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Orthography of the Name OpenSoundControl

by Matt Wright, March 2021

tl;dr Matt likes “OpenSoundControl” but there could be spaces in either or both word breaks.

What has been and should be the orthography of the three-word name “Open Sound Control”? Each of the three words is always capitalized, and the abbreviation “OSC” is always correct. However there has been (complete) historical inconsistency in whether to separate the words with spaces or join them with CamelCase.


The 1997 ICMC paper introduced OSC to the world as “Open SoundControl”, with a space between the first two words and CamelCase connecting the last two.

The 1998 ICMC paper consistently did the opposite: “OpenSound Control”. (This might have been part of some attempt at a portfolio of “OpenSound” items, including not just Control but World and perhaps others.) The paper also introduced the all-CamelCase “OpenSoundControl,” but only as part of a URL.

The 2002 OSC Spec 1.0 used the remaining alternative, “Open Sound Control” as three separate words with spaces. (Wikipedia too.)

The 2007 original website strictly used “OSC” except in the (all-one-word, case-insensitive) domain name.

In summary, every alternative has been used and none can be considered strictly wrong.

Given that URLs can’t contain spaces, OpenSoundControl is here forever, plus that’s the least-misinterpretable way to write it (e.g., for web search), so as of 2021 this is Matt Wright’s favorite.

Other Considerations

It’s annoying for search results to be instructions telling you to open the Windows “Control Panel” named “Sound”. That argues against “Open Sound Control.”

Csound’s simplest oscillator was named osc but perhaps thanks to OpenSoundControl is now named oscil. I guess we won that one?

This page of OpenSoundControl website updated Tue May 4 12:44:27 PDT 2021 by matt (license: CC BY).