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> Announcing PawPaw: cross-platform LV2 ports for macOS and Windows
On 2021-01-15 by falkTX

PawPaw is an open-source project that builds and packages cross-platform LV2 audio plugins (among other things, but let's focus on this now).

It was created out of the need of many open-source developers to easily build their stuff for macOS and Windows, where usually dependencies are involved which need to be built manually.
In order to make audio plugins self-contained, these dependencies/libraries need to be built statically, which most packaging projects do not do.
Also, most open-source audio plugin projects do not have binaries for macOS or Windows, making it very difficult for users in these platforms to enjoy them.

That last part is crucial.
While on Linux LV2 is king, with so many plugins released as LV2, the same is not true for other platforms.
I want to change that, so that the usual excuse "but there are no plugins, we won't bother with LV2" of audio developers can no longer be used.
It is the typical circular-dependency problem. There are no hosts because there are no plugins and vice-versa.
Hopefully with a big set of plugins, the situation will change.

For the first release of PawPaw we have the following LV2 plugins: (note some of these are big collections of many plugins themselves)

  • abgate
  • artyfx
  • blop
  • caps
  • die-plugins
  • distrho-ports (arctican, dexed, drowaudio, klangfalter, luftikus, obxd, pitched-delay, refine, tal, temper, vex, wolpertinger)
  • dpf-plugins (glBars, kars, max-gen, mini-series, mverb, ndc-plugs, nekobi)
  • fomp
  • mda

Every single plugin has automated meta-data validation and runtime testing to make sure they work correctly.
The quality of the plugins depends on the respective developer and project of course, but they should be safe from crashes.

A big question now is "how can I use them?".
At this moment, from what I am aware, only Ardour/ Mixbus and Carla support LV2 plugins on these platforms.
Some applications like Audacity, Kushview Element and Mixxx support LV2, but usually only in Linux builds.
Carla works as a VST2 plugin, so you can use it as a way to bridge these to regular hosts, but obviously not ideal.
But hey, one step at a time. We have a few more LV2 plugins now on these platforms, and moving forward the list is only going to grow.


Ardour + Windows


Mixxx + macOS, loading ArtyFX plugins



You can find the macOS and Windows installers at https://github.com/DISTRHO/PawPaw/releases.
For macOS, 10.12 is required. These are universal builds that already support x64 and arm64 combined.
For Windows, Windows 7 or superior is recommended, and a CPU capable of doing SSE2 operations is required.

Future plans

For the future, I plan to rework the DISTRHO website so it contains all these details.
Mainly so that it is a better overall presentation.
And of course more plugins, though pull-requests are also very welcome for those.
Carla is slowly in the process of using PawPaw for automated release builds, more on that at a later time.