PlayOnLinux vs Wine: The Differences

Windows has one of the most incredible catalogs of applications available. This is the way it is and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change. Of course, in Linux, we have more and better applications every day but the differences are still notorious. So many users wonder what to do if my application is not available for Linux. This is very common with games. Then the concepts of PlayOnLinux and Wine arise, but what are they? what are their differences? well, this is what we will tell you in this post.

Before getting into the subject, it is useful to first define what each of the applications is.

Wine: the engine of PlayOnLinux

Taking the Wine website as a reference, we obtain this definition:

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, macOS, & BSD

Basically, Wine allows the execution of programs designed for MS-DOS, and Microsoft Windows versions 3.11, 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and even Windows 10.

How does it do it? 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.

So Wine is an application that we can run these Windows applications on Linux from the terminal or through a graphical interface. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Of course, it is only compatible with Win32 programs (both 32-bit and 64-bit), so we will not be able to run UWP apps from the Microsoft Store.

Therefore, Wine has support for a lot of audio and video drivers. This is one of the things that makes it possible to run the programs. Also, it is compatible with OpenGL, DirectX technologies and has full support for GDI (and partial support for GDI32).

Although it has great compatibility, it must be said that Wine is not able to run 100% of Windows programs and games on Linux. For this reason, the community uploads and maintains a rating of games and tutorials on how to properly configure Wine. So, you can access it from this link.

Wine also has a configuration window where we can make many tweaks to make our programs run well. These configurations are very extensive and varied and take some time to set up.

Installing Wine on Linux

Installing Wine is not difficult because it is available from the official repositories of many different distributions.

For DEB distributions like Debian, Deepin, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, ElementaryOS and others just run it:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends wine

In case you are using Fedora, you have to run the following commands:

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo

This command adds the Wine repository to the system.

Now, you can install it by running

sudo dnf install winehq-stable

If you are using OpenSUSE you have to add a repository to install it as well:

sudo zypper addrepo
sudo zypper refresh
sudo zypper install wine

This way it will be installed

PlayOnLinux – the Front-end

Wine is a marvel but you indeed have to touch many exact configurations to get a game to run on Linux. To avoid this, PlayOnLinux has been developed.

PlayOnLinux is a piece of software which allows you to easily install and use numerous games and apps designed to run with Microsoft® Windows®.
Few games are compatible with GNU/Linux at the moment and it certainly is a factor preventing the migration to this system. PlayOnLinux brings a cost-free, accessible and efficient solution to this problem.

In short, PlayonLinux is a fully graphical interface to use Wine, free and easy to install, that allows you to install Windows games on Linux. In other words, all the complexity of Wine is hidden by default in PlayOnLinux and easily automates the installation of compatible software and games.

This is achieved thanks to a graphical interface in which we can choose a game from a list and PlayOnLinux will take care of the whole process so that we can install and run it. In case the game is not on the list, we can still install it from the interface.

So if you don’t have much Linux experience or don’t want to get your hands dirty with wine configurations, the best is PlayOnLinux.

Install PlayOnLinux on Linux

PlayOnLinux is also very easy to install:

For DEB distributions like Debian, Deepin, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, ElementaryOS and others just run it:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install playonlinux

However, in the case of Fedora 33/32 it is enough to run:

flatpak install flathub org.phoenicis.playonlinuxcontent_copy

If you are using OpenSUSE 15.2 then the command to run is:

zypper install PlayOnLinux

So as you can see it is very easy to install

So, what are the differences between Wine and PlayOnLinux?

The differences between Wine and PlayOnLinux lie in the purpose for which they were created. On the one hand, Wine was created in response to the need to run Windows applications on Linux.

In fact, Wine is easy to use, but getting the right settings to install some games is not so easy. So, PlayOnLinux enters the scene providing a convenient graphical interface with which to do this process.

Wine is the engine that allows us to run the applications while PlayOnLinux is a front-end to use it.

The existence of PlayOnLinux will be greatly appreciated by novice users or newcomers to Linux. This application can be installed on almost every Linux distribution out there with almost no problems.


Linux is getting more and more advanced in the catalogue of available applications. But in the games section, it is always one or two steps behind. So, needs arise and the coordination of Wine with PlayOnLinux is a certainty to install games quickly and easily.

What games do you play on Linux? Do you use PlayOnLinux? Leave us a comment and share this post.

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