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growisofs - combined genisoimage frontend/DVD recording program.


growisofs [-dry-run] [-dvd-compat] [-overburn] [-speed=1] -[Z|M] /dev/dvd <genisoimage-


growisofs was originally designed as a frontend to genisoimage to facilitate appending of
data to ISO9660 volumes residing on random-access media such as DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, plain
files, hard disk partitions. In the course of development general purpose DVD recording
support was implemented, and as of now growisofs supports not only random-access media,
but even mastering of multisession DVD media such as DVD+R and DVD-R/-RW, as well as
Blu-ray Disc. In addition growisofs supports first-/single-session recording of arbitrary
pre-mastered image (formatted as UDF, ISO9660 or any other file system, if formatted at
all) to all supported DVD media types.


-Z /dev/dvd
Burn an initial session to the selected device. A special form of this option is
recognized to support burning of pre-mastered images. See EXAMPLES section for
further details.

-M /dev/dvd
Merge a new session to an existing one.

Print version information and invoke genisoimage, also with -version option.

Provide maximum media compatibility with DVD-ROM/-Video. In write-once DVD+R or
DVD-R context this results in unappendable recording (closed disk). In DVD+RW
context it instructs the logical unit to explicitly burn [otherwise optional]

At dry-run growisofs performs all the steps till, but not including the first write
operation. Most notably check for "overburn" condition is performed, which implies
that genisoimage is invoked and terminated prematurely.

Normally single layer DVD media can accommodate up to approximately 4.700.000.000
bytes (in marketing speech 4.7GB). In other words a DVD can contain about 4.377 GiB
or 4482 MiB. Same kind of arithmetics applies to Blu-ray Disc capacity of bytes. Anyway, growisofs won't start without this option, if
"overburn" condition appears to be unavoidable.

An option to control recording velocity. Most commonly you'll use -speed=1 with
"no-name" media, if default speed setting messes up the media. Keep in mind that N
essentially denotes speed closest to N*1385KBps in DVD or N*4496KBps in Blu-ray
Disc case among those offered by unit for currently mounted media. The list can be
found in dvd+rw-mediainfo output. Note that Blu-ray Disc recordings are commonly
performed at ~1/2 of advertised speed, because of defect management being in

More options can be found in the manpage for genisoimage.

There are several undocumented options commonly denoted with -use-the-force-luke prefix.
Some of them serve debugging purposes. Some require certain knowledge about recording
process or even OS kernel internals and as being such can induce confusing behaviour. Some
are to be used in very specific situations better recognized by front-ends or automated
scripts. Rationale behind leaving these options undocumented is that those few users who
would actually need to use them directly can as well consult the source code or obtain
specific instructions elsewhere.


When using growisofs you may not use the -o option for an output file. growisofs dumps
the image directly to the media;

You don't have to specify the -C option to create a higher level session on a multisession
disk, growisofs will construct one for you;

Otherwise everything that applies to [multisession] mastering with genisoimage applies to
growisofs as well. growisofs needs at least mkisofs version 1.14, version 2.0 is required
for multisession write-once recordings or genisoimage.


Actual device names vary from one operating system to another. We use /dev/dvd as a
collective name or as symbolic link to the actual device if you wish. Under Linux it will
most likely be an ide-scsi device such as "/dev/scd0." Under NetBSD/OpenBSD it has to be
a character SCSI CD-ROM device such as "/dev/rcd0c." Under Solaris it also has to be a
character SCSI/ATAPI CD-ROM device, e.g. "/dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s2" or
"/vol/dev/aliases/cdrom0." And likewise in HP-UX, IRIX and Mac OS X...

To master and burn an ISO9660 volume with Joliet and Rock-Ridge extensions on a DVD or
Blu-ray Disc:

growisofs -Z /dev/dvd -R -J /some/files

To append more data to same media:

growisofs -M /dev/dvd -R -J /more/files

Make sure to use the same options for both initial burning and when appending data.

To finalize the multisession DVD maintaining maximum compatibility:

growisofs -M /dev/dvd=/dev/zero

To use growisofs to write a pre-mastered ISO-image to a DVD:

growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd=image.iso

where image.iso represents an arbitrary object in the filesystem, such as file, named pipe
or device entry. Nothing is growing here and command name is not intuitive in this


If executed under sudo(8) growisofs refuses to start. This is done for the following
reason. Naturally growisofs has to access the data set to be recorded to optical media,
either indirectly by letting genisoimage generate ISO9660 layout on-the-fly or directly if
a pre-mastered image is to be recorded. Being executed under sudo(8), growisofs
effectively grants sudoers read access to any file in the file system. The situation is
intensified by the fact that growisofs parses GENISOIMAGE environment variable in order to
determine alternative path to genisoimage executable image. This means that being executed
under sudo(8), growisofs effectively grants sudoers right to execute program of their
choice with elevated privileges. If you for any reason still find the above acceptable and
are willing to take the consequences, then consider running following wrapper script under
sudo(8) in place for real growisofs binary.

export GENISOIMAGE=/path/to/trusted/genisoimage
exec growisofs "$@"

But note that the recommended alternative to the above "workaround" is actually to install
growisofs set-root-uid, in which case it will drop privileges prior accessing data or
executing genisoimage in order to preclude unauthorized access to the data.

If the media already carries isofs and growisofs is invoked with -Z option non-
interactively, e.g. through cron, it shall fail with "FATAL: /dev/dvd already carries
isofs!" Note that only ISO9660 is recognized, you can perfectly zap e.g. an UDF filesystem
non-interactively. Recommendation is to prepare media for unattended usage by re-
formatting or nullifying first 64KB in advance.

"Overburn" protection in pre-mastered image context works only with plain files and
ISO9660 formatted volumes. E.g. [given that /dev/root is an ext2 formatted file system
larger than 4.7GB] /dev/dvd=/dev/root is bound to produce corrupted recording.

Note that DVD+RW re-formatting procedure does not substitute for blanking. If you want to
nullify the media, e.g. for privacy reasons, do it explicitly with 'growisofs -Z

Playback of re-writable DVD media, both DVD+RW and DVD-RW, might be limited in legacy
DVD-ROM/-Video units. In most cases this is due to lower reflectivity of such media.

Even though growisofs supports it, playback of multisession write-once DVD might be
limited to the first session for two reasons:

· not all DVD-ROM players are capable of multi-border DVD-R playback, even less are
aware of DVD+R multisessioning, burner unit therefore might be the only one in your
vicinity capable of accessing files written at different occasions;

· OS might fail to mount multisession DVD for various reasons;

The above is not applicable to DVD+RW, DVD-RW Restricted Overwrite, DVD-RAM or Blu-ray
Disc, as volumes are grown within a single session.

When growisofs "runs into" blank Blu-ray Disc media, BD-RE or BD-R, it gets pre-formatted
with minimal spare area size of 256MB.

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