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So, I've used Wine before and I've used Valve's Proton as well. I understand that Wine and Proton attempt to translate the internal Windows-based logic of a program to something that is compatible with Linux, but I'm unclear why Proton has so much more success with complex games than Wine does for most programs.

Thanks to things like Winetricks I've managed to install enough dependencies to successfully run programs like Adobe Photoshop, but how come this is not needed for Proton games?

Or is it a more simply related to the fact that Valve already knows the programs the games need to run and they make sure to install them as you install the game?

Another thing that stumps me is how much progress Proton has made in such little time, but it's still difficult to find information on how to run many programs on Wine, with or without Winetricks.

Is there a way to know what I should install that a program I want to run might need? Or is it just blind luck?

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Or is it a more simply related to the fact that Valve already knows the programs the games need to run and they make sure to install them as you install the game?

Proton is Wine neatly packaged with DXVK with built-in workarounds/tricks for games.

Another thing that stumps me is how much progress Proton has made in such little time, but it's still difficult to find information on how to run many programs on Wine, with or without Winetricks.

Mostly thanks to DXVK which translates D3D calls to Vulkan. Wine has its own D3D11 implementation which works via translating D3D calls to OpenGL which is a lot more complicated and slower.

Implementing Direct3D 11 via Vulkan is a lot more straightforward process as it's very low-level.

Is there a way to know what I should install that a program I want to run might need? Or is it just blind luck?

Are you talking about Wine? Consult with https://appdb.winehq.org

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  • Is there a reason why Wine doesn't use Vulkan? Or is there a way to use Proton for programs rather than games? Appdb is great and all but it just lists compatibility with default Wine without the help of Winetricks, which is usually not great. Nov 18, 2020 at 15:50
  • You can use DXVK/Vulkan with Wine. It's not default, but some distributions [like Fedora][fedoraproject.org/wiki/Changes/DXVKwined3d] ship Wine with DXVK enabled by default. Nov 18, 2020 at 16:04
  • Is there a reason why Wine doesn't use Vulkan? Wine developers as far as I remember didn't like the way DXVK is coded. All the details are on their mailing list but I cannot find the pertinent messages now. Nov 18, 2020 at 16:26
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Proton is based on Wine so both basically work the same way. Proton is more focused on gaming and contain things like DXVK (Vulkan based implementation of Direct 3D).

Is there a way to know what I should install that a program I want to run might need?

There is no simple solution. You can use ProtonDB for Proton and Wine AppDB for Wine and search for the app you are trying to install. but there is no universal rule to what install.

There are also "helper" programs for running games on Linux using Wine like Lutris or PlayOnLinux that can do a lot of configuration automatically without running winetricks manually.

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  • That's unfortunate... AppDB doesn't list winetricks runtimes anymore so it's become very hard to figure out how to get a specific program working. Thank you for your answer! Nov 18, 2020 at 15:48

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