We believe that no human should be excluded from learning any musical instrument, and the modular synthesizer is possibly the most excluding instrument on the planet—even more so than the harp or the marimba—due to its cost. Yet, it is possible to emulate synthesizer modules in software, in both sound and interaction behaviour, providing a similar platform for creativity that can be equally gratifying as hardware. VCV attempts to solve the problem in this way.We also believe that innovation is needed in the field of audio synthesis. While it is important to remember concepts from the past so they are not accidentally reinvented, we encourage new ideas through close communication between users and developers, a simple open plugin API, and the allowance of both open- and closed-source plugins to kindle all possible project sizes. The Eurorack movement is an excellent archetype of this model, with most manufacturers preferring new ideas to the old, so a secondary goal of VCV is to bring some of these innovative hardware modules into the hands of software users.
Often general-purpose monolithic DAWs rightfully use a proprietary software model, but the principle behind modular synthesizers is identical to the UNIX philosophy, where stable, minimal modules working together are preferred to a monolithic platform controlled by a single vendor (like portable synthesizer keyboards). As proven by the Linux and BSD projects, this philosophy thrives when the ability to develop small modules is opened to the public with minimal legal friction, which ultimately benefits consumers and the Rack platform itself greater than proprietary platforms. For this reason, VCV Rack will always remain free and open-source so that users and developers can freely explore their ideas.
Since open-source software is equally expensive to develop as proprietary software, VCV must raise funds through alternative methods such as selling commercial plugins. Rack development scales proportionally to available funding, so VCV alternates between periods of funding, during which new commercial plugins are released, and periods of Rack development.