Testing of Steam's Wine fork Proton

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© Lead Image © stokkete, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © stokkete, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 221/2019

The Proton runtime environment, which is based on Wine, brings a new crop of Steam-powered games to Linux.

For many years, game developers didn't pay much attention to Linux. Native Linux versions of commercial games were very rare, but with a little luck, you could sometimes get the Windows version to run on your Linux system with the help of the the Wine runtime environment. But slipping a compatibility layer between a Windows game and a Linux OS never was a perfect solution. Wine was only reliable with older games, and getting it working often involved major research and tinkering.

Linux gaming has improved considerably since the early years. In 2013, Valve introduced the Steam client for Linux, which brought native Linux gaming to the most commercially successful gaming platform. However, the economies of the gaming industry ensure that many Windows games will probably never be ported to a native Linux version. Many game developers (and game users) still depend on the Wine environment to run Windows games on Linux.

Steam Play is a service introduced by Steam that lets the user run a purchased game under Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux (if available). More than 3,000 games now run on all common PC operating systems. In order to expand the pool, Steam announced a new version of Steam Play this past summer [1]. For Linux compatibility, Steam Play depends on a fork of the Wine environment called Steam Proton.


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