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Software Communications Microsoft Upgrades Linux Technology

Skype 4.0 For Linux Now Available 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-and-open-calls dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Anyone who uses Skype on Linux will be happy to hear that a new version has been made available today, bringing with it a host of essential updates and new features. Skype 4.0, codenamed "Four Rooms for Improvement," is long overdue, and Marco Cimmino makes a point of thanking Linux users for their patience on the Skype blog. The main improvements Skype is delivering include much improved audio call quality, better video support, and improved chat synchronization. For video specifically, Skype has spent time implementing support for a much wider range of webcams, so if your camera didn't work before today you might be surprised to find it does in Skype 4.0. Visually, Skype has received a new Conversations View, which brings all chats into a single, unified window (you can revert to the old view if you prefer). There's also a new Call View, presence and emoticons have been redesigned, and you can now store and view numbers within each Skype profile."
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Skype 4.0 For Linux Now Available

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:42PM (#40329503)

    Just in time for the Ads

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Aren't the ads only there if you want to call for free?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by artor3 (1344997)

        Yes, but that doesn't matter to the sort of people who have turned hatred of a particular company into a sort of religion.

        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:54PM (#40331081) Journal

          People who have turned hatred of a particular company into a sort of religion.

          The foundations of most religions are based on common sense. Some of their beliefs and activities seem ridiculous now because they're responding to events or conditions that ended centuries or millennia ago.

          For many contributors here, our distaste for matters Microsoft are based on things that happened during our lifetimes, and are often still happening.

          • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Friday June 15, 2012 @01:42AM (#40332159)

            The foundations of most religions are based on common sense.

            Show me one religion that can be completely explained by common sense and I'll be a convert.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2012 @03:14AM (#40332513)

              My friend... how do you feel about pasta?

            • Re:Common Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

              by silentcoder (1241496) on Friday June 15, 2012 @04:01AM (#40332689) Homepage

              The GP only claimed it could be explained by common sense at it's foundation. Practically all of them can be explained by common sense 4000 years ago !

              The start of the Abrahamic religions for example may well have been something like this. There was this dude called Abraham - we know he WAS real (there is massive proof) who lived in a city called Ur. Ur's reality is beyond question - we've FOUND the place, part of the old Mesopotamian civilization - one of the first large human settlements. They were a polytheistic culture that set great store by physical symbols of idols (e.g. statue worship and the like) - this too is well verifiable fact (the archeologist found some of the idols and their religious scripture).

              Abraham however wasn't satisfied with the fickle gods, they just didn't conform to his experience of the world - as a shepherd he encountered seasons and the way nature worked - regularly, and things weren't fitting.

              So he moved out and began to think, clearly there was something bigger than himself out there (up to this point, science says the exact same thing)... then he made one small logical error - he turned "something bigger" into "Someone bigger".
              He named that some-one El Shadai - which means "That which is" (in the modern Bible it is translated as "God".
              Suddenly everything made sense- this much more powerful being controlled all the things that happened apparently randomly and senselessly yet showed clear patterns. They showed patterns because they were logical and wise, but they were unpredictable because they were the wisdom of a mind far greater than his own. Throw in a bit of the mythology from his homeland (Gilgamesh becomes Noah) and you have the book of Genesis resulting.

              All very common sensible - for 6000 years ago. Not so much today.

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                "Massive" proof of the biblical Abraham? Care to make a few citations? Enough to quality as "massive" proof would be a minimum (so I'd guess a couple of dozen of similar strength to a grave marked "The Biblical Abraham" would do it).

                Also, Gilgamesh didn't become Noah. Utnapishtim eventually became Noah.

                I can give a rational explanation for Islam. A man who one day started to hear voices and have visions? The same man who had headaches of increasing severity? Who eventually had intense pain in his head

            • by kh31d4r (2591021)

              Show me one religion that can be completely explained by common sense and I'll be a convert.

              Scientology, you can even tell from the name that its based on science!

            • Re:Common Sense (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Aighearach (97333) on Friday June 15, 2012 @05:34AM (#40333053) Homepage

              Buddhism is based totally in common sense. Guatama Buddha even said not to believe something because he said it, or because it is in a holy book, but only to believe it if it is consistent with your own experience. He also said not to worry what happens after you die.

    • Heh yeah, they'll be rolling in hundreds of click-throughs!

