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WINE logo obtained from official website - Logo by Joel Holdsworth, original image designed by Jon Parshall - GNU LGPL

Wine — (originally an acronym for "Wine Is Not an Emulator") is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, Mac OSX, & BSD. Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop.

Available versions

Since Debian Jessie you can choose between two sets of Wine packages: wine and wine-development.

wine tracks the stable releases from (e.g. version 1.6.2), and wine-development the development releases (e.g. version 1.7.29).

Despite its name wine-development is also intended to be used by regular users. Do not mix this up with the *-dev packages which contain the header files and development libraries.

You can either install both sets at the same time, or only one of them.

Installation on Debian Jessie and newer

Step 1: Enable multiarch

On 64-bit systems you should enable a 32-bit architecture for multiarch. This is needed for running 32-bit Windows applications (many modern apps are still 32-bit), but also for large parts of the Windows subsystem itself. If in doubt, you do need it!

You can identify your architecture with the following command:

dpkg --print-architecture

E.g. for amd64 (which most users have) you need i386. Enable it with the following command:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386 && sudo apt update

Step 2: Installation

Standard installation

Notes on installing:

* Wine on a 64-bit architecture -> Windows x64 bit.
* Wine on a 32-bit architecture -> Windows x32 bit.
* For better results, you should install both "wine" and "wine-development" (choose the correct version for the correct architecture).
* If you are using Debian Testing on a 64-bit architecture, (as of 2018.09.11) you might need to also install "libpulse0:i386", to avoid broken dependencies.

Installation from Jessie backports

For Debian Jessie current versions are available as backports. To enable jessie-backports add this line to your sources.list (or add a new file with the ".list" extension to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/):

deb jessie-backports main

and run

sudo apt update

Packages from backports are not installed automatically. But once they are installed you receive automatic updates. The following example commands make sure that all required packages are pulled from jessie-backports instead of jessie.

Instead of the following example commands you might simply use "apt install -t jessie-backports wine" (or "apt install -t jessie-backports wine-development"). But then you will end up with many packages installed unnecessarily from jessie-backports!

Optional Wine dependencies

wine and wine-development consist of a suite of packages. Some are optional and might not be installed automatically:

Users on a 64-bit system should make sure that both wine32 and wine64 (or wine32-development and wine64-development) are installed (see Step 1: Enable multiarch).

libwine and libwine-development recommend many other libraries needed for optional functionalities. These should be installed automatically, but if you don't need them you may uninstall them. On amd64 remember that most times the i386 packages are the relevant ones.

Installation on Debian Wheezy and older

In Debian Wheezy Wine is divided into several different packages. This way one may install only those functionalities of Wine which are necessary for one.

The standard package is obtained by simply installing wine.

sudo apt-get install wine

The minimal package is obtained by installing wine-bin.

sudo apt-get install wine-bin

After the installation of wine-bin additional modules may be acquired by installing the necessary packages:


Command names (choosing between wine and wine-development)

wine and wine-development use the Debian alternatives system to provide /usr/bin/wine and other commands. If both packages are installed it defaults to use the commands provided by wine.

You may change this by running:

sudo update-alternatives --config wine

You may force a version at any time (as long as the wineserver isn't running yet), by using the suffixed command names, e.g.:

wine-stable foo.exe
wine-development foo.exe
winegcc-stable ...
winegcc-development ...

The alternatives system is available since Debian Stretch (and Jessie Backports). To use wine-development in Jessie you have to use the suffixed command names.

Configuring Wine

Installing and removing Windows programs

In order to install a program, launch the Windows installation file (.exe/.msi) with the following command:

wine setup.exe

In order to remove a program, launch the wine uninstaller with the following command:

wine uninstaller

Wine uninstaller does not delete menu entries and desktop icons; therefore they must be removed manually.

System integration

If you want to start Windows applications directly (with the command ./foo.exe) you have to enable binfmt support. Have a look at the README.debian for details.

Additional programs for Wine