Linux gamers rejoice: Wine 4.0 is here - gHacks Tech News

Linux gamers rejoice: Wine 4.0 is here

Gaming on Linux picked up some pace in recent years in large parts thanks to Valve Software's investment in growing gaming on Linux.

Mike listed some AAA games on Linux that Steam users could run back in mid-2018; Steam improved Windows games support significantly in the same year on Linux, by introducing a modified version of Wine that Valve Software called Proton.

The team behind Wine released a new major version of the software that adds support for many Windows games and applications on non-Windows systems such as those running Linux or Mac OS.

Wine 4.0 includes more than 6000 individual changes according to the release announcement; since it is a major version, it introduces support for new features such as Vulkan, Direct3D 12, better Direct3D 10 and 11 support, and a lot more.

steam-linux-windows game compatibility

The Wine 4.0 source is already available; binary packages are being built and will be offered soon on the project's download page and various Linux distributions.

Tip: if you don't know if Wine supports a particular application or game, check out the Application Database on the Wine website. You find more than 26,000 applications and games listed in the database. It reveals how well various versions run. Note that games or apps that are not listed in the database may still run.

Interested users find the release notes here. Check out the short list of important changes below:

  • Initial support for Direct3D 12 (requires a Vulkan-capable video card).
  • Implementation of Direct3D 10 and 11 features such as multi-sample textures and views, depth bias clamping, or support for 1D textures.
  • Direct3D 11 and Direct2D interface updates.
  • Support for more graphics card in the Direct3D graphics cards database.
  • Implementation of a complete Vulkan driver using host Vulkan libraries under X11 and MoltenVK on Mac OS.
  • PNG format icons in 256x256 are supported.
  • Dos binaries can't be run under Wine anymore. If the user wants to execute DOS binaries, a DOSBox instance is launched.
  • Infrastructure for setting DPI awareness is integrated.
  • File dialog improvements.
  • Support for HID game controllers in the XInput and Raw Input APIs.
  • Windows Media Player interfaces implemented.
  • Internationalization improvements.

Users who used Wine before will be able to upgrade to the new version when it comes out. Windows users who consider making the switch to Linux, e.g. when Windows 7 support runs out in January 2020, may also want to check out Wine as they may be able to run their favorite Windows programs and games on Linux machines.

Now You: Have you tried Wine? What's your take?

Linux gamers rejoice: Wine 4.0 is here
Article Name
Linux gamers rejoice: Wine 4.0 is here
The team behind Wine released Wine 4.0 that imrpoves support for running Windows games and applications on non-Windows systems.
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  1. KK said on January 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Even when Wine 40.0 get released, it won’t be capable of running Microsoft outlook and skype for business.

  2. Rui Castro said on January 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I was able in the past with Wine run Outlook 2010 (use play on linux). But I did only use it to open PST archives I had. What I’m saying is perhaps the last Outlook version no but try a older version. Wine HQ does say gold with Outlook 2010 32bits

  3. Mark Hazard said on January 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Will the new version support 64 bits? I looked at Wine recently but did not want to cripple my computer by degrading it to 32 bits. I would think, but I don’t know since I haven’t tried it, that 32 bit architecture would slow everything down.

    1. smaragdus said on January 23, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      You are awarded gold medal for ignorance.

      1. nab said on January 24, 2019 at 7:28 pm

        but, but the number was twice higher.
        it has to be faster ;D

    2. John Fenderson said on January 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      @Mark Hazard

      It all depends. There isn’t an easy straight-line relationship such as “64 bit is always faster than 32 bit” here. You can find applications where the 64 bit version is slower than the 32 bit. It depends on implementation details in the application itself.

  4. Sojiro84 said on January 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    I have been using the wine-staging for a while now, so nice to see the stable version also get’s all the good stuff.

    I myself switched over to Linux fulltime a few months ago. Finally things that I need working, just works.

    Thanks to Wine, DXVK and Proton (Steamplay from Valve) and Lutris, I can play the games I want. Played WoW, Overwatch and GuildWars 2 with a nice avarage framerate of 80 at 4K.

    The developer of DXVK also released a new version and with that it was possible to play the new Resident Evil 2 – One Shot demo as well.

    This and the Manjaro Cinnamon distro with the rolling release made it possible for me to make the end of 2018 the year of the Linux desktop, for me at least.

    Can’t wait what 2019 will do with Valve and their amazing Proton and Wine.

    1. supergirl said on January 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      > > > Sojiro84
      Me too since 2016…Im just Lovin it!

      Especially when I see alla the nonsense That Micro-Softys STILL put up with.

      Why…I ask Why?

  5. supergirl said on January 23, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Ive never used it. Tho I might try ,someday.

    My plan is to use Linux Only online & have an offline gaming comp running windoze.

    I was dying to try Skyrim last year… but my desire is fading,slowly.

  6. psiclone said on January 23, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    But, but…why would you need to run anything made for Windows on a Linux machine. We’ve been told for decades how much more superior Linux is.

    1. L5 said on January 24, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      But, but… a software that runs on Windows is not Windows. You can’t understand the difference of an operating system and a 3rd party program?

    2. Alex said on February 3, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      That doesn’t make any sense at all. Software developed on Linux is ported to windows all the time. Sad that you actually feel threatened by an open source operating system. I’ve seen fanboys before but this is just pathetic.

  7. stefann said on January 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Why should people switch to another operatingsystem when they have one that will work for as long as they want it to ? All this about switching to a newer because that should be safer is nothing but fearmongering ! Windows 10 is more vulnerable to threats than any earlier Windows version. It has always been the same lies by “experts”.

