Wayland’s support for Wine may open up a paradox in "Linux Gaming"
Wayland will try in 2021 to make the final leap to succeed Xorg. The graphical protocol has encountered many obstacles throughout its history, which have covered issues such as the complexity of its implementation and the lack of a clear direction when making certain features work. However, the GNOME implementation is already mature enough for production and KDE hopes to reach the goal this year, so the problem is now in the applications.
With a Wayland that has already been assumed as the future to make graphical interfaces work in GNU/Linux, more and more projects are focusing on the graphical protocol in order not to be left behind. Besides OBS Studio, another project whose support for Wayland sounds very interesting is Wine, the well-known reimplementation of Windows APIs released as free software. Currently Wine works on XWayland with good results on AMD and Intel graphics, to the extent of being able to run Windows games with a performance equivalent to that obtained with Xorg, but that does not mean that you have to settle.
Wayland’s native support for Wine began to come from Collabora, which, in addition to being in charge of the well-known online implementation of LibreOffice, is also involved in other projects that are of interest to it. At the moment Wayland’s support for Wine is in an experimental phase, but recently it has gained features such as copy and paste, drag and drop, and the ability to change the display mode.
There is still a long way to go, but the good thing is that work is already underway to make it arrive. There is speculation that Wayland support could be available with the release of Wine 7, but it is too early to confirm anything.
Old Linux games on XWayland and old Windows games on Wayland?
Wine is one of the most interesting projects in free software, but it may have lost prominence during the past decade (2011-2020) in the face of the proliferation of multiplatform applications, a trend that has increased the amount of software that GNU supports / Linux officially.
In fact, and for end users, the current spearhead of Wine is Proton, the compatibility layer developed by Valve that allows Windows games to run on GNU / Linux and Mac. Yes, Proton is nothing more than a Wine precooked to run Windows video games, in case someone hasn’t found out yet.
Wayland’s support for Wine could cause a paradox within Linux Gaming, because we could see old Windows games running natively on Wayland and native GNU / Linux games running on top of XWayland, opening the door for the former to work in some respects. better than seconds. This paradox is explained by the fact that GNU / Linux is a system that is built with components that are developed separately, so its evolution does not have to be linear.
It’s too early to talk about Wayland’s support for Wine for now, but if it does, it could bring efficiency and possibly performance improvements.