New Wine Release

Switching from Windows to Linux is easier than ever. There was a time when running Linux required a lot of CLI know-how and confidence, but today's graphical environments are extremely user-friendly and responsive.

And, as many users have learned, the performance and stability of Linux can give an older computer a new lease on life. Linux has a great wealth of applications from which to choose as well. In fact, there are open-source alternatives to most commercial packages, and there are many completely unique apps with no commercial equivalent.

But, although there are plenty of advantages to changing operating systems, sometimes users are tied down because of needing a specific app. Maybe it's a tool they rely on for work, such as Photoshop, or maybe it's a game.

Fortunately, it's possible to have your cake and eat it too. You can switch to Linux and run your favorite application—and there are several options.

Some users choose to install Linux alongside their current Windows operating system. When they start the computer, they can choose to run Windows or Linux, based on what they need to accomplish.

It's also possible to run Windows on a virtual machine inside Linux. Packages like VirtualBox provide the tools to do this, but the downside is that performance often is much slower.

A faster alternative is to use Wine. Wine is a tool that allows users to run Windows applications from Linux. It simulates the Windows environment, so Windows apps "feel at home".

Every time the Windows app requests a service from the operating system, Wine translates the Windows-centric request into something that Linux can understand.

But Windows is a complex environment with many intricate libraries and interfaces. So although Wine supports a great many Windows programs, some apps aren't supported at all, and then there are some that run but don't work exactly as they should.

That's why Wine is constantly under development—to implement more of the features of the Windows environment, so it can run more Windows applications.

When it comes to computing tasks, high-end PC games are among the most demanding. They demand a lot from the system, both in terms of hardware and software. Providing full support for Windows games puts a lot of pressure on the Wine team, as the interfaces involved are large, complex and constantly expanding. But it's also a challenging and fascinating field, so Wine's developers are happy to dedicate their time to these tasks.

New Wine releases are usually good news for Linux gamers who want to break free of Windows. They mean that more titles will run without bugs on Linux.

Reading through the release notes for Wine is always an interesting experience, as you can see which titles are now supported. For instance, the most recent release shows that Linux gamers will be able to enjoy a better experience for The Elder Scrolls Online and The Settlers: Heritage of Kings.

Of course, it's not just about games. Wine can be an essential tool for those who feel they can't let go of a particular Windows program.

In the latest release, a lot of work has been done to improve the support for D3D features, which are important in games and graphical apps. In fact, the release notes list more than a hundred improvements in this area alone.

You can read more here, including how to compile and install the latest release. If you prefer to install through your Linux distro's package manager, you can wait until Wine 1.9.7 has been reviewed and added to the official repositories.