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This article is part of the HOWTO series.
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Warning: This HOWTO uses portage overlays ( to install third-party ebuilds, and possible manual messing around with ebuilds. If you are uncomfortable with this, or do not know what this means, then please cease reading this page, and go do something more productive with your time. If, on the other hand, you are comfortable with this idea, and/or really really want to get your shiny new lightscribe CD/DVD drive working, by all means read on...



Lightscribe is a technology that allows you to use your CD/DVD drive to label specially manufactured CDs/DVDs. It uses the drive's laser to etch a label directly onto the label side of your disc, which is coated with a special dye that is reactive to infrared light.

Once you've got it set up, using lightscribe is a breeze. After you've burned your data onto the disc, simply insert the disc upside-down (i.e. label side facing the laser on the bottom of the drive tray), start up your lightscribe labeling GUI of choice, enter the label of your heart's desire, and revel in the glory of having a label violently laser-etched onto your disc.

So throw away those wussy sharpies and sticky paper labels, and prepare to rejoice in the nonpareil wonder of scintillating brilliance that is lightscribe. Insert stupid smiley here.

To install lightscribe on your box, we'll use layman to set up your portage overlay management system, and then we will be using the wschlich-testing portage overlay ( to get some ebuilds to start off with.

At the end of this HOWTO, you'll have one or more of the following software installed. Whether is it works or not will depend on your 1337 h4x0r skills and your luck. So here's what we're gonna be putting on your box:


Hardware and Software Versions used in this HOWTO



Installing the wschlich-testing portage overlay

Installing layman

If you haven't already installed the layman portage overlay manager, now would be a good time to do so.

emerge layman

To have a custom configuration for layman, or to manually configure your own portage overlay system, see the following pages:

Installing rpm2targz

Since the lightscribe packages are in RPM format, you'll need to install rpm2targz as follows:

emerge rpm2targz

Installing the actual overlay

With layman installed, you'll now want to install the actual overlay. Obtain a list of available overlays from layman, like so:

layman -L

Then, add the wschlich-testing overlay to layman as follows:

layman -a wschlich-testing

Now, since you've added your first overlay into layman, you'll need to tell portage not to splat this new custom package repository the next time you sync portage. For this, you'll need to add the following line to your make.conf file. Note that if you've already got layman set up with other overlays, or have performed this step before, you may cheerfully skip this step.

File: /etc/make.conf
 source /usr/portage/local/layman/make.conf

If you've got eix installed on your box, you'll want to run update-eix-layman to tell eix to add your custom portage overlay into its database. Then, you'll want to sync your portage tree and update your eix database. You can do all this as follows:

update-eix-layman -a wschlich-testing add && emerge --sync && update-eix

Installing the lightscribe software - First try

At this point, you're ready to install the lightscribe software.

Unmasking the lightscribe packages

You'll find that the lightscribe packages are masked with the "~x86" keyword. You'll need to unmask them as follows:

echo "app-cdr/lightscribe ~x86" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
echo "app-cdr/lightscribe-simplelabeler ~x86" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
echo "app-cdr/lacie-lightscribe-labeler ~x86" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

Emerging the lightscribe packages

Now install the lightscribe packages. Note that some of the packages have fetch restrictions turned on, which means that you will have to manually download them from the lightscribe website after possibly having to agree to a tedious and long EULA. For the moment, simply run:

emerge lacie-lightscribe-labeler lightscribe lightscribe-simplelabeler

Houston, we have a problem

Now, you'll notice that the very first thing that portage complains about is that there's a fetch restriction on lightscribe. The message looks something like this:

Calculating dependencies... done!
>>> Verifying ebuild Manifests...

>>> Emerging (1 of 3) app-cdr/lightscribe- to /

!!! app-cdr/lightscribe- has fetch restriction turned on.
!!! This probably means that this ebuild's files must be downloaded
!!! manually.  See the comments in the ebuild for more information.

 * The following steps are necessary to install lightscribe:
 * 1. Please agree to the lightscribe license at
 * 2. Use the following URL to download the needed files into /usr/portage/distfiles
 * 3. Re-run the command that brought you here.
 * Fetch failed for 'app-cdr/lightscribe-'

Very well. Now, a normal human being would simply wget the required package(s) from the location mentioned in the emerge message, then cp or mv it to the /usr/portage/distfiles directory, and resume the emerge. However, life is not that simple. If only it were. It never is. It never will be.

Why me?

You see, the problem is this: As of this writing, the ebuild files in the overlay are pretty old, and the RPM packages available on the lightscribe and lacie official sites have moved ahead by several versions than those specified in the ebuilds in the wschlich-testing portage overlay.

"Alas! All is lost," you cry, and with a crushed mien you disappointedly pick up the sundered threads of the skein of your life and prepare to resume your normal boring lightscribe-less existence....but wait, there is hope yet.

Here's your chance to play Dr. Evil. All you need to do (finding yourself a Mini-me is strictly optional) is to get the latest available packages from the lightscribe website, and fool portage into thinking that these files are the proper ones. This, as you'll see in a moment, is not too terribly difficult.