    This thing about “just switch to Linux” doesn’t work for most people. By that i haven’t said that Linux in itself is bad, the problem is to find real replacements for the software You use in Windows. Sure there are some, but too few to be honest.

    1. lux said on January 24, 2019 at 10:25 am

      Linux’s software database is growing by the day. It’s always been something of “Chicken or the egg”

      With M$ continuing to bungle, it will only drive Linux development and switchover.

      Cross platform development software – API’s, will accelerate development and marketplace gains.

      Wine as a software compatibility layer is fantastic. If a person is willing to put in the effort, can get most win programs to run in Linux.

      Thanks for the great post, Martin Brinkmann!

    2. supergirl said on January 24, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      ally the best way to introduce oneself to Linux is on a separate NON-Essential computer.
      Until one is familiar.

      So Linux is not for everybody…just us cool people..LoL

      1. Klaas Vaak said on January 25, 2019 at 6:37 am

        @supergirl: +1

  8. supergirl said on January 24, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Hi psiclone
    So… is that what your calling yourself this post ?

    It really seems to bug you that I champion Linux so much here.

    Well, Thank you, Girlyman!!! ..You are only Encouraging me.

    To quote my brothers fave line from the Lord of the Rings series of movies

    “Stop your squealing….. you dunghouse rat!”

  9. Klaas Vaak said on January 24, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Some people seem to be able to use Wine for any Windows program they want. I found I could only use it for the Windows programs in its list, which is of no interest to me. As for games ……. no, better not comment.

    1. supergirl said on January 24, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      @Klaas V

      Sorry youre not having such great luck w Linux….

      I have heard using a Virtual machine with Windows in it is a work around.

      {Yeah, Thats more than I’m ready to bite off..}

      Hope youre at least using to be safe & private on the ‘net

      1. Klaas Vaak said on January 25, 2019 at 6:36 am

        Linux in a VM is working well for me so far, it is just that Wine is a disappointment.
        I have tried a number of distros, incl. MX you mentioned. I loved MX but for some reason 1 day it decided it had had enough and did not start up anymore – just a black screen.
        I have been using Ubuntu happily now for a couple of months. I will however install Mint as dual boot because in the live USB set up I could not get Ubuntu to find my WiFi nor my printer, whereas Mint could.

  10. Peterc said on January 24, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    BACKGROUND: I’m in the midst of doing the initial configuration of my first Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon bare-metal install on an old ThinkPad T500. Everything has gone pretty much without a hitch so far (with a small dishonorable mention for Waterfox), but I’m finding it kind of tedious and boring. On the other hand, I find doing the initial configuration of *any* OS kind of tedious and boring, so that’s not a strike against Linux Mint. ;-) But on to the topic at hand:

    THE TOPIC AT HAND: Guitar Pro 7.x and Garmin Express don’t seem to have worked for anyone in Wine, PlayOnLinux, or even CrossOver so far, and to be honest, I’m not holding out much hope for Wine 4.0. I can live with having to borrow a kind friend or relative’s Windows computer once or twice a year to update my Garmin GPS, but I’m going to miss Guitar Pro 7.x when I complete my transition to Linux. (Guitar Pro 6 for Windows *does* reportedly run well in CrossOver. Note that there is also a native Linux version of Guitar Pro 6. However, I won’t be able to vouch for how debugged and optimized the Linux version is compared to the Windows version until I actually try it. I’m going to guess that the Linux version got less attention from the developers.)

    I’m also going to miss Everything. It’s still early days for me, but Catfish doesn’t seem to be as powerful or fast.

    If I can’t find a native bulk-video-tagging application I like, MediaMonkey can reportedly be made to work adequately in Wine. (I didn’t see anyone specifically mention tagging in any of the reviews and summaries I read, however.)

    IrfanView worked *great* in Wine when I tried it in a Linux Mint virtual machine, so if I just don’t cotton to any of the native Linux alternatives, I’ll probably be able to use that.

    I have a friend who also wants to switch to Linux before Windows 7 reaches end of life but who is *probably* going to resist and resent having to switch from Office 2010 and Outlook 2010 to LibreOffice and Thunderbird or Evolution. If that turns out to be a stumbling block, Office 2010 and Outlook 2010 are reportedly well supported in Wine, PlayOnLinux, and CrossOver.

    FINAL REMARK: If it turns out that only CrossOver supports an application that’s important to me, I’ll probably end up paying for it. (Being an American with huge out-of-pocket medical bills — thanks, Congress! — and living in Seattle with a rent that’s more than doubled in five years — thanks, Amazon! — I unfortunately have *very* limited funds for supporting worthy software projects out of fairness and principle. And CrossOver *is* a worthy project, as the major upstream contributor of improvements to free and open-source Wine.)

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      @Peterc: I haven’t got as far as you yet, am still sorting out 1 or 2 things before I take the plunge. I have burned Mint 19.1 Cinnamon to a USB stick too so will install that before long.

      Regarding your friend who is interested to switch too but has reservations about MS Office, I can suggest the following. LibreOffice is the obvious go to office suite, esp. since it comes as part of the .iso package. I have MS Office 2013, but when I looked at Calc (I am not interested in TextMaker or Presentations) I felt uneasy, things were unfamiliar. I was prepared to make the effort to get to grips with it, but when I looked at their pivot table I found it a lot more basic/primitive than Excel. The thing that really annoyed me is that the format cannot be kept.

