Microsoft has just released the beta version of its new Skype application for Linux. This new version, despite being in stable, has replaced the existing Skype 4.3 on its website as the default download.
If you are not already aware, until now, Microsoft used a Qt based Skype client for Linux. This application lacked a number of features and was not updated for several years. The user interface looked like it was made before 2010.
But Microsoft woke up from the sleep and announced that it was working on a new Skype application for Linux. The new version uses modern cloud architecture, unlike the older version that used peer to peer architecture.
The new Skype version is basically the web version of Skype wrapped using Electron and Node.js. But it does bring the regular Skype features that Windows users are enjoying.
New features in Skype 5.0 Beta
Some of the main highlights of the Skype 5.0 beta release are:
- Calls to mobiles and landlines with Skype credit
- One to one video calls (which means no group video calls yet)
- Linux users can now view shared screens from other Skype desktop clients (it seems that Linux users can only view other’s screen, not share their own. I didn’t see the option to share screen in Linux client)
- Unity launcher shows the number of unread conversations
- Online contacts in contact list now include Away and Do Not Disturb statuses
- Performance improvement and bug fixes
File sharing was already present in the alpha version of the new Skype client.
Install Skype 5.0 Beta in Linux
Despite being in beta, Skype 5.0 beta is now the default download on the Skype website. You cannot find the older Qt versions of Skype 4.x. You can still install Skype older version in Linux from the official repositories, though.
To get the Skype 5.0 beta in Linux, you can go to the download section of Skype website and get either of the .deb or .rpm installation files. I am not certain, but I think that it is only available for 64 bit system. That reiterates my belief that slowly, Linux 32Bit is disappearing from the scene.
Of course, the source code of Skype 5.0 is not available.
Ubuntu users can download the .deb file and install it using Gdebi or Ubuntu Software Center.
Once installed, you can find it in Unity Dash:
The new interface looks like this:
Skype is one of the few instant messaging applications that have native Linux clients. If you are averted to Skype because it’s linked to Microsoft, perhaps you can use Wire or Viber as an alternative.
Are you going to install Skype 5.0 beta in Linux?