Another piece of hardware I bought this past week besides the TP-LINK TG-3468 Gigabit network adapter was the AmazonBasics USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive. Being a slow Easter news weekend for Linux and open-source software, I figured I'd say a few things about this latest peripheral and its Linux compatibility for interested Phoronix readers. In general I rarely use optical media as it is but it mostly comes down to using an external DVD drive when needing to install Windows 8 or the Linux/BSD operating systems out there that aren't in a hybrid ISO format where they can be easily dd'ed to a USB disk. There's other approaches out there for non-hybrid images, but in general I've found it more reliable, quicker, and easier to just occasionally use a DVD drive for handling these smaller distributions or Windows 8.
For the past several years I was using a USB 2.0 to IDE external enclosure that in turn had a old Lite-On DVD-RW drive within... That was bulky, required an external AC power adapter, and lately was just acting up. To replace this old external DVD drive I bought the AmazonBasics USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive. This new external DVD-RW drive is much lighter and smaller, can run off two USB 2.0 ports so it doesn't require an external AC/DC power supply, and costs just $30.
This AmazonBasics drive was slightly cheaper than the other name-brand drives, but in general I've had a fine experience with Amazon's electronics brand: I have many AmazonBasics HDMI cables, several USB hubs, and I love Amazon's low-cost USB keyboards that work well on test systems. The AmazonBasics external DVD writer is rated for 8x speeds, has a USB 2.0 interface, supports a +5V/2A power adapter (for those only using one USB port or not getting sufficient power out of their system) but the adapter is not included, and uses an ultra slim tray load design. AmazonBasics DVD burner also bundles the Cyberlink DVD software, but that's of no use to Linux users.
While Amazon just advertises this DVD writer for Microsoft Windows and OS X, to no real surprise, the USB DVD burner works fine under modern Linux distributions. I've burned several discs so far and haven't run into any problems at all with the AmazonBasics USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive. Mostly I've been using it from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Oracle Linux 6.5 hosts.
For $29.99 USD the price isn't bad for a slim USB 2.0 external DVD burner that works well with Linux; this USB peripheral can be found at Amazon.com.