Yes!! There is a new Skype for Linux now. Well almost, as it is still in alpha stage (unstable, under development).
Ever since Microsoft acquired Skype, Linux users were skeptical about Skype’s future on Linux. This fear soon came to reality when Microsoft started ignoring Skype on Linux. Skype was brutally ignored in Linux domain with the last update releasing more than two years back.
But as Microsoft has found a new love for Linux, it has perhaps started to care for Linux users! Last week when Skype revealed teaser that something new is coming for Linux users, speculations were high. Even our Twitter community got excited for the ‘new good news’.
— It's FOSS Linux Blog (@itsfoss) July 9, 2016
Most people, including me, anticipated that there will be a new Skype version for Linux, with a better user interface, modern look, and more features. Turns out we were partially right.
Partially? Yes, because the latest Skype announced for Linux is in alpha stage. Which means it will be hardly usable and would lack several features. But hey! it’s a beginning, isn’t it? Let’s just hope they won’t take another two years to release the beta version of this new Skype.
Features of new Skype alpha version
This new version uses WebRTC to handle voice calls in the backend while the client has been built using Electron and Node.js. The new application aims to provide the latest, fast and responsive Skype UI, with which you can share files, photos and videos and send a whole new range of new emoticons. But not all features are present in the alpha built, unfortunately.
If you use this alpha version, you can not make or receive calls from the older Skype on Linux. Desktop screen sharing is not possible for now. When Ubuntu is going is to drop 32 bit support, why would Microsoft care for 32 bit system? Hence only 64 bit systems are supported by this new Skype version.
You can use the alpha version for voice calls, instant messaging and group messaging. You can also use the new emoticon pack.
Try the new Skype
If you want to help Microsoft in testing the new Skype on Linux, you can install the alpha version. There are .deb and .rpm files available for 64 bit Ubuntu and Fedora based systems respectively.
This is how the new version looks like in Ubuntu 16.04:
Microsoft has woken from the sleep and started responding to Linux users’ demand. What next? Microsoft Office for Linux? While that is almost not possible in near future, I do hope that Google follows the suit and release a Google Drive Linux client.
What do you think of the overall “new Skype for Linux”? Are you going to give it a try?