Grip is a CD ripper, and while the user interface is a bit confusing the first few times you use it, the functionality is undeniable. It handles in a single application everything you need to take the contents of those clunky compact discs into a much more compact, convenient format on your computer. Digital storage is the way to go, not only for convenience, but also for archival. Compact Discs simply don’t last as long as we once imagined they would.
For those of you still using the MP3 format, Grip supports encoding to this format, and can even pull tags from online music databases like Gracenote’s CD Database. Users of the Ogg Vorbis and FLAC users enjoy the same features, and can rest easy knowing that their music is in a non-proprietary format that actually sounds good.
Once you’ve configured Grip (which the included help button does a great job of explaining how to do), ripping albums is as simple as putting in the disc, and clicking one “Rip + Encode”.
Yes, the user interface is simple enough once you figure it out, it still requires “figuring out”, which is less than ideal. It would also be nice if it detected which encoders were available, and indicated which were not. This would remove the need to decipher errors (though the errors are easy enough to understand), and ease the learning curve for new users.
In short, Grip is a classic example of poor usability in Open Source applications. This is in no way indicative of the community at large, but it does represent a common view of Open Source Software by its critics.
While Grip has not declined in usability, other software has risen to replace it in my life. Sound Juicer offers the same key functionality one expects from a CD ripper, and packages it in a cleaner, more intuitive interface. For this reason, Grip no longer has my recommendation as the go-to application for all your audio extraction needs.
- Grip for Ubuntu (requires 7.10+, removed in 9.10+)