Setting up portage to use the latest packages from the Lightscribe Website

Obtaining the new packages

Head on over to the lightscribe download page at and you'll see that they've got the following options listed:

You'll want to grab the RPM files for all three of the above. So click on the "Lightscribe System Software" link, accept the agreement, and click on the "Download now - RPM Package" link. This should fetch you a file that is named something like this: lightscribe- In the filename, make a note of the numbers between the "lightscribe-" bit and the -"linux-2.6-intel.rpm" bit. You will need this number. For the purposes of this HOWTO, henceforth we will call this the Lightscribe version number, and, in the examples, will use as the Lightscribe version number.

Now, grab the Lightscribe public SDK RPM file in a manner similar to the above. The SDK will have a filename similar to lightscribePublicSDK- bit. Once again, note the numbers between "lightscribePublicSDK-" bit and the -"linux-2.6-intel.rpm". This is usually the same as the Lightscribe version number, but it may not always be the case. Call this the SDK Version Number.

Now, grab the Lightscribe Simple Labeler RPM file in a manner similar to the above. The Simple Labeler will have a filename similar to lightscribeApplications- Once again, note the numbers between "lightscribeApplications-" bit and the -"linux-2.6-intel.rpm" bit. . Call this the Labeler Version Number. In the examples following, we will use as the Labeler Version Number. In another twist to the tale, sometimes the ebuild for lightscribe in the overlay requires that the filename for the labeler be called "lightScribeSimpleLabeler" instead of "lightscribeApplications". So, execute the following command to keep the ebuild file happy in the future:

cp lightscribeApplications- lightScribeSimpleLabeler-

Now, copy all the above files into your /usr/portage/distfiles directory, like so:

cp lightscribe- /usr/portage/distfiles
cp lightscribePublicSDK- /usr/portage/distfiles
cp lightscribeApplications- /usr/portage/distfiles
cp lightScribeSimpleLabeler- /usr/portage/distfiles

Conning portage into accepting the new packages

Now comes the important've got to get portage to accept these new packages. For this, you will have to mess with the ebuild files as follows.


Head on over into the overlay directory for the "lightscribe" ebuild. This should usually be located at /usr/portage/local/layman/wschlich-testing/app-cdr/lightscribe unless you've got a custom setup.

cd /usr/portage/local/layman/wschlich-testing/app-cdr/lightscribe

Now, you'll see a couple of ebild files named something similar to lightscribe- Notice the numbers between the "lightscribe-" bit and the ".ebuild" bit. Aha! Bulb lighting up yet? Indeed. What you'll now be doing is creating a new ebuild file by copying an existing file (with a possibly old version number) to a file with the number of your currently downloaded lightscribe version number. This is as simple as issuing the following command:

cp lightscribe- lightscribe-
Note: Remember to replace with the actual Lightscribe version number of the package you just downloaded

Now, get portage to recognize your new ebuild file by running the following command:

ebuild lightscribe- digest 

If all goes well, you should get a success message similar to the following:


This means that portage assimilated your new lightscribe ebuild without indigestion.


Head on over into the overlay directory for the "lightscribe-simplelabeler" ebuild. This should usually be located at /usr/portage/local/layman/wschlich-testing/app-cdr/lightscribe-simplelabeler unless you've got a custom setup.

cd /usr/portage/local/layman/wschlich-testing/app-cdr/lightscribe-simplelabeler

Now, you need to create a new ebuild file for the simple labeler, like you did for the main lightscribe software. You'll find that existing ebuild files are called something like lightscribe-simplelabeler- Copy an existing ebuild file into an ebuild file with your new Labeler Version Number, as follows:

cp lightscribe-simplelabeler- lightscribe-simplelabeler-
Note: Remember to replace with the actual Labeler Version Number of the package you just downloaded

Allow portage to digest your new labeler ebuild as follows:

ebuild lightscribe-simplelabeler- digest

Emerging lightscribe - All guns blazing

If all has gone well so far, you should now be able to emerge the lightscribe suite by issuing the emerge command as follows:

emerge lacie-lightscribe-labeler lightscribe lightscribe-simplelabeler

At this point, the lightscribe software should be successfully installed on your box. If you run into problems here, perhaps there was some mistake in an earlier step, usually with the version numbers of the downloaded packages versus the existing ebuid file versions. Re-check the version numbers and rerun this HOWTO.

Using Lightscribe

Make sure your CD/DVD drive can be recognized by the lightscribe software. You can use the enumerate command of the LaCie CLI app for this. Run the following command:

4L-cli enumerate

Your output should be similar to the following:

Using /etc/lightscribe.rc
Drive path: /dev/hda
Usable: 1
Full name: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-T20L NR02 147
Manufacturer: HL-DT-ST
Capabilities: monochrome 
Drive inner radius: 21000
Drive outer radius: 58700

Of course, your drive path, full name, model and other info may differ as according to your particular hardware, but overall, the output of the enumerate command should resemble the above.

Now you can choose to use either the LaCie Labeler GUI or the Lightscribe Simple Labeler GUI to create labels for your discs.

To use the LaCie Labeler GUI, run the following command:


To use the Lightscribe Simple Labeler GUI, run the following command:


Experiment with both until you find which one best suits your needs.

To burn a label onto a disc:

Additional Information for amd64

I needed to install some additional packages to get it running:


Last modified: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 02:38:00 +0000 Hits: 4,940