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Skype Releases Open SDK 108

An anonymous reader writes "SkypeKit gives Linux developers access to core functionality, allowing Linux developers to add video, calling, and instant messaging features to desktop applications. The SDK also comes with the freshly royalty-free SILK codec for high-end audio. Skype is hoping that the inclusion of SILK will popularize the codec, extending its reach. Currently, the SkypeKit beta is only available for Linux on an invite-only basis, with Windows and Mac versions planned in coming weeks. The SDK does not cover Android or Mac, an odd choice considering the announcement of SkypeKit championed itself for extending the functionality of Skype to multiple platforms and devices. Including smartphones in the SDK seems like an obvious move." Ars Technica has a rundown, too.
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Skype Releases Open SDK

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  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:56PM (#32670694) Journal
    I'm assuming that Skype plans on making money off of this somehow, so how are they doing that? Are they hoping for people to use Skype technologies everywhere, so that more people will start paying Skype for the commercial/paid offerings they have?
  • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:00PM (#32670764) Homepage

    Using SkypeOut as a trunk in Asterisk would make them a little bit of cash. Otherwise, I can't really say I know what their "normal" business model ever was.

  • How is this open? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:08PM (#32670888) Homepage
    From the faq:

    Is SkypeKit ‘open’? What will you restrict?
    The topic of openness is often debated and its definition can mean different things to different people. For starters, we believe in an open Internet and open standards. We are adopting an open approach meaning we are releasing APIs and enabling others to use SkypeKit and apply it in new ways. But, SkypeKit won’t be opened up to every single use case that developers dream up. For example, our license terms prohibit using SkypeKit for gambling or adult-themed applications.

    Think of SkypeKit as a "headless" version of Skype – that is, a Skype client with no user interface that runs invisibly.

    How is this even remotely close to open ? As far as I can see it's still just a binary blob!

  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:22PM (#32671044) Homepage Journal

    Skype's problem is that developing a version of Skype that works on the various popular (and not so popular) versions of Linux is difficult. The Linux market is small enough, and fractured enough, that Skype would just as soon not even try. Unfortunately, Skype is concerned that, if left to its own devices, the Free Software community is large enough to build and popularize a Skype alternative that could compete with Skype. It has certainly done that sort of thing before.

    So Skype is providing a SDK that would allow Open Source hackers the ability to build there own GUI front ends for Skype's service. This neatly solves the problem of creating a Linux client that works everywhere, as the preferred method for integrating software into a distribution in the Free Software world is to simply provide source. The idea is to get the Open Source hackers to work out the tricky bits like figuring out which API allows access to the web cam, and which API should be used for audio input/output. The folks working on the various distributions know how this is done, and Skype (apparently) does not.

    This is a win for Skype because they get some help in creating Linux clients, and it is theoretically a win for the Open Source community as they get a working Skype client. This still leaves the Free Software guys, the ones that won't use Skype no matter how slick it is, because it is proprietary, to build their own competing service. Their initial reaction would probably be to leverage the work done by the Open Source guys. My guess is that Skype will try and make it so that the license on their SDK will not allow that. However, this is likely to be easier said than done, and that probably explains why the SDK has not actually been released yet. Skype is probably working on the proper license that will allow them to use the Free Software libraries that they need to use, while making it impossible for the Free Software guys to use software created to work with their SDK.

  • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdot. f i r e n z e> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:33PM (#32671146) Homepage

    I don't see why, Skype are pretty expensive compared to the various SIP providers out there which Asterisk already supports natively... And with an open protocol like SIP you actually have a choice of providers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:42PM (#32671248)

    Skype: "oh noes! the linux desktop market - how could we have overlooked that?!?! we must dominate that lucrative space without further ado"

    Seriously, they don't give a stuff about two linux nerds talking to each other over Skype. Skype is about ubiquity. Windows is ubiquity. Apple is ubiquitous in some markets.

    If next generation telephone networks can use Skype as a channel then Skype gets in on the action on you calling your bank or supermarket or council or doctors ....

    You use Asterisk (and it's ilk) all day without even realising it because you are using a regular phone (maybe with a VOIP provider as a gateway who are themselves also using Asterisk).

    How much more convenient if you can just use good ol' skype to call these guys directly from your skype client?

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:48PM (#32671338)

    I suspect this is related somehow to FaceTime, which Apple also open sourced. Skype could potentially face loosing the market, much like Adobe is with Flash vs. HTML5.

  • Re:Screw Skype.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jps25 ( 1286898 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:55PM (#32671414)

    Because there's no alternative to videocalls between OS X / Linux / Windows.

  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:03PM (#32671470)
    In order to be ubiquitous, you have to not have any big holes in coverage. By most sources I can find, the iOS market is currently smaller than the desktop GNU/Linux market, but Adobe was making a huge deal about iOS not supporting Flash.
  • by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:28PM (#32672600)

    Skype is:

    a) Much cheaper now, they have several A-Z ratecards, some of the reasonably cheap (I have good carriers to compare, their prices are somewhat similar to Verizon(SIP), Voipjet (IAX2) and Minutehub(SIP) on many routes, and cheaper on some, and they have a reasonable quality)
    b) They do provide SIP access. I have them configured with in several asterisk servers.

  • Its about handsets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by secondhand_Buddah ( 906643 ) <> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @02:49AM (#32674482) Homepage Journal
    Skype Open SDK for Linux = a free market for innovative Skype handsets.
  • by vivian ( 156520 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:33AM (#32674736)

    It should be making them a profit - I only use Linux and use Skype for nearly all my calls and have been doing so for several years now, since August 2006. I have a skype-Out account, and regularly make calls to mobile phones and land-lines, and occasionally overseas, and I have a skype-in number too. So far in 2010, I have spent $63 with them.

    Surely I can't be the only one. I definitely feel like a second class citizen in the Skype world though, with a UI that has been in beta for a year, and is significantly lagging the windows versions.

    From what I understand of the situation, Skype is restricted in what they can release as open source, due to licensing of certain technologies they have in their codecs - not much can be done about that I suppose, short of a complete rewrite or finding a suitable replacement that is not so encumbered.

    If the released API makes it possible to create calls, send & receive video and fetch on-line info about your contacts, then great! At last it will be possible to write a decent front end!

    I Really don't know why the front end wasn't written using QT, so that it wouldn't be such a big deal to keep all platforms on the same version of UI, , but I sure intend to have a stab at writing a front end in QT/C++ if I can get my grubby little hands on a copy of the API and libraries.

    First thing I will be implementing in my front end for skype: Some kind of filter so I stop getting those damn penis enlargment ads / chat with Mis-sxyxxx chick etc. that keep popping up every few days.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.