      Another Excel feature I love is Tables, which Calc does not have. So I looked around a bit more, then stumbled on FreeOffice by Softmaker. When I opened the spreadsheet app, Planmaker, I felt immediately at ease, and even though it is different from Excel it was easy for me to find my way around. Pivot tables are put together in more or less the same fashion as Excel (formatting is retained), and Tables are a feature too. The latter are part of the paid version, but Tables that were made in Excel can be used in PM. Overall the free version pretty much covers my needs, and I expect that TextMaker and Presentations are also a lot more similar to MSO than LibreOffice equivalents.

      Then again, CrossOver may be much better. I just thought I’d let you know about FreeOffice because it does not get mentioned a lot when looking for an MSO alternative. Cheers.

      1. Peterc said on January 25, 2019 at 8:43 pm

        @Klaas Vaak:

        Thanks very much for the reminder about Softmaker FreeOffice. I’ve read repeatedly that its MS Office compatibility is better than LibreOffice’s. My friend has a number of somewhat intricately formatted Word documents that he uses for promoting his business, and better compatibility could potentially save a lot of time that would be spent tweaking them for printing from LibreOffice. Another Word feature he relies on is Outline View, in an extensive FAQ “cheat-sheet” he uses while fielding calls from prospective clients. LibreOffice doesn’t have a collapsible outlining feature, only a Navigation sidebar, which is not quite the same thing and may end up taking too long in a real-time situation like a live phone call. I guess we’d have to do a test.

        His spreadsheet needs are simpler; he doesn’t need much beyond basic functions and conditional formatting. I’m almost certain LibreOffice Calc would work just fine for him. Still, if PlanMaker’s interface is more familiar, that would be a plus.

        Personally, I’m intrigued by Softmaker Office’s “BasicMaker” module, for creating and editing macros. I used to be a wiz at writing moderately sophisticated Word and Excel macros, right through the 1990s. But when MS Office switched from using a simple macro language to an almost full-blown programming language (VBA?) for macros, I was at sea — which is where I’ve been from the start with LibreOffice Basic. If BasicMaker genuinely makes it easy for non-coder types like my friend and me to write and edit macros, that’s a big selling point. Unfortunately, it’s not clear to me whether BasicMaker is included in FreeOffice. Moreover, it may only be available in the Windows version. The full-blown paid version of Softmaker Office is not out of reach financially, but if BasicMaker is in fact worthwhile and the Linux version does NOT include it, there’s much less of an incentive to upgrade.

        Regarding MX Linux and Linux Mint: Over the course of two years, I tried somewhere around 15 different distros in VirtualBox guests. That’s not necessarily a good way to triage distros, because idiosyncratic incompatibilities with VirtualBox can unfairly knock an otherwise good distro out of contention. A number of the distros I tried had features that Mint didn’t have and that were appealing to me — for example, a rolling upgrade model, access to the vast Arch repository of applications, or optimized implementation of the KDE Plasma desktop environment. But in the course of those two years, Linux Mint was consistently the most stable, most hassle-free of the distros I tried. (To be fair, Chapeau Linux, a spin of Fedora, was *amazingly* stable and hassle-free over the course of the six months I ran it, despite the fact that Fedora is a “cutting-edge” distro. But Chapeau Linux is a one-man show and its development is currently in hiatus, so it got knocked out of contention. Also, I don’t really like the Gnome 3.x desktop environment very much.)

        For live-distro trials, I like YUMI, a Windows utility that sets up a USB thumb drive to boot a pretty extensive range of live distros and diagnostic or special-purpose utilities (e.g., Clonezilla). How many distros and utilities you load depends on how much space you have on the thumb drive. I believe you can even set up a “persistence” file for one of the distros and save persistent configuration changes to it, but I haven’t used that feature. Anyway, my YUMI thumb drive is what I installed Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon from, and it’s where I’ll be keeping my diagnostics, recovery, and special-purpose utilities. Very handy.

        In the end, though, there’s no substitute for doing an actual bare-metal install and updating and using it for a while. If I had a modern desktop computer with a UEFI instead of a BIOS and big GPT drives instead of smallish MFT drives, I might go to town and install a bunch of distros in a bunch of different partitions, but as things stand, partition and (even more so) drive-space limits are strongly pressuring me to stick with one bare-metal install at a time.

        Boy, that was long-winded. I suppose the executive summary would be that I chose Linux Mint over other distros with more appealing features because it’s very stable, pretty well debugged, and largely hassle-free. Those things may not be as important to experienced Linux users, who can more easily intuit the likely source of OS, desktop environment, and application problems and know how to fix or work around them, but they are *critical* to a noob like me.

        Good luck on your first bare-metal install, when you’re ready to proceed with it! I’m taking my time configuring mine, because I have other fish to fry. (Also, there’s only so much tedium I can take in a single sitting.) Once it seems kosher, and I’ve done some cloning tests, I’ll copy my data from the Windows laptop to the Linux laptop (which I’m *really* hoping won’t take more than seven or eight hours using a direct Ethernet connection). And then, I’ll adapt my Windows FreeFileSync batch jobs to the new environment and folder structure. And if everything continues to work okay, I guess Linux Mint will become my new primary OS! And at that point, I will go to YouTube and play Oingo Boingo’s “Goodbye Goodbye” (live at the Ritz, of course) as a fitting send-off to Microsoft and Windows. (Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” was a *very strong* contender, mind you, but Oingo Boingo has a *lot* more “goodbyes,” and in the end, that’s what clinched it. ;-)

      2. Klaas Vaak said on January 26, 2019 at 10:59 am

        @Peterc: that for the essay ;-)
        Another thing about Linux Mint, which you mentioned before and which I came to appreciate from experience, is that if you have a problem it can be looked up on internet, and you do not have to rely on a forum and wait for someone to reply. It is the same for Ubuntu, which is also very stable. In fact, I would prefer to install Ubuntu because in the VM I was able to install certain software that I could not in Mint. But in the live USB environment I could not get Ubuntu to pick up my WiFi nor my printer, whereas Mint could. So I will install Mint.

