fst - VST plugins on Linux


FST is a program by which uses Wine, Jack and Steinberg's VST Audio Plug-Ins SDK to enable the use of many VST audio plugins under Gnu/Linux.

FST was written by Torben Hohn and Paul Davis, with inspiration from Kjetil Mattheussen.


29 Jan 2009 - Development now continues in git. The VST headers are not required anymore. execute git clone "git://repo.or.cz/fst.git" to get it.

17 June 2006 - docs updated by Dave Phillips, cheers Dave.

31 May 2006 - fst 1.8 released. Lash support. Note: it's necessary to have wineserver -p running, when reloading a lash session.

20 May 2006 - fst 1.7.1 released. Fix for severe midi timing problems.

20 November 2005 - fst 1.7 released. Basically merging the experimental "xfst" back to the main release of FST.



Getting Started

0) Requires the following software:

These packages are required, you will not be able to build the FST system without them (and their devel packages).

1) Download Steinberg's VST SDK, currently available here:


or possibly here instead :


It's been known to move about in the past. Also, you must agree to Steinberg's non-free licensing terms - that's how it is, sorry.

Note that you'll select the SDK version after reading the Steinberg license. Download version 2.3.

2) Unzip the SDK package into the FST directory.

3) Type 'make'. If everything works correctly this should create an executable file named fst and a shared library named fst.exe.so.

4) To run your VST plugins :

5) Optional: To build Ardour 0.99.x with FST support :

Copy the SC* files from the Ardour directory into your Ardour build path, then compile Ardour with these options :

scons VST=1 VSTPATH=/path/to/compiled/fst

Further notes

According to the original README this software "... interprets transport info correctly". [JACK transport or ... ?]

Lars Luthman advises that you can set JACK_START_SERVER and LASH_START_SERVER in your environment to eliminate the need to manually start JACK and LASH before running the fst program (or any other JACK/LASH application).

Ismael Valladolid Torres notes that the fst.exe.so shared object library must be in the same dir as fst. FST currently does not include a 'make install' step, so you must either run the fst binary from the fst-x.x directory or copy the binary and the fst.exe.so library to a common place in your PATH, e.g. /usr/local/bin/.

If your plugin zombifies at start-up try running it with the -r option:

./fst -r /path/to/someplugin.dll

Torben Hohn has written that there appears to be a bug in WINE that prevents simultaneous startup of fst instances when a LASH project is restored. The problem can be avoided by having a persistent wineserver running, so just start 'wineserver -p' before reloading a LASH project.

[Any other flags or switches ?]

Please report problems, solutions, comments, criticisms, and anything else related to FST on the Linux Audio Users mail list.


FST is licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2. See file 'COPYING' for details.


Torben Hohn, Paul Davis, Kjetil Matheussen, Joe Button, and some other guy (sorry, no time to find your name now, it's in the source somewhere).

This document was written originally by Torben Hohn. It was revised on 15 June 2006 by DLP.



Torben Hohn, Paul Davis, Kjetil S. Matheussen (kjetil), Dave Phillips