GNU xorriso

ISO 9660 Rock Ridge Filesystem Manipulator for GNU/Linux and FreeBSD


xorriso copies file objects from POSIX compliant filesystems into Rock Ridge enhanced ISO 9660 filesystems and allows session-wise manipulation of such filesystems. It can load the management information of existing ISO images and it writes the session results to optical media or to filesystem objects.
Vice versa xorriso is able to copy file objects out of ISO 9660 filesystems.

Direct hop to download links ->

Hardware requirements:

About any CD, DVD, or BD recorder produced in the recent ten years.
libburn supports recorders which are compliant to standards MMC-1 for CD and MMC-5 for DVD or BD.
GNU/Linux and FreeBSD allow to access drives connected via SCSI, PATA (aka IDE, ATA), USB, or SATA.
xorriso also operates on ISO images in data files or block devices. Images or add-on sessions may be written to about any kind of file object.

Software requirements :

GNU/Linux with kernel 2.4 or higher, libc, libpthread :
With kernel 2.4 a PATA/IDE drive has to be under ide-scsi emulation.
With kernel 2.6 ide-scsi is not needed.
or FreeBSD, libc, libpthread :
PATA/IDE drives need atapicam running.
SATA drives need atapicam or ahci running.
libcam has to be installed.
libiconv has to be installed.
or some other X/Open system, libc, libpthread :
There will be no direct operation of optical drives, but only POSIX i/o with objects of the local filesystem.
Might work with DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, BD-RE but rather not with CD, DVD-R, DVD+R, BD-R.

Optional supporting software:

libreadline and libreadline-dev
eventually make dialog more convenient.
libacl and libacl-devel
eventually allow on GNU/Linux to get and set ACLs.
zlib and zlib-devel
eventually allow zisofs and gzip compression.

This program has been tested on GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris systems.
For ports to other usable systems contact us.

Special features:

Command Examples:

Get an overview of drives and their addresses
# xorriso -devices
0 -dev '/dev/sr0' rwrw-- : 'TSSTcorp' 'CDDVDW SH-S203B'
1 -dev '/dev/scd1' rwrw-- : 'PHILIPS ' 'SPD3300L'
2 -dev '/dev/hda' rwrw-- : 'HL-DT-ST' 'DVD-ROM GDR8162B'
Being superuser avoids permission problems with /dev/srN resp. /dev/hdX .
Ordinary users should then get granted rw access to the /dev files as listed by option -devices.
Options are either performed as program arguments or as dialog input. Some options have a parameter list of variable length. This list has to be terminated by word '--' or by the end of the input line. Option -add may accept pathspecs of form target=source as known from program mkisofs.

Get info about a particular drive and loaded media:
$ xorriso -indev /dev/sr0 -du / -- -toc 2>&1 | less
Make re-usable media writable again, delete any ISO 9660 image, eventually prepare yet unused BD-RE:
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank as_needed -eject all

Write some directories into a new or existing ISO 9660 image:
$ xorriso -dev /dev/sr0 -add /home/me/sounds /home/me/pictures
Have a look at the result:
$ xorriso -indev /dev/sr0 -du / -- -toc 2>&1 | less

Create new ISO-9660 filesystem image, compose content, adjust permissions to make it publicly read-only, write it to media and immediately eject media without previously reloading the written image.
$ cd /home/me
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank as_needed \
  -map /home/me/sounds /sounds \
  -map /home/me/pictures /pictures \
  -rm_r /sounds/indecent '/pictures/*private*' -- \
  -cd / \
  -add pictures/private/horses* -- \
  -chmod_r a+r,a-w / -- \
  -find / -type d -exec chmod a+x -- \
  -volid SOUNDS_PICS_2008_01_16 \
  -commit_eject all

Load the previous session from media, remove (i.e. hide) directory /sounds, rename /pictures/private/horses, add new directory trees /sounds and /movies, disallow any access for group and others. Finally write as additional session to media and eject:
$ xorriso -dev /dev/sr0 \
  -rm_r /sounds -- \
  -mv /pictures/private/horses /horse_show -- \
  -map /home/me/prepared_for_dvd/sounds_dummy /sounds \
  -map /home/me/prepared_for_dvd/movies /movies \
  -chmod_r go-rwx / -- \
  -volid SOUNDS_PICS_2008_01_17 \
  -commit_eject all

Merge the various sessions from old readable media into a single session on new writeable media, cleaning out all invalidated files and session overhead. Touch / in order to mark the image as worth to be written.
Important: -indev and -outdev have to be different drives.
$ xorriso -indev /dev/dvd \
  -alter_date a +0 / -- \
  -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank fast \
  -commit_eject all

