The winner: K3b - 9/10

K3b is the undisputed champion of burning apps on Linux. It's been challenged over the years by a number of competitors, but they've all had their molars punched out before the sixth round. That said, K3b is currently at its weakest and most vulnerable.

It's barely running on KDE 4.2 and it can't yet handle Blu-ray and HD DVD, so is that a sign that it's on the way out? Well, no – not exactly. Work on a KDE 4.2 version is under way with a bit of monetary assistance from Mandriva, and Blu-ray media isn't yet cheap enough to displace DVDs. So the onus, as it always has been, is on the competition to dethrone K3b.

As we've seen, nothing quite matches up. However, Gnome users can pin their hopes on the young Brasero, which is the rightful successor to the ageing GnomeBaker. Brasero's simple interface does enough to satisfy everyday desktop needs and has plenty of nice touches. Unfortunately, it's just not quite the one-stop shop that K3b has become, especially with its current inability to rip audio CDs.

Proprietary apps will always find it extremely difficult to justify their position on a platform overflowing with powerful open source software. Gear Pro is the only tool here that's designed for heavy-duty tasks such as CD/DVD mastering and replication, but it's overkill for simple everyday desktop burning tasks.

Nero Linux on the other hand is designed for the desktop user. The interface is polished, and it's the only burning app that can handle Blu-ray and HD DVDs. But since Windows users get their copy of Nero (one that also includes a video player, image editor and more we might add) for free with their drives, why don't we?

Finally, there's the lightweight X-CD-Roast, which suits a niche, but does little to attract anyone else. So, it's business as usual – K3b rules supreme and Gnome aficionados have a functional alternative that does enough to oppose it.

Meanwhile, we're off to plant a rainforest to negate the carbon footprint of all the CDs and DVDs flamed for this Roundup.

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First published in Linux Format Issue 123

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