    • Which would you rather have: skype for linux which has received precisely no updates in something like 6 years because it gives no benefit to the vendor, or an update with ads which at least ensures that it will receive future attention?

      You know, if you dont like the ads you can use your own VoIP service. Ekiga is right there waiting, if you want your small userbase and your poor bandwidth usage.

      You do realize that ads are responsible for the wide variety of free services we receive on the internet, right?

  • by icebike (68054) * on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:42PM (#40329507)

    Years and years waiting for a decent version of skype for linux drove me to other solutions.
    I no longer use skype for anything.

    Still I'm utterly astounded that it took Microsoft ownership [seattlepi.com] to finally pry a halfway decent and up to date version from the developers. I presume all the wiretap hooks are now in place, now that all the calls are routed thru Microsoft's [arstechnica.com] servers, and the CLEA people are happy?

    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:55PM (#40329639) Journal

      Indeed. Why skype when SIP supports video?

      • So my grandma uses that too, right?

        The point of widespread communication systems is that you can get in touch with people.

        The answer to "why skype [on Linux]?" is "because it works". How is the increased number of choices bad? It's almost infinitely more likely that someone will be reachable via Skype than via something that really doesn't have traction beyond geeks using Linux and OSS exclusively. Part of the whole battle to make Linux much more accessible to the general public is having software that people want to use. Up-to-date Skype on Linux is a win/win for all concerned; both from Microsoft's end (more users make the service as a whole more valuable) and for users (since the software is available) and since it removes one more hurdle to Linux adoption for the general public ("I might try it out, but can I run [$piece of common software] on it?").

        • So my grandma uses that too, right?

          The point of widespread communication systems is that you can get in touch with people.

          The answer to "why skype [on Linux]?" is "because it works".

          "Because it works" isn't enough. There's plenty of solution that "just work", I expect more. Like reliability, the ability to use it anywhere, a standard protocol, and no "unknown stuff" going on in the background. The client reading /etc/passwd and lots of encrypted transmission even when not in use isn't an atractive feature when there's plenty of other choices that don't do obscure stuff.

          How is the increased number of choices bad? It's almost infinitely more likely that someone will be reachable via Skype than via something that really doesn't have traction beyond geeks using Linux and OSS exclusively.

          I know two people who use skype. I have circa 100 XMPP contacts. Mainly gmail users, but I still say people are m

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:20PM (#40329857)

      Still I'm utterly astounded that it took Microsoft ownership to finally pry a halfway decent and up to date version from the developers.

      I think it is interesting how Microsoft didn't get a mention at all in the summary or the article considering that the story is about them release software for Linux. And yet prior to Microsoft aquiring Skype they were directly blamed for Skype dropping other clients [slashdot.org]. It seems we only want to mention Microsoft when bad things are happening, even if it has nothing to do with them.

      That said, it is interesting that the Skype website wasn't immediately rebranded with Microsoft logos. It seems MS are underplaying their ownership of this cross platform service. Perhaps they did some market research and found that their name would make users on non-Windows platforms aprehensive. You only need to look at the predictions of doom and gloom in the various Skype stories here on /. to appreciate that.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Microsoft and Linux go together like gasoline and chocolate. No way am I installing their ware on my stuff.
      • by humanrev (2606607)

        Interesting yes, but not totally surprising. For all the legitimately intelligent people here, a lot of them (as well as the rest I suppose) are total hypocrites. There's a reason Slashdot is laughed at by other tech sites.

      • My suspicion would be that Microsoft doesn't much care about what Slashdoters think about Skype(though they do run an awful lot of banner ads here, so maybe we should feel valued...); but that they(likely correctly) wanted to maintain a marketing separation between 'Skype', which has a very strong brand as a cheap-n-consumery chat setup with some low cost and reasonably functional POTS add-ons and whatever iteration of 'Live Communications Server' or 'Microsoft Voice Foundation for SharePoint Server' or sim
      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday June 15, 2012 @01:57AM (#40332231) Journal

        That said, it is interesting that the Skype website wasn't immediately rebranded with Microsoft logos. It seems MS are underplaying their ownership of this cross platform service

        It was actually a demand from Skype to be left alone as a team. Apparently, their CEO even demanded that their office keycards would have [digitaltrends.com] Skype logo on them, and not MS.