      3. Klaas Vaak said on January 26, 2019 at 11:00 am

        @Peterc: correction: thanks for the essay. Sorry for the typo above.

      4. Peterc said on January 28, 2019 at 9:51 pm

        @Klaas Vaak: No worries. I make precisely that kind of typo *all the time*. The difference is, I often don’t catch it!

      5. Peterc said on January 29, 2019 at 1:53 am

        @Klaas Vaak:

        Speaking of not finding software you want in Linux Mint’s repository, I’m starting to run into that problem big time. I’ve compiled a list of specific apps (and generic categories of apps) I rely on in Windows and have been researching what more-or-less equivalent apps are available for Linux and what the particulars of each one are. [I clearly should have done a *lot* more of this in my Linux Mint virtual machine, first! I hit all of the major ones, but there are still a lot of lesser programs and utilities that I failed to check out.] Very often, the best-in-class apps are *not* in Linux Mint’s repository, or are only available in badly outdated Flatpak versions. Accordingly, I’m often forced to look for trustworthy third-party repositories with trustworthy, actively maintained PPAs (which I found for Pale Moon); or do a manual install (which I’ve done for FreeFileSync); or learn to do a manual compile-and-install (which I suspect I may have to do for the Aegisub video subtitle editor and maybe for the PyRenamer bulk-file-renaming utility, if I end up not liking the alternatives offered in Linux Mint’s repository).

        Having to spend inordinate amounts of time updating dozens (scores?) of programs *individually* is one of the things that drives me nuts about Windows, which is why I like Linux’s one-stop-shopping update model so much. But anything that gets installed in Linux from outside a repository is an exception to that model, so I *really* hope I don’t end up with too many manually installed apps. (Mind you, FreeFileSync is *super-easy* to update once you’ve done the initial manual install: you just extract the new program files from the new-version download and overwrite the old program files with them. But I simply don’t yet know whether updating *every* manually installed program will be quite that easy. And even if it is, it’s kind of an unwelcome hassle.)

        Oh, and exceptions to the one-stop-shopping update model are much more consequential for less computer-literate users. It’s one thing to teach them how to use Update Manager (or whatever other updater a distro uses) and to have them feel comfortable with it and remember how to use it. It’s quite another to teach them how to update manually installed apps, which at a minimum requires running sudo commands in the terminal or opening at least one folder as root. This stuff makes non-techies anxious and they have a hard time remembering it, even with the help of a cheat sheet. Just navigating the file system outside of home can make them anxious. (In Windows, I guess the equivalents would be editing the registry and cruising around in the ProgramData and AppData folders.) For them, it’s best to stick to repositories to the maximum extent possible.

        Anyway, when I installed Linux Mint I already knew (in a general sense) that I would be sacrificing repo breadth for stability, ease of use, and near-instant “Web support,” but *just how much breadth* I would be sacrificing didn’t really hit home until very recently. On the other hand, maybe I’m just looking for *really weird* programs and am being *super-picky* about their features… ;-)

      6. Klaas Vaak said on January 29, 2019 at 1:25 pm

        @Peterc: this is very useful info indeed. I have just got to the stage where I feel comfortable with the testing of Linux distros I have done in VB, and am about to install Linux Mint. Ironically, for the past few weeks I have been running Ubuntu in VB to my greater satisfaction than LM, but I will install LM because when I tried them both from a live USB stick I could not get Ubuntu to find my WiFi, whereas with LM it was easy thanks to a 2015 article from Martin. Furthermore, LM detected my printer although I could not immediately get it to print, whereas Ubuntu did not detect i and I could not get it to do so. Still, somehow my thinking & experience don’t make sense to proceed like this, if I am honest with myself.

        In terms of software I feel I have been able to use Linux versions of Windows program, or acceptable (though 2nd best) alternatives for some of the others. Hence my “confidence”. But when I read your experience I worry a bit more now because it’s only been approx. 3 months that I have been testing actively, so not very long.

        I have also installed a lot of programs manually, either from the dev’s/company’s website or from PPAs. What gets me about Linux is that it is difficult to find what is installed after a while. I know there is/are terminal commands for that, but Windows Explorer is easier. In Windows I have a program called Patch My PC (thanks to Martin), which is not perfect but helps to show me which programs need updating for those without an automatic notification, and there are other such patch programs. I have not looked for a Linux equivalent, but, like you, that situation would be typically something I would run into, as you so aptly describe.

        All that makes me wonder if I should not give up on Linux altogether and opt for the “easy” way out and away from Windows: buy a Mac. Yes it’s a lot more expensive, but like commenter ShintoPlasma not so long ago said to me on this forum, “it just works” referring to Mac. And he/she has had a lot more experience than me with Linux. Mac software and hardware are developed to work “hand in glove”, unlike Linux or Windows. I am sure I would still need to install a few programs manually in Mac, but surely many fewer so the chances for glitches are a lot smaller. There are also some negatives/less positives about a Mac: the internal components are fixed to the chassis so cannot be repaired or replaced in case of failure, and a Macbook (my consideration) only has Thunderbolt ports, which necessitates using 1 or more dongles. But then again, nothing is perfect in life.

