Wine project spills out a 2.0 release

Advances in virtualization technology and web applications coupled with ever-rising memory and storage capacities have progressively turned the stage lights away from Wine, a software tool for directly running Windows applications on Linux and macOS. The Wine developers kept on working, though, and earlier this week, the team released the stable release of Wine 2.0.

The highlights of the new version are support for Microsoft Office 2013 and the ability to run 64-bit Windows executables on macOS. Macintosh systems with Retina displays should work much better with the 2.0 release, too. The release notes list other enhancements, including better support for Windows graphics APIs like DirectWrite, DirectDraw, and DirectX 10 and 11. There's also improved support for Windows' Web Services API, a feature that underpins Wine 2.0's Microsoft Office 2013 compatibility. The full release notes are available here and the application compatibility database is here

Wine is a recursive acronym for Wine Is Not an Emulator. The tool is a software compatibility layer that tries to replicate Windows resources for applications to run atop. The project has been an ongoing effort since 1993 and its first stable 1.0 release appeared nine years ago. Wine is far from perfect, but the fact that it works at all is still quite impressive, given the complexity of the task and the fact that Windows compatibility is a moving target.

The release was the subject of some discussion among the staff here at The Tech Report. Some argue that support for gaming in Wine is better than in a virtualized Windows environment. Others believe that the overhead of a virtualized system is worth the reduction in headaches when productivity applications like Office and Creative Cloud must work without potential quirks and bugs. We invite your comments below.

Comments closed
    • confusedpenguin
    • 3 years ago

    No use for wine. But if Blizzard would release their internal testing build of WoW for linux, that would be great.

    • Laykun
    • 3 years ago

    It’s good to see Wine is still moving along. What pains me though is their outright dismissal of things like the gallium-nine runtime for running native DX9 code without needing to do any translation. This gave near native performance and could make supporting DX10 and DX11 a whole lot easier for people who run the open source drivers. This was achieved through the open-source nature of gallium3d GPU drivers, where you can actually implement the API with a reasonably low-level GPU language, gallium and get really good performance. There needs to be a real drive for WHY people would want better open-source GPU drivers in linux and I feel like Wine could have been one of those reasons. Better open-source drivers for nvidia and AMD benefits everyone using linux but currently the open-source drivers fall behind in terms of performance compared to their binary equivalents, especially the nvidia driver.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    Someone made a Vulkan over Metal bridge for macOS, both being low level APIs apparently means the performance hit from bridging the two isn’t much. I wonder if Wine will benefit from that once it can use Vulkan on Linux to bridge DX12.

    • synthtel2
    • 3 years ago

    Wine is awesome! Without it, I’d be able to play maybe 2/3rds of the games I want to on Linux. With it, that’s more like 90%. One of the games notably falling under that last 10% is Witcher 3, which needs DX11 support, which they’re working on. 😀

    I think virtualization versus Wine is a very case-by-case thing. I don’t virtualize because I like my tiny mITX system (no room for two dGPUs), don’t want to pay for a second dGPU, hate Microsoft enough that I don’t want to give them $100 for a license, and (along the same lines) would want to do what gaming I can in Linux anyway (necessitating the second dGPU). I also don’t mind having to occasionally coax a game into working, and don’t mind too much those 10% that I can’t play. The bit that bugs me sometimes is the small performance overhead, but it’s usually not excessive. All those reasons tie into each other a lot, and they really are pretty specific and personal. I certainly wouldn’t say one or the other is better in any absolute sense.

    As for the cases in the article, I’d definitely be more inclined to recommend virtualization for productivity stuff where being bug-free actually matters. Wine is usually pretty solid, but occasionally there is some weirdness like Steam not wanting to render things or occasional Skyrim CTDs that I think are platform-specific. Virtualization done right (with the two GPUs) hardly has a performance penalty. Virtualization done wrong[super<]1[/super<], I don't know about, but I'll bet it isn't pretty for gaming. AFAICT I tend to get >80% of ideal performance using Wine, with occasional exceptions. [super<]1[/super<] Edit: By "wrong", I don't mean that you shouldn't use it, just that it's highly inferior from a technical perspective. As noted in my comment below, doing it right is pretty difficult.

