I just started using this wonderful perl / gtk+ tool to turn my DVD movies into DiVX5 movies which I in return can watch on my laptop or take to a friends place who doesn't have a DVD player. Basically it turns ripping DVDs from a complicated task into an easy 6 step program even a child can learn to master in a matter of minutes.

1) DVD in drive
2) mount
3) start DVDrip
4) read TOC and select chapters to copy
5) transcode
6) enjoy

DVDrip even features calulation on the spot regarding bitrates, MP3 encoding of sound and automatic resizing. It's really dead easy !

http://www.exit1.org/dvdrip/