Varsha - Making DVD on Linux!
Maintainer:      Ram Mallappa
Last Update:    Jan 8, 2005

  1. Introduction
  2. Features
  3. Screenshots *
  4. Requirements
  5. Download/Install
  6. Troubleshooting
  7. Tutorial *
  8. Disclaimer

1. Introduction
Varsha is a GUI based DVD authoring tool for Linux.  You can make DVDs from your mpeg files as well as digital still pictures (Slideshow DVD).   You can even combine slideshows with regular video and make them accessible through menus.  Using Varsha, you can also create menus incorporating backdrop of still pictures as well as moving video background.

Varsha is written in Java.  It uses already available command line programs such as dvdauthor, dvd+rw-tools, mkisofs, mjpegtools etc., to do various things in background.  It is still in early stages of development but is usable in general.  I use it myself to make DVDs of my home video.  It is designed in such a way, if you have underlying command line tools (dvdauthor, mkisofs etc.,) working in other operating systems, it can be used outside Linux also. 

If you find bugs, please report them to  mallappa|at|users|dot|sourceforge|dot|net.   Please remember that I work on this project only in nights and weekends and may or may not be able to address your problem immediately.  But, I will make a honest attempt to fix them as soon as I can.

How did I start Varsha?
I wanted to convert my home video (miniDV) tapes to DVDs.  DVD writers were expensive and Linux being my only Operating System at home, did not have proper tools at that time.  Then, I found Kino (DV Video capture/editing/export tool) and started to convert my DV tapes to  VCDs. 

Recently, DVD writers became affordable and I bought one.  Wanted to make DVDs of my home video tapes on Linux.  All I could find were command line tools such as dvdauthor, dvd+rw-tools etc.,  Installed them and spent time learning to use them.  These tools were powerful and had all features I needed but it was mind boggling to remember all those command line options and XML tags.  Making even simplest menus required lot of work.  A small mistake somewhere in the process used to cost me lot of time.  I wrote some shell scripts to help myself.  They worked but required frequent tweaking and ofcourse I used to forget the order of parameters to pass to these scripts and ended up reading the script everytime I want to make a DVD.  Then I started thinking it would be nice if I had a GUI tool where I could just drag and drop my mpegs (generated from Kino) and click few buttons to burn a DVD.  So, being a programmer, my hands started itching and I wrote a simple GUI tool in Java.  After making couple of DVDs, decided to share my little software with others who might be looking for an easier way.  So, spent many nights and wekeends rewriting the whole thing to make it look little more nicer than what I had originally created.  Now, I think I have something that can make your DVD making more fun.   It is free for all, use it if you wish and give me some feedback if you could.


2. Features

(somepeople may want to look at logs from dvdauthor/mkisofs etc., )

3. Requirements 
(Versions I have tested with are in parenthesis)

For building DVD menus and DVD file structure.  This should be avaialble in your distribution.  Being such a nice tool, I do not see why someone would not package it.
For creating ISO image of the DVD prior to burning.  Usually mksiofs comes with all Linux distributions.
To burn the actual DVD on a DVD+/-RW drive.  This is also should be part of your Linux distribution.  Atleast I find it on my Debian (Sid) repository.

This is required only if you want to make slideshows of your digital still pictures.
This is required for doing various image processing tasks.  Many times it gets automatically installed as a pre-requisite of dvd-slideshow.

Ex: If all your mpeg files going into a DVD is 2GB,  you would need another 4GB free space while authoring your DVD.  Reason is, during processing dvdauthor creates a DVD filesystem on harddisk which contains copy of your mpeg files (which uses 2GB) and mkisofs creates an image of your DVD by making a copy of dvdauthor's output (that uses another 2GB).  I am working on atleast avoiding second file from mkisofs and directly send it to DVD for burning.  Until I get that to work, you need to have that much extra free space.

I recommend you try burning on a RW disk first and test if it works.  Don't blame me if you waste DVD blanks  :)

4. Download/Install
(JRE/dvdauthor/mkisofs/dvd+rw-tools etc.,).
If you prefer, you can setup an icon on your desktop to do the above.
You need to do this only first time or only when something changes
I use "ide-cd" driver module (modprobe ide-cd) and it detects my drive at /dev/hdc.  For most people, I would think ide-cd is enabled by default.  Anyway, if you are already burning DVDs from command line using growisofs, then you know what device you specify there.  Specify the same here.

5.  Troubleshooting

6. Disclaimer
I provide this software free of cost with source code and a good intention of making your DVD authoring job easier on Linux.  Even though I test it to make sure it works for me, I can not guarantee it would work for everyone out there.  If it does not work, and if someone provides details on the problem,  I will make a honest attempt to fix it in my spare time but I do not guarantee any timeframe in which fix will be available.   If you want to be notified by email when new releases of Varsha is out, then register yourself on sourceforge project page.  Use this software at your own risk.  This software generates many intermediate files in the "temporary directory" that you specify on "Preferences" dialog box.  Make sure you set that properly and remember to cleanup that temporary directory after you are done to get the space back.