to the CD. In FreeBSD, sysutils/cdrtools installs mkisofs, which can be used to produce an ISO 9660 file system that is an image of a directory tree within a UNIX® file system. The simplest usage is to specify the name of the ISO file to create and the path to the files to place into the ISO 9660 file system:

# mkisofs -o imagefile.iso /path/to/tree

This command maps the file names in the specified path to names that fit the limitations of the standard ISO 9660 file system, and will exclude files that do not meet the standard for ISO file systems.

A number of options are available to overcome the restrictions imposed by the standard. In particular, -R enables the Rock Ridge extensions common to UNIX® systems and -J enables Joliet extensions used by Microsoft® systems.

For CDs that are going to be used only on FreeBSD systems, -U can be used to disable all filename restrictions. When used with -R, it produces a file system image that is identical to the specified FreeBSD tree, even if it violates the ISO 9660 standard.

The last option of general use is -b. This is used to specify the location of a boot image for use in producing an El Torito bootable CD. This option takes an argument which is the path to a boot image from the top of the tree being written to the CD. By default, mkisofs creates an ISO image in floppy disk emulation mode, and thus expects the boot image to be exactly 1200, 1440 or 2880 KB in size. Some boot loaders, like the one used by the FreeBSD distribution media, do not use emulation mode. In this case, -no-emul-boot should be used. So, if /tmp/myboot holds a bootable FreeBSD system with the boot image in /tmp/myboot/boot/cdboot, this command would produce /tmp/bootable.iso:

# mkisofs -R -no-emul-boot -b boot/cdboot -o /tmp/bootable.iso /tmp/myboot

The resulting ISO image can be mounted as a memory disk with:

# mdconfig -a -t vnode -f /tmp/bootable.iso -u 0
# mount -t cd9660 /dev/md0 /mnt

One can then verify that /mnt and /tmp/myboot are identical.

There are many other options available for mkisofs to fine-tune its behavior. Refer to mkisofs(8) for details.


It is possible to copy a data CD to an image file that is functionally equivalent to the image file created with mkisofs. To do so, use dd with the device name as the input file and the name of the ISO to create as the output file:

# dd if=/dev/cd0 of=file.iso bs=2048

The resulting image file can be burned to CD as described in Section 18.5.2, “Burning a CD.

18.5.4. Using Data CDs

Once an ISO has been burned to a CD, it can be mounted by specifying the file system type, the name of the device containing the CD, and an existing mount point:

# mount -t cd9660 /dev/cd0 /mnt

Since mount assumes that a file system is of type ufs, a Incorrect super block error will occur if -t cd9660 is not included when mounting a data CD.

While any data CD can be mounted this way, disks with certain ISO 9660 extensions might behave oddly. For example, Joliet disks store all filenames in two-byte Unicode characters. If some non-English characters show up as question marks, specify the local charset with -C. For more information, refer to mount_cd9660(8).


In order to do this character conversion with the help of -C, the kernel requires the cd9660_iconv.ko module to be loaded. This can be done either by adding this line to loader.conf:


and then rebooting the machine, or by directly loading the module with kldload.

Occasionally, Device not configured will be displayed when trying to mount a data CD. This usually means that the CD drive has not detected a disk in the tray, or that the drive is not visible on the bus. It can take a couple of seconds for a CD drive to detect media, so be patient.

Sometimes, a SCSI CD drive may be missed because it did not have enough time to answer the bus reset. To resolve this, a custom kernel can be created which increases the default SCSI delay. Add the following option to the custom kernel configuration file and rebuild the kernel using the instructions in Section 8.5, “Building and Installing a Custom Kernel”:

options SCSI_DELAY=15000

This tells the SCSI bus to pause 15 seconds during boot, to give the CD drive every possible chance to answer the bus reset.


It is possible to burn a file directly to CD, without creating an ISO 9660 file system. This is known as burning a raw data CD and some people do this for backup purposes.

This type of disk can not be mounted as a normal data CD. In order to retrieve the data burned to such a CD, the data must be read from the raw device node. For example, this command will extract a compressed tar file located on the second CD device into the current working directory:

# tar xzvf /dev/cd1

In order to mount a data CD, the data must be written using mkisofs.

18.5.5. Duplicating Audio CDs

To duplicate an audio CD, extract the audio data from the CD to a series of files, then write these files to a blank CD.

Procedure 18.1, “Duplicating an Audio CD describes how to duplicate and burn an audio CD. If the FreeBSD version is less than 10.0 and the device is ATAPI, the atapicam module must be first loaded using the instructions in Section 18.5.1, “Supported Devices”.

Procedure 18.1. Duplicating an Audio CD
  1. The sysutils/cdrtools package or port installs cdda2wav. This command can be used to extract all of the audio tracks, with each track written to a separate WAV file in the current working directory:

    % cdda2wav -vall -B -Owav

    A device name does not need to be specified if there is only one CD device on the system. Refer to the cdda2wav manual page for instructions on how to specify a device and to learn more about the other options available for this command.

  2. Use cdrecord to write the .wav files:

    % cdrecord -v dev=2,0 -dao -useinfo  *.wav

    Make sure that 2,0 is set appropriately, as described in Section 18.5.2, “Burning a CD.

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