[linux-audio-user] VST Plugins Revisited (Again)

Brad Fuller brad at sonaural.com
Sat Aug 6 13:58:24 EDT 2005

Dave Phillips wrote:

> Brad Fuller wrote:
>> There are no apps like Acid, Reason, Kontakt, Absynth, etc. on linux. 
>> I'm not suggesting that there be Linux clones. I'm just trying to say 
>> that Linux just doesn't have the application breadth of the other two 
>> OSs.
> From my POV it's just the opposite, but that's because I use sound and 
> music software with which you may have little or no familiarity (I'll 
> be happy if I'm wrong). Every piece of software you've mentioned so 
> far has been a commercial package, but some of the most powerful 
> software I use has no commercial counterparts. Much as the progams 
> you've mentioned are nice and all, none has the depth of Csound5 or 
> the compositional flexibility of Common Music, and I note that the 
> Windows versions of those programs are not nearly so well-developed as 
> their Linux versions.

Of course my examples were commercial software for a reason - I wanted 
to show capabilities and features not in linux audio apps that have been 
nurtured through the years on the commercial side.

Yeah.. .I'm familiar with those - I've experimented with Csound but not 
CM. I do use pd, if that's any consolation to you 8-)
pd offers me a large piece of features that reaktor does not and vice 
versa. I'm also currently writing a plugin for portaudio-to-smalltalk 
(squeak: http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak). This is not an audio 
plugin, but a squeak plugin. Smalltalk offers MANY more opportunities in 
programming than ANY other language -- for me anyway.

Ya see, I would love to be able to use all of these apps on Linux so I 
wouldn't have to keep switching computers! It's as simple as that.

>> What we need is for NI or Waves or <fill in here> to produce their 
>> wares for Linux. (please don't throw anything at me.)
>> I don't think the competition will hurt FOSS but only encourage 
>> better and better linux audio software -- free or for cost.
> It's likely to happen, but it'll be a slow transition. 

agreed. It's a commercial decision, not an artistic or technical one.
The potential customer threshold needs to be met first.

> And of course all the disadvantages that come with commercial software 
> will arrive here too, e.g., odious licenses, closed-sources, 
> proprietary attitudes towards development, insensitivity to users, 
> updates only at the company's leisure, and of the complete 
> disappearance of support and even product when the company decides to 
> terminate. Well, you do get what you pay for, and what you pay for 
> includes all that crap.

Yes, and there are advantages too.

If you really look at it, support for FOSS is as good as commercial - 
for different reasons. While, for the most part, FOSS authors love their 
work and like to support users,  feature updates and bugs fixes are 
random. I'm not complaining.. just the way it is. All power to them!
I often see authors say that they'll fix the bugs when they can, or feel 
like it, or not at all. A lot of potentially cool software has been 
started and never gets out of pre-alpha. That's ok with me, again.. no 
worries from me. I just want to state that FOSS support is just as bad 
as commercial support.... uh... or just as good. 

Of course, this varies from company to company on both sides of the 
fence. Commercial software feature updates and maintenance releases are 
at the mercy of their programming cycles. FOSS software often does not 
adhere to these practices (there are exceptions.)
On the other hand, it's cool to see FOSS authors send an announcement 
out to [linux-audio-announce] about their new features and bug fixes.

On the other hand, companies survive when they are competitive and 
manage their business well. That usually means they produce products 
that people want to use, maintain that software, and manage their 
company reasonably well. This is the clear advantage to commercial audio 
software today.

In any case, it's going to be fun to watch as things progress.


Brad Fuller
(408) 799-6124
** Sonaural Audio Studios **
(408) 799-6123  West San Jose
(408) 799-6124  Cambrian
Hear us online: www.Sonaural.com

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