Running Windows programs on Linux is possible, but not easy. Most Windows apps do not play well with Linux, and the developers do not care enough about Linux to support the Wine tool that makes them work correctly.
A project by the name of “Winepak” is attempting to solve this problem, by packaging popular Microsoft Windows applications in an easy to install format for the Linux platform.
Note: Winepak is under active development. Some of the programs on this list may be unstable, and not work at all. Use them at your own risk!
What is a Winepak?
A Winepak is a universal Linux package that contains everything needed to run a Windows program. These packages have Wine (a compatibility layer that translates Windows code to run on other operating systems,) as well as the Windows program itself, and anything the application needs for it to run.
The reason developers choose Flatpak, rather than distribution-specific packages is simple: any Linux user on any Linux operating system can install and use Flatpak. Furthermore, Flatpak packages run programs in a sandbox, isolated from the system. Being isolated allows Flatpak to set up the perfect conditions for Windows software to work on Linux 99% of the time.
If you’re looking to use a Winepak on Linux, there’s an excellent chance that you’ve already got the Flatpak runtime system set up on your Linux operating system. However, not every Linux user knows what the Flatpak technology is, how to use it or how to set it up.
Thankfully, there’s no need to guess and confuse yourself with complicated manuals on the official Flatpak website. Instead, look at our guide on how to set up Flatpak on Linux.
Integrate Flatpak into your software browser
Once you’ve got the Flatpak runtime set up and working, do yourself a favor and open up a terminal and install the following packages on your Linux OS. These packages will integrate Flatpak packages within your Linux software store (Gnome Software and KDE Discover).
Ubuntu is one of the largest distributions to go to for Snap over Flatpak, so no Gnome Software or KDE Discover integration packages are set up by default. As a result, you must install them after the fact with Apt.
sudo apt install plasma-discover-flatpak-backend
sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
Debian Linux doesn’t have a KDE Discover plugin package for Flatpak in their software sources. The reason the Discover plugin is missing could be due to Debian’s slow update pace. However, users do have access to the Gnome software plugin, and it can be installed with the Apt-get package manager.
sudo apt-get install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
Arch Linux doesn’t appear to have the Gnome Software and KDE Discover integration packages in their primary software sources, or the AUR. Refer to the Arch wiki page on Flatpak for instructions.
Fedora, by default, comes with Gnome Software integration. However, if you use KDE and not Gnome, you’ll need to install the Discover integration package with DNF.
sudo dnf install plasma-discover-flatpak
Like Arch Linux, SUSE doesn’t appear to have packages the user can install to get these plugins working. You may need to consult with the OpenSUSE Flatpak page on the wiki or install programs via the command-line.
Set up Winepak repository
Winepak packages aren’t on Flathub, the largest repository of Flatpak applications. Instead, the developers of the project have a separate repository that must be enabled to use the software.
Setting up the Winepak repository works like any other Flatpak software source. To add it, open up a terminal and use the remote-add command.
Warning: DO NOT USE SUDO! Flatpak will prompt for a password. Using the sudo or su commands could set up Winepak for the Root user, and not your user account.
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists winepak https://dl.winepak.org/repo/winepak.flatpakrepo
Winepak is a new project, so there isn’t a whole lot of software to choose from. Here’s a list of all the different Winepaks that users can install through Gnome Software, KDE Discover or a terminal.
Note: some of the Winepaks on the list below will not show up in search results. The reason they do not appear is that a lot of these packages are under heavy development. Visit the Winepak GitHub for more information.
- Path of Exile
- World of Warcraft
- World of Tanks
- StarCraft 2
- League of Legends
- Fortnite (work in progress)
- Internet Explorer 8 (work in progress)
Install a Winepak
Now that Winepak is working, you’ll be able to install an application. Open up Gnome Software or KDE Discover and search for one of the items on the above list. Then, click “Install,” and enter your password to get it installed on Linux. Alternatively, open up a terminal and do:
flatpak search NameOfWinepak flatpak install winepak NameOfWinepak -y