Now I've finally got all the bits and pieces correctly installed on laptp and desktop is there any DISASTER / RECOVERY software out there for HOME users -- preferably that writes to DVD's-- I Don't want tape backup.
Now what has tape ever done to deserve your disdain? :-) (note: I'm a long-time tape user so please excuse my vain attempt at humor)
Seriously... One thing to consider -- if it isn't too late -- is to try and install your system so that you have software that's part of the operating system in one set of file systems and your other software, your home directory (or directories) in another set of filesystems. And
keep your non-OS software and data on different disks than those where the OS is installed. At least that way, should you lose the OS disk/disks, your data is safe and you don't need to go through the time restoring that. And if you do need to restore the OS, you're at far less risk of having the installer wipe out your data. It also makes it easier to do OS upgrades or switch distributions if the OS is kept separate from the important data. (OK, steppting down from the soapbox now.)
If you're looking for non-commercial software to do this, it's probably already installed on your system : mkisofs and cdrecord. I've used it to burn directory trees onto CD-R (not DVDs; I'm not equipped for that just now). The commands I've used to do this are:
cdrecord -scanbus 
cd /scratch 
mkisofs -pad -R -T -v -o cdrom.iso <source-directory>
mount cdrom.iso -r -t iso9660 -o loop /mnt/testiso 
cdrecord -v speed=10 dev=0,6,0 cdrom.iso
 note the output; my burner is device "0,6,0"
 or some place with enough room to hold the resulting ISO file
 you can skip the test mount once you get the hang of the procedure
Also, there might be GUI-based tools on the system that automate these steps.
Hope this helps a bit...