I caught this from a link on the Bad Vista! site, after my bimonthly stumbling around the gnu.org site for fun.

Groklaw - Burning Issues With Vista, by Richard Rasker - Updated:

The options are clear: the Mastered format is readable on any computer, the Live File System format only on Windows computers -- and even then, it depends on the chosen version (via "“Versie wijzigen”) of Live File System, as the following screen shots show:
Surely this can't be true, that by default all Vista machines will be burning CDs that can only be read by Windows machines, can it? Could Win2k read this Live File System?

In the past, like with the Sony rootkit on some CDs, people were content to institute file protections on Windows only, and have other OSes continue to rip away. I wonder if that wouldn't be the case here.

Here's a bit from the fellow's sum:
I tried reading LFS format media on my Linux systems but failed, even though I installed udftools. Yes, K3b (a great Linux burning tool) could tell me that there was data on the disks, but it was unable to show the actual data itself. All other tools failed with the error message that the disk couldn't be mounted.
Let me make clear this guy is a Linux zealot. Throughout the groklaw post, he's wasting our time slamming the "Start" button in Windows, etc. He's burning [well, trying to burn] a file about Linux with Vista whose icon has Tux on it. This isn't exactly an unbiased report. When at the conclusion of the first day he's determined Vista can't burn anything, the machine's owner is able to, the next day, burn the files without a problem. Sketchy.

Still, the postscript possibly has more useful information.

Postscript: After reading some feedback to the article, I fired up the Vista box once more, testing some things posted. What I find is that the two oldest UDF versions (1.50 and 2.00) indeed can be read by Linux -- but only if udftools are installed on the Linux system, which isn't the case by default. This option also suffers from a similar problem as the Mastered format, i.e., it can't be set as the default choice and must thus be selected consciously every single time.

Rather quickly, evidence mounted that Live File System isn't (as I thought) just based on a ISO standard called Universal Disk Format, (UDF), but that LFS is UDF. So how did I get the idea that LFS was a new, incompatible Microsoft format?
Let's assume, then, that some day in the near future we'll probably be able to read these disks in Linux with an updated version of udftools. Let's say that day is now. Later in the update...

But if LFS is in fact UDF, why couldn't my Linux boxes read the disks? Well, this was due to sloppiness on my part, a lack of proper UDF support in Linux, and my hardware setup.
One of Groklaw's readers pointed me to a Linux kernel patch for improved UDF support, and also provided the following general information on UDF support in Linux:

[Linux can read 'em all with an update]

Still, this doesn't explain why I had trouble reading UDF disks formatted with the older (older than 2.50) versions, but that turned out to be a hardware issue. My (older) CD-ROM players seemed to be incompatible with UDF, most probably because they didn't support the 2048 bytes per sector UDF uses. When I put the UDF formatted CD-RW's in my DVD burner, they could be read properly (with the exception of version 2.50).


I found this lagging UDF support in Linux a bit surprising, especially as it seems that UDF 2.50 has been around for four years. Apparently, there wasn't any reason to support it because it was very rarely used. But with the arrival of Vista, and also new DVD formats, this will no doubt change.
Does any of this excuse Microsoft? Absolutely not. The post is an interesting read for understanding how choices in an OS can put up barriers to entry for other players, like software and hardware vendors. It's just that, as written, the guy is doing exactly the power play he's accusing MS of performing! Read the first quote I've put into this post, that remains in his post, unedited or qualified. The compare with what we find in the last paragraph of this huge post...

So in this case, it's actually Linux that's lagging in development; Microsoft isn't really to blame, at least as far as lock-in is concerned – although more accurate information on the nature of “Live File System” could have prevented quite a bit of trouble and confusion. Also, it depends on the CD or DVD device whether a UDF formatted disk can be used or not. Especially older CD-ROM players may not be UDF-compatible. (emph mine)
In some ways, that's too large a backtrack. Linux isn't "lagging" so much as Microsoft is forcing one to upgrade, which is going to leave a nontrivial number of Granny Smiths with boxes that won't read the discs. I'm assuming UDF has no ISO 9660 (iirc) backwards compatibility. Microsoft is to blame, not for lock-in, but for forced upgrades, which is, in a sense, the same thing. (This is not unlike yesterday's rant on the proposed end of Firefox support for OS X 10.3.)

Let's face it -- MS is going to install updates to Vista, usually automatically, that'll keep their UDF burning functions ahead of the versions installed on Linux and likely OS X by default. Replacing a relatively universal standard with one of [I assume] likely your own making isn't progress. I'm betting UDF/LFS discs never work on my Mac running OS 9. That's a power play. I just get tired of the Linux hyperbole.