The default tool for CD ripping under Gnome is Sound Juicer, found under ApplicationsSound & VideoAudio CD Extractor. But this tool had severe problems recognizing my custom configuration for LAME encoding (I changed vbr-quality from 6 to 2 but the tool ignored it) also you had to restart it for every configuration change which means you have to re-enter all CD information.

So I tried abcde.

After installing the package abcde and some other utilities (id3, id3v2, flac, oggconvert, etc.), I copied the file /etc/abcde.conf to ~/.abcde.conf and modified it according to Andrew Strong's examples and my own preference.

Now ripping a CD is as simple as typing abcde at the prompt.