Separate the libraries maybe?

Hi everyone,

I originally posted this on the facebook group, but I post it also here because I ‘d like to hear more developers’ opinions and maybe @Vortico view on this.

In my opinion it’s controversial that the plugin library is shared between the open source free project and the closed source commercial project. The way things are right now it’s not possible for a developer to contribute to VCV Rack free without having his/her work distributed for free in the commercial project.

I think there should be two versions of the library. This enables the developers to charge for using their plugins only in the commercial version (like vcv does) or keeping them only on the free side of the library if the wish.

Hi, @pistab, and welcome to the forum!

I’m confused by this–it sounds like you’re saying that VCV’s paid plugins only work in the paid version of Rack, when of course they work exactly the same in Free as well. Is that not what you meant?

My thoughts are: what free plugin devs would want to do this, and why? Especially if they considered that the paid VST version is keeping VCV as a company afloat and letting it continuing to develop the free version of Rack as well, with all non-VST-related developments from Pro feeding back to Free?

By the way, I’m 99% sure that you could write a hook a plugin that stopped it from loading in VCV Pro (either in the VST or, if you were especially bloody-minded about this, in the Pro standalone, which is functionally equivalent to the Free standalone).

Such a plugin would never be allowed in the library, of course, nor in my opinion should it be, but Andrew, to his credit, has left Rack so wide open that it’s almost certainly possible, and a dev could distribute it on their own. I doubt many people would use such a plugin, or think positively of the dev for making it.


As a user, not VCV developer, I hope any developers considering only allowing usage of their modules in the free version don’t bother releasing anything for any version of Rack and instead put their effort into some other ‘pure’ open source free project.

Don’t let the DAW hit you on the way out.

1 Like

what are you talking about here?

check out the thread on the FB group. This echoes things I have heard from some devs. They aren’t comfortable with VCV paid plugins making money off of the free plugins.

I’m not sure where I personally stand on this, but check out the thread on FB if you don’t understand.

1 Like

Thanks–I’ll make a burner account and head over there sometime (never been on Facebook before). Some more context would be helpful.

I don’t think @main.tenant had anything particular in mind; I read it as an interpretation of the OP’s concern as “VCV is an insufficiently pure open source project.”

as user I feel it could d be a mess

to me is very convenient have all the plugin centralized, I not care much if a plugging is open source or not

I think the current state is better due to its simplicity , consider all the mess that happens now that users do not find a plugging that they had in v1, now think about that but with two libraries


Of course as a user the more free stuff you have the better. That is not in question for one second.

To state it yet again, and I don’t necessarily agree, there are people who think it’s not right for VCV to make money off of the free products of others. In this line of argument, VCV makes $99 for selling a VST whose main purpose is to run the free software that others make. So some are questioning a) the morality of this, and b) whether devs will continue to develop free software to run in someone’s paid host, and c) whether there should/could be some model where devs could offer their modules to run for free in the free version and for not free in the not free version.

Myself, fwiw, I don’t think there is really a moral question here. And obviously there are some devs who make free VST whose only purpose is to run in other’s paid software.

As a (former) dev of free software, I think it’s an interesting question.

btw, FB has many flaws, but there are many, many, many more VCV users there.


ahh there are something more… I m not using facebook at the moment but I think the open source modules are not forced to be distributed on the library, I think they could request get them out (and distribute it via GitHub or whatever ) or simply do not update to V2 , or is more complicated than that?


1 Like

The request of the OP is that modules have the option to be distributed through the library, but that the module devs, if they wanted, could specify “you may use this for free in VCV free, but it costs $x.yz for the right to run it in VCV not-free”.

wow, I think he’s very radical and extremist, and a bit hater btw (and I don’t know if they hate the user who spends money or they hate that the vcv rack is profitable) I would like to know what their modules are so as not to use them

1 Like

Well, I don’t think the poster is a dev, so I don’t think you have to organize your boycott yet.

I understand what you are saying. But to pick a familiar example, remember when someone forked VCV and turned it into a paid ($30?) iOs app? I think everyone, led by VCV, changed their license to prevent that.

Isn’t that kind of similar?

1 Like


Now that you mention it yes, it is similar, but we must consider that this app did not contribute to the development of the rack.

Now if I see how complicated what you mention is, but I think the best thing would be to remove the open source plugins that do not want to be in the “non-exclusive open source” library and distribute themselves (with the restrictions they want), I think the current VCV license allows it


here is the FB text

quoting: “If that’s not the case and all earnings goes to VCV, then I feel something is not right.”

I m not see why, you are not forced to distribute your software for free, even if it is open source.

also you are not given permission to the rack to use your plugin , you are getting a license from rack to use the API the platform and everything else, you should read the vcv rack license before publish you plugin, that is clear,

if you plugging is open source and you have restriction for the users (it is the case) you should distribute the plugin by yourself and you must explain the restrictions to the users.

not gray areas to me

This is the same if we ask earnings from Apple, Google, Microsoft if our software being used in their ecosystem, because ecosystem creators make money.


I’m not sure that’s exactly the same thing, these are neither free nor open source and they allow including ads if you like which cannot be an option in VCV.

Adds is not used by the rack platform, rack allow sell (and link to the dev page to make donations, for instance

there is no point

If the licence agreement includes giving permission to have your plugin distributed with the commercial project then it’s clear for me too. But still, wouldn’t it be better for the developers to have the option to charge for using their plugins only on the paid VST version of Rack? VCV is using the free plugin library to sell the VST, they say “2000+ modules available on the VCV library”, without this there is not much differentiation between VCV and their competition (eg Softube or Cherry modular).

how many open source devs wont want then modules on the vst version, I think you cant talk for all, at least make a poll first.

edited , however this topic is “separated libreries” as user I vote : No

I not a developer, and definitely not a hater. I use VCV every day, I have bought many plugins from VCV developers and will buy more in the future. I’m not going to comment on the radical and extremist part, I take it as a joke.

1 Like