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Wine 9.9 (Dev) – Run Windows Applications on Linux, BSD, Solaris and macOS (winehq.org)
57 points by neustradamus 28 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 42 comments

I've used Wine occasionally, and I like how it has its own file space - everything lives in a directory that kinda looks like Windows. But I've always wondered, does it provide isolation? Does Wine function as a container? Or do executables have full system access?

And does anyone have a good summary of the 32 bit executable story? Those are always problematic on Ubuntu but I never had a clear picture as to why

No, Wine is not a container. The Windows application is free to make any Linux syscall with the privileges of the user running Wine. You shouldn't run an untrusted application in Wine any more than you would do for regular Linux applications.

Every program I've run under Wine has read/write access to any directory you own. AFAIK the only way to containerize Wine is via OS-level LXC/Jails/etc, but under X11 that still leaves the GUI wide open unless you have your own X11 stack in the container and run remote desktop or something (which is possible! You can even use VirGL for 3D accel.) Not sure about Wayland, probably still a good idea to have an isolated stack.

It'd be cool if they made that easier to do via Wine itself, but that's probably a bit out of scope.

Just curious: what's the point in running Steam in Wine nowadays?

It seems that every Windows game in Steam that I've tried recently (Helldivers 2, Hades 2, Hogwarts Legacy, Talos Principle 2, etc) have been flawless in Steam for Linux since Steam will run them with Proton.

Even non-steam games such as Starcraft II work well by adding battle.net setup.exe to Steam as a "Non-Steam game", and selecting Proton as the compatibility layer.

Keeping all of Steam in a single wineprefix (instead of the usual approach of each game being in its own wineprefix) can make things quite a bit easier when dealing with programs/games that interact with each others' files. Three general categories of examples:

- Mod managers, trainers, and other external programs that should probably run in the same prefix as the game; yes, it's possible to manually run them in specific wineprefixen with specific Proton versions, or to use tools like SteamTinkerLaunch to pop up a menu first, but these are quite a bit clunkier than just running everything in the same prefix. Vortex and Mod Organizer 2 especially come to mind as being designed to handle multiple games within the same installation; the Proton-centric approach instead encourages having separate Vortex/MO2 installations per game, with all the shenanigans around browser URL associations and such that produces.

- Steam-managed editing/authoring tools for Steam games (e.g. the Creation Kits for various Bethesda RPGs). The Proton-centric approach results in these tools being in their own wineprefixen separate from the games themselves - and while that ain't impossible to live with, it's a lot less convenient than everything sharing a prefix.

- Newer installments in a game series importing save data from older installments (e.g. Mass Effect prior to Legendary Edition being a thing, or the Saint's Row games). Much easier to handle when everything's in one wineprefix; much more difficult when each game is in its own wineprefix (especially if these games don't offer an easy way to manually browse for the data to import).

It's theoretically possible to achieve some of this with Linux Steam + Proton by pre-creating shared wineprefixen and symlinking each game's own wineprefix to a shared one. This also defeats a lot of the point of using Proton in Steam - whereas it's easy enough to just... run Windows Steam in Wine directly (possibly even using Lutris or Bottles or what have you to create separate Windows Steam instances for separate sets of games).

Danke schön this is a great answer that I was looking for.

For Linux maybe, but for Mac the situation is different. If there’s no Mac version, it won’t run.

Hmm but Wine doesn't work on recent versions of macOS or Apple Silicon anyway, right? But hopefully the Apple Game Porting Toolkit makes it easier for Mac users to play games...

I think that’s not right — there’s even a commercial product (code weavers crossover) which is exactly this — wine for Apple silicon which can run amd64 windows games on apple silicon).

Crossover uses Rosetta in order to run on Apple Silicon afaik.

I very regularly use wine on the latest version of macOS on Apple Silicon.

It does work.

Proton is built on Wine.

Yes, I am aware of this fact.

That doesn't answer the question of why anyone would run the Windows version of Steam on Wine, rather than running the Linux version of Steam, which would use Proton (which is built on Wine) automatically and painlessly.

I don’t know, I don’t game under Linux. But from my own wine experience, maybe to play some games that were ported to Linux and available first-party but have some form of crippled experience or bugs and playing the native Windows port is the way around it.

(Eg Netflix plays on Firefox/Chrome under Linux, but if you run Chrome under Wine on Linux instead, you get 1080p video instead of crippled 720p crap.)

