Returning and Lamenting...

Hi folks, After a considerable absence I have dusted off my VCV Rack and started noodling again (do the cool kids still say noodling?). I was kind of gobsmacked at the amazing progress of Rack 2 and all the dev’s plugin contributions.

However, I noticed a few of my favourite plugins - eg mscHack - have fallen off the radar and don’t look like coming back. As I also see rumours of a Rack 3 I have to ask myself if some current plugins in V2 will drop off and new ones taking there place?

So with each major release of Rack do we take 1 step back and 2 steps forward with dev’s and their plugins. That is, there’s no plugin future proofing?

Now back to catching up with 100s of @Omri_Cohen and other’s videos :slight_smile:

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mscHack was ported to Cardinal. I ported some other modules from Cardinal back to VCV Rack 2 Rackwindows - Update v1.1.2 incl. new modules Console MM, Golem, Monitoring and Rasp - #80 by Ahornberg but I failed on doing a quick port on mscHack.

I don’t see any of these here. Rack 2 was mostly about DAW integration as VST and CLAP plugin. If you don’t need DAW integration, you can just keep on using Rack Version 1.1.6


So is the implication that some of these modules (ie. Rackwindows) have simply moved to cardinal and, putting ports aside, will not be coming back?

To get clarity, I would ask the developers what they plan to do.

The only thing I did was making unofficial ports for my personal needs, and I shared them with the community because it was asked several times (especially for Rackwindows).


That’s correct. Or that’s what history has shown so far at least.

Any open-source plugin is already future-proof. Porting can be official or unofficial, distribution of ports can be problematic, the code will likely need editing, et cetera, but if it’s open-source it’s available for updating by anyone with the skills and/or chutzpah. :slight_smile:

Like @Ahornberg I made my own builds of the mscHack modules for my own use. There are rules here that restrict distribution so the builds can’t be posted here. I’m also not a programmer so I tend to shy away from setting up a git branch.

Btw, I did not have total success with the mscHack plugin, the modules I most wanted were problematic/unstable with Rack 2. I’ve found substitutes for most purposes but I should take another swing at the build.


I just saw Cardinal demonstrated on “Venus Theory” and unfa’s youtube sites. I’m gobsmacked at falktx’s work!!

I don’t think that’s actually so, David, if here means the forum. But Andrew has rules about what he accepts into the library.

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Interesting. I stopped posting private builds here (the forum) because I thought it was specifically discouraged. IIRC the sense was that support could turn into a nightmare if people used unofficial builds, which could indeed occur.

Posting builds of your own work on this forum is fine.

But I believe posting builds of someone else’s work is forbidden unless you have permission from the author. I think this is more of an ethics thing than a legal thing.

It is always worthwhile to re-read what in fact in the VCV ethics guidelines. This section is near the end of the following page:

All the plugins I ported are under GPL3+ because Cardinal requires this license. By porting and distributing a link to my port, I did not violate the GPL3+.

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I think distributing things on the forum is discouraged if it’s done illegally. The main sticking point is that if you modify the source, you must make it easily available when you “distribute builds”. That’s GPL 3, I think. Not all licenses, though.

If the license specifies that, you may not modify the build locally, then post a a drobox folder of just the compiled plugin with no links back to the modified source. Which of course must be available on github (or some other way).

Also, some modules have different licenses for their panels and other artwork. So you need to follow them, too, if you are going to to this.

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Well, someone might try and discourage you, that doesn’t mean they’re right or that there’s an official policy on the part of Andrew or the forum.

That can happen, sure. The polite thing to say when sharing an unofficial build is: “Don’t run to the original author for support if this build doesn’t work for you”.

What you are saying seems very vague, Dave, and sounds like hear-say. It’s not forbidden if you adhere to the licenses, and the ethics thing you’re referring to, what you probably have in mind is the “VCV Plugin Ethics Guidelines”, see below.

Yes, the section is here. It only says that if you want your plugin in the library you cannot clone the appearence and design of an existing hardware or software product without permission from that vendor. That’s all it says. This was introduced after the Matths/Friedrichs audio/Make Noise fiasco, where “Tony hit the roof” as Andrew put it, which spooked him off. You cannot take that wording and apply it to anything else.

Of course, doing anything illegal is more than discouraged on the forum. I think that goes without saying.

To satisfy a license like the GPL, the user must be able to obtain the source code for the software from the author/distributer. This can be made available via e.g. a GitHub repo, a sourcebundle download link, or even just saying “if you want the source hit me up and I’ll send it to you”. That’s what the license requires, nothing more.

See above. The requirement is simply “the user must be able to obtain the source code”, that’s it.

I hate to say it folks, but sometimes you remind me of a bunch of old midwives spreading rumours and hear-say, and then other people take it as gospel. Just stick with the facts and the legal requirements. A software license is a legal document, nothing else.


I did. They’re not so comprehensive as they could be - hence the midwivery - but I’ll just cut through the cake and make a personal decision to not post any builds here.

@LarsBjerregaard , I completely agree that in most cases this can be done legally. I also know for a fact that is was done often here illegally, as well as legally.

As someone who invested a huge amount of time making free modules, I would quite prefer that ppl actually follow the licenses that we put on our 99.99% free software.

You may disagree, but I don’t think name calling adds any value here. I also think cars should follow more traffic laws, fwiw.

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That really doesn’t encourage anyone developing to commit to the platform. Particularly when each iteration requires a rewrite.

My lament is merely that I’m poor. I was really excited about all this but the “pro,” pricing for DAW integration means it’s out of reach for me. The other version merely becomes a demo or a toy that exists within a bubble. I certainly learned more about synthesis and modular rigs as I explored this, but without DAW integration (a once free feature) I just feel too poor to play. I get a lot of that from Apple and life in general as it is (fixed income - disabilities). Before y’all hate on me for using an Apple it’s a 2012 MacBook Pro with Monterey shoehorned in.

It’s just another declaration I’m not invited from my perspective.

Have you tried Cardinal so far?

I don’t agree… I think the free version is perfectly fine. It lacks some stuff like drums and new convolution reverb and vcv chorus, but there are thousands of free modules in the library. And there are ways to use your DAW with VCV. Like you can print the tracks and then just drop wav into your DAW. DAWs are also not free most of the time and Video Editors too. Like compare the free and paid versions of Davinci Resolve. The difference is much greater than with VCV. So I feel you about the “being poor” stuff, cause I am also poor. And I live in Russia, so I can’t even buy VCV Pro if I had money, all the ways to pay for it are blocked now. But I don’t agree about “being not invited” part. You can do crazy stuff with free VCV. Maybe you just have to change the ways you use it.


I agree. In fact, I think Rack is more fun in standalone mode.