Why so few standalone LV2 binaries?

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Why so few standalone LV2 binaries?

Post by vittopascu »

Dear all,

I want to premise that I have been using linux exclusively for years but when it comes to music production I am still quite a noob, so this is truly an honest, ignorance-based question.

Coming from windows production, I am used to go over to vst4free, find some nice plugins, download the .dll and put it wherever I see fit. Sometimes plugins come with an installer and will install additional data like skins and other stuff, but usually it is fairly easy to isolate them in a folder and move them around. This approach in my view has several advantages:

1) It keeps my system clean, everything is exactly where I put it
2) No updates. This is probably controversial but, the way I see it, it's nice to know that nothing will change while half-finished projects are sitting there for years
3) Easy to share. Specifically for free plugins and to the license terms, I can send a whole project with all plugins attached to a friend, who will have exactly all he/she needs without need to start downloading stuff

However, coming to linux I noticed that this method is quite rare. Most developers deliver their plugins through the package manager and, when installing them, they embed into the system in an obscure way. In some cases it is sufficient to go to /usr/lib/lv2, grab the newly installed .lv2 files and move them to my preferred location (and make a symlink to ~/.lv2 so they can be found by the daw). Then proceed to uninstall the package and still enjoy the plugins.

In other cases like with guitarix or calf, this method doesn't work as several necessary components are installed alongside the .lv2 plugins and, once the package is uninstalled, the copied .lv2 plugins cannot find them any longer, usually failing to load.

At which point I ask: Why is that? Why can't linux LV2 developers simply provide portable binaries like one would find in windows? I can see the potential advantage of the automated updates but other than that I cannot understand what makes this approach so preferred. It is also interesting that Robin Gaerus provides simple binaries from his website alongside the repository version.

Thank you in advance for your wisdom.

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Re: Why so few standalone LV2 binaries?

Post by rghvdberg »

Simply said : developers make code, not binaries.
It's up to package maintainers to build binaries that work on their specific Linux version.

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Re: Why so few standalone LV2 binaries?

Post by sysrqer »

There's no need to install them through the package manager and then move to ~/.lv2, all hosts are capable of finding them in the /usr/ directories, either by manually setting locations or by setting PATH to include the location (although I can't imagine that any hosts don't look in /usr/lib/lv2 by default).

The general idea behind package management is security and convenience. It is much quicker and easier to look in my package manager and install 20 plugins than going to 20 websites, downloading a zip with who-knows-what inside, extracting to my plugin directory, and then repeating this when I want to update them.

I don't think it is the case for plugins but packages can depend on specific versions of other packages so providing a binary to work across all distros isn't always simple.

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Re: Why so few standalone LV2 binaries?

Post by Linuxmusician01 »

vittopascu wrote:[...]
At which point I ask: Why is that? Why can't linux LV2 developers simply provide portable binaries like one would find in windows? [...]
What @sysrqer said. And I've come across many a VST that has a Windows installer (example). And then I ask myself the same question you asked yourself: why does the installer install stuff other than the .dll? Why can't I just download the dll and place it in ~/.vst like on vst4free.com? Unfortunately only vst4freee.com works this easy. :wink:

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