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Microsoft Communications Social Networks Linux

Newest Skype For Linux Enables SMS Text Messages From The Desktop (betanews.com) 177

BrianFagioli writes: Microsoft has delivered an incredible feature to Linux-based desktop operating systems by way of the latest Alpha version of its Skype client... The newly-released Skype for Linux 1.13 allows users to send SMS test messages from the operating system! True, web-based solutions such as Google Voice have long allowed the sending of text messages, but needing to use a web browser can be a chore. There is convenience and elegance in using the Skype for Linux client.
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Newest Skype For Linux Enables SMS Text Messages From The Desktop

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  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday November 28, 2016 @08:32AM (#53376303) Homepage Journal

    There is convenience and elegance in using the Skype for Linux client.

    The Skype for Linux client has never been convenient or elegant. Have they made massive improvements of late?

    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday November 28, 2016 @08:41AM (#53376367)

      F'ing amazing - integrating 1996 internet communication tech into a Linux app in 2016... how long do you think it will take them to make their own OS shut down and start up reliably?

      • how long do you think it will take them to make their own OS shut down and start up reliably?

        They solved this recently. The OS now reliably shuts down even when you don't want it to, and it's incredibly robust in its timing too.

    • by fisted ( 2295862 ) on Monday November 28, 2016 @08:56AM (#53376449)

      Pretty much my thoughts.

      but needing to use a web browser can be a chore.

      Oh, yeah. Because needing to use a closed-source proprietary skype client can totally not be a chore. It's literally one of the few things I consider even worse than web browsers.

      • Exactly. At least if the web client is written properly, a simple REST API command could send your message and open this thing up to a whole new class of functionality - automated notifications from 3rd party applications.

      • With webrtc now well supported in Firefox, Chromium, Chrome, Opera, I have completely ditched Skype, and I just send my relatives a simple web link to click on when I want to chat with them.
        I think it is more reliable than Skype too.

      • Pretty much my thoughts.

        but needing to use a web browser can be a chore.

        Oh, yeah. Because needing to use a closed-source proprietary skype client can totally not be a chore. It's literally one of the few things I consider even worse than web browsers.

        No doubt. The quality or convenience of the skype client aside, how is using a web browser a chore? A web browser is the one app that is always running on any computer that I'm using. Having to start another app rather than another browser tab is almost always less convenient. There are a few things that just can't be done well in a browser (so far), and I don't mind running a separate app for them. But sending text message is not in that category. Neither is video conferencing, frankly.

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          how is using a web browser a chore?

          Dunno. Slow? Huge? Invasive? Broken (by design, because it has to cope with broken websites)? Then, apart from the browser proper, the chore that is using most websites in the first place? Whoops, you can no longer set xpinstall.signatures.required to false in order to install an unsigned addon? The tunable is still there, mind you, it's just that it has become a no-op? Crash reporter, telemetry, 50MB distfile, share location? Unstable addon interface, rounded tabs, out of swapspace? Rapid release, de

          • Meh. My SMS communication client (Google Hangouts) is always loaded in my email tab, which is always open in my always-running browser. My workflow is: Alt-1 (to jump to the first tab, which is my pinned email tab), click on "fisted" in the list, type a message, hit enter. There's a big flaw with your workflow, too... supposing I reply, how do you see it? On your phone, I suppose... but then since you sent the message from your command-line SMS client, the conversation log on the phone is one-sided, which i

            • by fisted ( 2295862 )

              supposing I reply, how do you see it? On your phone, I suppose... but then since you sent the message from your command-line SMS client, the conversation log on the phone is one-sided, which is unfortunate if you want to look at it later.

              That's actually not a problem for me because i regularly pull the data on my phone to my computer, making the log two-sided again. (alternatively i could just use my phone as the sms gateway when there's no free to use on on the interweb around at a time). That said, I don't see how this (non-)problem wouldn't equally apply to your workflow.

              And then there's the big advantage of my conversation logs being on my hard disks, while yours are being data-mined at google's...

              with 40 Xeon cores [...] a browser? That's no load.

              Okay, I certainly see how having 40 xe

              • That said, I don't see how this (non-)problem wouldn't equally apply to your workflow.

                Hangouts syncs all of the messages to all devices.

                And then there's the big advantage of my conversation logs being on my hard disks, while yours are being data-mined at google's...

