Earlier this month, Microsoft released a whole new client for Skype on Linux. The build is still rough around the edges but things are getting better with the first update which has been published. Skype for Linux Alpha 1.2 brings better overall reliability, improved system tray behaviour, and audio and video device settings.
The entire changelog for the release was published to Skype Community, it reads:
- We've improved the stability of chat service when you've been signed in and chatting for a long time.
- You can now change your audio and video device settings.
- Opening the app from tray will bring it to the front and into focus.
- You can now close the app to system tray.
- Contacts with an apostrophe in their name will now be displayed correctly.
- You can now Quit the app with Ctrl+Q (although we'd be really sad to see you go).
- We've started to support HD avatars.
- You can now set your mood message from Profile settings.
- The Post-install script registers the Debian repository and has the correct architecture specified (64bit).
While things have definitely improved, you should note that users are still reporting issues: for example a few people over at Skype Community reported not being able to find the audio and video settings menu; a Skype Community staff member said that for now, these settings are only available during a call. A gear icon shows up next to the microphone icon and from there you can get access to the audio and video settings.
Another problem plaguing the new release is the ability to minimise and open Skype to and from the system tray. A user reported this not working on Linux Mint 18, and a KDE user reports a number of problems with the notification system.These issues are to be expected with release as early as this Skype preview, though here's hoping that Microsoft does more testing across other desktop environments to make sure users have a better experience going forward.
It's early days for the Skype for Linux client but it's a good sign for the project that new releases are being pushed out to users at such a quick rate.