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/dev/cdrom is what's called a 'special device file'. It's not a chunk of bytes like a regular file. It's sort of an access point to the hardware.
When you mount /dev/cdrom on /cdrom all the files on the CD (assuming there is one in the drive) magically appear as they should in the directory /cdrom.
Each partition on the hard drive also has an /dev/something special device file. One is designated as root '/'. Then all the files in the other devices and partitions are sort of glued in place relative to that by the mount process.
The file /etc/fstab contains the description of what should be mounted where and how.
For removable media like CD's, you generally have to unmount the device before you remove the disk, and vice-versa. The easiest way to handle this depends on your setup/distribution.
Open up "disk management" from 'System Tools', click the drive you want, then click mount. It will appear on the desktop. When you're done copying files or whatever, right click on the drive and hit eject
When you mount a cdrom drive it locks the drive. You can't eject. You have to unmount the drive then the eject should free up. If that is not working the only thing I can suggest is to try and eject while rebooting. That should be possible. Then if your system is auto-mounting the cdrom it should error and not mount therefor allowing you to open the drive.
Some things I would suggest:
1) try other cd's
2) try other cdrom drives and/or that drive in anothe comp.