Ditch Skype for your audio, video and text chats

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Apidech Ninkhlai, 123RF

Apidech Ninkhlai, 123RF

Phoning It In

Linux users have been struggling with a love-hate relationship with the likes of Skype since it was taken over by Microsoft. Now there are many other apps to choose from for your audio, video, and text chatting needs, and each of them has a niche where it excels.

If you want to chat with other people over the Internet, then the possibilities are mushrooming. Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, and WhatsApp are just a few of the options out there. But the software itself is often proprietary, and the operators of these services occupy a position of control over the users. You have to register with the service and use official apps. Anonymous accounts that have self-administered servers or alternative clients are usually not permitted.

Currently, Skype users are starting to feel more of the control. The Linux client has never played a major role with Skype. Even so, new Linux versions for the Skype client were released at intervals, that is until Microsoft took over Skype. Prior to that, user wishes like a 64-bit version remained unfulfilled. Nonetheless, many a Skype user preferred the Linux version since it left out frills and unnecessary indicators.

Alpha Skype

Skype has gradually fallen out of favor with Linux users since it was taken over by Microsoft. There are lots of complaints that it is no longer possible to join conversations [1]. The new Skype for Linux alpha version, the "Linux Version" [2], which was recently released, basically consists of an Electron-based shell [3] wrapped around the Skype web client (Figure 1). Ghetto Skype [4] is a similar solution that has been available for a long time over the Internet. The Skype for Linux alpha version is still lacking important functions. For instance, it cannot deal with video chats.


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