[LAD] State of Plugin API's

Jörn Nettingsmeier nettings at folkwang-hochschule.de
Wed Oct 28 15:59:47 UTC 2009

Gabriel M. Beddingfield wrote:
> Hi guys,
> I'm looking to delve into the world of plugins (for both synth and fx), 
> and of the free API's I find LADSPA, DSSI, and LV2.  But the picture is a 
> little confusing.
> It appears that LV2 is "current," that DSSI is deprecated, and that LADSPA 
> would be deprecated if it weren't so widely adopted.  However, LV2 is slow 
> in being adopted.  Is this developer resistance... or is it just too new?

as others pointed out, the extensions (while being good from a design
POV) have actually hindered adoption. but general consensus seems to be
that while lv2 might have some awkward aspects (not everyone likes RDF),
it's the way to go.

for a general strategy, can i suggest this:

* if you are writing a signal processing plugin, target ardour2's set of
extensions. if they are not sufficient, make your plugin so extremely
good and your new extension so well-designed that the ardour devs can't
afford not to add your extension.

* for a synthesis plugin, target the most kickass synth environment you
can find - i don't know what that could be, ingen comes to mind, but
i've never used it and it may be stalled. others will be able to comment.

in short, concentrate on hosts with a wide user base, and hope that
necessary extensions become de-facto standards over time.

to be very frank, i think the lv2 process showed that no matter how
brilliant your design, if you fuck up the community engineering aspect,
you're doomed. LADSPA could be implemented in minutes by a braindead
zombie (hell, even yours truly managed to write a plugin or two), and
see how people jumped at it - adoption rates were spectacular.
compared to that, lv2 was a spectacular failure.

let's take the lv2 technology, get a set of canonical extensions that
every plugin author can expect to be present on every host worth its
salt, and drag it to "critical mass" :)

in the medium term, i think we should try to get an lv2 workshop going
for LAC2010, and also have a BOF session on "canonical sets of
extensions" for synthesis and processing environments.

just my...


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