      7. lehnerus2000 said on January 31, 2019 at 5:12 am

        @Klaas Vaak:

        I would avoid installing programs manually (if possible) and install software using the Synaptic Package Manager (again, if possible).

        You can then use the options in the left column of Synaptic to display “Installed Software”.

        I use Linux Mint MATE. I don’t know if LM Cinnamon comes with Synaptic installed.

      8. Klaas Vaak said on January 31, 2019 at 2:02 pm

        @lehnerus2000: many people advice against installing software manually, but the problem is that (often) what is offered in Synaptic (standard in my LM 19.1 XFCE) or in Software Manager is (fairly) old, or simply is not there.

        Linux has a disadvantage in terms of what is on offer compared with Windows and Mac. So to limit that further by not installing certain software makes it, IMO, less attarctive and practical to use.

      9. Peterc said on January 31, 2019 at 7:59 am

        @Klaas Vaak:

        With Macbooks/Macbook Pros, so long as you budget for the eventuality of having to buy a new one the instant the old one goes out of extended warranty (which you really should get), you should be okay. Also, you *may* need to be prepared to be without your Macbook for 1-2 weeks if it *does* have to go in to Apple for repairs during the warranty period. In the US, at least, Apple has a considerably longer turnaround time on repairs than, say, Lenovo.

        Additionally, be prepared to have to buy a new set of dongles, adapters, and hubs every time you get a new Macbook. Apple drops support for “old” ports a lot more abruptly than other laptop manufacturers do. But that’s more of an annoyance than a heavy mark against Macs.

        But most importantly, be wary of the last two generations of Macbook Pros. The second most recent runs too hot, and there are many stories of logic boards warping from the heat and breaking the electronic components on them. The most recent generation actually *increased* the machine’s thermal output and *didn’t upgrade the cooling system at all*. The only viable solution is to throttle that top-of-the-line performance you paid through the nose for. If I were you, I’d wait until the *next* generation comes out, and see whether independent repair experts (like the opinionated but knowledgeable Louis Rossman) say the problem has been fixed.

        As for Macs’ OS and software, I think there’s no question that they are less time-consuming and less hassle to maintain than the alternatives. They generally *do* “just work.” I used a Mac for a couple of years around 30 years ago, and even *then* I spent maybe 25% less time getting my work done than it took on my DOS machine (which I’m proud to have kept going for 14 years!). My brother’s an IT pro who currently uses Macs at home, and *he* prefers Apple software to the alternatives. (He’s not terribly happy with their recent *hardware*, however, having been the victim of one of those overheating-induced failures I mentioned.) However, even though Apple software is generally more trouble-free, it’s not *perfect*. Just within the past few years, my brother had to take in one of his Macbook Pros to the Apple Store because of a borked OS X upgrade, and his girlfriend had to take in her iPhone because of a borked iOS upgrade…

        Bottom line, if you can budget for it, and avoid notoriously bad models (like the Macbook Pros mentioned above), and can tolerate *possibly* having to spend up to a couple of weeks without your computer if you need a major repair, I think it’s a cost-effective solution for people whose time is valuable.

        In the meantime, don’t make the mistake I did: try installing *ALL* of the software you want (or think you might want) in your Linux virtual machine *before* moving on to a bare-metal install. If it works okay, maybe you’ll find you can live with it happily.

        PS: I’ve been far too busy to continue setting up my Linux Mint laptop, but I’ll get ‘er done eventually. I still have almost a year before 7 reaches end of life.

      10. Klaas Vaak said on January 31, 2019 at 1:56 pm

        @Peterc: yes, I have read about those Macbook issues. I will be careful before taking the plunge, if I do.
        Yesterday I took another plunge: I installed Mint 19.1 XFCE in dual boot mode on my Windows laptop, a 4-year old Lenovo. The installation went fine, when i fire up the machine it shows the Grub giving me the choice which OS to launch.

        I had a surprise too in that when I opened the file manager it even showed the Windows folders and files, which I can access !! I don’t even need to move my own data – that is really unexpected.

        The issue that I am struggling with is Wifi detection, which does not work though it did on the live USB. I scourged internet but to no avail. So I have posted my question on the Linux Mint forum.

        I do want to stick with Mint and will try my utmost to get it to work. With Win 8.1 I have till 2023, or when my laptop conks out, whichever comes 1st ;-))

    2. dark said on January 28, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      @Peterc Try introducing your friend to WPS Office.

      1. Peterc said on January 29, 2019 at 1:14 am


        Yes, WPS Office is an option. I’ve read that it runs slow on older computers (which applies to me but not to my friend) and that the free version displays unskippable ads before permitting the use of some features, on Windows at least. But it’s still an option. Like SoftMaker FreeOffice, it’s closed-source, for those who care.

        ONLYOFFICE is a more recent alternative that is free *and* open-source and gets rave reviews for MS Office compatibility (as well as for its interface). However, it seems like it has a fair number of details that still need to be ironed out and features that need to be added. I’ve been using LibreOffice exclusively for maybe three or four years now, and its imperfect compatibility with MS Office periodically causes extra work (for me and everyone else), when I have to prepare documents with elaborate formatting for use by a group that uses MS Office. I’m thinking of giving ONLYOFFICE a try, at least for that kind of collaborative work.

