Wine 2.0 brings MS Office 2013 compatibility to Linux

If you run Linux and happen to use Windows software, it’s time to grab Wine 2.0

Wine 2.0 brings MS Office 2013 compatibility to Linux
Credit: Wine HQ

This week, Wine—the project that allows you to run many Microsoft Windows applications on non-Windows platforms—hit a rather huge milestone: version 2.0

From the Wine 2.0 release notes

“This release represents over a year of development effort and around 6,600 individual changes. The main highlights are the support for Microsoft Office 2013 and the 64-bit support on macOS.” 

I’ll be honest. The Mac OS tidbit isn’t all that interesting to me. But the support for Microsoft Office 2013 is, almost certainly, of interest to a number of people. (I don’t use it personally, but I know plenty of organizations that do.) 

Beyond MS Office 2013 and a collection of other Windows applications (and lots of games) gaining compatibility, perhaps the most noteworthy item in Wine 2.0 is the change in release scheduling: 

“This is the first release made on the new time-based, annual release schedule. This implies that some features that are being worked on but couldn't be finished in time have been deferred to the next development cycle. This includes, in particular, the Direct3D command stream, the full HID support, the Android graphics driver, and message-mode pipes.” 

A new big release of Wine every year. Seems like a good idea to me. 

Another interesting tidbit is that last little note about Android. Work has been ongoing to get Wine functional on Intel/x86-based Android devices for some time, and it looks like it didn’t quite make it in time for the big 2.0 launch. 

That said, the idea that it might come in the next major Wine release has to be pretty exciting for folks using Android devices (or Chrome OS devices capable of running Android apps from the Google Play store) who want to be able to use the occasional bit of Windows software. 

This 2.0 launch is, most certainly, a hefty release. The Wine team should be proud. Big high-fives all around. 

Strong Linux ecosystem may obviate need to run Windows software

Yet this release did give me a bit of pause. 

As I sat here reading the release notes, I realized I don’t have Wine installed on any of my computers. In thinking about it, I’m not sure if I’ve installed Wine even once during all of last year. 2016 was completely Wine-less for me. 

The fact is I simply haven’t needed to use a piece of Windows software in quite a long time. I’m sure there are lots of Linux users who do—and I can think of dozens of scenarios where having Wine would come in extremely handy in migrating both individuals and organizations away from Windows.

I certainly don’t want that statement to downplay the value of having such a robust and capable Windows compatibility layer for Linux desktops. It’s more a testament to how far the native Linux software ecosystem has come that my need to run any Windows software has vanished. 

If you’re not like me and you do happen to use Windows software, it’s time to grab Wine 2.0.

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