LightScribe on Ubuntu


LightScribe is an innovative technology that uses a special disc drive, special media, and label-making software to burn labels directly onto CDs and DVDs. The labels are laser-etched, not printed, so there’s no ink, no smudging, and no peeling.

LightScribe lets you create one-of-a-kind designs with your own photos, text, and artwork. The days of hand-labeling or printing stickers for your CDs and DVDs are over.


This short tutorial will describe how to install and run LightScribe software on Ubuntu. These instructions are tailored specifically for Ubuntu 64-bit users, since the LightScribe software is designed for the 32-bit architecture. Where necessary, alterations for 32-bit users are included.

What You Need

Before downloading anything, make sure you have the necessary hardware and materials at hand, or you may have to make an emergency trip to your local big-box electronics store.

LightScribe Hardware

LightScribe-enabled disc drives do double duty. The same laser that burns your data will also laser-etch your customized CD/DVD labels. LightScribe-enabled CD/DVD burners are ubiquitous these days. You may already have one.

Just look for the LightScribe logo on the drive bay door:


LightScribe Media

LightScribe CDs and DVDs have a special coating that interacts with the laser in your LightScribe-enabled disc drive. You must use LightScribe CDs and DVDs in order to burn a label onto your discs.


LightScribe Software

LightScribe software may have come packaged with your CD/DVD burner, and different flavors are available from a variety of vendors online. Unfortunately, they’re all for Windows. For Linux, we’ll be using basically two programs: (1) the LightScribe System Software, which handles the low-level system tasks like communicating with your disc drive, and; (2) the Lacie LightScribe Labeler for Linux, or `4L` for short.


Installing the Software

1. Download the LightScribe System Software using the following command, or get the most current version from the LightScribe Downloads page. Open a terminal and paste the following code:


2. Download the Lacie LightScribe Labeler for Linux (4L).


3. Install the LightScribe System Software. Important: You must install this first, before installing 4L! Open a terminal and paste the following code, but be sure the package name matches the one you downloaded from the LightScribe website (e.g. lightscribe- [Note: For 32-bit users, simply remove the --force-architecture option from the command.]

sudo dpkg --force-architecture -i lightscribe-

4. Install 4L, the Lacie LightScribe Labeler for Linux. Important: You must install the LightScribe System Software first, or this won’t work! [Note: For 32-bit users, simply remove the --force-architecture option from the command.]

sudo dpkg --force-architecture -i 4l_1.0-r6_i386.deb

Running the Lacie LightScribe Labeler

The graphical user interface to 4L is called 4L-gui and can be run from the command line. It must be run as the root user, like so:

sudo 4L-gui

This will launch the 4L GUI pictured above. The interface is fairly intuitive, but the basic procedure is:

1. Insert LightScribe media into your disc drive, label side down!
2. Select an image to burn onto the CD or DVD by using the “Import Image” button.
3. Adjust the image size and alignment as necessary using the scale slider.
4. Preview the finished product by pressing the “Print” button and then selecting “Preview.”
5. Press “Print” to burn the label to the disc. A full-size image should take about 20 minutes.
6. Remove the CD/DVD media and FLIP!
7. Use K3b (or your favorite burner program) to burn data on your new hella-cool custom disc!

Burn – Flip – Burn!

One final technical note: Unfortunately, the installation process above does not create a new item in your programs menu. If you’d like to create an item in your program menu for the LightScribe labeler, check out this thread on the Ubuntu Forums.


6 responses to “LightScribe on Ubuntu

  1. thanks, using 64bit karmic here, this lacie app seems to do the absolute basics of image printing, which is good enough.

  2. Many thanks for this article and for hosting the .DEB package of the La Cie Lightscribe software. Using your instructions, I successfully installed the software on 32-bit Ubuntu 9.10 and went to burning straightaway.

    However, when I tried to perform the same feat on a 64-bit Ubuntu 10.04 machine, I received the following feedback:

    sudo dpkg –force-architecture -i 4l1.0-r6i386.debdpkg: warning: overriding problem because –force enabled:
    package architecture (i386) does not match system (amd64)
    Selecting previously deselected package 4l.
    (Reading database … 151647 files and directories currently installed.)
    Unpacking 4l (from 4l1.0-r6i386.deb) …
    Setting up 4l (1.0-r6) …

    Then when running sudo 4L-gui from the CLI, the software launched, but the CLI reported the following:

    4L-cli: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

    As I said, the software does load, but doesn’t move past the first screen.

    Any ideas about what’s going on?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. When I try to Print, I get Error – You need to select a drive before you can print.’ and the ‘No drives have been selected’ undre Drive on the Print Options panel is grayed out. How do I select a drive?
    Unbuntu 10.04
    Asus CD ROM Lightscribe is otherwise functional.
    Thank you.
    Don Groff

  4. I received the same error about the missing library under 64 bit Ubuntu. The problem is the 4L-cli program that is launched by 4L-gui needs the library but is only looking in the 32 bit library directories. You have to copy or link the library into the 32 bit library directory.

    ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib32/

    That fixed the problem for me.

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