Salvation Via Open Source, or How I Saved A Thousand Patches From Oblivion

Having worked with VCV Rack for almost four years I’ve collected a rather massive number of patches. Most of them are dismissable exercises or studies, but a few are actual pieces of music that I like to keep updated. That wasn’t especially difficult until now.

I used Antonio Grazioli’s - aka Autodafe - 1x8 Multiplier in almost every one of those patches. Antonio had originally posted the source code for his plugins but at one point he decided to stop updating the source repo and simply made binaries available. Not a problem for me through VCV Rack v1, big problem with v2. Since I use a locally built VCV Rack I can’t use Antonio’s binary for the Autodafe plugin (curiously, the drum modules work fine), it won’t load due to the GLIB conflict with plugins built with the official toolchain. So I was looking at figuring out the routing for a formidable number of patches unless I could 1) build the plugin myself from the last public repo, 2) just give in to the “official” way of doing things (which I rarely do, probably due to a personality quirk or two), or 3) cajole Antonio into providing the updated source code or a workable binary.

So I downloaded Antonio’s last zipfile containing the source code for his build for v1. I removed everything except what was needed to build that single module, updated the code for it, fixed the makefile and the json file, and voila, my old patches recognize the freshly-minted module and I’m back in business.

The moral of the story is of course the importance of open-source in this environment. Any developer can close his or her source repos without notice. A change in upstream toolchain details can seriously alter a workflow. I find myself using fewer and fewer closed-source plugins, not because I have a beef with them but because I like to be able to fix things when they go wrong. (Probably a hold-over from the days of being in bands that looked for a Radio Shack as soon as we got to town). Can’t do that without access to the source.

All thanks to all developers in the VCV Rack multiverse, you are deeply appreciated.


Great post Dave :-). There’s a nice similarity indeed with the thought of fixing gear by replacing discrete components and fixing code that is open source. Cheers!