For some reason I never came across HandBrake until reading about it by chance on diveintomark.org. It’s a CLI application that makes great use of two cores. With my dual-core opteron, top reports close to 200 percent CPU utilization. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that from a single application before. It runs on Mac OS and Windows and there is even a Mono-based GUI for Linux called RippedWire, which I have yet to try out.