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The tool I've used for CD ripping is KAudioCreator, but you could use any other ripping tool if you wish.

Permissions
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To avoid initial problems it is best that you sort these out beforehand. in the /dev/ directory there should be a file called hdc, which represents the drive you'll be ripping from (this could be hdd, depending on your setup - so find out which it is first). Right click on this and select 'properties'. Then you click on the permissions tab. To allow you to perform ripping duties as a non root user, you need to put the name of your non-root account in the user box.

CD Data Retrieval
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After this is sorted you will need to deal with the data retrieval. Usually this is set so that you can download the CD details from the online database freedb. However, you might not have internet so you'll need an alternative measure. Some CD rippers (like KAudioCreator) fail to work properly if you have no internet and the 'cache and remote' setting is selected.

The alternative is to enter data manually. This means launching your CD Ripper and going to the configuration pages. There you should find a 'cache only option'. This will enable you to enter data manually. Almost there!

File locations
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In your ripper you may or may not have a wizard to help you select where the files will be placed. If you do, then they will help you through the procedure. If you don't have wizards, go to the configuration pages and you should find two fields - one for the location for the playlist and the other for the ripped files.

The actual ripping and compression
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Now this will depend on what software you have, but this stage should be self explanatory apart from one thing - file compression. There are three formats - mp3, ogg and FLAC. If you have the LAME program then you can compress wav files to mp3. If you don't, I recommend either getting that or the Ogg Vorbis utility which produces the .ogg files. These can (like mp3s) be played on most media players and are a good alternative.

And finally....
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If anyone feels anything should be added to this HOWTO or commented on, then please post a message. I'd also like to hear if any of you found this post useful in any way.