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Releasing VST plugin under GPL

dj_rejo
KVRer
 
14 posts since 20 Dec, 2006, from The Netherlands

Postby dj_rejo; Fri May 09, 2008 7:16 am Releasing VST plugin under GPL

Hi there,

In some topics I read that you can't publish a VST plugin under GPL (or LGPL), or at least that's what I understood of it. I read the license agreement, but I can't find anything implying that. So now I'm not sure whether or not you can publish a VST plugin under GPL. :?: Does anyone know?

Regards,
DJ ReJo
Music Engineer
KVRAF
 
3721 posts since 8 Mar, 2004, from Berlin, Germany

Postby Music Engineer; Fri May 09, 2008 7:20 am

GPL requires to include all of the required source code which implies to include ('re-distribute') the VST-SDK which the VST license not allows...something along these lines, i assume.
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Chris Walton
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2151 posts since 25 Jan, 2007, from in ur basement, codin ur programz

Postby Chris Walton; Fri May 09, 2008 7:28 am

Pretty much what Robin said.

If you intend to go the open source route, i recommend the BSD license for pretty much everything.
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dj_rejo
KVRer
 
14 posts since 20 Dec, 2006, from The Netherlands

Postby dj_rejo; Fri May 09, 2008 7:28 am

Ah, so you can't release just your own source code under GPL and refer to the VST SDK for the rest?

Edit: can you with BSD?
rl
KVRist
 
91 posts since 6 Jan, 2003

Postby rl; Fri May 09, 2008 3:02 pm

dj_rejo wrote:Ah, so you can't release just your own source code under GPL and refer to the VST SDK for the rest?

My understanding is, that it is possible. It's only that the Steinberg license is not compliant. So anyone who wants to do a build has to download the VST SDK seperately. There have been exhaustive discussions on the VST mailing list.
laserbeak
KVRian
 
922 posts since 10 Mar, 2001, from nyc

Postby laserbeak; Fri May 09, 2008 8:52 pm

yeah,
in order to get vst support on some GPL linux apps i've used, i'd have to download the sdk and build with that.
A pointer points to an.....OK, you know what...I quit....
Laserbeak43
Rock Hardbuns
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1729 posts since 3 Sep, 2003

Postby Rock Hardbuns; Sun May 11, 2008 2:08 am

As the first author of the software, you can actually just release your source, and have the users get the SDK them selves. As the first authour, you can do what ever you want.

The problem is that this basically makes the GPL pointless since the recipients can't redistribute the software in turn. It also means you can't rely on any gpl:ed libs and such.

So essentially, you are only pushing the problem on to your users.
hill_matthew
KVRist
 
112 posts since 20 Mar, 2004, from UK

Postby hill_matthew; Tue May 13, 2008 4:40 am

An example of how some people handle it using BSD: http://code.google.com/p/wormhole2/
dj_rejo
KVRer
 
14 posts since 20 Dec, 2006, from The Netherlands

Postby dj_rejo; Tue May 13, 2008 1:04 pm

Thanx everyone. I decided to make my own license which is mainly based on BSD, but with a few modifications. I guess that works fine for me. :D
Akel
KVRer
 
16 posts since 24 Feb, 2008

Postby Akel; Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:19 pm

Hello!

I'm sorry for resurrecting such an old thread, but I can't find any answers on either the GPL FAQ, nor around these forums... Most seem to cover GPL, but forget about the Lesser/Library GPL.

Let's say I want to release my plugin under the LGPL as a dynamic library.

1. Can I write and distribute a non-GPL "wrapper" that uses the VST SDK and dynamically links to my plugin, providing it the window handle (so it can draw) and events (so it can do stuff)?

2. Furthermore, could I put that non-GPL wrapper and the LGPL library into a single package, and distribute that as non-GPL (while providing source code for the LGPL part)?

Thanks in advance,
Akel
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aciddose
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11315 posts since 7 Dec, 2004, from Vancouver, Canada

Postby aciddose; Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:49 pm

if you own all the code (you didn't take other gpl code from somewhere else) you can do ANYTHING you want.

two solutions to the vstsdk problem:

- distribute a closed wrapper for your own plugin format and release your source using that format, not vst

- implement the interface structure yourself and don't use any of the "sdk" files directly, or through modification. if you implement the same interface without using the copyrighted code, even if you are looking at the copyrighted code while doing it - it doesn't apply to you. only the unique elements of the code are copyright protected, such as non-descriptive function and variable names and those sorts of things.

also, the "license" only applies to you if you get something in return. if you're not using the copyrighted files, there is no license. if you break the license terms, you simply no longer have the ability to use the copyrighted files.

for example, the gpl says you are granted the right to redistribute source and binary made from the copyrighted materials under the condition that you pass on the same rights to anyone you distribute to.

just implement this:

Code: Select all
#if defined(WIN32)
#define vstc_IFP __cdecl
#else//if defined(__linux__)
#define vstc_IFP
#endif
#define vstc_HEAD *((long *)"PtsV")

struct vstcore
{
 long head;
 long (vstc_IFP*dispatch)(vstcore*, long, long, long, void*, float);
 blah blah...
};


likewise for the classes. it's exactly like in music: you can hear a dnb track and then get inspired to make your own dnb track using the same beats, progressions and sections of vocals, effects and whatever else. in order to fit into the dnb genre, it must sound similar in all those respects - however your implementation is fundamentally different and built from the ground up without taking anything from the track that inspired you. if you read the lord of the rings and decide to write a book about elves in some forest it's also no problem - just don't name your elves or forests the same as tolkien did. "elves in forests" have become a widely known and general piece of imagery.

while it is possible to claim absolutely anything in tort, it will be very difficult for anyone to convince a judge you've violated any copyright by writing unique and original code that implements a well known and widely used interface. indeed, the interface is general purpose enough that you could use it for other purposes (not vst plugins) and have no problem. in addition, you can claim the interface MUST be used to enter into the market dominated by this interface.

just implement the minimum parts of the interface required for your code to work, like:

Code: Select all
#define clientOpen 0
#define clientClose 1
#define clientSetProgram 2
...

#define hostAutomate 0
#define hostVersion 1
...
jwatte
KVRist
 
280 posts since 12 Jan, 2008

Postby jwatte; Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:28 pm

What's wrong with plain "public domain"?
Apparently, there are some legal, mostly non-controverisal subjects you can't talk about on KVR, or even mention in your sig. Unfortunately, the guidelines don't actually talk about them, so the only way to find out is trial and error.
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aciddose
KVRAF
 
11315 posts since 7 Dec, 2004, from Vancouver, Canada

Postby aciddose; Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:43 pm

vstsdk isn't public domain either, same set of problems.

the problem with using gpl'd library code (code you took from somebody else under gpl) is you must release 100% of your source if you distribute the results. you can't mix licenses like gpl with vstsdk.

there is no problem releasing your code without including vstsdk if you don't use anyone else's code while releasing binaries using that code.
Akel
KVRer
 
16 posts since 24 Feb, 2008

Postby Akel; Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:47 am

That clears up a few things. Thanks for the reply!

It raises another interesting question, though: Why is the VST SDK still used, and not a public domain SDK "inspired" from VST and fully compatible with it?
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aciddose
KVRAF
 
11315 posts since 7 Dec, 2004, from Vancouver, Canada

Postby aciddose; Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:55 am

because the vstsdk is already there and managing a seperate "inspired" interface wouldn't yield any advantage. lots of open source software implements the vst interface without using any "sdk".

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