I remember for a long time that Skype on GNU/Linux systems was a nightmare.
The official application was terrible, and solutions like Pidgin were lacking in some crucial features such as video calling. Thankfully, finally, Microsoft seems to have stepped up their game when it comes to an official Skype for Linux.
Users can download .RPM or .DEB files from the official website, and skypeforlinux-bin is available for Arch/Antergos/Manjaro users from the AUR.
I have Skype for Linux installed on Antergos, but the officially supported list of distributions is:
The official website also has some important information about compatibility:
“We have tested with different desktop environments: Gnome, Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE, but keep in mind there are differences between all these environments and some of the things are tightly coupled with the environment you use (e.g. notifications). Also, Skype for Linux Beta currently depends on gnome-keyring and libgnome-keyring0 packages for storing credentials. Both of these packages are installed as a dependency for the Skype for Linux Beta package.”
Skype for Linux features all of the usual things, like video and voice calling, group chats, bots, the ability to choose between light/dark themes, screen sharing etc. I won’t proclaim to know every single feature Skype has, but I have yet to say, “huh, I can’t do THAT in Linux...” when using Skype, in comparison to Windows, so I guess that counts for something?
Martin's remark: Skype for Linux does not support group video charts currently or outgoing screen sharing. Microsoft plans to add these features to Skype for Linux in future versions. Users can run the old version and the new version of Skype for Linux side by side. These are not streamlined however, so that you may notice double call notifications and such.
One thing to note about Skype, is that it is not open-sourced, and Microsoft appears at the present to have no plans to change that.
Skype for Linux is still technically a beta / preview, but it appears to be fairly stable, well rounded, and has all the features most people would use from Skype, so I must say that its about time Microsoft got Skype done properly for us GNU/Linux users.
How about you? Do you use the Skype preview? Any issues, or comments on it?Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.