Microsoft has updated its Skype client for Linux for the first time since 2014.
The new Skype for Linux Alpha featured an updated user interface and an entirely new architecture — it doesn’t yet have all the features available for Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android. But it uses the same calling architecture as Skype for those platforms, and the new version of Skype for Linux uses the same WebRTC protocol for voice and video calling as Skype for Web.
I’m looking forward to reading more snarky comments from Skype for Linux users who had been hoping for a more substantial update to the native app.
At launch, Skype for Linux can make voice calls, but not video. And you can only make those calls to folks using the latest versions of Skype for other platforms (so if you want to call someone using the old Linux app, you’re out of luck). But Skype plans to continue rolling out new features and improvements. There’s a reason the new Skype for Linux client is labeled as an “alpha.”
The good news is that since the new version uses the same code as Skype for Web, which is under active development, there’s a good chance Microsoft won’t go years between updates this time.
And speaking of Skype for Web, Microsoft has updated that too: now you can make Skype voice calls using a Chromebook. Previously Chrome OS users could only use Skype for Web for text-based chats.
Skype launched support for voice and video calling using a web browser in April… but at the time it was only available on Windows computers with the Microsoft Edge browser. Now Voice calling is also available on Chrome OS… or you can use the Chrome browser for Linux if you don’t want to install the new Skype for Linux Alpha.
Just visit web.skype.com in the Chrome browser on a Chromebook or Linux machine. The web client has most of the same features available in the Linux client… and like that version of Skype, it’s also still in alpha.
Skype for Linux, meanwhile, is available in DEB and RPM formats, which means you can install it on a wide range of operating systems including Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Fedora.