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  1. Wine founder and lead developer Alexandre Julliard has laid out the release plans around the upcoming Wine 4.0 stable release for delivering a year's worth of improvements for running Windows games/applications on Linux, BSDs, and macOS. While it took fifteen years of the Wine open-source project to reach its 1.0 milestone, these days Wine is on a yearly release cadence and that will be continuing for shipping Wine 4.0 at the start of the new year. Wine 4.0 will be the stable release culminating all of the bi-weekly Wine 3.x releases over the past twelve months. Alexandre Julliard is planning to begin the Wine 4.0 code freeze on 7 December, what would otherwise be their next bi-weekly development snapshot. Following the start of the code freeze, there will be weekly Wine 4.0 release candidates. If all goes well and like past Wine annual releases, Wine 4.0.0 should be ready to ship in January. So now it's onto a last call for any new features desired for Wine 4.0. This year in Wine has been the Vulkan support getting squared away, various changes for improving gaming under Wine, FreeType sub-pixel font rendering, Wine Direct3D defaulting to OpenGL core contexts, better shell auto completion, DXTn texture decompression support, debugging improvements, improved HiDPI support, Direct3D CSMT support by default, HID gamepad support, early work around Direct3D 12 / VKD3D, and tons of application/game specific fixes. Wine 4.0 should be a really great release particularly for gamers and hopefully will be quickly re-based by Valve's Proton for Steam Play before moving onto the Wine post-4.0 development releases. Thanks in large part to Valve / Steam Play, there is a lot more interest in recent months around Wine and Valve's financial support to CodeWeavers is also helping along upstream development. Source
  2. Linux-Windows compatibility layer Wine 5.0 is now out, with over 7,000 updates. Wine, the software that Microsoft has partially credited with making Windows 10 Windows Subsystem for Linux possible, has been updated with over 7,400 changes. Wine is a compatibility layer, designed for Unix-like OSes, which enables Linux and macOS systems to run Windows applications. In the era of Windows XP and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft used its anti-piracy Windows Genuine Advantage program to block updates to Wine users on Linux systems. Back then, Microsoft's top echelons refused to publicly recognize the existence of Wine, which meant its developers were even flattered by Microsoft's effort to block Windows and Office updates to Wine users because at least it showed Microsoft had acknowledged their presence. But in today's tech world of cloud computing, interoperable systems, and receding desktop sales, Microsoft has come out as a supporter of the techniques Wine developers used to make Windows software compatible with Linux machines. Microsoft last week filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Google's position against Oracle's claim that software application programming interfaces (APIs) can be copyrighted. Google's case in the US Supreme Court is scheduled for March. Microsoft held up Wine as an example of the importance of open APIs that a victory to Oracle could threaten, which in turn could prevent it in future from creating a feature like WSL – a layer in Windows that lets developers who use Linux command-line tools create applications in Azure. "In another example from the 1990s, an open-source developer created a program called Wine, which allowed developers to enable Windows applications to run on computers that used the Linux open-source system, without explicit authorization from Microsoft," wrote Microsoft. "To create Wine, the developer 'use[d] the same hierarchy of function names' of various Windows APIs. Years later, Microsoft created 'the inverse of Wine', reimplementing the structure of certain Linux APIs to create the Windows Subsystem for Linux, a program that allowed Linux programs to run on Windows. "The Windows-Linux experience shows that reuse of functional code is a two-way street that benefits both the original creator and the follow-on developer – and ultimately the consumer." The Wine 5.0 update takes advantage of this two-way street, introducing Portable Executable (PE) modules, which are built in the Windows binary PE file format that's used in executables and DLLs. According to Wine developers, now the "PE binaries are copied into the Wine prefix instead of the fake DLL files", making the prefix look "more like a real Windows installation, at the cost of some extra disk space." The new release also supports multiple displays and monitors, and there's Vulkan driver support up to version 1.1.126 for Android. Source
