Transcode is the Swiss-Army knife of video transcoding: a text-console utility for video stream processing, running on a platform that supports shared libraries and threads.
Decoding and encoding is done by loading modules that are responsible for feeding transcode with raw video/audio streams (import modules) and encoding the frames (export modules). It supports elementary video and audio frame transformations, including de-interlacing or fast resizing of video frames and loading of external filters.
A number of modules are included to enable import of DVDs on-the-fly, MPEG elementary (ES) or program streams (VOB), MPEG video, Digital Video (DV), YUV4MPEG streams, NuppelVideo file format and raw or compressed (pass-through) video frames and export modules for writing DivX ;), OpenDivX, DivX 4.xx or uncompressed AVI files with MPEG, AC3 (pass-through) or PCM audio. Additional export modules to write single frames (PPM) or YUV4MPEG streams are available, as well as an interface import module to the avifile library.
It's modular concept is intended to provide flexibility and easy user extensibility to include other video/audio codecs or file types. A set of tools is included to demux (tcdemux), extract (tcextract) and decode (tcdecode) the sources into raw video/audio streams for import, probing (tcprobe) and scanning (tcscan) your sources and to enable post-processing of AVI files, fixing AVI file header information (avifix), merging multiple files (avimerge) or splitting large AVI files (avisplit) to fit on a CD.
Transcode allows for cluster ripping on multiple machines.
Built on the Unix philosophy of many small specialized tools, the transcode programs are very nicely scriptable.
More information, downloads and examples can be found at The Transcode Wiki
This page has a primer on "DVD ripping and transcoding on Linux."