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Wine 6.0.1: For that one weird app on that one weird Mac

Wine64 support arrives for the Apple M1

Fans of Apple's M1 silicon have some more code to play with as the Wine team emitted version 6.0.1 of the Windows-running platform with support for wine64 on the new chippery.

The maintenance release has been a while coming, although support has been lurking in the development branches for a while.

Wine is a neat solution to the problem of having that one weird Windows app that has not been compiled natively for your platform of choice. It's not an emulator, but rather a compatibility layer that allows some Windows applications to be fired up on Linux and macOS.

Apple users wanting to run Windows apps (such as games) have had the option of using Bootcamp, which boots into Windows, virtualization software such as Parallels (which also require a Windows licence) or Wine.

However, the arrival of the M1 chip has made the running of Intel-expecting Windows apps somewhat tricky, even with Apple's much vaunted Rosetta 2 software.

Version 6.0.1 of Wine, however, adds the ability to run 64-bit Windows apps. There are caveats, however.

Taking it for a spin

Wine contributor CodeWeavers showed off Windows code running on its CrossOver app on a M1 Mac in 2020, and so the arrival of support in the open-source compatibility layer was expected. Sadly, it did not arrive in time for the major 6.0 stable release earlier this year, although it is more than welcome in the 6.0.1 maintenance release.

We installed it (with some help from Homebrew) on a M1 Mac Mini running Big Sur 11.2.3 and found it worked... OK.

The Wine team maintains a database of compatible applications, and we'd strongly suggest checking your favourite is present before considering whether the investment or effort needed to get 6.0.1 up and running on a Mac is worthwhile.

Wine remains a work in progress and, as well as Wine64 support on M1 Macs, there are more than 60 fixes in 6.0.1. They include tweaks for several games as well as to Adobe products and iTunes (both of which exist natively on the M1.)

If you have one of Apple's latest and greatest, and a hankering for a 64-bit Windows application that is unlikely to trouble the M1 native list, then Wine 6.0.1 could be a useful option. ®

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