Windows on Linux moves forward with new Wine 2.0 release

Want to run that one Windows app you can't get rid of on a Linux desktop or a Mac? The latest release of Wine 2.0 may be just what you need.

Sick of Microsoft nagging you to "upgrade" to Windows 10? Tired of Microsoft warning you that Windows 7 isn't safe anymore? If all you're really after is just to run one or two specific Windows apps, the new Wine 2.0 release may be just what you want.

Wine on Mint Linux

With Wine, you can perform such tricks as running Notepad, a great Windows programming editor, on Linux.

Wine is an open-source project, which implements the Windows API on top of the Unix/Linux operating system family. It works by translating Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly. In practice, this means you can run Windows applications on Macs, BSD Unix, and desktop Linux.

Unlike a virtual machine (VM) such as Linux's built-in Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) or Oracle VirtualBox, you don't need a copy of Windows to run the apps. Wine provides enough of the Windows API to run thousands of Windows programs.

This latest version has two new major features. The first is that Microsoft Office 2013 is now supported. The other is that Wine will now run on 64-bit macOS.

It includes many other improvements. It doesn't, however, have all the changes that its developers had hoped for. Features that have been deferred to the next development cycle are the Direct3D command stream, the full Human Interface Device (HID) support, the Android graphics driver, and message-mode pipes.

That said, Wine is still very handy. While Wine can be troublesome to set up, there are several programs that make Wine easier to use. These include the bare-bones PlayOnLinux and the commercial CodeWeavers CrossOver. Of the two, CrossOver is maintained by Wine developers and tends to be more up to date.

Wine binary packages for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Mageia, and macOS are available for download now. Wine 2.0's source code is also ready to be downloaded.

So, if your job requires you, for example, to run Office 2013 instead of LibreOffice on your Mac or Linux desktop, try Wine. I've been using its earlier versions for over 20 years and it continues to work well.

Related Stories: