Microsoft unexpectedly ships a new version of Skype for Linux

Microsoft unexpectedly ships a new version of Skype for Linux

Summary: Here's a surprise! After years of neglect, Microsoft ships a new major version of Skype, the popular VoIP program, for Linux.

TOPICS: Open Source

Out of the blue Microsoft delivers a new major version of Skype for Linux.

Out of the blue, Microsoft delivers a new major version of Skype for Linux.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. The last thing I expected was to see a new version of Skype, the popular Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) program, arrive for Linux. But, just in time for Skype's new in-your-face advertising program, Skype 4.0 for Linux has arrived.

According to Microsoft, there are four major changes in this Skype release. These are:

    A new Conversations View where users can easily track all of their chats in a unified window. If you prefer the old view can disable this in the Chat options; We have a brand new Call View; Improved call audio quality Improving video call quality and support for more cameras.

In addition, there are numerous minor improvements. These include:

    Improved chat synchronization new presence and emoticon icons the ability to store and view phone numbers in a Skype contact's profile much lower chance Skype for Linux will crash or freeze chat history loading is now much faster support for two new languages: Czech and Norwegian.

Microsoft also warns “the very first time you start Skype for Linux 4.0 might take a few minutes (depending on how lengthy your chat history is). In the event, as I've started to tinker with the new Skype, Skype on Linux Mint 13 on my Lenovo ThinkPad T520 took less than a 30-seconds.

Formally, the new Skype for Linux is available for the 32 and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 10.04 and Debian 6.0 and the 32-bit versions of Fedora 16 and openSUSE 12.1 . From my own experience I can also say that it will work on later versions of Ubuntu and related Linux distributions. The overall requirements are minimal: Qt 4.6.0, D-Bus 1.0.0, libasound2 1.0.18 with both PulseAudio 1.0 and BlueZ 4.0.0 being optional. Without a source code option, though, you're much stuck with the Debian/Ubuntu, Red Hat, and SUSE Linux families.

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Topic: Open Source

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  • Why are you so surprised

    To MS, this is just a business, not a religion.
    William Farrel
    • Even Ballmer says windows 8 is a gamble.

      It makes sense that Microsoft would start embracing Linux. This has been happening a lot lately if you notice, for example with VM support last week. They've been losing the enterprise market to Linux for a while, 40% last time I checked...they lost the phone, tablet markets to Android and Apple. they're really gambling on ties to cloud apps and XBOX Live to help them retain the consumer PC market after Windows 8 comes out. But if this fails, Linux or Mac will move quickly into a dominant market position and they may become purely software vendors. Not a good time to be Windows only.
      • Wrong windows share of server shipments has been steadily growing.

        Over 75% of all servers shipped now. There's a reason, it's the most secure, reliable, and performant os. It's the best choice for businesses of any size, datacenters, virtualization, and even dedicated webhosting.
        Johnny Vegas
      • Because there is money to be made, plain and simple

        Or do you believe that people should give up some profits, no matter how small, based on the notion that software should be dealt with as a religion, and not as a business?
        John Zern
      • Errr....

        Ballmer said Win 8 is a gamble? News to me. Link.
        [Oh ya. This got what to do with Skype?]
      • Nice fantasy Johnny Vegas

        Johnny Vegas prevaricated: "It's the best choice for businesses of any size, datacenters, virtualization, and even dedicated webhosting."

        Red Hat happens to be growing by leaps and bounds, although of course you can't explain that one.
      • Re; It's the best choice for businesses of any size, datacenters, . . .

        @Johnny Vegas
        There is quite a few big businesses that disagree with you for some reason.
        Facebook and Google springs to mind.
      • Skype has NOTHING to do with Enterprise

        I personally have never seen Skype on a Windows server, and where I work we have around 200 servers running 2003 and 2008.

        I cannot imagine Skype on REL, let alone REL with a GUI to display Skype.

        As for the 40% number, about 90% of the 200+ hundred servers we have (Healthcare) are Windows powered.

        Phone market? Well Skype is on my WP7 Device, works great

        If Windows 8 fails...MS has not made the same catastrophic mistakes as it did with Vista, poorly tested, driver issues and lack of drivers, vendors misbehaving or simply not being on-board - all MS problems, yes.

        Windows 7 is being adopted by enterprise, in fact Wyse (now owned by Dell) is making its way into enterprise in a big way - most now with Embedded Windows 7.

        Don't look for embedded 8 for thin clients just yet. Likewise, I cannot imagine that MS has bet the barn that enterprise is embracing Win8 for the desktop. On the other hand I can state as a matter of fact, absolutely a fact, iPad has been a real challenge for IS/IT departments to support. Security is of course a huge issue with these devices.

        Win8 tablets could very well be what enterprise will embrace, time will tell, but with tight integration and control, this could be what the Dr ordered.

        Speaking of what the Dr ordered, I have seen clinics where they chart with a laptop that the provider carries around, or they chart on a PC in the room, or even a WoW outside the room. The iPad would be a great device for the clinical world if it provided the back-end with the network and security structures needed to protect PHI.

        Windows 8 may just do that for the iPad type form-factor.
    • Because...

