Is Vital actually open source?

I just got Vital and have started to mess around with it. I’m glad there’s a free alternative to Serum now, but is it actually open source like Helm?

In the synth, there doesn’t appear to be an Info or About window, although I could be wrong. Furthermore, when I installed it, I didn’t have to press a button to accept any kind of license agreement/EULA, even a GPL or other open source one. Also, the source code for Vital isn’t up publicly on Matt’s GitHub.

Some news sources did in fact say that Vital is/would be open source, but all of the places that they did say that were from the beginning of this year or earlier.

I would love to see Vital not just as a piece of freemium with strings attached (I wish I didn’t have to make an account just to download the basic version of the plugin), but as a fully open source plugin that I can fork and modify all I want when I become a better C/C++ programmer.

Also, on an unrelated note: Uproar 24, if you know who they are, is going to have a field day making a YouTube video for this plugin

As far as I know Vital is not open source.

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Vital isnt open source but its a freeware (obv u can purchase extensions like presets etc)

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@tristanbay - perhaps you should explore Surge

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I think we can only speculate as to whether Matt will at some point decide to make Vital open source.
It is something that can never be undone so the hesitation is quite understandable to me and I don’t blame him a bit.


Totally understandable to keep it closed source, given the effort put on the project, even if I hope that this will have a limited duration. If this would be the case it will be like ZynFusion, for which the UI source was kept close for several months. Anyway I cannot blame Matt if he keeps the source closed for years. What I personally find very important was to have this magnificent synth on Linux, working perfectly. Cannot ask more at the moment.

The current plans are that Vital will NOT be open source. I know that has been a discussion point since the Sonoj 2019 conference but in the end the project got too big and advanced that making it open-source would feel off for Matt.


I think you’re paraphrasing an unofficial FAQ document, that was not written by Matt :wink:

That is correct, I wrote the FAQ :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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@unfa If it doesn’t go open source, you’ll have to update your Patreon cover or abandon Vital :upside_down_face:

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I would have been fine with this too. Although with Zyn there was always full disclosure that it 1) would be foss and 2) that it was being witheld until he made his development costs back.

The only reason I started watching was the statement it would be FOSS and its later connection to FOSS artist. When I saw those statements getting scrubbed, cagey statements about “no decision made” (after they were) and gaslighting (discord folk saying “it was never said it would be” despite there being git commits showing the retraction on the blog proving it was, in fact, once said) I took a huge step back and look on from a distance now.

For the people who don’t care about any of that (and seemingly most don’t, will gaslight and deflect the ones who do) it looks like a great synthesizer.

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So is it possible that Matt/his mods just saying it’s open source was just a bait-and-switch? If that’s the case, then that is not cool.

I just want something FOSS with no strings attached. No account or anything

And FYI, Zyn-Fusion is still $45

I don’t know if I ever saw this unofficial FAQ page. And is it possible that Vital will ever be 100% FOSS? Also, Matt said something about smaller plugins on the Vital home page. Are these standalone plugins or they extensions for Vital’s functionality? And here’s the really important bit: will they all be free (maybe even all open source)?

I mean it has wavetables but it doesn’t seem like the same thing because of the lack of those warp modes and stuff, as well as it looking a bit less pretty. It does look like the FM synthesis and FX section is more advanced, though.

Will he ever release the source code and make it 100% free (apart from maybe the speech-to-wavetable thing if he never implements a version that works without Internet)? The quiet removing of the mention of Vital being open source from the blog and the gaslighting from people on Matt’s team, at least according to the other guy, makes it seem like that would be unlikely. I hope Matt comes out with a statement about all of this in the very near future if it hasn’t happened between me making this topic and now.

But surge addresses this point, which sounded important to you. You can learn to code a better interface :slight_smile:

Open source is great and important. But it’s just one model for software development and distribution.

I have a feeling that most people who want “open source” really want “free” because they have no intention of contributing in any way.

There are some really great open source synths available, but that’s somehow never enough.

Of course, if Matt really said that Vital would be open source at some point, that should be addressed. Because of Helm, I always assumed it would be, but I never saw an official statement.


It was originally going to be open source as per the original announcement:

And for those wondering, this new synth will be open-source and pay-what-you-want like just like Helm

The blog post was edited and this comment was removed, though. It was not formally addressed, but by the time the account system was implemented it was clear where it was headed. Since you have to log into an account to even use the plugin.

I don’t mind it being freemium if it’s possible to make it open eventually when sales die down. Surge has insane amount of activity after going open and it breathed a lot of life into the community. It takes gusto. I’d like to see Helix also go open since it’s on life support. However I’m reminded of Minecraft; was originally supposed to be open source eventually but it blew up in popularity and it will never happen.

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Only the beta version required logging in; that requirement was removed as of 1.0. It will nag you to log in on startup but clicking off the login prompt will close it.

Notch said this in relation to when Minecraft was finally dead. Minetest has come a long way though.

No, people want open source because it was stated it would be several times.

There are some people who have special needs that may require a special recompile or a particular patch that isn’t interesting to upstream. For example MOD-DUO and Zynthian users which are basically just Raspberry Pi’s with special cases and interfaces so you can pre-load your synthesizer and carry it around on a dedicated box. I was also on a special linux distro for some time (Alpine) which did not support glibc and so proprietary plugins are literally impossible to use there (you have to recompile things, or side-load something like Ubuntu in a docker image.)

There are also of course those who do not contribute but do read.

It has become weirdly common (and tolerated) to shit on the open source-y’s and I’m not sure why its put up with.

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There has been some misunderstanding over the open source concept in that, because of poor choice of wording in describing the concept, people associated it as meaning free as in free beer when in fact the free element refers more correctly to freedom to inspect and optionally modify the underlying code. There is nothing in the associated open source licensing models preventing the developer from charging for the end product.