Want to run Windows apps in MacOS or Linux without virtualisation or emulation software? You’ll need a compatibility layer called Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator), and the good news is that Wine 8.0 has just been released after more than a year’s development and with 8,600 code changes completed.
The chief highlight in version 8.0 is the culmination of a four-year project completing PE conversion. Allowing all program modules to be built in PE format unlocks several key milestones on the project to supporting such Windows program elements as copy protection, running 32-bit applications on 64-bit hosts (as well as x86 apps on ARM platforms), and Windows debuggers.
There’s also support for WoW64 implementation for all Unix libraries, removing another key block to running older 32-bit apps in 64-bit distros. Going forward, 32-bit apps will start inside what Wine HQ dubs a "new experimental 'Windows-like' WoW64 mode", although users are warned that the feature is still under development and not yet recommended for general use.
There are also numerous graphical improvements – the Light theme is now enabled by default for a more modern look, there’s support for effects in Direct2D along with numerous optimisations for Direct3D and wider support for Direct3D 10 and 11 features.
Also worth noting is the redesigned joystick control panel along with "greatly improved" controller hotplug support and driving wheel device detection along with support for force feedback effects. A new WinRT module – Windows.Gaming.Input – has also been introduced, which implements a new programming interface for access to gaming input devices.
A full list of changes can be found at the announcement page where you’ll discover – among other things – that the Mono .NET engine has been updated to version 7.4.0 and that font linking is now enabled for most system fonts.
Wine 8.0 is available now as a free open-source download for macOS as well as most modern flavours of Linux, including Ubuntu.
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