        By the way, anyone who wants to criticize LibreOffice for its less-than-optimal compatibility with MS Office, do a little research into whether Microsoft’s own DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, etc., formats are actually open-document compliant, as required by many governments and institutions. (Hint: Microsoft’s file formats *aren’t*. LibreOffice’s file formats *are*.)

      2. Peterc said on January 31, 2019 at 7:01 am

        Speak of the devil. I *just* finishing editing a manuscript for someone who uses (cue the “Imperial March” from Star Wars ;-) MS Word, so I installed ONLYOFFICE and gave it a try. I ran into a showstopper almost immediately.

        I use the US International keyboard layout (with dead keys), and OPENOFFICE doesn’t *support* keyboard layouts with dead keys. So — no apostrophes or quotation marks in OPENOFFICE for *me*. I had previously read a post from a guy complaining about the same problem with the Brazilian Portuguese keyboard layout, which I gather also uses dead keys. I was crossing my fingers and hoping the problem was limited to that particular layout, but it’s clearly broader than that. I read somewhere else that it’s an inherent limitation of some upstream Chromium component, and I asked myself what the *hell* is a *Chromium* component doing butting in between *my* keyboard and a *locally installed* app? Apparently, though OPENOFFICE’s flagship product is its *online* suite, and I’m guessing the “Desktop Editors” are just stripped-down adaptations of the online versions or something, whence … Chromium.

        Also, I found the Writer program’s functions — the ones exposed in the interface, at least — *very* basic and primitive compared to what I’m used to. I stuck it out for 15 or 20 minutes, of which at least 10 minutes consisted of trying to find settings or commands (that may not have existed), and then I shut it down and pulled up the document in LibreOffice. What a relief!

        In fairness, ONLYOFFICE’s Desktop Editors might work perfectly well for someone who does only *very basic* documents and uses a keyboard layout without dead keys … but for me, it’s a very distant also-ran.

  11. supergirl said on January 26, 2019 at 2:23 am


    Well ,good luck !
    Thats very ambitious.

    I just wanted to surf the net without Google et al breathing
    their fetid breath down the back of my neck.

    1. Peterc said on January 29, 2019 at 1:40 am


      Maybe around six months ago, I was talking with a friend of mine on my Android phone and I asked him if he had ever seen a really old Saturday Night Live sketch featuring a super-energetic, hyper-competent Ronald Reagan. Behind the scenes, Reagan displayed full mastery of every last detail of a wide range of operations, spoke with foreign leaders on the phone in their own languages, and worked into the wee hours of the morning while exhausted subordinates half his age were sleeping in their chairs. But whenever visitors from the public at large interrupted his 7 AM to 4 AM work schedule, he put on the persona of the gentle, reassuring, somewhat senile grandpa we all remember. Anyway, the next day a clip of the sketch showed up in my YouTube “recommended videos” list for the first time. Coincidence or “fetid breath”? You tell me.

  12. supergirl said on February 4, 2019 at 3:29 am

    That IS creepy..LoL

    Ive noticed a few things sorta like that ..myself….

  13. supergirl said on February 5, 2019 at 3:02 am

    Ok I have been thinking about this & need to warn Youse guys!

    DO NOT EXPERIMENT with LINUX on Your MAIN Computer!!!!!

    Dual booting is Inherently dangerous.
    I was going to a Linux Users group before I could get anything to run on my Trash-tops.
    Newbies were destroying their bootloaders all the time.
    I cant help you if your comp wont boot.
    Can you solve GRUB issues rite now ?

    Also, I worry that sticking Linux in a Virtual machine on windows in order to try windows
    in a virtual machine on Linux to see if your software will run is kind
    of a house of cards in a windstorm procedure.

    Linux is not a product..Like Windows, its more of a process, start with baby steps ok?

    Its not like youre packing up& moving down the street.
    Its more like youre moving to another country.Maybe even 1 with a different language.

    Be careful please.
    I trashed my 1st 3 set-ups within days of installing them.
    but it was on a dedicated laptop so it didnt matter.

    You may be trying to fly before you’ve …ummm been potty trained.
    I DO NOT want your 1st expiriences to be a nitemare.

    Most freeware available on Linux is also available on Windows…Ex. VLC
    Seek these out & try them so your desktop wont be totally alien.

    best buy has a Lenovo 15″ i3-8130U 8G-ram laptop for $339..!!!!
    I wanna buy one & I have absolutely no use for it…..

    If this is better than what youre using now …. leave w10 on it & use your
    lesser computer for Linux.

    What if for now you just make an impervious internet machine out of Linux.

    This is where it shines…..
    I have a PPA of the last Firefox52ESR….My Waterfox is on 56,I think.

    If you can find a way to get your add-ons you can Laff at all the Puny malware out there.
    And still have UXL or XUL or Zool ..whateva..!

    Its more capable,IMO than Palemoon & running in Linux with all caches to Zero
    Nearly invulnerable……

    You may need to use 2 computers for a while..maybe a long while.
    Can you deal with this?

    Good luck!

    1. Klaas Vaak said on February 5, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      @supergirl: cautioning people to be careful with a new OS is important and useful for newbies. But your spiel here borders on scaremongering. Allow me to explain.

      As a complete & utter Linux newbie I decided to take a look at Linux and installed Virtual Box on my Windows 8.1 machine in February last year. As with everything else in life, it is important to do it the right way, which means getting the right instructions. I got a set of excellent instruction from a commenter, called “a different Martin”, right here on Ghacks –
      The installation went smoothly.

