Interview – The author of Clone CD


What is your function in elaborate-bytes ?

I do all and everything at the moment. That’s why the support is currently so bad, and it takes long until I answer my e-mail.

How did you came up with elaborate-bytes and how did you start ?

Elaborate Bytes actually exists since 1986 (if I remember correctly). We developed products for Amiga computers (if someone remembers this brand? It was quite popular these days) like A.L.F. and Oktagon controllers, or the famous “IDE-fix”. Other projects were programming embedded systems for cellular phones and game-systems for two German TV Shows.


How old are you and do you do this work full-time ?

I am 36 since a couple of days. Since 1st of February I do CloneCD full time. Before, there were other projects (a CD-Rom FileSystem for the new AmigaOS 3.5, some embedded programming for cellular phones)

In what language do you develop your applications ?

C/C++. Assembler only, if it can’t be avoided. I like Borland’s C++ Builder (I would like it more, if it was less buggy)

How did you came up with the revolutionary copy-solution that CloneCD has become ?

Just because everybody told me, that it is not possible.


Do you think you can stay ahead of the big developers like Goldenhawk Ahead Adaptec etc ?

Why not?

Did they offer you a job ? And did CD Writer producers already contact you to sell your software with their products ?

Yes and yes. 🙂

How does CloneCD actually work and how come it doesn’t work with any Writer ?

CloneCD uses MMC-DAO-Writing. How this works can be read in any SCSI-3/MMC2 documentation. If the writer doesn’t support it – bad luck. However, it is not just as easy, as there are several problems like drifts between mainchannel and subchannel data, which the program has to compensate.

What is in your opinion the best CD Writer manufacturer, and what do you think will be the best in the future ? And same for CD reader (CD-ROM)

Sorry, I can’t comment on this.

What are the known protections that it copies ?

All, that I tried, except for the “Audio CD protection”

Did it cost you a lot of research and money ?

Oh, yes. If I look around, I see a big bunch of PCs, CD-Readers and Writers, and other development stuff.

Will CloneCD someday copy every disc available ?

I don’t think, that this is possible. CloneCD can only copy CDs that it can read. The new protected Audio CDs can’t be read by current CD-ROMs, so CloneCD is out of luck. If it is a CD which runs on a PC, I would say yes, it I believe CloneCD will copy it someday.

We know that you have been helped by the author of duplicator (Kris Schoof) are there other
people that have offered their help ? Or do you have to everything yourself ?

There were Mike Wege & Volker Klein, who provided an optimised Raw-Subchannel De-Interleaver (which didn’t work, so I still use my original “design” model). Norman Goris is currently writing a new one. Patrick Ohly (from Ahead Software) submitted the Layer2 encoder.

Is there a chance you could make CloneCD write/create protected disc’s ?

Sure. But it would be difficult to create a protection, that CloneCD can’t copy. With the right knowledge you can already use CloneCD to create protected disks.

What are your plans with CloneCD ?

Short term or long term?

Short term, there will be a new version soon. Here are the changes of my current beta:

New features:

  • Windows 2000 fully supported without the need to install ASPI drivers
  • New CloneCD.vxd: Windows 95 & 98 supported without using any ASPI drivers
  • No need to disable Auto insert notification
  • Access to devices which are in use by CloneCD is now totally blocked for other programs
  • New progress bar with percentage display
  • Estimated remaining time display
  • New Image File format, easier to create patches for this format
  • New Keycodes
  • No usage limitations for unregistered version
  • Renamed some messages and controls
  • Devices are displayed by Drive Letter (Windows 9x only) or their driver name (Windows 2000). Cryptic addressing with Hostadapter and SCSI ID is no longer used.
  • Faster scanning of CDs

Compatibility fixes:

  • HP8210i & Sony CRX-120E: Fixed problem of locked tray after burn
  • Added support for Imation 8/20 writer
  • Philips CD-ROMs (possibly others, too): Fixed problem, of not correctly detecting Mode2 data tracks
  • As CloneCD no longer requires 3rd party ASPI drivers, it is now much more robust, when installed together with other CD-Writing software, or old ASPI drivers.
  • Faster skipping of read errors with certain drives (e.g., Toshiba CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs)

Long term:

  • VirtualCloneCD – Mount your CloneCD Images as a CD-ROM. The Image can be locally or over a Network.
  • More support for readers & writers – the manufacturers are already willing to add support for MMC-DAO-Writing.

What is this subchannel thing ? What does it do and is it also revolutionary ?

The SubChannel data usually contains only pretty uninteresting stuff, like positioning information or Karaoke Graphics. However, some protections use this channel to store their “Digital Ids”. As CloneCD copies simply all data it can find, this data is copied, too.

Further, the Subchannel in the Lead-In contains the Table of Contents of the CD. As CloneCD starts to write from the beginning of the LeadIn, it submits the TOC in the SubChannel. Normal DAO sends a Cue-Sheet to the Writer, and the Writer creates the TOC on its own. As CloneCD has “Total Control”, Illegal TOCs are no problem (like Tracks smaller than 4 Seconds, etc.)

Would it help when everyone would mail their CD Writer manufacturer to support RAW writing ?

I have the impression, you already did 🙂

Here some questions of people trying to be funny Interview - The author of Clone CD

Will CloneCD be cheaper in the future ?

If more CD-Writers are supported, there are more people who can use CloneCD. Yes, I believe CloneCD will become cheaper then.

Will Clone CD clone sheeps in the future ?

No, this will be a different product.

Is there anything you would like to add ? Or are their questions that you think we should have asked ?

Yes. Please, don’t ask me questions like “when will my HP8100i, my Sony CRX-100, my TEAC55S, my TEAC56, 58, my RICOH… supported. I know it writes RAW, it does so using CDR-Win” I get about 300 mails per day asking these questions, and I am not able to follow up. The answer is simple: Never. These drives can’t do it. Use CDR-Win, if you are happy with it. Or get another Writer.