There is really no short answer to your concerns as you've touched upon many
facets, all of which require an individual attention. What I can try to do
is jumpstart discussion that may shed some light as to what can be done to
assist you in transition. Here are some pointers you may want to be aware
1) Native VST on Linux is very much feasible (as a matter of fact there
were/are a number of projects which are designed to make transition of VST
plugins onto the Linux platform as seamless as possible). So, the problem is
not in Linux, but rather the viability of its market and subsequently
interest of VST makers to port their plugins over.
2) Apart from stuff stated in 1), we also have a somewhat dubious license
from Steinberg (something we are working on right now, but no particular
deadline and/or projected outcome can be given at this point in time) which
discourages its seamless implementation into GNU/GPL and/or LGPL
environment. So again, it is not necessarily that Linux audio platform is
not capable and/or community is not willing, but it is a matter of factors
outside our control.
3) There are a number of projects which utilize Wine engine to run Win32
code VSTs in Linux, but as you may guess, their success rate is difficult to
quantify as neither Wine project nor the way how some of the proprietary
VSTs utilize Win32 API are consistent. Hence, it is a hit'n'miss deal.
4) FWIW, Linux has now two frameworks for VST-like plugins (which are IMHO
superior to VST API). Apart from the older LADSPA format, we also now have
DSSI and L2. Alas, it is again a matter of the community (and more
importantly industry) adopting these frameworks in order to allow for
cross-pollination of plugins.
5) As far as the streamlining of the UI/GUI eye-candy and/or UI friendliness
are concerned, I hope you'll agree that beyond the basic serviceability,
this is pretty much in the eye of a beholder. Personally, as an artist, I
would rather prefer to make a really cool piece with my laptop's screen
looking like bunch of ugly glyphs, than wasting precious cycles on eye-candy
whose UI merit is dubious at best (and more often than not serves to hinder
my real-time-oriented endeavors, i.e. can you imagine repatching Reason in a
live performance, using its pretty but otherwise in essence kludge
interface). That being said, there are genuine efforts at beautifying
audio-oriented UIs (see Hydrogen, Ardour, Jamin), but please also understand
that most of the LA contributions are labor of love and as such are designed
around very limited resources. That being said, since our efforts are freely
shared within the community, it would be nice to see everyone's involvement
in making the overall experience as enjoyable as possible. What this means
is that even if someone does not have the programming chops, they could
still contribute graphics and/or other things that would help us get there.
As for the rest, perhaps the community would like to comment more?
Ivica Ico Bukvic, D.M.A.
Department of Music - 0240
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-5034 (fax)
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