Content of optical discs such as CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc could be exported into an image file for archival purpose. The file normally uses .iso or .img extension and is of ISO 9660 filesystem format.

You can view and copy the content of an ISO image without burning it to an optical disc by mounting the image file to a directory from the terminal in Linux

Extract ISO image file without burning to disc in Linux:

  1. Create a temporary directory to mount the ISO image file.
    $ mkdir temp
  2. Check if the ISO image file is of the correct format.
    $ file ubuntu-19.10-live-server-amd64.iso
    ubuntu-19.10-live-server-amd64.iso: DOS/MBR boot sector; partition 2 : ID=0xef, start-CHS (0x3ff,254,63), end-CHS (0x3ff,254,63), startsector 1391610, 7936 sectors
  3. Mount the ISO image file to the temporary folder using the iso9660 filesystem type.
    $ sudo mount -t iso9660 ubuntu-19.10-live-server-amd64.iso temp/
    [sudo] password for user:
    mount: /home/user/temp: WARNING: device write-protected, mounted read-only.

    The ISO image is mounted as read-only, thus the content could only be viewed or copied over to different location.

  4. Check content of ISO image file.
    $ ls -l temp/
    total 76
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 boot
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:34 casper
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 dists
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 EFI
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 install
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 34816 Oct 17 13:33 isolinux
    -r--r--r-- 1 root root 25363 Oct 17 13:34 md5sum.txt
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 pics
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 pool
    dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root  2048 Oct 17 13:33 preseed
    -r--r--r-- 1 root root   232 Oct 17 13:33 README.diskdefines
    lr-xr-xr-x 1 root root     1 Oct 17 13:33 ubuntu -> .
  5. Copy or view content of ISO image file.
    $ head temp/dists/stable/Release
    Origin: Ubuntu
    Label: Ubuntu
    Suite: eoan
    Version: 19.10
    Codename: eoan
    Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2019 12:37:49 UTC
    Architectures: amd64 i386
    Components: main restricted
    Description: Ubuntu Eoan 19.10
    Acquire-By-Hash: yes
  6. Exit from the mount directory.
    $ cd
  7. Unmount the ISO file from the mount directory.
    $ sudo umount temp/
  8. Remove the temporary mount directory.
    $ rmdir temp/
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