Although certainly not as many easy to use applications for ripping DVDs for viewing on other devices in Ubuntu as in Windows, there are thankfully a few decent options available to the more knowledgeable Linux users out there. Today’s tutorial will walk you through ripping your DVD and converting it into a plain old video file via the useful DVD::Rip application.

To start things off, you’ll need to enable a few things that don’t come bundled in the standard Ubuntu install. Our first step is thus to install the so-called Restricted Extras package. Via the terminal:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

(Note that to get past the Microsoft TrueType font install EULA, press Tab and then click enter). One of the things installed by the above is libdvdread4. However, it isn’t automatically configured, so after you have installed the restricted extras, run:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

Next up is installing the actual DVD backup/copy program itself. DVD::Rip is a GTK-based perl GUI application that uses the available transcode video/audio processing and conversion tools on your machine. To install:

sudo apt-get install dvdrip

Right, once everything is installed, you are pretty much good to go. Fire up DVD::Rip (search on ‘dvd’ in the Unity applications search box thingie) and check that all its config settings are correct and the dependencies installed (it tells you what isn’t available). Once ready, it is time to start a new project. Note that the silly default for the Unity shell is to have the main application menu bar up in the system taskbar, meaning you need to scroll up to that in order to get the File->New Project menu option.

Select a project name and off we go. Note that all the defaults are good enough for a first time user, and only if you know what you are doing should you be messing around with them. That said, there is nothing wrong with learning by twiddling with the things, so have a ball! :)

Anyway, the first tab is Storage, and this is basically where the ripped files will be stored, as well as the DVD source drive is selected.

The next tab is the RIP Title tab. First, click on the Read DVD table of contents. Once the list loads, select the title that you wish to rip (hint: in movies, usually the longest title is the movie title). Also, select the audio track you wish to grab in conjunction with the video. You can preview your selected title by clicking on the Play button at the bottom of the list. If you are satisfied with your choice, select the RIP button.

When the rip is complete, you will be able to access the clip & zoom tab which basically works out the frame size for the completed piece. Click on the Grab Frame button to initiate the process. (I didn’t really bother with this at all, and everything I ripped came out perfectly fine!)

If you want Subtitles with your rip, the Subtitles tab is for you. (Again, not something I’ve yet needed)

Now for the important part. The Transcode tab. This screen allows you to select the output container, the video codec to be used, and the audio codec to be used, along with a few other miscellaneous processing settings. Once you are happy with your choices, click on the Transcode button and go make yourself a cup of coffee – this is going to take a while depending on the length of the DVD.

And there you have it. A quick and easy Ubuntu way to rip your DVDs for viewing on other portable devices!