How Hard Was The Linux Port?

Just out of curiosity, how much extra work has it been to port and support Renoise on Linux? If any of the devs would care to comment I’d love to know.

I found Taktik’s quote about that in the archives, this statement was about a rough port test in the very early stage of the Linux edition (even before team members could get their hands on it):

It makes me wonder why Mac plugin devs don’t do Linux ports of their VST plugs…

Thanks for digging that up. I wonder how much extra work it was getting those other things running.

I’m really hoping that some other vendors follow Renoise’s lead and start supporting Linux.

Renoise always was designed to be platform independent, so the remaining Linux stuff mentioned above was just “filling out empty sources files”. If you are familiar with Linux this is easy. Also most of the low level stuff can be shared with OSX, but only if you are not using the high level APIs like Cocoa or Carbon for low level stuff. The graphport, Audio, MIDI handling can not be shared unless you are using X-Windows for OSX.

Then its as usual : Getting it roughly done, so that it seems to “work”, is done in 5 percent of the whole time. The details & making it perfect always takes ages (95 % of the time)…

But what exactly do you want to port?

They will, in the end. But it will take a while.

The problems of porting things to linux:

  • Not enough users to raise commercial interest and to justify the investment. This of course is getting already bit untrue, as according to various statistics there are actually quite many linux users out there nowadays and the number is constantly rising thanks to the effort of many-many developers making Linux a user-friendly system and providing a selection of great software for the platform. Every contribution makes a difference, just like Renoise on linux probably brought (or fixed) several new linux users.

Also, the investment is justifiable in other means other than solely the new users you can lure from the platform. This is something that raises interest in users on already existing platforms as it has been proven that cross platform support gives some users some trust in the product. They are more likely to make an investment if they know that in case they want to change the platform, they are still covered.

  • The software in question uses several libraries only availabe on Win/Mac. This requires extra effort to replace those libraries and sometimes it’s just too much work.

  • Linux VST is not officially supported solution. Many developers don’t know that they even can port their plugins to Linux. Many of them don’t know if it’s even legal to do something like that. Solution for that would be to call Steinberg to officially (or atleast unofficially but loudly) support the Linux as VST platform and help them to get a decent support in their SDK.

  • There are no good VST development environment and libraries (except JUCE) to make VST plugins for linux.

  • Add your own bullets to my list. :)

Great example of this chicken-and-egg-problem. Is there no software, because there are no users, or are there no users, because there is no software? One side supports the other. But we’re starting to break this circle. Finally ^^

Good summary of the obstacles to establishing Linux as a mainstream audio platform.

I realize there’s still a long way to go but it does seem that we’ve made a lot of progress in just the last year or so.

Thanks for the details. It sounds like planning ahead made this a lot easier than it might have been otherwise. I know what you mean about the 95% thing.

I don’t have any plans to do any Linux coding myself anytime soon. I get enough hours of that in at work already. I would like to do my part to encourage other developers to port to Linux though, which is why I’d like to have some idea of how hard it might be in general.

It sounds to me as if porting VSTs isn’t too bad if people are using a cross-platform library like JUCE, for instance.