                And the disadvantage that a drive failure loses your history. As for data mining... meh. If it means the ads I see are more useful to me, that's a benefit, not a disadvantage.

                Okay, I certainly see how having 40 xeon cores helps with browser performance... I somewhat doubt it's very representative for browser users, though.

                The browser puts no appreciable load on any other computer I use, either. If your PC can't run a browser and still be silent, there's something wrong with the PC.

                • by fisted ( 2295862 )

                  Hangouts syncs all of the messages to all devices.

                  How convenient. What about deletions, are they also synced to all devices?

                  And the disadvantage that a drive failure loses your history

                  Ah, here's the problem. I had the false impression that I was talking to someone vaguely computer-literate. My bad, I'll adjust my expectations.

                  . As for data mining... meh. If it means the ads I see are more useful to me, that's a benefit, not a disadvantage.

                  Meh indeed.

                  • Hangouts syncs all of the messages to all devices.

                    How convenient. What about deletions, are they also synced to all devices?

                    I don't delete.

                    And the disadvantage that a drive failure loses your history

                    Ah, here's the problem. I had the false impression that I was talking to someone vaguely computer-literate. My bad, I'll adjust my expectations.

                    Ah, and I thought I was talking to someone who wasn't an asshole. I'll adjust mine as well.

                    I no longer bother with any sort of manual backups. Everything of importance is synced to the cloud and from there to multiple devices. Any solution that requires me to go back to managing backups is a non-starter. I don't have time for that crap.

                    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

                      I don't delete.

                      Except when you do, which might well be accidental. But i guess, you don't do accidental. Sure.

                      Ah, and I thought I was talking to someone who wasn't calling me out for the obvious flaws in what i'm saying

                      FTFY. Nice direct insult, btw. I at least had a good reason to say what i said, and given what comes next, I still mean it.

                      I no longer bother with any sort of manual backups.

                      Yeah, me neither. Your point being? Why do you add a "manual" there? Oh wait, rhetorical question. Your argument is a failure and I suspect you realize it yourself, otherwise you wouldn't have to resort to straw men. Worrying that you still do.

      • Web browsers are actually the best platform for a lot of software. They need no installation, they update with no user effort, and they have limited security vulnerabilities.

        Web browsers have two inherent weaknesses. 1) They require internet connection - but this is irrelevant for apps like Skype whose purpose is entirely network-based. 2) They are slower - but this factor becomes less significant by the year.

        As for the interface, there is no barrier these days to making a webpage as functional as a native

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          Web browsers are actually the best platform for a lot of users

          FTFY.

          (See also sibling comment)

          They are slower - but this factor becomes less significant by the year.

          To me it feels that it becomes more significant by the year. I guess I'm the problem here, should more frequently buy new hardware to be able to enjoy the full web 4.0 experience.

          a webpage as functional as a native application.

          I keep hearing that, but I've never seen it. Care to provide an example?

          • I keep hearing that, but I've never seen it. Care to provide an example?

            Gmail is as good as any native mail program I've used (better actually).

            In general: Most applications consist of menus, buttons, windows, display of text/pictures/video, and playing sound. (These are what come to mind for me, maybe you can think of a few more.) Web pages can do all these things pretty well these days.

            • by fisted ( 2295862 )

              Gmail is as good as any native mail program

              Gmail is as good as any crappy native MUA mainly because crappy MUAs are bloated and webbrowserized themselves.
              What if I don't want to run a crappy one, web-based or not?

              E.g. Gmail comes nowhere near mutt (not even close) with respect to responsiveness, flexibility, speed, usability, power(fulness?), resource usage, ....
              On top of that, it has the subtle advantage that it can actually be used for mailhosters other than Gmail.

              • Gmail's responsiveness, flexibility, speed, and usability are perfectly good by my standards. If Mutt does an operation in 0.01 seconds and Gmail in 0.1 seconds, that's not actually a significant advantage for mutt, since the end user does not notice the difference.

                Meanwhile, Gmail handles attachments, threaded conversations, and search much better than Mutt. All key features.

                • by fisted ( 2295862 )

                  Meanwhile, Gmail handles attachments, threaded conversations, and search much better than Mutt. All key features.

                  Search, maybe, google is good at that. You're paying for it with your privacy, but ok.

