VST3 on Ubuntu with Eclipse IDE

Submitted by mic on Fri, 12/18/2020 - 14:46

I just went down quite a rabbit hole, getting the VST3 SDK to compile on Ubuntu with Eclipse, so I am posting the details here for whoever is interested.

Ubuntu, Eclipse, and VST3 setup

I have:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS running on Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.16 (on Windows 10), minimal Ubuntu installation.
  • Version 3.6.12 of the VST SDK, which is a bit outdated (from March of 2018).
  • The Eclipse C++ IDE, 2020-09 build for 64-bit Linux.


The VST SDK extracts to "/vstsdk3612_03_12_2018_build_67/VST_SDK". It is prepared for a CMake build, and hence, the main goal is to import the VST CMake project into Eclipse.

Importing the VST SDK into Eclipse

  1. Create a new directory called "out" under VST_SDK for the output of CMake (the directory can be called anything and can be anywhere).
  2. Open Terminal and switch to that new directory.
  3. Run the command "cmake -G "Eclipse CDT4 - Unix Makefiles" to prepare the CMake project for Eclipse.
  4. Depending on the packages installed, CMake may complete with or without errors. In my case, a number of required packages were missing.
  5. Install missing packages. CMake will print errors one by one, so this is a matter of installing one package and repeating the same call to CMake above. The missing packages were.
    1. libxmu-dev (installed with "sudo apt install libxmu-dev"; CMake error was missing X11)
    2. similarly installed libfreetype6-dev (missing Freetype)
    3. libxcb-util-dev
    4. libxcb-cursor-dev
    5. libxcb-keysyms1-dev. I think on Fedora and other non-Debian systems, this will be without the "1", but I cannot be sure.
    6. libxcb-xkb-dev
    7. libxkbcommon-dev
    8. libxkbcommon-x11-dev
    9. libgtkmm-3.0-dev
    10. libsqlite3-dev
  6. At this point, the same CMake command above completed without errors.
  7. Create a directory ".vst3" under /home/username, where "username" is the name of the current user (i.e., "mkdir .vst3" in the appropriate directory). The directory will not be visible in Files, but it will be visible in Terminal. It seems that this directory is needed to compile the project in Eclipse.
  8. Open Eclipse. Launching with the default workspace is fine.
  9. Click on File and then Import to import a project. In the import wizard, select General and then Existing Projects Into Workspace. Click on Next.
  10. Browse to the project. In the setup described above, open the folder "/ vstsdk3612_03_12_2018_build_67/VST_SDK". When choose the folder, the project will show up as "vstsdk-Debug@out" with some extra information about location.
  11. Build the project. The output of the build will be in the "out" folder (most notably, for me, the static VST ".a" libraries are in "lib" under "out").

In general, a lot of these steps were necessary because my Ubuntu installation was new and minimal. Things will likely be easier on the machine of a developer, who used the machine for other projects. Still, even nowadays there are no easy ways to import a CMake project into Eclipse.

authors: mic

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