Proton (software)

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Initial releaseAugust 21, 2018; 4 years ago (2018-08-21)
Stable release
7.0-4[1] / August 16, 2022; 3 months ago (2022-08-16)
Operating systemLinux
Available inEnglish
TypeCompatibility layer

Proton is a compatibility layer for Microsoft Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems.[2] Proton is developed by Valve in cooperation with developers from CodeWeavers.[3] It is a collection of software and libraries combined with a patched version of Wine to improve performance and compatibility with Windows games. Proton is designed for integration into the Steam client as "Steam Play".[4] It is officially distributed through the client, although third party forks can be manually installed.


Proton was initially released on 21 August 2018.[5] Upon release, Valve announced a whitelist of 27 games that were tested and certified to perform like their native Windows counterparts without requiring end-user tweaking. These include Doom (2016), Quake, and Final Fantasy VI.[6][7][8][9]

Proton incorporates several libraries that improve 3D performance. These include Direct3D-to-Vulkan translation layers, namely DXVK for Direct3D 9, 10 and 11, and VKD3D-Proton for Direct3D 12. A separate library known as D9VK handled Direct3D 9 support until it was merged into DXVK in December 2019.[10]


Being a fork of Wine, Proton maintains very similar compatibility with Windows applications as its upstream counterpart. In addition to the official whitelist, many other Windows games are reportedly compatible,[11] albeit unofficially, with Proton. The user can optionally force use of Proton for a specific title, even if a Linux version already exists.[12]


ProtonDB is an unofficial community website that collects and displays crowdsourced data describing the compatibility of a given title with Proton, on a rating scale from "Borked" to "Platinum".[13][14][15][16] The site is inspired by the WineHQ AppDB, which also collects and displays crowdsourced compatibility reports and uses a similar rating system.

Release history[edit]

Valve has released seven major versions of Proton. The versioning scheme refers to the upstream Wine version it's based on, with an appended patch number.[17]

Proton generally lags behind its upstream Wine base by several releases. Unofficial forks, such as Proton GE,[18] have been created to re-base Proton on recent Wine versions, which may improve compatibility with games over the official release, and sometimes hurt it.[19]

In December 2020, Valve released Proton Experimental, a perpetual beta branch of Proton that incorporates new features and bug fixes quicker than regular releases,[20] which are eventually included in a regular release.[21]

The Steam Deck uses Proton to increase software title compatibility.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eikum, Andrew (August 16, 2022). "Releases · ValveSoftware/Proton". GitHub. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  2. ^ ValveSoftware/Proton, Valve Software, March 3, 2022, retrieved March 3, 2022
  3. ^ "CODEWEAVERS' PROTON SOFTWARE SAUCE POWERS STEAM DECK | CodeWeavers Press Releases". CodeWeavers. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  4. ^ "Steam :: Steam for Linux :: Introducing a new version of Steam Play". August 21, 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2020. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  5. ^ Dawe, Liam. "Valve officially confirm a new version of 'Steam Play' which includes a modified version of Wine". GamingOnLinux.
  6. ^ "Steam for Linux :: Introducing a new version of Steam Play". August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  7. ^ Evangelho, Jason. "Valve Changes Everything: Windows-Exclusive Games Now Run On Steam For Linux". Forbes. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  8. ^ "Steam adds Proton, making Windows games playable on Linux (at least in theory)". PCWorld. August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  9. ^ "Valve officially confirm a new version of 'Steam Play' which includes a modified version of Wine".
  10. ^ "doitsujin/dxvk". GitHub. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "A look over the ProtonDB reports for June 2019, over 5.5K games reported to work with Steam Play". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  12. ^ "Steam Community :: Group :: Steam Client Beta". Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  13. ^ Evangelho, Jason. "Linux Gaming Tip: Don't Buy That Game On Steam Without Using This Tool". Forbes. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Steam Proton has opened the gaming floodgates for Linux users". SlashGear. April 22, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "A look at how Steam Play is doing, based on the ProtonDB reports from July". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  16. ^ DeFore, Buck. "ProtonDB: Gaming reports for Linux using Proton and Steam Play". Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  17. ^ "ValveSoftware/Proton". GitHub. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  18. ^ "Want a more up to date Proton for Steam Play? Proton GE has a big new release out". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  19. ^ "Releases · GloriousEggroll/proton-ge-custom". GitHub. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  20. ^ "Valve continues tweaking the new 'Proton Experimental' for Cyberpunk 2077". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  21. ^ "Proton 5.13-5 is now up bringing in some of the experimental changes". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  22. ^ Duckett, Chris (July 16, 2021). "Steam Deck is an AMD-powered handheld PC from Valve that runs KDE on Arch Linux". ZDNet. Retrieved July 16, 2021.

External links[edit]

  • ProtonDB – community database for game compatibility data