There are many open source digital video disc (DVD) authoring tools for nearly every computer operating system. Although the tools are provided free, the process of authoring a DVD can be complex, and there are few open source programs that will do everything in one package. It could be necessary to use different open source programs to complete a DVD. One also should check to be sure the drivers on the computer are up-to-date and working normally. Finally, one should be certain to have a large amount of disk space available because, unlike some commercial programs, most open source DVD authoring tools will want to completely uncompress a DVD or video to a hard drive before it starts to allow editing.
Open source DVD authoring software has nearly all of the capabilities of commercially available software, but it does take some knowledge to get the desired results. The first thing for a potential buyer to understand is that most of the open source DVD authoring tools complete only one step of the entire process and will need to be used in tandem with others. There could be one program to convert the video to the proper file format, while another could set chapter markers and a third could allow for the creation of interactive menus. It will most likely take a few programs to have a complete open source authoring suite.
One also should be prepared for some frustration, as well. This is not necessarily because of the software being used but because of the minutia of authoring a DVD on a home computer. Certain things, such as the type of DVD to be burned, the file formats of the video and the video codecs that are installed on a computer, can all cause confusing errors. It is important to have a way to ask questions of others who are using the same open source software, such as an online forum, so problems can be solved quickly.
The state of the computer being used for authoring is important. There should be a fair amount of free hard drive space available for the programs to use as they compress and uncompress the videos. The drivers that control the DVD recorder and video card also should be updated. Many pieces of open source software are only tested on the latest drivers, and having outdated drivers on a system could cause a problem.
Finally, be patient with the open source DVD authoring tools. They might take longer to work than other solutions, but they offer the same results in the end. Reading reviews and other user feedback about a program before using it can be a valuable way to learn in advance whether it will or will not work with a given setup.