Wine 9.0 Major Release: Best New Features

2 min


A new release of Wine 9.0 is now available with key improvements.

Wine 9.0 has hit the shelves, marking a significant milestone in bridging the gap between Windows and Unix environments. This release includes over 7,000 individual changes made over a year of development.

With many new features and improvements, this latest version promises to elevate your experience and extend compatibility across various platforms.

Let’s briefly round up the new release.

Wine 9.0: Key highlights

WoW64

One of the standout features of Wine 9.0 is the introduction of WoW64 mode. WOW64, which stands for Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit, is a compatibility layer built into all 64-bit versions of Windows (except for some specialized server editions). Its main purpose is to allow 32-bit applications to run smoothly on 64-bit operating systems.

All transitions from Windows to Unix code now pass through the NT syscall interface, completing a multi-year re-architecturing effort. WoW64 codes enable the execution of 32-bit Windows applications on a purely 64-bit Unix installation.

Notably, this enables compatibility with recent macOS versions that no longer support 32-bit Unix processes. While not enabled by default, users can activate WoW64 mode by passing the --enable-archs=i386,x86_64 option to configure, although some limitations persist.

Earlier version of Wine
Earlier version of Wine

Wayland Driver

Wine 9.0 introduces an experimental Wayland graphics driver, a work in progress that already boasts essential features like window management, multiple monitors, high-DPI scaling, relative motion events, and Vulkan support.

While not enabled by default, users can activate the Wayland driver through the registry key HKCU\Software\Wine\Drivers. This brings promising prospects for a more seamless graphics experience.

ARM64 Support

With the completion of PE/Unix separation, Wine 9.0 enables the execution of existing Windows binaries on ARM64 architecture. The loader supports loading ARM64X and ARM64EC modules, and the 32-bit x86 emulation interface is implemented. While lacking an emulation library within Wine, external libraries can be used for emulation. The groundwork for building Wine for ARM64EC using an experimental LLVM toolchain is laid, promising future advancements.

Graphics and Direct3D

The graphics area receives a boost with the reimplemented PostScript driver and enhanced WinRT theming supporting a dark theme option. The Vulkan driver now supports up to version 1.3.272 of the Vulkan spec, and several optimizations enhance Direct3D functionality, including improved command stream power consumption and expanded Direct3D 10 effects support.

Audio/Video and DirectShow

Wine 9.0 enhances multimedia capabilities with the implementation of DirectMusic modules, DLS1 and DLS2 sound font loading, and MIDI playback through the integration of the FluidSynth library. DirectShow sees improvements in the implementation of various decoders and audio capture filters, enriching the audiovisual experience for users.

DirectInput action maps are now implemented, improving compatibility with older games. Desktop integration brings URL/URI protocol associations to the Linux desktop, and improved internationalization includes enhanced IME support, additional locales, and translation to Georgian.

Kernel, Internet/Networking, and Security

Under the hood, Wine 9.0 adopts Windows 10 as the default version for new prefixes, introduces ASLR support, implements LFH for better memory allocation, and enhances network interface change notifications.

Security features include the support of smart cards, Diffie-Hellman keys, and the implementation of the Negotiate security package.

Mono/.NET and apps

Developers will appreciate the update to the Mono engine, improved Wine Debugger, and the removal of the deprecated libwine.so library. The bundled libraries, including FluidSynth, Zydis, Faudio, and more, are updated to the latest releases, ensuring a robust development environment.

Wine 9.0 integrates external dependencies like the Wayland client library, PCSClite for smart card support, and various libraries for PE builds, maintaining compatibility and performance across diverse platforms.

Download and upgrade

This release will soon arrive in the official stable channel of Ubuntu, Fedora and SUSE Linux. If you want to download and install manually, visit this page for detailed instructions.

Closing notes

Wine 9.0 major release features set the stage for a smoother Windows application experience in Unix environments. The WOW64 compatibility and Wayland updates definitely help in gaming and other use cases.

You can read the change log on this page.


Arindam

Creator and author of debugpoint.com. Connect with me via Telegram, 𝕏 (Twitter), or send us an email.
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