Skype: Linux is a 2nd Class Citizen


Ok… so I might have made that title up, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

Skype Release Cycle Across Platforms

I’ve put together an illustration that makes it clear, from where I am standing, that Linux is regarded as a 2nd class citizen, that does not deserve the love and attention that other platforms enjoy from the Skype steering team.

Why The ‘Skype For Linux’ Project is poorly managed….

I hate to say it, but the project really must be in dire straits. Here are some of the reasons why:

Sluggish Release Cycle

  • There hasn’t been a stable Skype release for Linux nearly 3 years
  • However, there have been 5 stable releases for Windows in the last 2 years, including 14 bug fix releases, and 1 beta release.
  • Support for active upstream projects is poor. For example, it took 18 months after Fedora used Pulseaudio by default to support this sound server.

No Consistent Direction

  • In 2008, Skype announced they were hiring QT developers, and had developed a MID Interface for tablet devices. But then late in 2009, they announced that they intended to Open Source the Skype user interface. One can guess that they are no longer to look to hire QT developers, and they also confirmed that the MID Interface project is dead.
  • Twice, in 2009, Skype announced that a 64 bit version (here and here) was being developed, and support for FreeBSD would be added. It’s now 2011, and neither have emerged.

Comical Communication

  • Their use of the Skype For Linux blog is apathetic to say the least. 3 time in 2008, 5 times in 2009, and once in 2010.
  • They then setup a Skype For Linux twitter account, tweeting to me: “the plan is that the tweets will be more regular”. They have so far tweeted 3 times, all promising “more tweets”.


So, Skype development steering team: Just what do you have to say for yourself?


  1. Tweets that mention Linux Software Blog » Blog Archive » Skype: Linux is a 2nd Class Citizen -- Said,

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Linux Feed, Rob Stewart. Rob Stewart said: Skype: Linux is a 2nd Class Citizen #skype #linux #fedora [...]

  2. Jesús Franco Said,

    Given the care Skype shows to Linux community, why we should care about Skype on Linux? And its closed source, so, again why we should care?

  3. Rob Said,

    @jesus – I really want to agree with you. Unfortunately, though, my colleagues all use Skype, as do my friends and family. And seen as though Skype is not inter-operable with any open VOIP solution, it seems I’m tied in :-(

  4. Bucky Said,

    I understand your frustration.

    However, it’s always dangerous to infer things from a LACK of information.

    For example, CentOS 6′s progress page has been static for about 2 months:

    …despite the page’s reassurance that the information is current to the day.

    My point is, that here’s a very respectable Linux distribution whose communication with the outside world can be best described as sucking ass. Until we get our own house in order, we can hardly expect better of others.

  5. JFM Said,

    For those who are stuck with colleagues using Skype, I’ve fond that it’s fairly easy to get the same people using Google Chat (where it wouldn’t be easy, for example, to get them using SIP).

  6. Marianne Said,

    I concur! Good points you make sir! x

  7. Chris Kerr Said,

    Agree with Rob that Skype treat Linux as a 2nd class citizen. Whilst not really wishing to see my ugly mug in call, the white rectangle really gets on my nerves.

    Yes Skype is closed source but they purport to pay at least lip service to Linux. They’d be more honest in telling us to gtf.

    Superficial search for a FOSS alternative doesn’t throw much joy.

  8. tryfon Said,

    I tried to post something at Skype’s Linux blog and I got the message that posting there is not allowed!!! That’s why the most recent comment dates back to 15 Nov 2010! Anyway this is what I was trying to post, excuse my poor English:
    “This is my first post in this blog.
    I’d like to say that I have been using Skype for a very long time and I was delighted when I found out about the Linux version when I first installed Ubuntu (it was 7.10 if I remember correctly). It has become pretty clear by now that you have completely abandoned the development of the Linux version and that you don’t have any sincere intentions in open-sourcing anything. Do be honest, after some years of experience in the Linux world I am not surprised. Typical behavior by a software company with a proprietary business strategy.
    In my mind, because I can’t see any other reason for a thriving company with millions of users and obviously a lot of resources available, this is part of a conscious war against free software. You have realized that it is slowly taking over and it will take over eventually I can assure you. By boycotting it the way you do the only thing you make certain is the acceleration of your extinction. Maybe you get pressured by Microsoft, maybe you work in collusion with them, I don’t know and whatever the case is I don’t mind, the result is the same and it was foreseeable. What worries me is a general attack that I see taking place lately. NVidia for example does not plan to support its new Optimus ION chips for Linux, rendering all new NVidia-powered netbooks non-Linux. Well they don’t know the Linux community well it seems, they will just start buying ATI-powered netbooks.
    I am from now on actively looking for a replacement for Skype and moreover another important reason for keeping my Windows installation just flew from the window. You can tell that to your friends at Microsoft.
    Maybe what you do will prove actually good in the end you know.
    Thank you sincerely for forcing me to get rid of another piece of proprietary software from my computer.”
    And for the people out there who say that all of your friends use Skype so you are kinda framed in this, explain your friends what is the case and tell them that you are switching to another service (Ekiga for example, I don’t know) and that if they want to keep talking with you they can install it as well.
    It’s high time people start thinking a little bit more politically in their choices in software, and by politically I mean start thinking what is better for most of the people in the long run. In my mind this is a clear choice and it is free and open source software.

  9. tryfon Said,

    Amazing, one day after I posted the message above the people at Skype decided to release an update from beta to beta. This is a JOKE!!! So when should we expect the next major update to rc? In 2013, or am I getting excited here???


  10. Andy Said,

    I find Skype on Ubuntu crashes and does weird things too often to be usable. If I want to use Skype I use it online with IMO. Does the job. And it doesn’t make me curse so much.

  11. Skype for Linux Version 4.0 Released | Skype Releases Updated Version 4.0 for Linux Said,

    [...] with Skype 4.0. This second-class treatment of Skype on Linux has been criticized extensively in this blog post. Linux might have its own ninja-skills and hacker-friendly tools, but when it comes to attracting [...]

Add A Comment

By Rob