k3b has produced too many coasters in the last 2 years yet!
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I've had coasters from k3b, but the mistakes were mine, not its. Can you explain what usually happens when you get a coaster? Buffer underrun? Some error message? Does it happen with a specific type of media? What distribution are you running? Did you get k3b from a package or compile from source? What version(s) is\are\were you using?
The only coasters I have had with k3b were made using a new fast CD/DVD burner with a Pentium 350 and 128MB RAM with the default settings.
For better control the cdrecord/mkisofs combo cannot be beat.
Like Okie and Kamikazee I would suspect your hardware and current settings.
Is that a 64-bit architecture? K3b has some problems with 64-bit; that's why it's been held up in unstable in debian.
Try testing growisofs from the command line (or mkisofs, the underlying utility) in various situations. If those applications fail, the problem isn't k3b. You could also try googling the error message (provided you can get it verbatim in english).
My main beef with K3b in the past was its multisession support. Anyone have any comments on how it is doing now? I haven't used the app for almost 6 months, so I'm just curious. A vote for mkisofs and cdrecord here (or BashBurn which automates that stuff in a script)!
There is also such a thing as a "Win Burner" that will not work with linux. I used to have one of those, and all I would get is coasters, but it works fine in windows. I switched to a lite-on cd-burner, and havn't made a coaster in the last 50 discs that I have burnt.