The team behind Wine, a compatibility layer to run Windows applications and games on systems such as Linux or Mac OS, has released Wine 6.0 to the public. Downloads, a compatibility database, and other information is available on the official project website.
Wine 6.0 is available as source code and as binaries. Major changes in Wine 6.0 include DirectShow and Media Foundation support, improved handling of certain game copy protections, and support for an experimental Vulkan renderer for WineD3D.
Wine 6.0 is the first major release in 2021; it follows the one major release per year release schedule of the team that is developing Wine. You can check out our reviews of the last major releases, Wine 5.0 in 2020 and Wine 4.0 in 2019, in case you are interested.
What is new in Wine 6.0
Work on building modules in PE format continued in Wine 6.0. The format helps deal with certain copy protection schemes that verify that memory-loaded DLL files and their disk counterparts are identical. Wine 6.0 includes a new option to link Unix libraries to PE modules to support functions that the Win32 APIs cannot handle.
The new Wine version includes support for a Vulkan renderer for WineD3D. It is labeled as experimental at this stage as support is limited to shader model 4 and 5 shaders. The team notes that this limits the “usefulness to Direct3D 10 and 11 applications” in this release.
Wine users may enable experimental support by switching the Direct3D renderer setting to vulkan.
The release notes provide instructions on making the change:
- Set HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareWineDirect3Drenderer to “vulkan” to enable the functionality. Other values that are supported are gl and no3d
- gl = default, OpenGL
- no3d = GDI
- vulkan = vulkan
Certain Direct 3D 11 features are supported in Wine 6.0, including dual-source blending and per render-target according to the release notes.
Additionally, graphics card support has improved in the new release as more graphics cards are supported.
Other major changes in Wine 6.0:
- Support for drawing text using ID3DXFont, ID3D12ShaderReflection and D3DX10GetImageInfoFromMemory().
- Support for “drawing arcs, ellipses, and rounded rectangles using the Direct2D API” added.
- WindowsCodecs support decoding images in DirectDraw Surface and JPEG-XR formats, and encoding images to GIF.
- Vulkan driver supports version 1.2.162 of the Vulkan spec.
- Improved Media Foundation Framework support.
- Video Mixing Renderer improvements.
- Improved Media Detections API support.
- Text console support is reimplemented.
You can check out the entire — huge — release notes of Wine 6.0 here.
Each year, Wine’s new version is a major step in regards to compatibility; this year is no exception to that. Valve’s Proton is based on Wine, and it too will eventually be upgraded to the new version to improve compatibility with games. Linux gamers who install Steam on their devices can play thousands of Windows games using Proton. You can check out our guide on using Proton with Steam to play Steam games. Proton lags behind in releases when compared to vanilla Wine.
Still, if you are using Linux predominantly but want to play Windows games or run Windows apps on the device, Wine and/or Proton are your best bet of doing so.
Now You: Do you use Wine / Proton on Linux?