  3. Microsoft wants to close the UWP, Win32 divide with 'Windows Apps' Is Microsoft's UWP going away? Is the Microsoft Store on its way out? Microsoft Corporate VP Kevin Gallo explains the latest twists in Microsoft's long and winding Windows developer platform strategy. Credit: Microsoft For months, many pundits, partners and customers have wondered aloud whether Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) has a future. Officially, the story is UWP is alive and well. But the Win32 platform lives on and seems to be back on Microsoft's radar screen. So what's the real story? I had a chance this week in Seattle to ask Kevin Gallo, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Developer Platform, for his take on what's going on with the Windows developer platform. When Microsoft launched UWP in 2015, officials promised that the platform would provide apps with better performance and security because they'd be distributable and updatable from the Microsoft Store. Developers would be able to use a common set of programming interfaces across Windows 10, Windows Phone, HoloLens and more, officials said, when selling the UWP vision. The downside: UWP apps would work on Windows 10-based devices only. Developers would have to do work to get their apps to be UWP/Store-ready. And Win32 apps wouldn't get UWP features like touch and inking. Arguably, Gallo told me, "we shouldn't have gone that way," meaning creating this schism. But Microsoft execs -- including Gallo -- continue to maintain that UWP is not dead. Over the past year or so, Microsoft has been trying to undo some of the effects of what Gallo called the "massive divide" between Win32 and UWP by adding "modern desktop" elements to Win32 apps. "By the time we are done, everything will just be called 'Windows apps,'" Gallo told me. "We're not quite there yet." But the ultimate idea is to make "every platform feature available to every developer." Last year, Microsoft introduced "XAML Islands,"which is technology aimed at helping Windows developers to use UI elements from UWP in their existing Win32 applications, including Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) technologies. This month, the team took additional steps. In a May 6, 2019, blog post, Gallo explained to developers: "You've told us that you would like us to continue to decouple many parts of the Universal Windows Platform so that you can adopt them incrementally such as WinUI, MSIX, and Windows Terminal." The plan is to provide these components to Win32 developers, not just UWP ones. A week before, in a further move toward undoing the Win32/UWP divide, Microsoft announced that "non-packaged Windows desktop apps are going to be able to use Widnows Runtime (WinRT) components. This will be turned on simultaneous with Windows 10 1903 (the May 2019 Update). "Registration-free WinRT enables you to access more features in the UWP ecosystem by allowing you to use Windows Runtime Components without the requirement to package your application. This makes it easier for you to keep your existing Win32 code investments and enhance your applications by additively taking advantage of modern Windows 10 features." In short, Microsoft's new goal is to try to make all features available to all of the Windows frameworks. Saying that Microsoft is dropping or deprecating any of the Windows frameworks seems to have been declared from on-high as a big no-no. Instead, Win32, UWP, Windows Presentation Foundation are all "elevated to full status," as Gallo told me. The Windows team has been facing additional confusion and a lack of clarity around what's happening with the Microsoft app store. In recent weeks, a number of people have noticed that Microsoft is no longer putting its Office apps in the Microsoft Store. I asked Gallo if the Store is dead. And unsurprisingly, his answer was no. In Gallo's view, "the Store is about commerce. It's another channel for distribution." But it's not the only way Windows users will be able to get apps. "You can trust apps differently. They don't need to be in the Store. People really just want to know if Microsoft considers an app good," he said. And that means there needs to be a trust model on Windows. From my discussion with Gallo, it sounds like Microsoft may be moving toward a model of getting apps Microsoft-certified and trusted and then allowing Windows developers to decide how best to distribute them -- via the Microsoft Store, the Web or other methods of their choosing. And Microsoft will help users find those trusted apps, wherever they may reside. My main take-away from chatting with Gallo: The days of trying to push Windows developers to build and/or repackage their apps to be UWP/Store apps seemingly are over. It's now Windows apps or bust. Source
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