Tech giant Microsoft has recently announce that an “alpha” test release for the new chat program Skype for the Linux system for consumer users. Linux users would be able to use the application’s voice-over-IP, video conferencing, and instant messaging services.
Microsoft Skype Client for Linux Released
With the Skype client for Linux, in which it uses WebRTC technology for web browsers, is being piloted as the soon-to-be replacement for the current dedicated Microsoft Skype program for the Linux 4.3 client software. The alpha version of the program can be downloaded from the company’s Skype community page. However, do note that this alpha stage is only available for use for Chrome browsers and Chromebooks at the time of writing.
Since the program is in its alpha stages, do take note of certain limitations. When using the alpha client, it will be problematic when the user will be trying to connect with a Skype for Linux 4.3 user. The following statement is according to an official Microsoft announcement: “You will notice that with the Alpha version of Skype for Linux, which uses our next generation calling architecture, you will be able to call your friends and family on the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, but you won’t be able to make or receive calls to and from the previous versions of Skype for Linux (184.108.40.206).”
Should a user of the Skype for Linux alpha program initiate a Skype call, then the other party needs to have the right client, otherwise the call won’t work. The acceptable clients right now do include Android 6.31, Windows 7.24, Mac 7.26, Skype for Web, and iOS 6.15, as per the FAQ site of Microsoft pertaining to the topic.
Furthermore, the alpha program is already available as a worldwide release, but it is only in the English language and it is a 64-bit release. Furthermore, it cannot do basic things that the current Linux client can already handle. For example, the alpha program has no public switched telephone network connections. Also, the messaging service is still offline at the moment. It even lacks one-to-one video calling. The company, however, did promise updates “every couple of weeks” that would perhaps address these shortcomings.
While this may seem like good news, users of Skype for Linux may already be on the path to losing a dedicated client software, because according to the FAQ page of Microsoft pertaining to the topic, the company says the following: “Up until now, Skype has built individual versions of Skype for different operating systems and devices. This is changing. In the last 12 months we have been testing our web-based platform meaning that users can make Skype calls without needing to install a plugin. We are making it quicker and easier than ever before to connect with friends and family — directly from Skype.com.”
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