      Nevertheless, after playing around a bit I thought Linux to be too much of a hassle, requiring too much expert knowledge, so left it until October, when Microsoft’s updates and patches were disastrous, which spurred me to this time take a serious look at Linux.

      Virtual Box is a fantastic program, allowing you to try out, in this case, as many different Linux versions as you like, without affecting the rest of your computer, i.e. Windows & the rest because the VMs in VB are sandboxed. I looked at around 15 distros, only taking a “deep dive” if I felt comfortable with them. Those I did not feel comfortable with I ditched immediately. The ones I ended up feeling comfortable with were Linux Mint, Ubuntu, antiX and MX, the latter one being one you mentioned and use yourself.
      Your analogy of a “house of cards in a wind storm” does not make sense at all.

      The deep dive involved getting familiar with the distro and trying some of the various packages bundled with it, as well as trying Linux versions of Windows programs I used, and Linux replacements when no Linux version was available. I learned a lot that way and found that, in my case, I did not have to make many or big compromises for the programs.

      Another thing I learned is that it is not necessary to have a detailed knowledge of the command line syntax for the programs I felt comfortable with. If you need to make use of it one can ask on a forum or even google it, which, in the case of Ubuntu and Mint, is an excellent source.

      When I felt I could go for installation on my hard disk I googled for instructions, of which there is a ton for both Ubuntu and Mint.

      3 things that are important for a newbie to take into account when considering a Linux distro: user-friendliness, a good forum, plenty of info on internet. Ubuntu and Mint conform to all 3, MX to the 1st 2.

      3 days ago I installed Linux Mint XFCE as dual boot on my “production” computer. It went very smoothly after following the instructions I had gathered. The only hitch was that Mint did not detect the WiFi signal. But that was a piece of cake with Martin Brinkmann’s simple but to the point instructions –

      After the installation and when everything was working I felt such a relief to be able to ditch Windows and get away from Microsoft’s mess. Is Mint perfect? No, but then nothing in life is. Are the compromises worth making? Yes, for sure. Would I recommend the switch to a newbie? Yes most certainly, because the switch-over is nothing as traumatic as people are making it out to be, provided one prepares the terrain properly.

      There is a high probability that newbies who experienced the installation as a mess probably did not prepare well enough. And it certainly is not necessary to make your Linux machine “impervious” to the internet, not even to begin with. I certainly do not understand your comment that dual booting is inherently dangerous – Linux Mint configured Grub perfectly. I have had no boot issues, and booting speed is amazing.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on February 5, 2019 at 5:37 pm

        1 very interesting feature of the dual boot: Linux detects and allows access to the entire Windows C-drive, and that includes all my personal data. That means I do not have to move that data to another location for access via Linux. Great !!
        For Linux to detect and share the data with Windows, that data must be on an NTFS-formatted partition, which is usually the case with modern Windows versions.

        Windows, however, does not detect the Linux partitions, which, in my case, does not matter.

      2. Peterc said on February 6, 2019 at 12:26 am

        @Klaas Vaak:

        My former handle here was “A different Martin,” and I’m honored to have been remembered. Thanks for the kind words! (And congratulations for not having lapsed into a coma while trying to read my long-winded instructions! I just re-read them, and I had to crack open an energy drink just to stay awake.)

        PS: Having felt (mistakenly) that I had largely exhausted the learning I could do in a virtual machine, I decided to offload my virtual machines to save on drive space and disk-cloning time and haven’t kept up with VirtualBox since then. However, I *do* recall that before I offloaded them, there was one subsequent version of VirtualBox (5.2.16) that worked well, and that the next official release (5.2.18?) had major problems. (I think 5.2.18 was the last version I tried.) The moral of the story is that once you have found a version of VirtualBox that works well for you, and if you *don’t* enjoy upgrading VirtualBox, your VirtualBox Extensions Pack, and the Linux Guest Additions in all of your host machines only to have to downgrade them all again, *don’t bother upgrading VirtualBox* unless you spot a compelling reason in the changelog that applies to *you*. VirtualBox seems to be one of those programs where seriously problematic regressions, new bugs, and new incompatibilities often outweigh bug fixes and improvements. (Basically, it’s the opposite of LibreOffice “Fresh”! ;-) Just a subjective opinion based on my personal experience…

      3. Klaas Vaak said on February 6, 2019 at 12:25 pm

        @Peterc: well now, what a pleasant surprise to see you were “a different Martin”. The praise is well-deserved, and the instruction were far from boring. Whenever someone mentions to me trying out Linux I will refer them to that page.

        As for VB, I did 1 upgrade that went OK (can’t remember which version) and after that I declined to upgrade further. Now I don’t need it anymore :-)

    2. Peterc said on February 5, 2019 at 11:04 pm


      As a Linux noob, I agree in part and disagree in part.

      I’ve previously said that VirtualBox is not a great way to *triage* distros, because some distros that may be perfectly fine (or even awesome) may have idiosyncratic incompatibilities with VirtualBox that are pretty hard for people who don’t know a lot about VirtualBox or Linux to fix. (I have run into a fair number of these.)

