Readme file for dekagen

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dekagen is a front-end to several tools for the ripping, converting, and naming of MP3 and Ogg-Vorbis files. It automates the whole process of ripping data from music compact discs (CD), the naming of the files, their converting into MP3 or Ogg-Vorbis format and the labelling of the MP3 files with an ID3 tag. dekagen uses dialog for a user interface that is intended to be "intuitive".

Music data is read from CDs using cdda2wav, cdparanoia, dagrab, or tosha, and stored on your harddisk in wav-format. Note that this will have an excessive need of disk space. After this, the wav-data is converted into MP3 format using 8hz-mp3, bladeenc, l3enc, lame, mp3enc, or notlame, or into Ogg-Vorbis format using oggenc. This will take a while. To avoid manual naming and tagging for all the files, cda is used for CDDB lookups. To label the MP3 files with ID3 tags, id3ed, id3tag, id3tool, or mp3info, or the built-in capabilities of some encoders (lame, notlame) are used. Ogg-Vorbis files can be labelled with oggenc.

Be sure you have already installed on your system:

  1. cdda2wav, cdparanoia, dagrab, or tosha,
  2. 8hz-mp3, bladeenc, l3enc, lame, mp3enc, or notlame, or oggenc.

You might also wish to install:

  1. xmcd,
  2. id3ed, id3tag, id3tool, or mp3info.

You will find oggenc included in the "vorbis-tools" package, cda in the "xmcd" package, and id3tag in the "id3lib" (or "id3lib-examples" on RPM-based systems) package. Please note that some rippers have to be run suid root. ID3 tagging utilities are not needed when using lame or notlame, because these programs have a built-in ID3 tagging, and cannot be used together with oggenc, because Ogg-Vorbis has its own tagging system.

dekagen was developed and tested under Linux with the programs mentioned above, but it should work on other UNIX-like platforms as well (in particular on FreeBSD), provided that all required programs (at least a bourne-compatible shell, "dialog", a ripper, and an encoder) are available.

dekagen has been tested with dialog v.0.6, available under GNU GPL at It should work, however, also with "cdialog", or dialog v.0.9.

Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

Download locations

The latest version of dekagen can be found at: or [ftp|http]://

If you are going to retrieve the source code from within automated scripts, e.g. by a software packaging manager, please prefer downloading it from the Ibiblio server or one of its mirrors.

Be aware of legal restrictions

In some countries, the use of MP3-generating algorithms may be subject to licence restrictions. Please check the documentation of your encoding tool or consider the use of Ogg-Vorbis instead of MP3.

Be aware of the following changes in Version 0.8:

When aborting the program with CTRL+c, or ESC, or selecting the 'Cancel' item in the main dialogue, background encoding activities will be terminated. Only if the program is left with the 'quit' menu item, the user will be asked whether he wishes to abort background encoding processes or not. In the latter case the background encodings and ID3 labellings will proceed normally.

The name changed with version 0.9.

dekagen was formerly published under the name "ripenc". This tool was maintained up to version 0.7 by Michael J. Parmeley. Since in 2000 it seemed as if he had given up its development, I re-published it after considerable changes under the version number 0.8.X. After he had re-appeared on the net, he refused to apply the changes of my 0.8-releases to his program core. But then he published an other release of "ripenc", based on version 0.7, that included a lot of the code-cleaning I made, except for the "dialog"-based user interface. Since as a consequence two different programs with the same name, but different interfaces existed, I decided to rename the ripenc-series with the "dialog"-interface (versions 0.8.X) to "dekagen" (version 0.9 and newer).

You might like to read more about the Story of Dekagen (in German).

New auto-configuring features in version 1.0

If you run dekagen for the first time, it will look for the third-party software it requires automatically, setting its preferences accordingly. After this, dekagen will check these settings on every run, and adjust them automatically if needed.

This search will proceed according to a built-in order. If you are an administrator and going to install dekagen system-wide, you can pre-set the defaults in the lines 36-49 of the script. dekagen will then look for these programs first. Otherwise there is no need to change these values.

Prospects for the next version

Suggestions and comments are welcome.

We accept patches.

Please include in all your messages information on

If you think you found a possible security impact, please let me know first.

If you think you found a bug, please try to describe it as exactly as possible, in order to save other people's time. I will not consider any "bug report" that just claims "your program is buggy!!!!!1", nor will I answer to any mail asking me O/S-specific questions.

I will include into the TODO list any sensible feature request.

And, last but not least, patches are always very welcome. :-)