Skype 1.4 for Linux released – as an Alpha version

kopete-logo
Skype today released an Alpha version of the Linux client to its network. The new client has a lot of bugs and missing features is therefore for testing purposes only. And no, now SMS or video with this version.

Two days later than expected Skype released the new version to the masses. But the state is Alpha, and the announcement is pretty clear about that:

Of course, before Skype for Linux becomes beta version you should be prepared to take some risks when running it, as it may break things and probably will.

The list of missing features is also provided, which should give you a first idea of the real state of the client:

  • Creating new accounts is not yet possible.
  • Undelivered chat messages are not currently indicated.
  • There is no way to mark all events as read/viewed at this time.
  • /alertsoff in chats does not currently work as expected.
  • OSS support – this will likely return later.
  • At this stage, packaged versions are not available. For now, simply move the ‘skype’ executable from the archive into /usr/bin and the sounds into /usr/share/skype/sounds

The entire list of known issues is actually too long to quote it here. So before you go and download the new version, make sure you backup your local skype folder – or simply start the client with another user information directory like this: skype --dbpath=~/.Skype-1.4.

Nevertheless the new release is a major step: the interface is completely new and was done with the help of Qt 4. Most interesting here is that the interface does not try to follow the Windows client anymore, but that it follows the style of the Mac OS client:

Skype main window

But I have to admit that I like it – it is not that clustered as the Windows client. Still, this is my opinion and your mileage may vary.
Besides the graphics the audio has been improved as well. The Skype developers sate that it is now equal to the quality of the current Windows and MacOS development versions

Since this is Alpha there will be several new releases in the next weeks and months to smooth out the bugs. Still, the developers also give an outlook about what we can expect after that release:

After this release has passed into beta stages, our next goal will be to implement video features, and this is not too far off.

I would like to see that – but of course I would even more like to see a Jabber/Video client for Linux😉
(And no, as usual: SIP based solutions like OpenWengo or Ekiga are not an option. Not at all!)