This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for: the more expensive software
has more features. However, this isn't always the case, and the software
with more features isn't necessarily more useful or more reliable.
There's little standardization among CD-R drive manufacturers, so not
all devices are supported by all programs. This has changed somewhat
with the development of the MMC specification, but deviations from the
standard are not uncommon.
On the PC, if you're new to CD-R, start with Ahead's Nero (6-1-28) or
Roxio's Easy CD Creator Deluxe (6-1-26). If you just want to "back up"
CD-ROMs try CloneCD, and if you want good "backups" and lots of flexbility
when creating audio CDs go with CDRWIN. If you want to write to a disc as
if it were a floppy, try Roxio's DirectCD (included with ECDC; see section
(6-4-1)) or Nero InCD (6-4-7).
On the Mac, go with Toast (6-1-4) or Discribe (6-1-29).
UNIX users probably ought to start with cdrecord (6-1-20) or CDRDAO
Most of the software listed below is for PC running Windows. Use the
search feature of your newsreader or web browser to look for "Mac" or
"Linux" if that's what you're interested in.