Open Sound System

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The Open Sound System, (sometimes jokingly referred to as the "Old Sound System") is the traditional interface for making and capturing sound on Unix based operating systems.

The Open Sound System was created in 1992 by the Finn Hannu Savolainen, and was designed to provide an interface that application developers can use for controlling different types of sound controller hardware.

As of kernel version 2.6, OSS drivers have been replaced with ALSA, however development of the OSS core continues, as it is still the preferred sound system by many users and developers. The OSS core may still be installed as an optional component.

Advantages of the Open Sound System

  • The open sound system is cross platform
  • The open sound system provides a relatively simple application interface
  • The open sound system provides a small footprint
  • The open sound system provides improved performance over ALSA
  • The open sound system provides high quality sound
  • The open sound system is well documents

Disadvantages of the Open Sound System

  • With OSS, only one application can access the sound card at a time
  • Many current applications designed to run on Linux are written for ALSA

Features of the open sound system

Supported Audio Formats

  • Supports 8/16/24/32 bits/sample audio formats
  • Supports sampling rates from 8KHz up to 192KHz
  • Supports mono, stereo, quad, 5.1, 7.1 and multichannel audio devices

Transparent Software based Audio Mixer

  • Allows applications to share the same "real" audio device regardless of what format is requested by the application.
  • Supports recording and full duplex in addition to playback.
  • Ability to mix stereo and multichannel audio streams up to 7.1/192Khz/32bit.
  • Supports full 24 bit range without loss of precision during internal computations.
  • Each application has its own independent volume controls.
  • Supports loop back recording. This enables you to "record-what-you-hear". Typically this is useful for recording streaming audio or trapping audio from applications

Device enumeration and mixer API makes it very easy to manage devices programatically

Manual Configuration

After determing which module you need, OSS drivers can usually be installed with a simple modprobe command. For example:

 # lspci
 ...
 00:0b.0 Multimedia audio controller: Ensoniq 5880 AudioPCI (rev 04)
 ...
 # modprobe es1371

External links

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