After reading this thread, and some other sources, a couple of things strike me. Plug-in Sentinel looks very much like Apples AU validation, in terms of purpose. A feature of Apples Audio Unit format that is notorious for creating problems, very similar to those reported here.
It looks like it’s next to impossible to make a validation system that works flawlessly. But who knows. Steinberg might succeed where Apple has failed, despite more than a decade of development.
It’s true that most application crashes are caused by plug-ins, and Plug-in Sentinel may help, to a certain extent, once all the bugs are ironed out.
I can’t help to think, though, that Steinberg have bet on the wrong technology! Wouldn’t it have made more sense to look at how the operating systems dealt with a similar problem. In the old day, when an application crashed, it brought the OS with it, Just like when a plug-in crashes within Cubase.
This hasn’t happened in decades. Neither Windows nor OS X “validates” applications. Their solution, protected memory. If Steinberg had chosen to make the VST/VSTi’s in protected memory box’(s) inside Cubase, they would have achieved the same (if not better) stability with none of the problems caused by a validation system.
A plug-in can crash, to it’s hearts content. It will not bring Cubase down with it.
Perhaps it is not possible to run VST/VSTi plugins in protected memory. Maybe it’s time to think about retiring the VST format and develop a more modern format from scratch. Avid/Digidesign did this, when RTAS became too long in the tooth. The VST format, actually, celebrates it’s 20th birthday this year. Happy birthday! VST! It was “born” in 1996. 20 years old is an old-timer in the world of software. OS X, Windows as well as Cubase itself has been re-built from the ground up, during these years.
If Steinberg do decide to develop a new plug-in format, I hope they go for running the plug-ins in protected memory.