Open Sound System TM

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Open Sound System (OSS) is the first attempt in unifying the digital audio architecture for UNIX. OSS is a set of device drivers that provide a uniform API across all the major UNIX architectures. It supports Sound Blaster or Windows Sound System compatible sound cards which can be plugged into any UNIX workstation supporting the ISA or PCI bus architecture. OSS also supports workstations with on-board digital audio hardware.

Traditionally, each UNIX vendor has provided their own API for processing digital audio. This meant that applications written to a particular UNIX audio API had to be re-written or ported, with possible loss of functionality, to another version of UNIX. Applications written to the OSS API, need to be designed once and then simply re-compiled on any supported UNIX architecture. OSS is source code compatible across all the platforms.

Most UNIX workstations, thus far, have only provided support for digital audio sampling and playback (business audio). OSS brings the world of MIDI and electronic music to the workstation environment. With the advent of streaming audio, speech recognition/generation, computer telephony, Java and other multimedia technologies, applications on UNIX can now provide the same audio capabilities as those found on Windows NT, OS/2, Windows 95 and the Macintosh operating systems. OSS also provides synchronized audio capabilities required for desktop video and animation playback.

UNIX versions

SCO OpenServer
Tru64 UNIX