Bye bye, HourGlass?

edit : 20th April 2019. I was able to get the VST2 development license in the end. So this blog post isn’t that relevant anymore.

I had to write at least one blog post for 2018…

And surprise, surprise, it’s bad news, of course. I will probably need to discontinue HourGlass, so if you are interested in it or have lost the download, you should get it now.

The reason for this is the Steinberg VST2 licensing situation. They are now determined to stop as many developers as possible from developing and distributing anything VST2 related. HourGlass hosts VST2 plugins, so it is under the Steinberg licensing terms. It looks like I was too late sending in my license application for them and it is not going to be accepted. I will wait for a while still, but if I don’t get a positive reply from them, I no doubt have to remove the HourGlass download links.

There is a chance I might look into making a new build of HourGlass that has the VST2 hosting removed. It’s not as simple as removing/disabling some code, however. Because 4 years have gone by since the last build, much has changed in the development frameworks and tools. I would for example need to update the code to use the Qt5 framework(*). I may not find it worth it going through all that trouble, especially if it was only to produce a version of the software that will just have a feature (the VST2 hosting) removed from it. But let’s see…

The situation also means I may have to discontinue the VST2 version of the PaulXStretch plugin soon. Also, if/when I get back to working on λ and if public builds of it appear, it will not be able to host and use VST2 plugins.

So, thanks a lot Steinberg! You sure seem to love VST3 very much and expect everyone else does too.

(*) Migrating to Qt5 wouldn’t really strictly be required, but it would be insane to use Qt4 anymore. Using Qt5 might even make the HourGlass GUI look and feel a bit nicer on macOs…

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11 Responses to Bye bye, HourGlass?

  1. clepsydrae says:

    Ah, that’s annoying, Steinberg. Thanks for your work on it, Xenakios! Sounds like a hassle. Hopefully the future is kinder to plugin developers.

  2. Tom says:

    This is unbelievable idiotic from Steinbergs side. For the user, VST3 has pretty much zero benefits other than being less flexible, less capable with Midi Output, and less well supported by hosts. They botched it, it sold like spiced mealworms, now they pressure people into it instead of fixing their crappy API or coming up with a REALLY GOOD VST4 that is backwards compatible and REALLY adds something people would actually want…
    Disgusting.
    But that’s the way of the monopoly…

  3. IXix says:

    Well, that sucks.

  4. hi12345 says:

    Hello Xenakios! Where can I read about Steinberg enforcing removing download links? I have found something from 2013 about ceasing VST2 development, and some people saying almost nobody buyed Steinberg VST IDs and such, but nothing about such a strict measures. Could it possibly be unnecessary?..

    Also great thanks for HourGlass (though I’m not proficient in using it—but still it have made some great things), and I’ll definitely check λ out when you deem it ready for the world. Wish you luck.

    • xenakios says:

      I don’t know of any instances where Steinberg would have enforced removing software binary download links because of the VST2 licensing situation. Yet. But it seems like the logical conclusion for all this. They have already targeted open source code repos that either have actually been in violation of the VST2 license or just looked like they are in violation. I am still waiting if Steinberg accepts my license request but it doesn’t look good, so much time has passed since the deadline. It’s totally going to suck not being able to support VST2 anymore, but there isn’t much to do about it.

  5. Joe H says:

    Hello! I was looking for contact info but couldn’t the find any so I’ll leave this here and hopefully I’ll remember to check for reply. Me and some friends are interested in beginning work on a nodal pseudo real time front-end like lambda and wanted to check if you wanted to just share the source on git or something. I understand any reservations towards this, it is your personal project after all and i understand it’s extra work… And that we may end up wanting to go in a different direction than you. But just wanted to check in, in case we could avoid being redundant. Just lemme know what you think.

    • xenakios says:

      The source code has been open in BitBucket all this time :

      https://bitbucket.org/xenakios/cdp-front-end-mark-ii/commits/all

      Caveats, though : There are no guarantees the code can be easily and correctly built at this time, since I haven’t really kept it up to date for JUCE updates and such. And even if it can be built and the resulting binary run, it probably isn’t anything that useful. There are dozens if not hundreds of bugs and issues. The whole thing really needs to be rewritten pretty much from scratch.

      It entirely depends on JUCE and the intended license is GPL. (That isn’t clear from the source codes since they all don’t have the GPL license text, but that’s just my laziness. If/when the project proceeds, I’ll add the GPL license texts to all the relevant files.) I don’t recommend digging too much into that source, there’s probably something like 10% reusable or otherwise salvageable code there.

      I will likely start developing the whole thing from scratch, basing it on the Tracktion Engine. That has the downside that it doesn’t support multichannel/surround operation. It will be a huge amount of work to do to get support for that happening.

  6. Matt Shuter says:

    I understand if you don’t want to publish and reply to my comment about being sneaky with the VSTs on your blog :))

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