Slow and difficult to use. Now for the bad points about K9copy. K9copy is a Linux program that can do a number of things including backing up DVDs but this page is strictly about K9copy used for backing up DVDs and as a Linux replacement for DVDdecrypter.
K9copy helps you make a backup copy of a DVD and to convert video from one format to another. A common recommended use is to use K9copy as a replacement for DVDdecrypter when converting from Windows to Linux. Does K9copy do what DVDdecrypter does? My tests show K9copy is too slow to be a replacement and cannot be guaranteed to not change the content.
The most common operating system is Windows. On Windows, you backup a movie DVD by copying the DVD to disk using DVDdecrypter then you copy the files to the backup disk using Imgburn. If the original disk is dual layer and the backup is single layer, you copy to disk then split the files into two groups using DVDFab then burn on two single layer disks using Imgburn. K9copy can work as a replacement for DVDdecrypter and Imgburn but not DVDFab.
K9copy defaults to damaging the video by compressing it and I did not find a way to switch compression off. K9copy cannot produce a backup if you cannot switch off compressions. K9copy needs a user interface enhancement to let you switch off compression.
Small differences in speed are not important for most backups. You let the backup run while you eat lunch. Unfortunately K9copy is so slow, lunchtime will not be long enough. You might have to go on holiday for a few days while just one backup completes.
When using DVDDecrypter, the DVD to disk step takes from 7 minutes up to 14 minutes on my slower desktop computer. A small documentary that just filled one layer, around 5 gigabytes of files, required somewhere between 7 and 8 minutes. A long movie filling the whole 9 GB of a dual layer disk required 13 minutes and a few seconds.
I tested K9copy using a middle length movie totalling 6.7 GB. K9copy dragged on for 3 hours without finishing the DVD to disk copy. Incredible. That is not slightly slower, that is many times slower. The best estimate I can make is K9copy was at the 5 GB mark after 3 hours or 180 minutes. A full dual layer DVD would waste 5.5 hours compared to less than 14 minutes for DVDdecrypter.
This is the point where Linux fans cry fowl and tell you the test is invalid because of endless trivial details so here are the details.
- Windows XP 64 versus Ubuntu 11.4 64 bit Linux.
- Latest versions of all software.
- Both machines have 8 GB of memory of the same type and speed.
- K9copy had a processor about 20 percent faster.
- The disks and all other hardware are identical.
Both computers are identical except for the Linux machine having a faster processor. The K9copy was run with no other applications loaded and had the whole machine to itself. The DVD to disk copy does not require much in the way of processing and should run as fast as the DVD can deliver the data. K9copy is doing something that is just not needed and performing it in a really slow way.
DVDdecrypter runs happily with other applications active and does not slow down unless you hit the output disk with a really heavy search. The processor speed should not be a significant factor because the process is little more than a disk to disk copy.
Another test of K9copy. this time with the system monitor displaying resource usage. K9copy goes through long periods when the DVD drive is active and the processor is only half used but the speed of processing is many times slower than the alternatives. If K9copy has spare disk, DVD drive, CPU, and memory resources, what is it waiting on? K9copy also goes through mystery periods when nothing is happening, the processor usage drops and the DVD drive usage completely stops.
There are lots of settings you can change in the preferences page. There are no settings to perform obvious changes including switching off the preview and compression. There are settings for paths that have no obvious use and conflict with each other to the point where you cannot use them without extensive time consuming tests. K9copy should remove the options that create confusion without providing benefit. Then they should add options to change the things that are useful.
I could not cancel K9copy when it ran too long and I had to go out. I ended up having to cancel K9copy using the system task killer. The next time I tested K9copy, I found I could easily remove the DVD without K9copy noticing. This is insane. The software should detect my cancel request and comply. It should also detect resource status changes immediately.
K9copy hit an error on one disk and just sat there retrying without an indication of the error. No options to stop or to remove the DVD and clean it. Then I found an unexpected side effect of the bad programming. I could remove the DVD, wash the DVD, and reinsert the DVD without K9copy noticing. Well, it worked once. On another test with a faulty DVD, K9copy crashed when I removed the DVD.
I looked at a lot of Unix based alternatives and had to reject most of them because the users of each alternative stated the alternative could not be used to create a backup. The alternatives could be used to create an imperfect copy for sampling but not a backup. DVD::RIP appears to be the one working alternative to K9copy in Linux. I will test DVD::RIP after testing K9copy.
Most of the Linux users recommended using DVDdecrypter and DVDFab under Wine, a Windows emulator. Wine requires a copy of Windows for some applications, leaving you stuck with maintaining Windows. There are reports of people successfully running DVDdecrypter and DVDFab under recent versions of Wine without using Windows and Wine could
DVDdecrypter is useless without DVDFab when you want to backup a dual layer disk to single layer disks. The only reports for DVDFab under Wine are for the commercial versions of DVDFab. There is little point in switching to an open source system if you have a proprietary application loaded because you still have to track licences. I have a spare computer to run Windows and it is easier to stick with the Windows applications on the Windows machine. All the proprietary software requiring license tracking is on the one token windows machine. My Linux based machines have no licensing restrictions.
The GPL license used for many open source applications is actually restrictive. The BSD style license used for some applications is the only license free from usage restrictions. The Debian distribution of Linux locks out all software with a license more restrictive than the GPL. Ubuntu is based on Debian plus some obvious exceptions including Firefox. Ubuntu also has the option to download codecs and some other software items with possible restrictions. When you work with video, everything useful has traps and restrictions. For my setup, I want to keep my Linux based computers clean and leave the restrictions on the remaining Windows box.
The complete lack of speed makes K9copy useless. The design fault also makes me avoid K9copy because K9copy must have a major programming error. If there is one major design error, there are probably more and I would not trust a backup produced by K9copy.