I can't find any information that's more recent than 2 years on how to setup packetwriting for my DVD-RAM drive. I like DVD-RAMs for reliable backups and hope to set it up correctly. I tried with some outdated how-tos which resulted in messing up a lot because there was no udev back then! How can I achieve this setup in the latest Ubuntu?

2 Answers 2


DVD-RAM does not require packet writing.

If you are referring to DVD-RW or CD-RW packet writing, I know that there are HOWTOs all over the Internet. However, I have yet to find one that actually works with desktop environments/HAL/dbus/whatever it is that ubermodern systems are using instead of plain old fashioned manual configuration. :-)

I'm sure it is possible. I just can't figure out how to do it reliably without killing half the things that make my system useful. Sorry, this isn't much of an answer at all, I know: I have been searching for one for the last couple of years.

There really were some advantages to the way things were done a few or more years ago.

  • IIUC, DVD-RAM indeed doesn't need software support for packet writing, but it supposedly speeds up writing significantly. I bought a DVD-RAM disc today (my first one ever) and will do some testing over the weekend. :)
    – htorque
    Dec 17, 2010 at 17:58
  • The kernel documentation also states that packet writing is not necessary for DVD-RAMs, but using the module can increase performance. However, I followed the instructions in that document and writing to the DVD-RAM even got slower than simply copying to it in Nautilus.
    – htorque
    Dec 18, 2010 at 20:27
  • Hi! I did get some packetwriting to work with a very old manual. And messed up my whole system. DVD-RAM is the perfect backup solution, well: WAS the perfect backup solution, cause now you rarely get DVD-RAM media with more than 4.7 GB of RAM. There used to be disks with 17.8 as I remeber ...
    – piedro
    Dec 29, 2010 at 19:12
  • Adding: Now I had to reinstall Maverick and still have no packetwriting DVD-RAM support. Annoying ...
    – piedro
    Dec 29, 2010 at 19:13

DVD-RAM is very old so there is no new info. Old and underestimated. DVD-RAM on Ubuntu Linux is easy. I use Ubuntu 16.10 with XFCE4 but that does not matter at all.

Why DVD-RAM? Because it is more reliable and more stable archiving data. See Wikipedia for details on DVD-RAM.

However, DVD-RAM is rather an external drive than a DVD to write on. Not all drives can write and read. However, most modern Laptop and Computer optical drives can.

Careful: DVD-RAM is slow by modern means. Don't force the mount and umount to break.

We have to format it as UDF file system. This is the appropriate FS for the DVD-RAM (I do not quote the details here, use duckduckgo.com)

Know your CD-Writer: Mount a CD, with „mount“ watch out for the name. Like /dev/sr0.

Take the DVD-RAM out of the cartridge if necessary, put it in your drive and reboot.


sudo apt-get install udftools
sudo apt-get install dvd+rw-tools

Make a mount point:

sudo mkdir /mnt/dvdram0

and adapt the user rights etc. You need to adapt the rights again for the mounted DVD-RAM (different than vfat floppy or external drive).

Adapt the fstab:

sudo vim /etc/fstab

For automatic mount enter a new line like

/dev/sr0 /mnt/dvdram0 auto user,users,rw,auto,exec,utf8 0 0

The first auto may better be "udf". The second auto depends on you: Try noauto if the boot process hangs.

Format the DVD-RAM:

sudo mkudffs --media-type=dvdram   /dev/sr0

The default options for mkudffs probably match your needs. Otherwise: man mkudffs !

Mount the DVD-RAM:

mount /dev/sr0

should do it, otherwise use as sudo mount /dev/sr0. With the fstab entry it will be found.

When you ask your CLI now with mount it should answer something like:

/dev/sr0 on /mnt/dvdram0 type udf (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,utf8,user=myname)

Now again adapt the access rights for the mounted(!) drive:

sudo chown myname /mnt/dvdram0
sudo chmod u+rwx /mnt/dvdram0 

Test your access rights:

mkdir /mnt/dvdram0/mydirectory

without sudo it should work. Otherwise check the rights.

Do a reboot now or restart all relevant services.

So now we have

  • installed the tools
  • prepared to mount
  • formatted the DVD-RAM
  • mounted it in the file system
  • adapted the user access

It shall be available in the file manager like a normal drive. Watch out for /mnt/dvdram0 (and in Nemo create a bookmark).

Unmounting takes time because of write completion. It is done from CLI or try to find a way in your browser.

What did I forget? What was wromng?

Better way to unmount??

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