The Windows-compatible runtime environment Wine in version 8.0 and the free DirectX-to-Vulkan translator DXVK in version 2.1 will further advance gaming under Linux and are now both officially in final form.
Wine 8.0 is a real milestone
The WineHQ developers released the final version of Wine 8.0 about a year after the release of Wine 7.0 and Wine 7.1, which was released a little later and introduced support for Vulkan 1.3. One of the most important changes is the conversion of the various modules into the PE format, which is also used by Windows. As a result, the developers expect significantly higher compatibility with the various copy protection measures of current games.
PE modules and syscall dispatcher
< p class="p text-width">A special “syscall dispatcher” has also been implemented to avoid the overhead of a full NT system call and thus minimize the impact on performance.
< p class="p text-width">WOW64, a subsystem of Windows operating systems capable of running 32-bit applications, has also been updated.
Once final work on the PE modules According to the Wine developers, it will be “completely” possible to run 32-bit Windows applications without the need for corresponding 32-bit Windows libraries.
- After 4 years of work, the PE conversion is finally complete: all modules can be built in PE format.
- This is an important milestone on the road to supporting various features such as copy protection, 32-bit applications on 64-bit hosts, Windows debuggers, x86 applications on ARM, etc.
- However, some modules still perform direct calls between the PE and the Unix part, instead of going through the NT system call interface.< /li>
- The remaining direct calls will be removed during the Wine 8.x development phase.
- A special syscall dispatcher is used for PE → Unix transitions, to avoid the overhead of a full NT system call. This minimizes the performance impact of the new architecture, in particular for the OpenGL and Vulkan libraries.
- Building mixed Windows/Unix libraries in ELF format (.dll.so libraries) is still supported for use in Winelib applications. However, such applications won't support features enabled by the NT syscall interface, such as WoW64 without 32-bit libraries.
Wine 8.0 – Release Notes
As the official release notes, which are particularly extensive this time, show, in addition to the PE modules and the WOW64 subsystem, the areas of graphics, Direct3D, audio and video, input devices, rendering and kernel have also been optimized and extensively expanded.
Added to this are the obligatory bug fixes that accompany every new release. In the course of the year, Wine 8.x will probably also become an important topic for Proton and the Steam Deck.
DXVK 2.1 is now mastering for the first time HDR
DXVK is a free library that translates DirectX versions 9, 10 and 11 for the Vulkan open graphics interface and improves the compatibility and performance of many well-known games on Linux. The version 2.1 that has now been released is another enormously important piece of the puzzle for better gaming under Linux.
The biggest innovation in DXVK 2.1 is the initial HDR support. HDR can be enabled for games on systems that support HDR10 by setting the environment variable DXVK_HDR=1 or by setting the option dxgi.enableHDR = True in the DXVK configuration file.
However, since none of the major desktop environments currently support HDR natively, users will need a Gamescope session with the –hdr-enabled option enabled.
The appropriate HDR support is only supported with the AMDGPU open source graphics driver and the respective kernel patches from Josh Ashton's branch.
But HDR support under Linux will always be better and a start has been made, as Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais noted on Twitter a few days ago.
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New Linux gaming milestone: with the latest work from Josh Ashton, HDR can now be enabled for real games! Tested it tonight on my AMD desktop with Halo Infinite, Deep Rock Galactic, DEATH STRANDING DC. Very early and will still need some time to bake to be useful to most. pic.twitter.com/S7DzLMe6Ng
— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) January 3, 2023
Besides the initial HDR support, DXVK 2.1 also has shader compilation improvements and optimizations and bug fixes for nine more games.
- Gujian 3
- Sonic Frontiers
- Saints Row: The Third
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- Ashes of the Singularity
- Cardfight!! Vanguard
- Resident Evil 4 HD
DXVK 2.1 can now be downloaded and compiled from the project page on the GitHub developer platform. However, the DirectX-to-Vulkan translator should also be distributed promptly via the repositories of the well-known Linux distributions.
The official release notes also provide further information here.
The editors would like to thank the community members “Tanzmusikus” and “Strikerking” for their comments on this message.