Open Sound Control (OSC) has been adopted by the academic and experimental-music communities for interactive media programming due to its flexibility in representing control data, strong semantics/human-readability, precise time-tagging, etc. Unfortunately, different projects utilizing OSC are rarely protocol-compatible. Many proposals have been made for creating standardized address-spaces/schemas to enable intercommunication, but we believe this is the wrong approach since it destroys the most powerful and useful aspect of OSC – the flexibility it allows for each user/designer/programmer to represent control signals and structures according to their specific needs or desires.

libmapper takes a different approach: instead of enforcing preset schemas we provide simple, distributed discovery and description; instead of address standardization we provide automatic translation; instead of normalization we provide automatic scaling... but that’s not all!

In addition to the flexibility of data-representation provided by Open Sound Control, libmapper provides:

libmapper creates a distributed mapping system/network, with no central points of failure, the potential for tight collaboration and easy parallelization of media synthesis.