Suggestion - Release VST2 open source

Hi guys

I saw that you guys removed the VST2 interfaces from the latest VST3 SDK as you announced you would.

For legacy reasons/preservation it would be extremely unfortunate to not be able to get a hold of the VST2 interfaces anymore. It is also very obvious that the 10s of thousands (maybe way more) of VST2 plugins that have been written are not going to be ported to VST3.

So here is my suggestion: simply release the VST2 interfaces open source. I am not asking you to maintain them in any shape or form. simply post them on your github account for example, with a big disclaimer that this will not be maintained and is discontinued. But that way for people who have projects relying on them they can still be compiled “legally”.

Thank you


VST2 is deprecated, but it does not mean that if you have already the VST2 SDK and signed the license agreement related to VST2 that you cannot create VST2 Plugins.
What we want is that new developers jump directly to VST3. Having VST2 available as open source will not help to make the move: for plugin developers and for host developers.

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I understand why you are doing it. And I believe for new developers (like me) VST3 is vastly superior to start with anyway. I am writing VST3 plugins. They just happen to also work on DAWs which do not support VST3 using the VST2 wrapper (which BTW you have not removed from the SDK…).

So for the future VST3 is great.

But here you are simply disregarding the hundred of thousands of hours that people have put into writing VST2 plugins. If today somebody wants to compile an old VST2 plugin from which they have the source code (for example for fixing a bug) and they don’t have the VST2 header files, they just can’t.

Just imagine if Dennis Ritchie (inventor of C) just said, you know what I want people to use C++ so as of today I am removing all access to C… and I don’t care that there are millions of programs written in C…


To follow up, I actually think that the biggest problem is host developers not supporting VST3. The issue being that they have to support VST2 because of all the plugins that are available. So they start there (ex Propellerhead/Reason). Or for DAWs that have been supporting it forever it is also very hard to stop support because suddenly music created with a previous version will not work in the new version

One way to tackle this problem could be to write a generic wrapper that would wrap a VST2 plugin into a VST3 plugin. This way host developers don’t have to worry about the VST2 standard anymore… they know they can use the generic wrapper to make it a VST3 plugin…


I agree… Or at least this is causing me issues as I’m trying to compile a project that uses the VST2 SDK (why I don’t know) and I can’t… I guess I’ll continue researching a workaround.

Is that an excuse for those DAWs to not include VST3 though??? There’s no reason they can’t continue to have VST2 and VST3 in their daws is there? VST2 and VST3 coinciding still works in Cubase?

not to mention certain midi plugin use cases can’t be done with VST3.

Bad that some DAWs do not support VST3, and new developers cannot create VST2. And people using VST2-only host cannot use new plugins.
I think you should start from host developers or conditionally allow usage of VST3 to VST2 WRAPPED plugins.

It is not in Steinbergs interest for anyone to support VST2 anymore.

If you want something that is open source and unencumbered, you’d have to develop your own plugin system. Unfortunately, the ones that have existed so far (LSP, LV2, DSSI, LADSPA, as well as server-based ones) are generally not that good for low-latency, in-host, efficient, wide-ranging use cases. It’s a lot of work to build something that actually works, and actually solves most of the gnarly use cases that come up! That work has value.

Steinberg really messed things up for a lot of people…I wish a new standard would come out and cause VST tech to go instinct. Its not going to a happen anytime soon though.

I don’t get that. What did Steinberg mess up? They’re not forcing anyone to do anything!
If you want an open source technology, just write your LADSPA or Jack plugin or whatever!
If you think those standards are not as good as VST, well, maybe that means that Steinberg actually made the world better, rather than “mess it up?”

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jwatte, there are numerous threads on this forum and other forums about how Steinberg has messed up. Do your own homework. here is a good one in progress as we speak:

by the way, who said anything at all about open source technology or wanting to work with jack and other open source tech that has absolutely nothing to do with what we are talking about here?

Skimming through that thread, I don’t see the issue other than a bunch of hobbyist plugin designers are complaining about a new standard and fantasizing that they can just create a new open source format out of nowhere which will have no rules, standard protocols, etc - and expect it to work without any problems or conflicts in every DAW? The reality is, over time they would just become the exact same as VST with the exact same strategies and Steinberg.

Things change, remember when we were all 32bit? and then 64bit happened?

What is the issue? All their already made VST2 plugins still work, but the new ones they make have to be VST3? What is the issue?

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If you don’t understand the issues by now I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain it again as I have already done before on this forum and as have done others in this and other forums. The information is out there already. You are speaking out of ignorance now.

By the way some of the prominent voices on that Kvr thread are most certainly not hobbyists. Urs from U-he for example and from bluecataudio and others. You are quick to dismiss because you don’t understand the facts and I see no point to rehash it out again here because Steinberg has shown clearly that they don’t care. The reason they are entertaining other standards such as lv2, which I personally don’t think will go anywhere, is simply because they/we are reaching an inflection point where we can’t do what we need to do. In my case I can’t get a vst2 license and vst3 is not designed well enough to support certain midi plugin needs and Steinberg has defiantly stated numerous times that vst isn’t meant for midi so they aren’t going to do anything about it.

Always happy to revive old threads, so let’s go.

1.) According to German law, is such a discriminating treatment of old and new SDK license subscribers even legal? Isn’t it a distortion of market forces if some of us aren’t given the same opportunities to write plugins for software that only supports VST2 and not VST3?

2.) Why is there no MIT-licensed header collection out there that implements a VST2-compatible interface? (or is there?) As far as I understand legal stuff, direct use of official VST2 SDK sources can be controlled by Steinberg. However, just accessing and using VST2-compatible interfaces should be beyond their control. Same applies to VST3.

Questions over questions… :slight_smile:

In general, API headers should be released MIT- or ApacheV2-licensed, IMHO. The rest of the SDK, do what you like. But maintaining basic open communications (interoperability) without license crap should be a no-brainer.