SDL stands for Simple DirectMedia Layer and it’s an open source multimedia library written in C and designed to provide low level access to mouse, keyboard, audio, joystick, 3D graphics hardware via Direct3D and OpenGL.

Used in many Humble Bundle games or Valve’s award winning catalog

These days, SDL is heavily used by emulators, video playback software, as well as numerous popular games, including the award winning Linux port of “Civilization: Call To Powe,” many Humble Bundle games, and Valve’s award winning catalog.

Runs on all mainstream operating systems

Simple DirectMedia Layer runs on numerous operating systems, including the mainstream GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X ones. The BeOS, BSD (FreeBSD, OpenBSD), BSD/OS, Solaris, IRIX, QNX OSes, as well as the Android and iOS mobile operating systems are also supported. Supported hardware platforms include 32 and 64-bit.

Getting started with SDL

SDL is usually available for download on numerous Linux kernel-based operating systems, through their official software repositories. Installing it using the latest source package, which is distributed for free on Softpedia, is easy as pie.

Download and save the archive on your Home directory, unpack it, open a Terminal app and navigate to the location where you’ve extracted the archive file (e.g. cd /home/softpedia/SDL2-2.0.3).

Run the ‘./configure && make’ command to configure, optimize and compile the program. After a successful compilation, run the ‘sudo make install’ command as a privileged user to install SDL system wide.

Under the hood

A quick look under the hood of the SDL project, will inform us that it is written in the C programming language and that it works natively with C++. Bindings for other programming languages are also available, supporting the popular Python,  Ada, Java, Lua, Eiffel, ML, PHP, Perl, Pike, Ruby, and C#.

SDL library Simple directmedia layer Video framebuffer Simple Directmedia Layer Media