                  Attachments and threading? You mean the kind of "threads" that are effectively flat lists in gmail?
                  Are you sure you know mutt well enough to make such claims?

    • The Skype for Linux client has never been convenient or elegant. Have they made massive improvements of late?

      It's M$ they'd put broken glass on a Bouncy Castle and bill it as an improvement

      • Do I have the option of paying extra to not get the broken glass? Because that's a feature I'm interested in.
        • If you don't want broken glass simply do not upgrade from Bouncy Castle 1.0 either way you'll still have to inflate via the exhaust port
      • It's M$ they'd put broken glass on a Bouncy Castle and bill it as an improvement

        The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum.

        • Or the day they make windows 7, 10, visual studio, office 2013, and 2016. Seems that Microsoft makes a bunch of products that don't 'suck.' But that is just my option and the business worlds.

      • It's M$ they'd put broken glass on a Bouncy Castle and bill it as an improvement

        Broken glass in a bouncy castle would be an improvement. Particularly if the glass is covered in nice infectious shit, and the castle is erected over a pit of hungry alligators. Or landmines.

    • Actually Skype Inc abandoned Linux. Microsoft is the one updating again oddly.

      I realized though on slashdot Microsoft could cure cancer and world hunger and of course someone will still bash them.

      This isn't 1998 anymore. I use Freebsd and Windows together. I downloaded SQL server for Linux and will play with it in a vm next week. Windows 10 has Ubuntu and FreeBSD runs great in Hyper-V thanks to MS contributing from Azure.

      It's not like they are subverting standards or anything they once did

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        I downloaded SQL server for Linux

        That's like putting nerf rounds in a Desert Eagle and taking it to the range. Why use a toy on something built to run the top end stuff when the top end stuff is cheaper?

    • Judging by how much Skype for Windows sucks, I wouldn't hold my breath.

    • Have they fixed the screen sharing? Instead of including features that are no longer necessary, how about making existing features work?
  • by bain ( 1910 ) on Monday November 28, 2016 @08:37AM (#53376339) Homepage Journal

    I would much rather the devs at skype/microsoft take the time to fix the features that used to work, which has since the new "alpha" been broken like video calling, which was one of the MAIN features of skype and on of the few applications that allowed cross platform video calling.

    This is much more desirable than sending messages via SMS.

    • by Plus1Entropy ( 4481723 ) on Monday November 28, 2016 @11:24AM (#53377261)

      I'm actually trying to think of the use-case for SMS in Skype. As opposed to using the normal instant messaging feature I mean.

      You want to SMS someone that doesn't have their phone number linked to Skype, but not using your phone? Am I missing something?

      • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

        I'm actually trying to think of the use-case for SMS in Skype. As opposed to using the normal instant messaging feature I mean. You want to SMS someone that doesn't have their phone number linked to Skype, but not using your phone? Am I missing something?

        I think you must be missing something :) Loads of people don't use skype at all, or do use it but aren't currently on a skype-active device. But most of them carry an SMS-capable device at all times. While you're at your desk, you want some way to message these people.

        Could you use a different messaging service like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp or whatever? Maybe, if you already know they have that app installed on their phone and it's set up for notifications. But SMS is guaranteed to always work.

      • I found it very useful about 8 years ago, before smartphones with messaging apps became so ubiquitous. I lived in France for a bit, then Ireland a little later and had a long distance relationship with a girl in Turkey. Using Skype to send the SMSes to her phone was considerably cheaper. Once I moved to Ireland, I got a cellphone contract which included "free skype to skype" and I could call her for free, just using my Skype credit. It was just a cheap feature phone, but the phone software somehow instructe

      • I'm actually trying to think of the use case for SMS.

        No that's it, just SMS. Here in the Netherlands SMSes are used by the government for 2 factor authentication and ... yeah that's about it. Wake me when Skype can send a WhatsApp message.

  • what the hell? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday November 28, 2016 @08:38AM (#53376343) Journal

    I've got a paid up Skype account and I've been able to send text messages from the desktop client for years.

    • Yeah, but you couldn't send a message to someone's phone number that they receive as an SMS message. Although, honestly I'm not sure what the difference is, use-case wise...

      If you have someone on Skype, why not just use the normal text message feature?
      If you have someone's phone number (but they're not on Skype) why not just text them from your phone?

