Windows Compatiblity Layer Wine 8.0 Stable Released

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Wine 8.0 has been released after being in development for a year. This release includes over 8600 changes, the main highlights being the completion of the conversion to PE format, and work on WoW64 support which will allow running 32bit Windows applications without installing 32bit libraries.

Wine is a Windows compatibility layer that lets you run Microsoft Windows applications and games on Linux, macOS, and Android (experimental). No code emulation or virtualization occurs when running a Windows application under Wine, thus the name (Wine Is Not An Emulator).

You can use Wine as a stand-alone app to directly launch Microsoft Windows applications and games, or via a third-party tool such as Lutris on Linux. Wine is also used by Proton, Valve's Steam Play compatibility layer that allows playing Windows games on Linux, and by CrossOver, a commercial Microsoft Windows compatibility layer for macOS and Linux, among others.

With this Wine release, the PE conversion is complete – all modules can be built in PE format, however, some modules still perform direct calls between PE and the Unix part instead of going through the NT system. These last direct calls will be removed in future Wine 8.x releases. 

According to the release notes, "this is an important milestone on the road to supporting various features such as copy protection, 32-bit applications on 64-bit hosts, Windows debuggers, x86 applications on ARM, etc."

To use this right now (but remember that this feature is not complete), you'll need to build Wine using the --enable-archs option to configure, e.g. --enable-archs=i386,x86_64.

Wine 8.0 also includes more work towards WoW64 support, which will allow running 32bit Windows applications without any 32bit Unix library, so no more installing a bunch of i386 libraries on 64bit once this is finished.

You might also like: Easily Install And Manage Custom Wine Builds (Proton-GE, Luxtorpeda, Wine-GE) For Steam And Lutris With ProtonUp-Qt GUI

Wine 8.0 light theme
Wine 8.0 default Light theme

Other important changes in Wine 8.0 include:

  • Direct2D and Direct3D improvements
  • Implemented Print Processor architecture
  • The Light theme is enabled in the default configuration
  • The graphics drivers are converted to run on the Unix side of the syscall boundary, and interface with the Unix side of the Win32u library
  • Controller hotplug support is greatly improved, and controller removal and insertion are correctly dispatched to applications
  • The Joystick Control Panel is redesigned, with new graphics and a dedicated view for XInput gamepads
  • All the built-in applications use Common Controls version 6, which enables theming and high-DPI rendering by default

Visit the Wine 8.0 release announcement for the complete list of changes added in this stable release.

As usual, most of these changes / features were already available in the Wine staging and development builds, so if you've used those, you've already be using these improvements.

To download Wine, see its download page. WineHQ provides Wine packages via its repositories for Ubuntu (and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions like Linux Mint), Debian and Fedora. There are also macOS binaries available for download.

At the time I'm writing this, the repositories have not yet been updated with the latest Wine 8.0 stable.