Wine, an application that lets folks run Windows software and games on Linux (or other operating systems like macOS) has just hit another big milestone, reaching version 5.0 and introducing a number of important changes, particularly on the gaming front.
In total, no less than 7,400 changes have been made to Wine 5.0 since the release of the previous version (4.0) a year ago.
- Steam is coming to Chromebooks – thanks to Linux
- We’ve chosen the best Linux distros of 2020
- And these are the best gaming PCs
And as mentioned, gamers will be pleased, with support for Vulkan 1.1 being introduced, and a lot of improvements having been made to Direct3D support (for example switching between full-screen and windowed modes via Alt+Enter with DXGI apps). And there are minor but still useful touches like the screensaver not interrupting full-screen Direct3D applications.
Multiple monitors (and display adapters) are now fully supported, too, which is pretty nifty.
Furthermore, Wine 5.0 has most modules built in the PE format (Portable Executable), rather than ELF, and as the developers note: “This helps various copy protection schemes that check that the on-disk and in-memory contents of system modules are identical.”
That might sound rather dull and dry, but it’s important because those are the checks which are run by the likes of anti-cheat systems in games, which can prove a major stumbling block to getting the game in question to run under Wine.
Indeed, one of the main uses for Wine is for those wishing to run Windows games on Linux distros (or Macs). And the list of games which Wine is capable of running is pretty impressive these days, as it can handle many contemporary titles under Linux – and hopefully the aforementioned switch to the PE format will help in further widening the umbrella of support.
Don’t forget that Wine can also be a useful application for those who want to run older PC games, which might not work on Windows 10 due to compatibility issues, but may run fine with Wine on Linux.
Outside of Linux, one slight fly in the ointment for Mac users, however, is that Wine sadly won’t work on the latest version of macOS, because as you may recall, Catalina dropped support for 32-bit applications.
- Check out all the best laptops of 2020
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).