I am considering relicensing all VCV Rack source code to the GPLv3 license before the release of Rack v1.
What about open-source plugins?
What about freeware plugins?
I will add an exception to the Rack license text of the form:
All VCV Rack plugins that do not follow the GPLv3 license (e.g. closed-source, freeware, GPL-incompatible licenses) are permitted to be distributed non-commercially in source and/or binary form.
What about commercial plugins?
A commercial license will be included in all future VCV Store contracts, and all existing commercial plugins sold in the VCV Store will be “grandfathered in” and granted a license in writing before the release of Rack v1. The Rack license text will state something like:
All VCV Rack plugins (e.g. commercial) are granted an exception to the GPLv3 license for units willingly distributed by VCV (e.g. sold on the VCV Plugin Manager). Email email@example.com for other licensing options, such as selling plugins outside of the VCV Plugin Manager.
This decision serves two purposes. It prevents commercial modules from being sold without supporting the VCV project, and it prevents unlicensed commercial clones of VCV Rack itself that do not support the VCV project.
This decision follows the Mission Statement of VCV to deliver a zero-cost, open-source, unlimited platform for modular synthesis, and I believe the change is important for ensuring the project remains active in the next decade or two.
VCV Rack will not use GPL libraries not owned by VCV, to allow the above exceptions to be legal and to be able to sell/license commercial forks, such as the upcoming “VCV Rack for DAWs”. The Rack codebase is (currently) not open-contribution, but any contributions regardless will need to transfer the copyright ownership of their contribution to VCV.
Draft license statement posted at Relicensing VCV Rack to GPLv3 with freeware/commercial exceptions?