Skype for Linux: Where's the R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
We Linux folk are the reliable early adopters of innovative applications like Skype who have done a disproportionate amount of work to make it popular. The gift horse we've gotten in return is a usable but much less feature-rich version that is years behind the other platforms. We're missing key features like sending SMS (argghhh!!!), video snapshots, the ability to import contacts from Yahoo and Gmail, a better UI and much more.
Now Skype 4.0 beta is available but only on Windows. Version 4.0 offers many new innovations, such as a much improved GUI (the Linux version will feel even more archaic), easier-to-use video calls, money sending, Skypecasts and more.
I contacted Skype what their plans are for Linux. Here is Skype's reponse:
Skype's Mac & Linux teams are both working closely with the Windows team and are monitoring feedback on this Beta release along with them.
Skype will take what is learned from this Beta release (which is not about new features, but is about a new user interface) and incorporate it into future product releases for other platforms.
I hope this helps shed some insight into Skype's product development process.
In response I put in a query to find out when the Linux and Mac versions will be available, but to be honest, I am not optimistic, given Skype's history. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the fact that Skype has a Linux version. I just think that after all of the support our community has given to Skype, that we deserve the most current and feature rich version.
Now only if every Linux user Skyped the company at the same time... ;)
James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.