One difference between modular synths and FOSS is that they’re considerably more expensive than their closed/monolithic equivalents! In hardware, that flexibility comes at a cost. I’ve got a small rack with six or seven modules, but it probably cost around $1500 to put together. It makes some cool sounds but I find it less musically useful than the Modal Electronics Skulpt synth I got for $300.
People interested in trying out modular synthesis without spending a bundle on hardware should check out VCV Rack, a free-as-in-beer GUI program for Mac/Win/Linux that emulates a modular synth. You can download a ton of free modules, including ones built from the same free firmware that’s in popular modules, and there’s also a store selling more modules. It’s a lot of fun to mess around with, and it can do things the hardware can’t, like polyphony.
It’s also free-as-in-speech (licensed under GPL3 with an exception for commercial plugins)
Oops — I remembered it had changed licenses, but thought it went the other direction.
VCVRack runs very, very well on my Linux DAW, and is a regular delight in the studio.
Some simply amazing modules available, because of the ethos of its F/OSS community. Eurorack hardware developers even use it as a platform to test their ideas ..
So glad someone wrote about this, I’ve been saying I would for years now (not that that counts for much lol). The metaphors are so apt :)