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Multi-session DVD still highly relevant

November 22, 2020 — BarryK

This goes back a very long time, to the early days of Puppy Linux. I developed a technique of saving back to the CD or DVD, each session being saved as an extra track.

The technique has mostly been forgotten, but it is still supported in EasyPup and Puppy Linux. Though, support did lapse with some versions of Puppy, I think. One of the woof-CE developers removed it from Puppy, I think, but strong protests caused it to be reinstated -- that protest was on the Murga Forum, or maybe in the woof-CE issus on github, but I don't know the URL. Did a quick search, couldn't find it.

I am just about to upload EasyPup 2.5, and was thinking whether or not I will be releasing any more versions of EasyPup. I give it minimal attention, as most development is happening with EasyOS. It is the "old timers", those with years of Puppy usage and familiarity with optical media and ISO files, that have requested continuation of EasyPup, so I have obliged, so far.

But does EasyPup do anything better than EasyOS, or different, that would justify it's continued existence?

No... except for one thing, the multi-session CD/DVD support. A CD is really not big enough, so a 4G DVD should be used, so from now on, I will just refer to "multi-session DVD"...

It really is a brilliant system, and there are still people using it. if you don't know anything about, it is worthwhile checking out. I explained all about it in March 2008:

Think about it, you optionally save a session, and it is written as a new track on the DVD. You keep doing this, until the DVD is full, then you go onto a new DVD. You write the start and end dates on the previous DVD, and collect them -- a complete audit trail of everything that you have ever done -- and, most incredible, each DVD is individually bootable.

Also, any one of those earlier DVDs can be inserted and its contents read -- each track appears as a folder.

I can understand why there are fans of multi-session DVD. It is very good with a DVD-R or DVD+R, due to the write-once media, so the history is secure. Unlike a flash drive, which has random-access and anything can be modified.

I am toying with the idea of adding multi-session DVD support to EasyOS. There were earlier versions of EasyOS as ISO files, but I discontinued and only offered an image file (.img.gz), usually for writing to a Flash-stick.

The Puppy Wiki also has a page on it:

...they are recommending DVD+R, whereas back in 2008 I recommended DVD-R. I have no idea which is best. I do remember one thing back around 2008 -- multi-session did not work on my laptop optical drive. I vaguely recall other people reporting the same thing, so I don't know if the slim drives used in laptops, and in many desktop PC these days, will support writing multiple tracks.
Well, I can find out, my newish Lenovo desktop PC has one of those slim laptop-style optical drives -- will report back on that!

Hmmm, multi-session DVD with EasyOS, definitely will give that some further thought also... 

Tags: easy