Plenty of older games only seem to work with certain versions of Proton/Wine, DXVK etc. There are projects like Bottles which let you manage multiple Proton distributions https://usebottles.com/

That's true but in Steam on Linux there's a dropdown menu in the settings that lets you choose the Proton Version. And tools like protontricks can add additional wine/wine-staging/proton versions that would show up in Steam.

Not much, but I assume we’re seeing Steam-related fixes from Proton flowing upstream anyway.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

It sounds like Wine might be able to run Paint.NET again.

That's pretty much the only app that still has me reaching for Windows at this point.


Have you tried Pinta before? In my experience it was a bit buggy but maybe it would have suited your needs.

What about paint.net is drawing you in from windows

There's almost no learning curve if you know Photoshop versions 6.0 - CS6. From this point of view, Pinta has a bit of a learning curve, or maybe there's some bugs, or maybe it doesn't like my system colors. It also seems (not sure) to lack common brush and tool settings, although maybe it draws differently than PS.

Simple easy UI and enough capabilities to accomplish the occasional manual image editing tasks I need as a dev, in a free and open source tool.

>in a free and open source tool

It’s not open source for more than 15 years. The last FOSS version was released in 2009 November

It's not open source and hasn't been in a very long time.

Still very useful though.

Looking forward to someone making an OpenGL extension to support running 32-bit programs in Wine that need translation to OpenGL with new Wow64 (i.e. without 32-bit runtime). Right now it has bad performance.

What are some applications that people run under Wine that are most useful? I currently use VM for windows but would be interested in what HN users of Wine find as most helpful uses of Wine.

My main, everyday use at the moment is I use it to run a Chinese dictionary software called Wenlin. Its THE Chinese dictionary software, for Desktop at least.

Interestingly, if you have access to the source, which takes some effort but is available after some paperwork, it has tools to compile specifically for greater Wine compatibility.

Besides that, I run Excel 2003, because nothing else even comes close to the power of Excel+VBA.

I also run some old multimedia educational software, as well as a multimedia Encyclopaedia Britannica.

A really nice tool to work with timing transcripts to audio and then using them for shadowing/chorusing, called WorkAudioBook.

Some old typing tutors for Chinese.

Would LIKE to run Paint.NET like someone mentioned elsewhere.

Winamp and foobar2000, two media players that are simply unbeaten by anything on Linux, and believe me I've tried everything. Although at the moment I'm committed to running mpd, so they're not getting as much use now.

Also games obviously.

Games, mostly. Every once in a while I'll find a Windows-only toolchain or something that works well in WINE.

If I'm going to use a Windows app I'll see if it runs in WINE first before breaking out a VM, it's convenient like that.

Annecdotally, from my dad who is a controls engineer programming PLCs for manufacturing equipment, the proprietary toolchains needed for the PLC control language runs better under Wine.

For me, WINE + yabridge means I can run Windows audio plugins (VST) within Bitwig (a Linux native DAW or digital audio workstation). And there's more interesting plugins than I have days left to explore.

Now that doesn't mean I don't have other issues trying to do sound in Linux, but things have been improving considerably in the last couple years. Pipewire is also pretty solid now.

Being able to use VSTs outside of windows sounds fantastic! How's the latency? Would you mind sharing some details about your setup? I'd love to use my Steam Deck as a tiny VST host for live play.

Apart from games, there are many CAD tools such as Rhinoceros 3D which don't work in Linux and have no open source equivalents.

Games. I practically never use it for anything else.

I see wine as being pretty much obsolete so I'm interested too in finding out what people are using wine for at this point.

I am curious as to why you think wine is obsolete?

Proton uses wine heavily, so there is a massive market with the steam deck using wine to run their games.

Proton is Wine, isn't it? It's a friendly downstream fork.

Afaik Proton is just Wine + Prebuilt configs and tweaks.

For me, I have a few pieces of older hardware with proprietary Windows applications and no Linux equivalent. A 10 year old Cricut and a 15 year old scanner.

Also, some 16 bit Windows applications that probably won't even run on current Windows, like the Windows Entertainment Pack that shipped with Windows 3.1. You can pry that version of Tetris from my cold, dead hands.

Of course, I also use the version of Wine that's built into Steam for nearly every game I play.

Pretty much has only gotten more relevant over time. Since the advent of Proton there are even less native Linux games being released.

Yeah, for example, The Talos Principle, which was championed as a great example of a game that works natively on Linux, decided to go with a Windows-only release with Proton support on Linux for the sequel, The Talos Principle 2. To be fair, though, the game does run flawlessly via Proton.


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