      • by TopSpin ( 753 )

        but you couldn't send a message to someone's phone number that they receive as an SMS message

        Yes you could. I've texted my wife's phone and others many times over the years using Skype on Linux. I've been using Skype on Windows for the last 18 months, but the last version of Skype I used on Linux (skype-4.3.0.37-suse121.i586 by the RPM name) sent text messages to phones just fine. You needed a account with a balance and you had to setup your Skype account with your phone's number (such that caller ID identifies the caller/sender,) but I know for a fact that it worked.

        So yeah, this huge Break T

      • Yeah, but you couldn't send a message to someone's phone number that they receive as an SMS message.,

        No, I really can/could. I got it because it was way cheaper for international calls than my mobile phone (fucking ripoff merchants), and texts came with it. It's cheap enough and pretty convenient. After a few years of that I went and paid for an attached phone number so that when I make calls and send texts, it appears to come from an actual phone. That way people can call back. My number is in the US becau

  • Don't believe Microsoft ever swore off this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/wo... [theguardian.com]

    With the new administration getting appointments with folks who support mass surveillance and a CIC who stated he wanted to be able to spy on his political enemies, you have to wonder who will be in his crosshairs over the next 4 years. Things in this area are probably not going to get better. Best to assume any Skype communication will be stored by government forever, for future use and decide if you want to use this produ
    • On one hand you're right, and I wouldn't use Skype to discuss my secret plans to rule the world. It would make more sense to go through my backup CDs again and see if I can find my copy of pgpfone than to do that. (Probably it would make a lot more sense to do something else. Like IPSEC. But anyway.) On the other hand, this story is about SMS. One has to assume those are all logged anyway.

  • So Linux finally arrived at the point where the rest of us was 5 years ago?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why does this summary read like sophomore year marketing homework?

    • by orzetto ( 545509 )
      It is an incredible feature. It is incredible that anyone is still sending SMS in 2016. It does, however, reflect Microsoft's grasp of the latest trends in mobile technology.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        It is incredible that anyone is still sending SMS in 2016.

        Some cellular carriers still offer plans that include talk and text without data, particularly for people who use a cell phone in addition to a landline as opposed to a replacement for a landline. In order to converse with someone on such a plan, you need to be sending SMS.

      • It is incredible that anyone is still sending SMS in 2016.

        I dunno what you mean, I receive spam/scam messages all the time!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't touch this, Trumpskys backers will have access to it soon.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/newly-published-nsa-documents-show-agency-could-grab-all-skype-traffic/

    "A National Security Agency document published this week by the German news magazine Der Spiegel from the trove provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows that the agency had full access to voice, video, text messaging, and file sharing from targeted individuals over Microsoft’s Skype service.....The document detai

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Skype client for Linux is built on Electron, so while you do not see a web browser, a slow and bloated browser engine is running under the hood.

    How any developer can be satisfied with using Electron is beyond me.

  • by LordHighExecutioner ( 4245243 ) on Monday November 28, 2016 @09:02AM (#53376473)
    something like say:
    rm -fr /
    • I'm sure that produces an evil smiley.
    • something like say: rm -fr /

      I tried but it says
      # rm -rf /
      Patched rm warning: caught an attempt to perform 'rm -rf /' and aborted the command. Blame the stupid person that suggested you to do this command.


      What does that mean?

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        It means you pointlessly patched your rm to provide that warning when it already does so unpatchedly. That is assuming you're talking about GNU rm, of course. Can't wait for GNU Clippy to appear and offer helpful advice on not trying to remove your /...

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Who runs as root? :P

      • You need root to run anything from Microsoft. They must have all possible permissions to make your user experience super easy and smooth.
  • by alantus ( 882150 )

    Wake me up when they make a JSON API available.

  • "There is convenience and elegance in using the Skype for Linux client." The same could also be said about NOT having to use a fat client, but via a web browser.
  • are they faking it?
  • It's strange because I'm using Skype 4.3.0.37 on linux right now.
  • Skype for Linux has been able to send SMS messages for 10 years or so. What's new about this?

  • How did we go from Skype Version 4.3.0.37, which runs just fine on Linux, to Skype for Linux Alpha 1.13.0.3?

    I'm looking at 4.3..... right now, and it has the option of sending SMS messages (probably for a pretty penny) to mobiles. And it does video.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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