Last week Skype announced Skype for Linux desktop 2.1 Beta, the first new release of Skype for Linux in over two years. As a result it’s a huge “catch-up” release bringing to Skype for Linux many features that have been introduced on Skype for Windows and Skype for Mac over the past two years:
- Incorporation of Skype’s SILK codec which not only improves call quality for Skype-to-Skype calls but minimizes bandwidth usage
- High Quality Video support: VGA-standard video calling at 30 frames-per-second over a broadband Internet connection (minimum upload speed 384 Kbps)
- SMS send support (requires Skype credits)
- Chat: incorporates typing notification, message editing and other features into chat so we no longer get those “this person does not have a Skype client compatible with chat” type of messages.
- Contact groups
- Other “catch-up” details and improvements as listed on the Skype for Linux 2.1 Beta announcement post (link above) and in the release notes (link below).
Note that this is still a Beta release; it still has several “known issues”. Check out the release notes for details including details of how to make video work on Logitech Quickcam Manager and features that may result in crashes, such as accepting screen sharing from a Mac or Windows client.
The one recently introduced Skype for Mac/Windows feature that appears to be missing: initiation of a screen sharing session. The release notes indicate you may be able to receive a screen sharing session but you may also encounter a crash.
Bottom line: Finally a much awaited Skype for Linux that has most of the features of the current versions of Skype for Mac and Skype for Windows. if you’re a Skype for Linux user and have tried the 2.1 beta, please comment below on your experience. (Of course, Skype also appreciates having all bug details reported to Jira.)