      That said, I think virtual machines *are* a great way to get your feet wet *in distros that run well in virtual machines*. You can get experience updating, seeing what is in the repository, doing manual installs, making .desktop files, configuring things, and seeing how the file system is organized. And if you keep a backup or two of your virtual machine, if you really make a mess of your Linux system and can’t fix it, you can just overwrite your virtual machine with the most recent backup and try again. (No having to reinstall and reconfigure from scratch, one of my biggest nightmares in any OS.) And as Klaas Vaak pointed out, it has virtually zero impact on your Windows host. (Well … except that when the virtual machine is actually running, it steals some RAM and CPU cores from Windows. And I suppose there *might* be certain kinds of Windows files that you could, theoretically, corrupt or change in unwanted ways if you manipulated them with Linux programs. That said, *all* of the data files I edited or created in my Linux virtual machines were Windows data files, and *I* never ran into a problem with them in Windows afterwards.)

      I guess it’s *possible* that some people might run Linux in a virtual machine and then install Windows in a virtual machine in the Linux virtual machine to check out how well it works, but I never really entertained the thought because (1) I’m certain my computers aren’t nearly powerful enough to provide acceptable performance and (2) I only have one transferrable retail Windows license and don’t really want to sacrifice it to a virtual machine yet, even temporarily. I *did*, however, do (or attempt to do!) several Wine or PlayOnLinux installs. As I also mentioned previously, I confirmed that IrfanView worked *great* … although it wasn’t exactly a speed demon running on a compatibility layer in a virtual machine on an old, underpowered laptop.

      I’m going to have to agree with you that the best way of doing a serious trial is on a separate, dedicated Linux computer, but for a reason you didn’t mention: if you run into serious, showstopping trouble on the Linux machine, you can search for potential solutions on your Windows machine and try them out in real time, without having to reboot. It’s conceivable that some users (maybe especially younger ones) are *so adept* at using smartphones that they don’t mind doing the necessary research using those, but for me, using a smartphone instead of a computer for any serious research is *sheer torture*.

      I’m very attached to the highly customizable pre-Australis GUI and work more quickly and efficiently with my customized version of it, and that’s one of the reasons I’m still sticking it out with Pale Moon as my primary browser … even though an increasing number of sites *do* seem to be broken in it. And unlike old versions of Firefox, it still gets security updates.

      In this connection, from what I’ve read, Linux users who are extra-cautious about running “out-of-date” (or even up-to-date) browsers in Linux can run them in Firejail (a Linux sandbox). I haven’t tried it myself yet, but from what I understand, it’s usually just a question of installing Firejail and starting the browser in question with a “firejail” prefix. (For unusual browsers or other apps that don’t already have a supplied Firejail profile, you have to make one. It doesn’t look to be all that difficult.)

      Also, turning on the Firewall (even with default settings) is a good idea. And if you have technically adept business or political enemies, or if Linux starts becoming the focus of broad, randomly targeted attacks, maybe running ClamAV wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on February 6, 2019 at 12:33 pm

        @Peterc: I agree that a 1st hard disk installation of Linux is best done on a separate, “non-production” machine, if one happens to have one or can afford to buy a 2nd hand refurbished one. In my case I did not have one lying around and was not prepared to spend money on one.

        I think the most important aspect when installing as dual boot is to make a clone of your Windows set-up, as well as a back-up copy of your personal folders and files. That way, if things go south after the Linux installation, one can always revert back to a pre-installation stable set-up.

        As for an antivirus program, I understand that it is not necessary with Linux, in fact it can even be counter-productive to Linux’s performance, so I run Linux without it.

      2. Klaas Vaak said on February 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm

        @Peterc: following my last para re antivirus, one of the forums I used recently,, sent me a message with a link to website where a book, “Mastering Linux Security and Hardening” by Donald A. Tevault, is downloadable free for a period. Before you can download they ask for details about your current job (title, level, field, etc.). I downloaded it: 9.2 MB, 367 pages.

  14. supergirl said on February 19, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Umm…I kinda forgot about this thread..

    Ok you both are way more capable ‘Computrarians’ than I am…

    The GRUB problem came up when they Removed a linux dual boot & the bootloaders came up borked … no Linux No Windows nada…..
    Or tried a 3rd Linux..or re-installed to a different Linux Flavor dual boot.

    It was 2012 -13 at the time….& it was fixable…..probably with CLI & a rescue disk.

    Anyways Linux has only improved since then.

    Again Good luck!

  15. Big Head said on April 15, 2019 at 6:43 am

    I put Linux on my old boxes.

    When XP was no longer supported, I set up dual boot with Linux Lite and killed online access for XP. I will do the same when Windows 7 is no longer supported yet with Mint or Zorin.

    As such, I think there’s good reason for more Windows folks to use Linux.

    As for gaming on Linux, that’s great too.. Yet, I still only game on Xbox and Windows, on new and old boxes/consoles.. They do take up a lot of space, but I have the room.

    One trick instead of dual boot, is to put Linux on one internal drive and Windows on another. Then you use an A-B power switch that mounts through an open bay panel. So, if you set “A” position for Linux, then that drive gets the power and thus will boot, and thus “B” for Windows as need be. There’s more to it, and there’s some soldering involved, but it works great.. Yet one downside is you can’t access Windows files from Linux, but I just use external hard drives for such.. That said, I once found a simple kit that does this but IDK if it’s available anymore.

    That said, now that I’m a long time fan of Linux, I went ahead and put it on a new, dedicated box. As such, I will give Wine 4 a spin.

    Thanks again for the tip Martin.

    And thanks to Peterc and company for their Linux tips.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on April 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      @Big Head: just bear in mind that using Windows programs on Linux (via Wine) increases your risk of a virus “infection”. My apologies for mentioning this if you already know it.

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