Open Sound System
OSS 4.x Programmer's Guide

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Developing applications for Open Sound System version 4.1

This document covers OSS versions 4.0 and later. Practically all the functionality described here is already in OSS 4.0. If a more recent OSS version is required for some feature then this will be mentioned. Version numbers 4.0 and 4.x is used to denote features that have been available in the OSS API since version 4.0.


Please check for other resources (such as mailing lists) for OSS developers.

We have published both HTML and Adobe Acrobed (.PDF) versions of this manual. The .PDF version is recommended if you like to read the whole manual from the beginning to end (which is recommended for all first time readers). The HTML version in turn is recommended in every day use because it's hypertext features make it faster for use as a reference. In addition the HTML version will be automatically kept up to date.

The Installation and User's guide for OSS is available from our web site .

There is a mailing list (oss-devel) for OSS 4.x application and driver developers. Please visit the list home page for more info.

OSS API basics

Programming information

Programming with OSS

System calls

The Open Sound System API is based on the old and reliable Posix/unix system call model. The following system calls are available:

The open() system call
The close() system call
The read() system call
The write() system call
The ioctl() system call
The select() and poll() system calls
The mmap() system call

OSS 4.x programming details

Device types supported by OSS
Getting information about devices
Audio Programming
OSS Mixer Programming
OSS MIDI Programming

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