      ...MS has a long history of treating any use of non-MS software on a non-Apple personal computer as a lost sale, if not outright theft. Besides, according to Steve Ballmer, Linux violates countless MS patents, making all of its "unauthorized" users thieves.
      John L. Ries
      • Errr....

        Not according to Ballmer. If anything, Microsoft. But unlike some other software developers, Microsoft will develop their software to work on other platforms [Office for iPad early next year for example, SkyDrive utility on multiple platforms]. You don't see much on Linux because Linux is so fractured. Even then at under 1.2% of the OS marketshare, who cares about Linux.
    • Well Microsoft Has Ignored Small Markets Before

      In the past Microsoft has ignored smaller markets in order to encourage people to use Windows instead. Linux desktop share is growing, but still appears to be slightly under 2% by Web statistics. Unless there is a server market for Skype, you might think Microsoft would consider it better for them not to release updates for the Linux version.
      • Wikimedia statistics?

        Wikimedia statitics are claiming about 1,9% of non-mobiles for Linux and 30% in mobiles for Android. However last year Android got about 30% of tablets and about 48,8% of smartphones. Q1 2011 tablets still the same figures but 56,1% of smartphones. But if you checked the figures of Wikimedia you easily see how Apple has about 3-4 times more "clicks" than Android-devices. So can we trust even Wikimedia figures, can we?

        Let's make it clear - Wikimedia got fine statistics because it's not pay-per-click based calculation like Net Application. But still it's too much "Anglo-Saxon" making iOS, iPhone, iPad, Mac etc... looking much bigger than what's the real marketshare of Apple products.

        And what about Linux? I think the real "marketshare" for Linux in mobiles is of course something like 40-45% and in non-mobiles its most likely 3-4%. I know this because if i checked the figures of my country the seems to be about 25 000 Linux-non-mobiles (desktops, laptops, notebooks). However even only one Ubuntu organisation has delivered more than 20 000 Ubuntu pc's for our schools and universities until 2010. Lates figures could be near 30 000.

        Well, i don't trust any of these statistics, less those of Net Application. They are mostly just pure joke.

        EDIT: i last year test some HTC Android's by visiting some websites. Surprisingly many of these sites recognized them as "Apple iPhones".
      • At some point . . .

        . . . they've got to consider more than Linux's market share, they've got to consider who those people are. They are predominantly among the upper end of the tech-competent people.
      • Errr....

        Linux has been flatlined at or under 1.2% for years now. Why spend R&D on an OS that isn't going anywhere and is fractured?
    • "Shipped" doesn't mean "runs"

      @Johnny Vegas
      I'm a network administrator. Yes, we have a Windows server. It was shipped with Windows 2003 and still runs Windows 2003.

      But then there are the half dozen other servers in our rack. All were shipped with Windows of some version or another because that's mostly been the only option of what we get when we buy a server. What are they all currently running? Linux, Linux, Linux, Linux, Linux, and Linux.

      Why do we have mostly Linux servers? Because that's what our clients want. They generally want LAMPs, not WIMPs or WIAAs.

      So the number [i]shipped[/i] really doesn't mean much. Except that MS gets paid for stuff that gets discarded by the end user. For MS, they don't care. They got their money. For us, it's a mild pain.
      • You don't shop for servers very often, do you?

        [i]But then there are the half dozen other servers in our rack. All were shipped with Windows of some version or another because that's mostly been the only option of what we get when we buy a server. [/i]

        Exactly how long have you had these servers? When you say "servers", you're not really meaning "re-purposed Compaq Deskpros", are you?

        I think it's been a good decade at least since most server manufacturers started offering servers without software, and even most Windows shops prefer to purchase them this way.
      • I agree with daftkey. Nobody in charge of any business' IT purchases

        would have the OEM add Windows to their order for an additional cost, just to throw the disk away and wipe the hardrives apon receipt.

        And who are your customers that all want Linux? I would be interested in what type of bussiness you are in where you can not order a server without an operating system.

        So yes, those Windows server numbers are correct, they are licenses purchased and used, not licenses shipped and discarded.
        John Zern
      • Errr....

        Just because your clients wabnt Linux servers, doesn't mean the world wants Linux servers. [Like saying the sky is blue outside my placew - so it must be blue (i.e. no clouds) all over the world.]
      • LAMP

        You are talking WEB SERVERS, not applicaiton or DB servers.

        Yeah, no doubt that unless "you" are wedded to IIs and ASP/X then for your web sites why not leverage Linux - its faster, has far better community and commercial support for a wider range of technology stacks (besides just the basic LAMP model).

        Step out of the world of hosting web sites and start looking at what delivers enterprise, even small and medium businesses.

        Exchange - hands down the most widely used SMTP and messaging platform.

        MS SQL - most applications, ranging from Accounting to engineering, and everything in between, and most healthcare applications are built on an MS SQL DB.

        Enterprise web applications - again most use IIs stacks. While these are indeed web based (web sites), they are typically restricted to Intranet portals, or SaaS/ASP delivery models. Internal employee portals, intranets (ala SharePoint), most HR and benefits portals are delivered from an IIs stack.

        I believe that seeing what local government uses and what medium sized healthcare systems use I can say with very few liberties taken, Windows servers deliver enterprise services.

        However, Virtualization is providing the back-bone for a huge number of organizations.
    • true

      but often big companies dont play well with other platforms.