The Null Device


"If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq. If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq. If the terrorists are Saudi and the bank takes back your Audi and the TV shows are bawdy, bomb Iraq." (sung to the tune of If You're Happy And You Know It) (via

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Update: I've compiled vstserver and the k_vst~ Pd object and (after some hacking) have managed to get VST plugins working under Linux. Things are still a bit flaky (for some reason, vstserver refuses to recognise plugins anywhere but the current directory it's run from), but I've now got the familiar mda Combo plugin crunching up an Amen Brother break, all in a Pd patch under Linux. Life is good.

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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.

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I stand corrected; it is possible to run Windows VST plugins under Linux and use them with Pd and LADSPA clients. This announcement describes vstserver software, which may be found here. You'll also need WINE source code and Steinberg's VST SDK (which requires an agreement, but it doesn't seem particularly restrictive).

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