Dialog mode accepts one or more options per line. An option and all its arguments have to be given in one single line. Backslash may be used to mark a line as incomplete so it gets continued by the next input line.
Command -end stops the program run. It will write eventually pending changes to media, if that has not already been done by a previous -commit.
$ xorriso -dialog on
enter option and arguments :
-dev /dev/sr0
enter option and arguments :
-map /home/me/prepared_for_dvd/sounds_dummy /sounds
enter option and arguments :
-map /home/me/prepared_for_dvd/movies \
Trailing backslash : Enter rest of line (or @@@ to clear it) :
Available navigation commands: -cd, -ls, -du, -find
enter option and arguments :
... perform further commands and finally do:
enter option and arguments :

The following command performs incremental backup. It can be run on blank media to create a copy of the mentioned disk directory trees, and it can be run on appendable media to perform a minimal set of change operations which update the old ISO copies to match the new disk trees. Older states can be retrieved by help of mount options like "sbsector=" or by help of xorriso option -mount.
Eventual ACL, xattr and hardlink relations will be recorded. MD5 checksums will be computed and recorded. Data comparison will be avoided by accelerator option -disk_dev_ino. After writing, the new session will be checked by its recorded MD5.
Only blank media or media with volume id "PROJECTS_MAIL_..." will be accepted. Files with names ending by ".o" or ".swp" are excluded by options -not_leaf.
$ xorriso -for_backup -disk_dev_ino on \
   -assert_volid 'PROJECTS_MAIL_*' FATAL \
   -dev /dev/sr0 \
   -volid PROJECTS_MAIL_"$(date '+%Y_%m_%d_%H%M%S')" \
   -not_leaf '*.o' -not_leaf '*.swp' \
   -update_r /home/thomas/projects /projects \
   -update_r /home/thomas/personal_mail /personal_mail \
   -commit -toc -check_md5 FAILURE -- -eject all
To apply zisofs compression to those data files which get newly copied from the local filesystem, perform immediately before -commit :
   -hardlinks perform_update \
   -find / -type f -pending_data -exec set_filter --zisofs -- \

Operating systems usually mount the most recent session on media. xorriso can issue the appropriate mount commands for older sessions. First get an overview of the sessions on the media:
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -toc
TOC layout   : Idx ,  sbsector ,       Size , Volume Id
ISO session  :   1 ,         0 ,    104719s , PROJECTS_MAIL_2008_08_10_231435
ISO session  :   2 ,    106928 ,      6785s , PROJECTS_MAIL_2008_08_14_184548
ISO session  :  76 ,    820384 ,     11035s , PROJECTS_MAIL_2009_01_04_191150
Then become superuser and let xorriso mount the session of August 14, 2008 to directory /mnt:
#  xorriso -osirrox on -mount /dev/sr0 volid '*_2008_08_14_*' /mnt
To be later unmounted by: umount /mnt

After the user has already created a suitable file tree on disk and copied the ISOLINUX files into subdirectory ./boot/isolinux of that tree, xorriso can burn an El Torito bootable media:
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank as_needed \
   -map /home/me/ISOLINUX_prepared_tree / \
   -boot_image isolinux dir=/boot/isolinux
An additional MBR is generated if the file isolinux.bin is modern enough (syslinux version 3.72) and ready for "isohybrid". An MBR enables booting from hard disk or USB stick.
ISO images may not only be stored on optical media but also in regular disk files or block devices for full multi-session operation.
$ xorriso -dev /tmp/regular_file ...other.options...
A default setting for safety reasons requires that files below /dev/ need prefix "stdio:" if they do not lead to MMC burner devices. Be cautious not to overwrite your hard disk instead of your USB stick:
$ xorriso -dev stdio:/dev/sdb ...other.options...
Other file types are suitable only for writing but not for reading:
$ xorriso -outdev /tmp/named_pipe ...other.options...
In batch mode it is possible to operate xorriso in a pipeline with an external consumer of the generated ISO image. Any message output will be redirected to stderr in this case. Examples for consumers are cdrecord or growisofs on operating systems where xorriso cannot operate the burner drive directly, or a ssh pipe to another system which has the desired drive and a suitable burn program.
$ xorriso -outdev - ...other.options... | consumer

