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Open Sound System



The Open 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 used for controlling differing types of sound controller hardware. The OSS core provided the underlying sound architecture in Linux prior to the 2.6 series. It is a free subset of a commercially available product by 4Front Technologies

In the 2.6 kernel OSS was replaced the ALSA architecture, 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.

Benefits of the Open Sound System

Disadvantages of the Open Sound System

Building the OSS sound core from source code

Obtain the latest stable source tarball for the OSS package

Make the source directory current

cd /usr/src

Extract the source tarball

bunzip2 -c ~/oss-v4.0-build1015-src-gpl.tar.bz2 | tar xvf -

Create a build directory and make it current

mkdir ~/oss
cd ~/oss

Create a fakeroot environment


Run the configure script

The configure script currently supplied with the open sound system must be invoked using a full pathname. An error will occur during build, if a relative pathname is used.


Run the make utility

make build

Exit the fakeroot environment


The kernel modules are built during the installation phase of this package. It is necessary to gain root privileges to complete the installation of the OSS sound system:

su root
make install

Testing the OSS sound system

Errors During Build

Error: Too many levels of symbolic links

This error may occur when the configure script is being run within a subdirectory of the project directory:

# This may produce an error
cd ~/oss-v4.1-build*-src-gpl
mkdir build
cd build

This produces an error:

../build/cmd/.config: Too many levels of symbolic links


Use a build directory outside of the current project directory:

cd ~/
mkdir oss
cd oss

Error: No such file or directory

The configure script must be invoked using a full pathname. This error occurs, if a relative pathname is used.

Scanning .
Scanning ./cmd
Scanning ./cmd/ossdevlinks
./cmd/ossdevlinks/ossdevlinks.c: No such file or directory


Invoke the configure script with a full pathname.

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Last modified: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 23:09:00 +0000 Hits: 8,983