Wine hits 4.0, Valve's Proton extends outside Steam

January 23, 2019 | 10:49

Tags: #compatibility-layer #direct3d-12 #directx-12 #proton #steam #steam-play #vulkan #wine #wine-40 #wine-is-not-an-emulator

Companies: #valve #wine-project

The Wine project has announced the release of Wine 4.0, which brings with it official support for the Direct3D 12 and Vulkan application programming interfaces (APIs), even as Valve updates its forked Proton alternative to support non-Steam titles.

A recursive acronym for 'Wine Is Not an Emulator', the Wine tool is designed to provide a compatibility layer allowing Windows-exclusive binaries to run on non-Windows operating systems including Linux, macOS, and Android. Although compatible with almost any software, its primary usage is for games - and it's on that strength that it became the basis of Valve's Steam Play compatibility system as a forked and modified variant dubbed Proton.

A year since its most recent major release, the Wine team has announced Wine 4.0 - and it brings with it a raft of improvements, not least of which is official support for the Vulkan and Direct3D 12 application programming interface (APIs). The latter is of particular note: DirectX 12, the API bundle of which Direct3D 12 is a part, has long been exclusive to Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. Based, the Wine team claims, on a year of developmental effort and over 6,000 individually-tracked changes to its source code, Wine 4.0 also includes better support for modern game controllers and improved handling of high-resolution (High-DPI) displays when running on Android.

While the Wine project gets Wine 4.0 out of the door, though, Valve is busily working on its Proton fork: The company has announced the ability to force Proton compatibility for non-Steam titles, an extension of the system's ability to run Windows-only games through Steam Play even if they haven't yet been marked as Proton-compatible. In doing so it has effectively positioned Steam Play as a direct alternative to Wine, rather than as a Steam-exclusive feature - though the whole Steam Play functionality remains very firmly in beta, and has not yet made the jump from Linux to macOS.

The latest Steam Beta with the improved Steam Play functionality is now rolling out through the client's automatic update, while Wine 4.0 is available from the official website.


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