[Consortium] re: VST licensing progress

Leonard Ritter contact at leonard-ritter.com
Fri Nov 3 11:39:32 EST 2006

when we wrote libzzub, which is a tracker/player library heavily based
on supporting buzz machines, we had a similar problem. to host and write
buzz machines, you need a proprietary header called MachineInterface.h.
its header states that writing a host using these headers is
_prohibited_. we couldn't make this a foundation for our new work.

so what was required was a headerfile which was binary compatible (we
later deviated from that), and entirely rewritten from scratch to get
rid of the licence - which is exactly what i did. since the new header
had also a different notation that more closely followed posix style, i
added a python script that used regular expressions to convert old
plugin sources to the new format.

what is required here to solve the problem is to simply take the vst
headers and write a new implementation that is binary compatible. these
headers can be used for hosts.

if you want to use them for plugins, there is no problem either, if
you're writing a new plugin. if you want to compile a traditional vst
plugin to linux it requires either: an additional header that only
contains defines which rename the freevst names back to their original
vst names, or: a script that converts plugin source in vst notation to
plugin source in freevst notation.

On Fri, 2006-11-03 at 09:49 -0500, Ivica Ico Bukvic wrote:
> > > > Having said that, there is at least one existing VST on Linux
> > > > implementation that uses a proprietary application layer, so from
> > > > Steinberg's viewpoint the current SDK licence is perhaps not a
> > > > problematic one.
> > >
> > > And which also includes VST headers with its source without Steinberg's
> > > explicit permission and doing so legally? If so, which one is it and how
> > did
> > > they pull that one off?
> > 
> > its perfectly legal to use VST in any app.
> > 
> > what is not legal is redistributing the headers (or any other part of
> > the SDK). this redistribution is the issue for GPL'ed applications
> > because it means that the authors cannot distribute all the code
> > required to build the application.
> Exactly! So, my question still stands, if there is such a libre audio
> application which incorporates VST and distributes its source together with
> the VST headers, I would love to hear how they are doing so legally (unless
> they have obtained special permission from VST, which is something that
> obviously does not work for us).
> > i do not have any news from SSL, but i will prod the people who are
> > talking to Steinberg. it will not hurt to have as many people as
> > possible raising this with Steinberg - they know its an issue, they just
> > have to (a) pick a license (b) use it.
> In that case, as soon as I get a chance (December?), I'll try getting a hold
> of Steinberg. In the meantime, do you happen to know whom are SSL talking to
> (German HQ or someone else)? I would greatly appreciate any info you may
> have on this one!
> Best wishes,
> Ico
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Leonard Ritter

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