Let xorriso serve underneath growisofs via its alias name "xorrisofs" which enables mkisofs emulation:
$ export MKISOFS="xorrisofs"
$ growisofs -Z /dev/dvd /some/files
$ growisofs -M /dev/dvd /more/files
One may switch from mkisofs emulation to xorriso's own command mode:
$ growisofs -M /dev/dvd -- outdev - -update_r /my/files /files

If for any reason the reading operating system mishandles the ISO image or some files in it, one may enable reverse operation of xorriso and copy files or trees to disk:
$ xorriso -acl on -xattr on \
   -indev /dev/sr0 \
   -osirrox on \
   -cpx '/pictures/private/horses*/*buttercup*' \
       /home/her/buttercup_dir -- \
   -extract /sounds /home/her/sounds_from_me
Consider to enter dialog mode and use commands like -cd , -du , -lsl , -find.

Get overview of the options:
$ xorriso -help
Read the detailed manual page:
$ man xorriso

Download as source code (see README):

xorriso-0.5.2.tar.gz (1560 KB).
(Released 29 Mar 2010)
(detached GPG signature for verification by gpg --verify xorriso-0.5.2.tar.gz.sig xorriso-0.5.2.tar.gz).
Also on mirrors of as xorriso/xorriso-0.5.2.tar.gz
README about installation and drive setup
xorriso -help gives an overview of options
man xorriso is the manual page
GNU xorriso support mailing list,
libburnia development mailing list,
Thomas Schmitt,
GPL version 3 or later.

Bug fixes towards xorriso-0.5.0:

Enhancements towards previous stable version xorriso-0.4.8.pl00:

Libburnia software copies included in GNU xorriso:

GNU xorriso is feature-wise equivalent to the dynamic compilation of libburnia libraries and libburnia program xorriso. It restricts itself to a technical form where the legal commitments of the libburnia project and the legal intentions of FSF match completely.
reads and writes data from and to CD, DVD, BD.
(founded by Derek Foreman and Ben Jansens, developed and maintained since August 2006 by Thomas Schmitt from team of
operates on ISO 9660 filesystem images.
(By Vreixo Formoso, Mario Danic and Thomas Schmitt from team of
coordinates libburn and libisofs, emulates multi-session where needed, and hosts the original source code of program xorriso.
(By Vreixo Formoso and Thomas Schmitt from team of
The source code of this software is independent of cdrecord and mkisofs.

Development snapshot, version 0.5.3 :

Bug fixes towards xorriso-0.5.2:
  • - none yet -
Enhancements towards stable version 0.5.2:
  • - none yet -
README 0.5.3
xorriso_0.5.3 -help
man xorriso (as of 0.5.3)
If you want to distribute development versions of xorriso, then use this tarball which produces static linking between xorriso and the libburnia libraries.
Source (./bootstrap is already applied, build tested, installation see README)
xorriso-0.5.3.tar.gz (1560 KB).
A dynamically linked development version of xorriso can be obtained from repositories of xorriso is part of libisoburn/trunk and will get built by its "make".
Be warned that the libraries in SVN and bzr are development versions with possibly unstable API/ABI enhancements. Do not distribute development versions for dynamic linking. Only release versions are safe for that.
Download: svn co libburn
Install: cd libburn ; ./bootstrap ; ./configure --prefix /usr ; make ; make install
Download: bzr branch lp:~libburnia-team/libisofs/scdbackup
Install: cd libisofs ; ./bootstrap ; ./configure --prefix /usr ; make ; make install
Download: svn co libisoburn
Install: cd libisoburn ; ./bootstrap ; ./configure --prefix /usr ; make ; make install
Build of SVN versions needs autotools of at least version 1.7 installed. But after the run of ./bootstrap, only vanilla tools like make and gcc are needed.

Many thanks to Derek Foreman and Ben Jansens for starting libburn.
Very special thanks to Andy Polyakov whose dvd+rw-tools provide the libburnia project with invaluable examples on how to deal with DVD media and how to emulate multi-session on overwriteable media.

Enjoying free hosting by
Enjoying a FreeBSD shell account with the opportunity to build, install and test xorriso at

Links to related free software projects of Thomas Schmitt:
cdrskin, a cdrecord emulator
scdbackup, multi volume CD/DVD/BD backup
(a second source of above)

Legal statement: This website does not serve any commercial purpose.

Copyright © 2008 - 2010 Thomas Schmitt.
This text is freely distributable. It shall only be modified in sync with the factual properties of xorriso and its public storage locations. If you make use of the license to derive modified versions of xorriso then you are entitled to modify this text under that same license.
Contact for issues of this web page or the described program:
Thomas Schmitt,
GNU xorriso support mailing list,
libburnia development mailing list,