To make an ISO from your CD/DVD, place the media in your drive but do not mount it. If it automounts, unmount it. (ubuntu automount so you need to unmount, that’s quite easy, just choose the option unmount from the shell).

dd if=/dev/dvd of=dvd.iso # for dvd
dd if=/dev/cdrom of=cd.iso # for cdrom
dd if=/dev/scd0 of=cd.iso # if cdrom is scsi

To make an ISO from files on your hard drive, create a directory which holds the files you want. Then use the mkisofs command.

mkisofs -o /tmp/cd.iso /tmp/directory/

This results in a file called cd.iso in folder /tmp which contains all the files and directories in /tmp/directory/.

For more info, see the man pages for mkisofs, losetup, and dd, or see the CD-Writing-HOWTO at