Okay, were one to being running OS X and want to use one's CD burner to create a VCDs from a public domain DVD, here are the tools that will do the job, listed in the order of their use.

1. (Optional) MacTheRipper (MTR) -- takes everything off of the DVD, creating AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders, among others, the latter with VOB, IFO, and BUP files galore. There is a newer version of MTR that is apparently a much harder application to get than the 2.x version. You seem to need to bug someone on the RipDifferent.com forums who will dutifully take your contact information, turn it over to the cops, and send you a copy of the app anyhow.

Note that Handbrake will rip the disc directly. In my single public domain DVD ripping attempt, I started with MTR. You probably don't have to, but if you do, this still works... *sigh* ... and at least you have a full-quality copy, if that's useful.

2. Handbrake -- this application will take the folder of your fully ripped disc (or will rip straight from disc; I've not tried this, however) and compress the video into an .avi of a size you request. If you want to put your newly ripped, public domain movie onto your iPod or if you want to give it away to someone who will watch it on their computer with VLC, you can burn the correctly sized .avi file onto a CD-R now and stop. The resolution of this .avi -- recalling that an .avi is just a wrapper for a file encoded in an unspecified format -- is much better than what you'd get from a VCD, and is smaller than VCD files in size too. I won't mention Limewire, but will again say that you can tell Handbrake to turn the ripped disc into an .avi of any size you specify. I wonder what our home movie DVD would look like as a 30 meg .avi?

3. ffmpegx -- ffmpegx is a GUI front-end for ffmpeg, a command line tool that does a good job translating video files from one format to another. If you drop the .avi from Handbrake onto the left side of ffmpegx and then choose VCD on the right, starting ffmpegx up will split the .avi into as many VCD-sized mpegs as you'll need. Remember that full-length movies require more than one VCD, and that this process will, like Handbrake, take a heck of a long time. Hours. More hours. I suggest not only brewing and drinking coffee as you wait, but growing, harvesting, roasting, grinding, and then brewing & drinking.

4. Burn -- Now the tough part: How to get the mpegs into VCD format discs. For some DVD players, a lone mpeg burned to CD-R won't play; it has to be in VCD disc format. Burn will take your VCD-sized mpegs and burn then in VCD format if you select its "Video" option and, well, "VCD" from the drop-down menu. It might want to re-convert your mpeg into "VCD format". Let it. You still need to go through ffmpeg first, as Burn won't split up your mpegs into VCD-sized files. If you drop something too big onto Burn and tell it to convert the file, once Burn creates a file that's too big for your CD-Rs, it'll refuse to burn, saying only, "Remove more audio [sic] files and try again," or something similar. Of course you only have one file sitting there, so you're toast. (har har)

I get the feeling you could probably just create an image with the proper directories and placeholder files to play everything correctly, but Burn does it for you. Good enough.

The end. Your high-resolution, public domain DVD is now in incredibly low-res VCD format, ready to be shipped off to your VCD-and-public-domain-movie-loving friends.