The compatibility layer for Windows applications, Wine, has celebrated the start of 2021 in the traditional manner – with a substantial update.
After spending December and the early part of January going through six release candidates, the stable Wine 6.0 has been rolled out, replete with over 8,300 individual changes and a year of effort from the team.
While the developers were keen to draw attention to the major changes, namely core modules (including the likes of NTDLL and KERNEL32) now being in Portable Executable (PE) format, DirectShow support and Vulkan backend for WineD3D, a considerable number of other tweaks should serve to improve compatibility for those who have that one weird Windows app that they really can't do without in Linux.
Most likely a game.
Direct3D enhancements include support for Direct3D 9 alpha-to-coverage multi-sampling and the graphics card database has seen an update, allowing more hardware to be recognised. The drawing of arcs, ellipses, and rounded rectangles using the Direct2D API has been implemented and more Media Detector APIs are now working.
On the input device front, an initial USB kernel driver has been added, along with mouse history and plug-and-play device notifications.
For hardware, changes include the removal of code for 32-bit PowerPC architecture. Initial support has been added for Apple's new silicon as well as ARM64 on macOS.
As for compatibility, Wine currently lists more than 27,000 applications (and versions) in its library in various states of support. It is well worth checking out the list before wondering why that precious app is failing to start. Wine is, after all, a translation layer and most definitely not an emulator.
The release has been dedicated by the Wine team to developer Ken Thomases, who passed away just before Christmas at the age of 51. ®