Move Plug-ins and Modules folders

On Linux the Plug-ins and Modules folders are by default only accessible with root access.
In my opinion it would be more convenient if they were in the home folder, possibly as a default in “~/.audacity-data”
It is a PITA to have to change the permissions and reinstall plug-ins after every update.

More generally this proposal is to move the plug-ins and modules folders to the same folder as Audacity Preferences.

A follow up question:
Is it possible to customise Audacity so that the plug-ins and modules folders are in my home directory (on Linux)? How would I do that?

What have you updated that causes the problem - Ubuntu? I had no issues accessing existing plug-ins after updating to Ubuntu 10.04 and then installing Audacity compiled from SVN (plug-ins and nyquist folders at usr/local/share/audacity). Are you talking about installing an updated Audacity package, where the plug-ins and nyquist folders are installed to usr/share/audacity, and then losing extra plug-ins you had added there since the last package? Are such plug-ins removed?

Incidentally, neither the Audacity “” package for Ubuntu 10.04, or default-configured SVN seem to produce a modules folder. (Or, I don’t know where to look for it).

Richard proposed putting user plug-ins in ~/.audacity-data back in 2008, partly because of the root access problem:

As you see I was a bit hesitant (knowing little about Linux then) on the grounds the folder would be hidden (it doesn’t show in Nautilus on Ubuntu by default). Neither the current situation (paste greyed out if you try and add to the plug-ins folder) or the proposal (the folder for plug-ins would be hidden) are ideal for novices. I guess though ~/.audacity-data is less bad on the whole… if we improve our documentation about plug-in locations for Linux.

Set environment variables? But I’ll let a Linux Guru answer that one.


I’m usually using the latest nightly build, and don’t want to clobber the previous version on install, so I install in a new “Program Files” folder. Then it’s a PITA to move all my extra plug-ins to the new plug-ins folder. I don’t want to move the standard plug-ins, in case one of them has changed since my last version download.

I’m not sure if Steve was suggesting moving the Plug-Ins folder to Audacity’s data folder on WIndows? While that would give a per-user plug-ins folder, it would be hidden by default because it’s application data, and I think that probably rules it out on WIndows. If the Audacity data folder was not hidden, you have the problem with Windows users going in there and breaking the .cfg file.

For Storer’s problem, you could keep just one folder for the Nightly Builds and rename the new audacity executable before extracting it to the Nightly folder. That could be handy because you could for example compare behaviour of the current nightly with the one before by running either from your Nightly folder. If you extract the new “Plug-Ins” folder into the Nightly folder, that should update files in Plug-Ins with the same name, without messing with your other plug-ins. 7-Zip can certainly handle that OK.


Custom Plug-ins are lost if the old version is uninstalled as the plug-ins folder is deleted.
Custom Plug-ins are not lost if a new version of Audacity is installed over the top of the old one, but the Plug-ins folder reverts to read only, which is inconvenient for adding, removing or modifying plug-ins.
I think that custom plug-ins are lost if Audacity is updated through Synaptic though it’s been a long time since I’ve done that and I don’t remember with 100% certainty. In the Nabble thread Richard Ash confirms this is the case:

“They could put them in /usr/share/audacity/plug-ins, but the’d have to
be a system admin to do so, and they would loose them from there every
time they upgrade audacity via their package manager.”

The Modules folder is not created by default, but I generally install the Nyquist Workbench, so if I’m doing a clean install then I need sudo to create the folder and paste the module. As far as I’m aware the Modules folder must currently be in the same folder as the nyquist and plug-ins folders for modules to work.

As both the Modules and Plug-ins are intended to allow Users to add their own customisations it would appear logical (and would be more convenient on Linux) for those folders to be located somewhere in the Home directory.

Ctrl+H (show hidden files/folders) is a lot more user friendly than sudo.

Is there a Linux guru that we can ask?

I think the case is less compelling on Windows. As you say, per user plug-ins would be nice, but for novice users, finding the correct folder in Program Files is somewhat easier than finding it in Applications Data.

On balance I think that the current location is preferable on Windows, but somewhere in the Home directory is preferable for Linux users.

Could there be an option in audacity.cfg for setting the location? I don’t think it would be necessary to have an option in “Edit menu > Preferences” as it is only likely to be “advanced” users that will want or need to change it from the default, and they should be capable of safely editing the audacity.cfg file manually.

True, though in some ways the fact the folder is invisible is worse. If you know nothing about hidden files/folders and you cannot see a folder, you have no reason to believe it’s there.

Richard will probably see this thread given he subscribes to feedback@.

Richard suggested in that thread using an AUDACITY_PATH environment variable on all platforms to set a custom plug-in directory. That made sense to me (more expected for Linux power users than fiddling in .cfg files).


Thread transferred to Wiki “Pending Feature Requests Page” - but also retained on the forum but moved to “General Audio Programming” as this thread my help future firum readers.