Wine 9.0 Bridging Windows And Unix With WoW64 And Wayland Innovations

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  • This latest release comprising a staggering total of more than 7,000 individual changes. 
  • Within this update, users can expect a many enhancements.
  • The standout features of this release are the WoW64 architecture and the experimental Wayland driver.

The Wine team announced the availability of the stable release, Wine 9.0. In development, the Wine project has achieved a milestone in its ongoing effort to bridge the gap between Windows and Unix environments. The project has successfully completed a multi-year re-architecturing process, enabling the seamless execution of 32-bit Windows applications on purely 64-bit Unix installations, ushering in the new “WoW64 mode.” It involves the utilization of the NT syscall interface for all transitions from Windows to Unix code. This restructuring introduces a clear boundary between the Windows and Unix worlds, ensuring efficient interaction between the two environments.The introduction of WoW64 thunks within modules calling Unix libraries facilitates the execution of 32-bit Windows applications on 64-bit Unix systems. While this new WoW64 mode is not enabled by default, it can be activated by using the “–enable-archs=i386,x86_64” option during configuration. However, there are certain limitations to be aware of, including the lack of support for 16-bit code and reduced OpenGL performance with no ARB_buffer_storage extension support.

This development also addresses the compatibility issue arising from recent macOS versions that removed support for 32-bit Unix processes, making it possible to run 32-bit Windows applications on these systems.Furthermore, an experimental Wayland graphics driver is being developed, showcasing various features like basic window management, support for multiple monitors, high-DPI scaling, relative motion events, and Vulkan support. While not yet enabled by default, users can activate it through the registry key and by configuring the DISPLAY environment variable.

It has the ARM64 compatibility, made possible by the completion of the PE/Unix separation. This allows for the execution of existing Windows binaries on ARM64 systems, supporting ARM64X and ARM64EC modules and even providing initial support for building Wine for the ARM64EC architecture using an experimental LLVM toolchain.Graphics enthusiasts will be pleased with several optimizations and improvements across the board, including enhancements to Direct3D, Vulkan support, and the optimization of GdiPlus functions for improved graphics performance.

In the audio and video domain, the implementation of DirectMusic modules, support for DLS1, DLS2, and SF2 sound font loading, MIDI playback with software synthesizers, and Doppler shift in DirectSound are among the notable advancements. DirectShow sees updates with the implementation of the Windows Media Video (WMV) decoder, audio capture filter, and MPEG‑1 Stream Splitter filter, enhancing multimedia functionality. The company continues to improve input device compatibility with the implementation of DirectInput action maps, benefiting users playing older games that rely on this feature.

Desktop integration has also been enhanced with improved URL/URI protocol associations and more comprehensive monitor information retrieval.The Wine project is dedicated to internationalization, with better support for native Windows IME implementations and Linux IME integration. It also supports additional locales and improved translations, catering to a broader user base. Several other improvements have been made in areas like kernel, internet and networking, cryptography and security, Mono/.NET, bundled libraries, and external dependencies, ensuring a more comprehensive and efficient Wine experience. These developments collectively represent a significant leap forward in the Wine project’s goal to provide seamless compatibility between Windows and Unix environments, making it easier for users to run Windows applications on Unix-based systems.

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