Wine is a free and open source compatibility layer that makes it possible to run some Windows applications on computers running Linux, FreeBSD, or some other operating systems. It’s also the foundation for the Proton software that Valve uses to allow Steam Deck users to play Windows games on the Linux-powered handheld.
One of the biggest changes is that all modules for Wine can now be built in the PE (portable executable) format which enables support for:
- Running Windows apps with copy protection
- Using 32-bit apps on host PCs with 64-bit chips
- Using x86 apps on host PCs with ARM processors
The developers note that it took four years to make this move, and there are still some modules that “perform direct calls between the PE and the Unix part, instead of going through the NT call interface,” but that these will be removed in upcoming Wine 8.x builds
Other changes in Wine 8.0 include graphics improvements including an updated version of the Vulkan graphics driver and support for more graphics cards, improved game controller hotplug support (for removing and inserting controllers).
You can find more details in the Wine 8.0 release announcement.