Fink, cdrecord, DVD burning and Automator

My old Linux box was set up to do nightly backups to CD-RW using cdrecord, which worked great. I wanted to set up a similar backup system on the Mac (using DVD-RWs of course). So I needed to find a way to get the Mac to burn DVD-RWs automatically from within my backup shell script (run as a nightly cron job).

Reading around, if you want to burn discs from the command line then cdrecord is the way to go on the Mac (just as it is with Linux). The only snag for me was that cdrecord is only available in Fink, and I was resisting installing Fink as the Intel version is very much in “beta”. (Since then Fink has released a new version which at least doesn’t require compiling from source on Intel, but many packages are still broken on Intel.)

Anyway, I decided to take the plunge as I really needed to get my backups working. So I downloaded the fink tarball and it compiled and ran without any serious problems. However getting cdrecord to compile and install was a different matter. After much warning notices, beepy noises and messages moaning about GNU make, I ended up getting the obscure error message:

install: READMEs: Inappropriate file type or format

Grrr! This is the sort of thing I was hoping to move away from on the Mac. Couldn’t find a solution on the web or any mailing lists either.

Automator to the rescue! I’d never used it before, but I noticed it had a “Burn a Disc” action. So I knocked together a simple workflow that picks up my backup tarball file and burns it to a disc (it can even verify the disc contents afterwards), then I added the following line to my cron job shell script:

automator /Users/matt/backup_scripts/dvdrw/burn_disc.workflow/

Problem solved. 🙂 Maybe I’ll try cdrecord again once it’s a bit more stable in fink…

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3 Responses to “Fink, cdrecord, DVD burning and Automator”

  1. Gideon Says:

    Automator is awesome! at first I could never think of a use for it, but recently it has really shown its worth in making really simple yet effective scripts for various tasks like the one you mention. TOPS!

  2. Gideon Says:

    also, you may want to look into subscribing to the .mac service which apple offers. They let you download a neat little app called ‘backup’ which lets you schedule backups to External HD’s/DVDs/CDs/iDisk(included with .mac) etc etc. again very handy.

  3. mattdoyle Says:

    Thanks very much for your comments and suggestions Gideon. Automator is great isn’t it!

    I actually run scheduled offsite backups of my key work stuff to a couple of other machines using rsync. I like to have a couple of different backup strategies (paranoid!).