      • Crayon Shin Chan
      • 3 years ago

      Which virtualization software are you running? I thought it was only possible to pass an entire GPU to a VM with VMWare ESX and IOMMU support.

        • synthtel2
        • 3 years ago

        Check [url=https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PCI_passthrough_via_OVMF<]this[/url<] page. It does look like quite a mess, and it would prefer to have a lot more hardware than I care to throw at it, but if you want maximum gaming ability on a Linux host, it's the gold standard. (Disclaimer: I personally have not done anything with it. Wine is good enough for me.)

        • slowriot
        • 3 years ago

        You can do it with KVM too I believe: [url<]https://davidyat.es/2016/09/08/gpu-passthrough/#part-2-setting-up-the-vm[/url<] I've been considering this approach for a while for my gaming rig but haven't spent the full time to prepare/do it yet.

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    Oddly enough, I’m building it right now on a RHEL 6 box to run some stupid binaries that a vendor provided. Standing up a VM is an appealing alternative but includes all the headaches of a recent install of windows, getting serial keys, etc…

    • ludi
    • 3 years ago

    I remember Wine being touted as something special in the late 90s and early 00s, when the processing cost of full emulation, let alone virtualization, was far too high. A real-time translation at least had some hope of running.

    But now that I can run applications on an OS inside a virtual machine running on another OS, and do it on 5yo hardware with relative smoothness….it’s not quite so compelling.

    • meerkt
    • 3 years ago

    Less high profile but long-term interesting as well: ReactOS.
    [url<]http://reactos.org/[/url<]

      • ozzuneoj
      • 3 years ago

      I remember playing with that like 10 years ago. Its an interesting idea but it just has so far to go to ultimately end up missing important Windows features that they won’t be allowed to implement.

      I’d love to see it end up being useful, but I’m not sure for what.

        • demani
        • 3 years ago

        For me the killer app is always the current release of Outlook. Get me that and I’d be golden. Without it….we’ll it’s novel.

        • 5UPERCH1CK3N
        • 3 years ago

        I think if it did get useful, Microsoft would just kill it with API copyright suits. Thanks to Oracle, it’s now a thing to be able to copyright APIs.

        Right now I get by with a Windows 10 VM running under libvirt with spice so I can easily copy/paste, share USB devices, etc. My system is too old, so it doesn’t have an IOMMU which would allow me to use it for games. If there were vGPU options for standard desktop cards, that would be an option too, right now that’s confined to Intel though. So no use for gaming.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<] Some argue that support for gaming in Wine is better than in a virtualized Windows environment. Others believe that the overhead of a virtualized system is worth the reduction in headaches when productivity applications like Office and Creative Cloud must work without potential quirks and bugs.[/quote<] Why not both? I think both of those can be true and you can use either option depending on your needs and tolerance for weirdness.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    If you want more bleeding edge support (including support for a selection of DX11 Windows games) then [url=https://www.wine-staging.com/<]Wine Staging[/url<] is where you want to be.

    • CScottG
    • 3 years ago

    Whoa. DirectX *11*. Party like it’s 2008!

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      Considering the work being done on Vulkan and the increasing level of cross-platform support in more modern titles, DX11 support is actually a bigger deal than DX12 support.

        • CScottG
        • 3 years ago

        True.. it’s just that the update is more than a bit overdue.

          • chuckula
          • 3 years ago

          It has taken a long time, but the WINE project has also grown considerably since 2008 when DX11 first reared its head. Additionally, since WINE basically maps from DX11 to OpenGL, there was a time delay introduced by the fact that OpenGL 4 with DX11-level features took a while to become widespread in the Linux world.

          They didn’t even get around to starting serious support for DX11 until 2014/2015, and these things take time given that WINE isn’t developed by a company like Microsoft.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This