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Winecfg 3.0 de.png
Wine configuration dialog
Basic data

developer The Wine authors
Publishing year 4th July 1993
Current  version 5.14
( August 1, 2020 )
Current preliminary version 5.14
(August 1, 2020)
operating system Linux , BSD , macOS , ReactOS (native), Solaris
programming language C.
category Compatibility layer , runtime environment , middleware
License GNU Lesser General Public License , GNU General Public License , GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 2.1, X11 License
German speaking Yes

Wine , originally a recursive acronym and also Apronym for " W ine I s N ot to E mulator" ( English for "Wine is not an emulator " ), is a Windows - compatible runtime environment for POSIX -compatible operating systems .


With Wine it is possible to run many programs that were compiled for the Microsoft Windows operating systems under Unix with the X Window System .

Wine can be used without Windows installation. Some program libraries are not yet fully implemented, but Wine can use DLLs from an existing Windows version to improve compatibility with Windows applications.

Some Windows applications that are often used are not supported in their full functionality; There are incompatibilities especially with multimedia and 3D graphics. The OpenGL implementation is advanced, however, so that some of the more popular 3D games run with a smaller difference in performance. Some problems with copy-protected programs and games have also been fixed.

The official Wine website has a list of applications that run under Wine.

In addition to the runtime environment and application programming interface , which form the basis of Wine, Windows components such as the Windows Explorer file manager and the Internet Explorer web browser are also recreated.


In contrast to the Windows API developed in closed source , the source code of Wine and the documentation with examples are publicly available and may be freely used, modified and (even in a modified state) distributed under the conditions of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

Wine can run on POSIX operating systems such as Linux , Solaris and the various BSD variants. There are ready-made program packages for the common Linux distributions , some BSD derivatives and macOS (on Intel hardware ), which can be obtained from the Wine project page. Since the Wine source code is freely available, the program can also be installed on Linux / Unix systems for which there are no ready-made packages. With the popular Linux distributions, it can be installed directly from the standard package sources.


Bob Amstadt, the original coordinator of the Wine project, and Eric Youngdale initiated the Wine project in 1993. As a special incentive were the developers at that time the success of Sun Microsystems with Wabi , which when running Windows programs under Solaris had a higher power than under a native Windows 3.x environment. The original objective was to fully support programs for Windows 3.x (16 bit). At the moment, however, the focus of development is on the Win32 applications that have now dominated . Alexandre Julliard has headed the project since June 1994.

Originally, Wine was released under the MIT license . But after disputes over Cedega , a proprietary spin-off from Wine, which did not return its further developments to Wine, Wine has been under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) since March 2002.

In mid-2002, the source code written in C comprised more than a million lines, at the end of 2007 it was already almost two million lines. There are over 1000 amateur and professional programmers involved in the project from all over the world. Currently (as of August 2011) around 90 percent of system calls are supported, which means that a large number of programs can run under Wine. The currently unsupported system calls lead to problems, especially with more specialized applications such as computer games . After more than 15 years, Wine is still in the development stage; a new version is available for download about every two weeks . On October 25, 2005, the first beta version appeared , which was given the version number 0.9. Version 1.0 was published on June 17, 2008, but this does not represent a complete implementation of the Windows API. The main criteria for version 1.0 were support for Adobe Photoshop 9.0 (CS2) and the viewers of Microsoft Excel , Word , and PowerPoint versions 97 and 2003. Version 1.4 was released on March 7, 2012 and offers support for u. a. Microsoft Office 2010.

Wine is mainly developed for and under Linux , but can be compiled just as well for other Unix systems like macOS , Solaris or BSD and even for non Unix systems like OpenVMS . In addition, most of the Wine libraries of the Windows API have been integrated into the ReactOS operating system.

At the beginning of February 2014 it was announced that there were efforts to make Wine run on Android , which is based on Linux. This development is still at an early stage.


Wine and the Win32 API in different operating systems.
The Windows program eMule on Linux

Wine is not an emulator , but merely provides an implementation of the functions of the Windows API on GNU / Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. The system calls are passed on to Linux or the Unix kernel and the X Window System . It is thus possible that the programs executed via Wine can run as quickly as under the original operating system.

Wine can Win16 - Win32 - and Win64 - API DOS ( MS-DOS ), Windows 3.1 to Windows 10 provide. The level of support for the different Windows applications varies according to age and API parts used: Versions older than Windows XP are well and almost completely supported. The developers are still working on individual newer functions of Windows 7 or 8 and Direct3D . Since very few Windows application programs require all the functions of the Windows API, many can be used to their full extent despite the incomplete API.

Support for .NET , however, is limited, especially for newer applications. It can either be implemented via Mono or by installing .NET natively with Wine. In the latter case, however, only 32-bit applications can run.

From version 1.3.12, Wine uses the DOSBox emulator to run applications that start in DOS mode. The emulator then replaces the Virtual 8086 mode . However, DOSBox must first be installed beforehand.


Similar applications

  • Cygwin is a Wine-like wrapper thatoffersa POSIX -compatible interface on Windows and thusenables Linux applications,among other things,to run on Windows.
  • Darling is a runtime environment thatenables macOS applications to run on Linux.

Web links

Commons : Wine  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b wine / AUTHORS (English) - List at WineHQ
  2. The Wine development release 5.14 is now available. . August 1, 2020 (accessed August 2, 2020).
  3. Wine 5.14 Released. In: WineHQ. August 1, 2020, accessed on August 2, 2020 .
  4. ^ The wine Open Source Project on Open Hub: Languages ​​Page . In: Open Hub . (accessed on July 14, 2018).
  5. .
  6. official Wine Wiki: Debunking Wine Myths ( Memento from September 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Windows API for Linux: DIB engine should make Wine significantly faster - Golem , January 17th, 2012
  9. Wine 1.3.37 released - Report to WineHQ, January 13, 2012.
  11. Package "Wine" on
  13. Windows go - iX , issue 1/1997, to Wabi 2.2 for Linux
  14. Windows API emulator Wine version 0.9 released - Heise , October 26, 2005
  15. Wine 1.0 is here: Cheers! - Heise , on June 17, 2008
  16. Wine Release Criteria ( Memento from December 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (English) - Article in the Wine Wiki
  17. vicjang: macOS. Wine Project, April 4, 2013, accessed January 25, 2017 .
  18. Alexandre Julliard: Wine on Android. (PDF) FOSDEM 2014. WineHQ, February 1, 2014, accessed June 3, 2016 (English).
  19. Wine 0.9.58 Released - Official announcement of Wine 0.9.58
  20. WineHQ FAQ: 8.2 Does Wine support .NET? Should I install native .NET in Wine?
  21. DOSBox. In: WineHQ Wiki. Accessed September 2, 2016 .
  22. Mirko Lindner: Wine 1.3.12 starts DOSbox integration. In: January 24, 2011, accessed September 2, 2016 .
  23. … / ValveSoftware / Proton (English) - at GitHub
  24. Steam: Windows games now also run on Linux - Heise , on August 22, 2018