    • by Edwin_OS (2427140)
      What worth Skype alternatives have you found?
    • by Trogre (513942) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:08PM (#40330811) Homepage

      As another person dissatisfied with Skype, could you please take a bit of time to describe what other solutions you are using?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      Thanks.

      • I switched to Google Talk. I use the browser plugin in chrome, which is fine for me since I use gmail for my mail client anyway (ever since kmail broke down...) There isn't official voice/video support for other linux clients [google.com], but some claim to support it (e.g. Empathy [gnome.org] says lists "Voice and video call using SIP, XMPP and Google Talk." as a feature).

        • by gr8dude (832945)

          I use it extensively since I got an Android phone, but one problem with it is that it doesn't support video or audio calls.

          People who use other clients see me in their list of contacts, but the video/audio call option is grayed out. That is strange, because the phone has a video camera, the Internet connection is reasonably fast, and Skype works well on it.

          Is there some magic checkbox I have to tick to enable audio calls on the GTalk client for Android?

          • by dmbasso (1052166)

            Probably the problem is your Android version. After I upgraded mine to 2.3 the audio calls started to work.

            • by gr8dude (832945)

              Thanks for the feedback. I thought so too, but I believe that is not the case - I have 2.3.7, Cyanogenmod 7.1.0.1.

              My version of Google Talk is 1.3, can you tell me if yours is newer?

      • by houghi (78078)

        I use http://www.poivy.com/en/index.html [poivy.com] to make my international calls.
        It is just one of the Betamax VoIP providers. A list can be found here:
        http://www.backsla.sh/betamax [backsla.sh]

        What I do is call a fix number, which asks for the line I want to call. Or when I have an Internet connection, I use the Android app.

        When I do a payment, I get 90 days free calling. After that it is still extremely cheap. Now it is 2 cents per minute for Spain.

      • Google+ Hangouts. The only people I regularly video chat with is my family.

        There are a lot of interesting tech contacts I have too, that it could be potentially interesting to video chat with. They are also on Google+. My old high school classmates aren't on Google+, but I wasn't planning on video chatting with them.

      • by david.given (6740)

        At work we use Skype. The features we use include: IM, IM chat rooms, direct file sending, audio calls, audio callout to real phones, audio conference calls, audio conference calls with real phones, screen remoting, video calls (occasionally). This all has to run on Linux, Windows, OSX, and Android.

        I've been unable to find any competing product that does all of this at the same time. So we use Skype, which I loathe.

        (Skype's notifications on Linux are so terrible that people have got into the habit of ta

  • 64 bit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metageek (466836) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:47PM (#40329553)

    The most important question is whether they made a native 64 bit version? [for those of us who don't want to pollute our machines with 32-bit compatibility libraries]

    • by blackpaw (240313)

      Yes they did, though I haven't tried it yet.

      • by metageek (466836)

        Great!

        Weird times, though: this puts me in a position of wanting to thank Microsoft...

        • Wait until you've used it.

          No, no snarky undertone...I didn't use it (never will), but wait until you've actually used software before thanking the developers.

      • by metageek (466836)

        Are you sure?
        I've downloaded both the static and dynamic versions and they are only 32-bit... where did you find information about a 64-bit version?

        • by whoever57 (658626)

          I've downloaded both the static and dynamic versions

          Where did you find a static version of 4.0?

    • Re:64 bit? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:05PM (#40329731)

      No, the "64bit" version is still 32 bit:

      $ dpkg-deb -I skype-ubuntu_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb
        new debian package, version 2.0.
        size 29342422 bytes: control archive= 4552 bytes.
                  32 bytes, 1 lines conffiles
                904 bytes, 21 lines control
              9835 bytes, 137 lines md5sums
        Package: skype
        Version: 4.0.0.7-1
        Section: non-free/net
        Priority: extra
        Architecture: amd64
        Depends: lib32stdc++6 (>= 4.1.1-21), lib32asound2 (>> 1.0.14), ia32-libs, libc6-i386 (>= 2.7-1), lib32gcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1-21+ia32.libs.1.19)
        Conflicts: skype-mid, skype-common
        Replaces: skype-mid, skype-common
        Installed-Size: 34742
        Maintainer: Skype Technologies
        Description: Skype
          .
          Skype is software that enables the world's conversations.
          Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls,
          send instant messages and share files with other Skype users.
          Everyday, people also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles.
          .
          * Make free Skype-to-Skype calls to anyone else, anywhere in the world.
          * Call to landlines and mobiles at great rates.
          * Group chat with up to 200 people or conference call with up to 25 others.
          * Free to download.

