The Null Device

Steinberg, VST and Linux

Just looking at the super-secret VST SDK download page, whose URL you get when you fill in the form; it's interesting to see that Steinberg have VST SDKs for not only Windows and MacOS but for SGI (I remember those) and BeOS (ditto). Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of Linux, a platform which would easily dwarf BeOS and SGI put together. Steinberg seem not to approve of Linux, or their disdain for the proprietary software model; apparently, when the LADSPA people were starting to develop an audio plugin system for Linux, they asked Steinberg if they could port the VST SDK and release it under and open licence; Steinberg, ever protective of their precious intellectual property, said no.

Anyway, now that someone has written a Windows VST adapter for Linux, the issue seems moot. In fact, if Steinberg wanted to jump on the Linux bandwagon, they should probably not create a separate Linux binary platform for VST plugins; instead, they should modify the Windows VST spec to ensure that compliant plugins load under Linux with the WINE-based adapter, and release the VST glue code required to load them under an open-source licence. That would save Linux hackers the need to download the SDK separately, allow compiled Linux VST programs to be put in RPMs and such, and create a pool of VST plugins shared between Win32 and Linux, without a single commercial vendor needing to add an extra platform to their product.

Aside: it's funny that it's apparently easier to run Windows plugins under Linux than it is to use MacOS plugins under MacOS X.

There are 3 comments on "Steinberg, VST and Linux":

Posted by: gjw Wed Dec 11 00:11:43 2002

I'm amazed at how far Linux has come in other Windows-emulating areas - I've found that MPlayer does a great job playing WMA files and Quicktime files, by somehow interfacing with the binary Windows DLLs.

Posted by: acb Wed Dec 11 02:55:39 2002

Will it play copy-restricted WMAs? If so, can you use it to illegally extract the audio from them?

Posted by: gjw Thu Dec 12 06:51:02 2002

I doubt it could play copy restricted ones (lots of Windows software that plays WMAs can't even do that) because they're somehow tied into the Windows security system, aren't they?