Microsoft’s refusal to update the current Skype Linux client since 2012 has literally sparked an outrage in the Linux community, but the Redmond-based company brings good news today.
It was announced earlier in a blog post that Linux systems will be seeing a redesigned alpha version of Skype with all the bells and whistles already present on competing platforms.
This, however, brought up the rather curious question of why Alpha? and as it appears, “We wanted to get this version of Skype to users as quickly as possible. It doesn’t yet have all the Skype features (for example, video calling isn’t quite ready yet), but we hope that Linux users will help us move to beta and then to full launch in the coming months by testing our client and providing feedback to engineers”.
The new Skype Linux client will apparently be built using their web-based client with all the regular features and functionality found on the Window and MacOS counterpart in tow.
Already, Skype for Linux has been tested with varying operating systems (Fedora 23, Ubuntu Gnome 16.04, Ubuntu 16.04, OpenSuse KDE 13.2, Debian 8.5, OpenSuse Leap 42.1 KDE) and DEs that include, Gnome, Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE with some quirks – like notification integration – that still need be worked out (obviously).
Skype for Linux Alpha is available in both
rpm packages for only 64bit systems and has support for group voice calls and text chat in its current state with plans for features that will make it a full-fledged VoIP client underway – to be mostly ready when it hits stable.
The table below shows the difference between the older Linux Skype client and the recently announced Alpha.
Feature comparison between Skype for Linux (current) and Skype for Linux Alpha
|Feature list||Skype for Linux (current)||Skype for Linux Alpha|
|One-to one video calling||•|
|Skype PSTN calling||•|
|Skype SMS messages||•|
|Buy Skype credit||•|
|Add participants to ongoing call||•|
|Change device settings||•|
|One-to-one instant messaging||•||•|
|Group instant messaging||•||•|
|Add friends as Skype contacts||•||•|
|One-to-one audio calling||•||•|
|Group audio calling||•||•|
|New emoticons packs||•|
Skype for Linux Alpha users will be receiving updates every two weeks to via the Skype updater and a changelog will be published on the Skype community webpage.
The new Skype for Linux is expected to move from Alpha to beta in the coming months and you can help speed up the process of development by reporting bugs on this webpage where you can also make a download of your preferred package.