  • by bogie (31020) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:01PM (#40329703) Journal

    But at least they are supporting linux with it vs not. The bottom line is when your trying to use Linux as your desktop OS and need to Skype with someone they don't want to hear "Just download X client and we'll use that instead of Skype". Maybe the people forcing you to run Skype to communicate with them should care about open standards but like most people they probably just want to use something that's familiar and easy to use.

  • The last time I allowed Skype to update, it broke Excel.

    No thanks.

  • by fnj (64210) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:34PM (#40329999)

    Ubuntu 10.04, Debian 6.0, Fedora 16, and OpenSUSE 12.1 ONLY. Are you kidding me?

    • by xororand (860319)

      There's a generic dynamic & a generic static binary tarball.
      I'm using the former in a TinyCore virtual machine.
      The complete VM is about 140 megabytes and includes ALSA sound, Fluxbox, Chromium and Skype.

      I can upload it as a VirtualBox appliance if anyone's interested,

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Use alien and treat it like a generic tarball if you need too.

      Some people even call those "Slackware packages".

      • Tarball: .tar.gz.
        Slackware package: .tgz.

        Slackware packages are also tarballs, but they contain some standardized scripts for configuration and installation on slackware. They are typically binary-only packages as well, as opposed to regular tarballs which typically (but far from always) are used for source distribution.

        • >Tarball: .tar.gz.
          >Slackware package: .tgz.

          >Slackware packages are also tarballs, but they contain some standardized scripts for configuration and installation on slackware. They are typically binary-only packages as well, as opposed to regular tarballs which typically (but far from always) are used for source distribution

          Actually that's not quite true. Slackware does still support tgz packages but ever since slackware 13 they have not been standard. All standard slackware packages are in, and all

    • by iroll (717924)

      Well, since Debian, Fedora, SUSE, and their derivatives probably have a >90% "market" share, I'd say it's a pretty good start.

      Or was that the joke? =)

    • With those distro's supported you have quite a large part of the Linux desktop community covered. Others are usually inventive enough to support themselves just fine with the binaries for the above mentioned distributions to work with. For a binary only release, they're doing better than quite a few other major software vendors. Adobe's flash? The last version ever to be put out messes up color space with hardware acceleration and the list of supported distributions is .... ehr what again? Oracle's RDBMS, w
  • One of the STUPIDEST and most annoying things about the newer versions on Windows is that chat windows have an arbitrary fixed max width to the text, with forced linewrapping! You can fullscreen it to your widescreeny heart's content, and be greeted with nothing but giant blank white areas on either side, with just a slit of text down the middle furiously wrapping itself.

    This SUCKS for pasting in source code or any other material with intentional linebreaks, and I haven't found anything to be able to allow

  • No thanks.

    So who is doing video/audio over jabber?

  • I see RPM's and DEB's but no static nor dynamic tarballs. In the past these have been useful for installing to other distros like Arch, and cases where the packaged versions conflict with existing libraries. Are they available somewhere?

    Not that I'm a big Skype user nor supporter myself, but I know I'm going to get bugged by other people about this.

  • A quick Google search says there was a repo for Ubuntu at one point in time, but it looks to not exist anymore. Is there still one somewhere?
    • Ubuntu gives you Skype through Canonical partners repository. I think you are asked whether you want it there during the installation, in the same window where they ask about multimedia support and updates during installation. Downside is that we will probably not see the new version for while.

  • I'm glad that Microsoft is working on Linux, but I was just wondering whether I want to update. I use Skype on both Linux and Windows and to be honest, I prefer the old version from Linux. Sure: it crashes more often, and has somehow less features. But for what I mostly do, it works ok. And the interface is much less cluttered, I can quit the app without having to read a manual, no ads, really slick.

    I haven't looked at the new Skyp 4 yet, but I don't find it unlikely that I switch back to the old version at

  • All conversations in one windows? Sounds like most clients already have tabbed views. (it surprises me to find out skype still didn't!)

    The rest is mostly sugar candy, new emoticons and stuff. As for "more webcams support"... if voice+video is your main bussiness, it sounds like a bug-fix, not a "new feature".

  • Would someone check if Hell has frozen over?

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