libdvdcss is an open source, simple and unique library software designed from the ground up to be used on DVD playback applications for unscrambling and accessing CSS-encrypted DVD content without having to pay for expensive products or bother about the decryption process.
Features at a glance
The library is portable, as it is currently supported on a wide range of operating system, including GNU/Linux, BSD (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, BSD/OS), BeOS, Solaris, HP-UX, Microsoft Windows (95/98, NT/2000, XP), and Mac OS X.
It also offers simplicity, as it only includes seven functions, and freedom, which means that it can only be used by free software products. In addition, it works better than most similar projects, simply because it doesn't require the user to set the region of his or her DVD drive.
Under the hood and availability
Looking under the hood, we can notice that the library has been written entirely in the C programming language. It is available for download as a source archive, which means that anyone can configure, compile and install the library on any GNU/Linux system. However, for users convenience it can be easily installed from the default software repositories of many Linux OSes.
Several GNU/Linux distribution come pre-installed with the libdvdcss library. Among some of these, we can mention BackTrack, PCLinuxOS, Puppy Linux, CrunchBang Linux, Slax, Linux Mint, Pardus, LinuxMCE, Super OS, and XBMC Live.
On the other hand, some of the most popular Linux-based operating system do not contain libdvdcss, because of fear of DMCA-style lawsuits. These include Ubuntu, Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora and openSUSE.
In conclusion, libdvdcss is a unique library software that can be integrated into any open source application to automatically accessing and unscrambling DVD-Video discs that are encrypted with the CSS (Content Scramble System) encryption system. It is successfully used in VLC, MPlayer, xine and other popular products.