LightScribe in Linux: Make Gorgeous Discs in Ubuntu



I am a file horde. There, I said it. I have files on my main hard disk that have been lingering about since my days with the classic Macintosh. Hell, some of these files are frivolous, like 1024×768 wallpapers… Regardless, some of these files need to be archived to a move permanent format …with pretty little labels!

So, I finally got a Light-Scribe burner. It came inside of my new rig. I’ve had the machine for a couple of months but no media. Well, I got some today and now I’m ready to show you how to get it going!

Things change at an epic pace in the Ubuntu world, so my first Google search to get this working was “Light Scribe 11.10 Ubuntu”. It’s not exactly a trending topic. I just assumed that there would be some one-off utility hiding in the repos, just waiting to be “apt-got”, but there wasn’t.

These generic searches took me, finally, to this page in the Ubuntu Wiki. Quite dated, and I didn’t have much faith in it working. It is 32-bit only and needs to be forced, but the results were good! Here is how it happened.

The Tools

The tools that you will be using, surprisingly, come from Lacie.  Here are the three tools that you will need to download first.  All of them are prepackaged .debs.

LightScribe System Software Package

LightScribe Simple Application

LaCie 4L Labeler Utility



32-Bit Installation

If you have a 32-bit system, you should be good to go!  Just install the debs, like so:

sudo dpkg -i lightscribe*.deb

sudo dpkg -i 4l*.deb

Now I haven’t tested this because I do not have a 32-bit system so if you have trouble, let us know in the comments!  I can always cook up a VM to test this in properly.

64-Bit Installation

If you are using a 64-bit operating system, which I would wager to guess that that is true, you will have to force the software onto your system.  This is never recommended, but i can’t imagine that the impact of the software is significant enough to cause any damage to your install.  The Ubuntu help page however, gives the following warning;

“This is an advanced command that can break your Ubuntu installation. Never force install a package unless you are prepared to restore the operating system from backup.”

So, that said, here are the commands!

sudo dpkg --install --force architecture lightscribe*.deb

sudo dpkg --install --force-architecture 4l*.deb

Now, let’s run it.

If you want to create a disc with an image covering the surface:

sudo 4L-gui

If all you need to do it print a little text on a disc:


Something to get you started

I cooked up a little custom label in the Gimp.  Below is the .xcf, so that you can modify it to your liking.  Also, the label itself so that you can bring it into the LaCie labeler.


Ubuntu 11.10 Light Scribe Label for Gimp


Ubuntu 11.10 Light Scribe Label Complete

The Result

This last step is optional.  You can set your burner to label the disc in high contrast mode.  Be prepared to wait.  My drive to 30-40 minutes to complete the job.  So if you are not in a hurry to burn 100 discs in a day, this will not be a big deal.  Here is the command to enable high contrast:

sudo /usr/lib/lightscribe/

Here is what I ended up with, using the custom label provided, and high contrast mode.

Good luck!



About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.
  • Anon

    Would be nice if this were set-up out-of-the-box. Even if the last Lightscribe dics I made was about 2 years ago, I’d like to know I do not need to do a bunch of stuff before I can do this on a fresh install.

  • Carlos Solís

    Still, there’s no freedom-compliant alternative…

    • Dean Howell

      Carlos, agreed. This is really just testament to how these have not caught on. If they I had, I could see support being added to packages like cdrecord, or even added at the kernel level. I guess there is just no real interest…

  • Glaasje
    • Dean Howell

      Glassje, I made sure to give you some props on OMG! Ubuntu. I haven’t tried these yet, but I wanted to make sure I had the props covered on all front.


      • Rob Daggett

        I am about to attempt this. I will be sure to cite Glaasje. Let me know how you’d perfer I do that.

    • wayward4now

      The first file, the 64 bit 4l deb package isn’t there.

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  • Pinguy

    A bit more in depth guide. Also shows you how to use DiscWrapper with LaCie.

    • Dean Howell

      Thanks Pinguy. I’ll read this, and will likely write a revised guide.

      • Pinguy

        No worries. Its best to have it in one nice guide then having it spread over a few posts in a thread.

        DiscWrapper is really awesome. Its in the getdeb repo if you need to know where to get it.

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  • Santiago Burgos

    Great post buddy!!!. I was making the same post (divided in three or more parts) to explain how to do that. I can add you as a reference and maybe you can add me (if you wish, i don’t force you) so we can get more information each other. You can stop by to check what i’m talking about in hpubuntu(dot)wordpress(dot)com. The downside that is in spanish but maybe i can help yo translate for you. Again thanks and great post

  • Anothernimous

    File hoarder?

    • Dean Howell

      Yes, I am a file hoarder.

  • mrdr

    Good post. It’s just to bad there isn’t native 64bit debs.
    I’ve been creating LightScribe labels for years now, and the one thing I dislike about the process is that it requires a user to use sudo, which is ok for me but not ok for the other users that do not have sudo privileges on my computer.

    • patric

      Non-problem, visudo, set per-user which commands each user can use, done.

  • Guest

    Provided you don’t have an issue with HP licensing something like this may work for you too.

  • Cole

    Careful making claims that you’re moving to a “more permanent format”. CDs and DVDs do not have all that long of a life expectancy. True archival data storage is a complicated topic.

    • Rob Daggett

      Sure is, however until they make a hard drive that lasts for more that 1-4 years DVD and Bluray are it!

  • Anony

    Anyway to rewrite the image on the disc?

    • Dean Howell

      You can’t rewrite the image on the disc. But you can add to it. The shapes around the center ring allow for it to keep it’s place.

  • Stillnonimous

    Lightscribe? what is that? 😉

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  • HP

    You should not give direct download links. The software has already been updated.


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  • Joehulanweberson

    How about dropping all the babybumtu crap and making a tutorial for LINUX in general. Not everyone runs babybuntu like all you newbs. Every time I see an article on “How to do X in bumtu” I think, wtf, could have done a little more and made it useful for all linux users. And lightscribe in linux has been working and used for years. Nothing new here. Just a copied guide on lightscribe ruined with the word bumtu scattered through it.

    • RamiStiglec

      Why don’t you write the guide then yourself, mister god-damned whining linux expert. What a wanker.

    • Dario

      Also because, ehy, if you really were a linux expert, you would know that, having dpkg, it’s the same doing it in ubuntu or in another distribution

  • wayward4now

    It’s not a great idea to suggest forcing anything with dpkg.

  • NicL

    Thanks, finaly got lightscribe working on Ubuntu 12.04 64-Bit

  • JJordan

    Feb 2013, trying to get LightScribe working on Kubuntu 12.10, got SimpleLabeler working but it is pretty limited. Tried to get the LaCie Labeler working but it is not worth the effort. THEN I RAN ACROSS THIS AWESOME QT BASED LABELER.

    Qt Lightscribe

    Yes; a native QT based, GPL’d labeler that works better than LaCie and does not require any funky permissions. It has rounded text, straight text, choose fonts, multiple graphics, save the files for later use. Looks like there are a couple of other LightScribe projects on sourceforge, maybe I’ll check them out but I cant really think of anything I need that QT Lightscribe does not do.

    Forgot to mention the develoer, ruglory ( Vyacheslav Kononenko ),  has 32 and 64 bit debs right on sourceforge.


    • Thomas Zangerl

      Thanks for the tip! I was also looking for a lightscribe label creator and was disappointed by the limited functionality of the simple labeller. Just downloaded it and it installs smoothly on Ubuntu 12.04. The user interface is still a bit raw, but it seems indeed able to do anything that one would require.

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