Simple Directmedia Layer

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SDL logo.png

Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) is a multi-platform multimedia C library that allows you to access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, and graphics hardware in a fairly standard way across different platforms. It is used by all kinds of multimedia applications such as video and audio playback software but is most popular for use in system emulators and games. Note that the SDL library is not suitable for use in hard real-time applications such as audio/MIDI sequencers and suchlike. SDL version 2 officially supports Microsoft Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android, but ports also exist for AmigaOS, FreeBSD and a few other platforms.

Note that the SDL library is very tightly tied to the GCC compiler toolkit even though OpenWatcom is the main compiler used to port the library to OS/2, it can be used with other compilers but you will have adjust the environment to emulate some of the peculiarities of the GCC environment, there is some more info on that in the Porting SDL applications to OS/2 article. SDL is written in C, works natively with C++, and there are bindings available for several other languages, including Ada, Lua, Pascal and Python.


SDL 1.2
SDL 2.0
Note that quite a lot changed between the original 1.x branch of the SDL library and the current SDL2 branch, and in addition quite a lot of supported platforms were dropped. If you are porting a project that uses 1.x and or starting one that needs to target platforms no longer supported you should stick with SDL 1.x, it is still being updated and supported.



  • Dave Yeo (OS/2 port)
  • Andrey Vasilkin (Current OS/2 port maintainer)