After announcing the availability of the alpha version of Skype for Linux about seven months ago, Microsoft has continued to update it, with version 1.17 of the alpha build dropping a mere month ago. Now however, the firm has announced Skype for Linux has entered the beta phase.
Beyond the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, some of the top user requests have made the cut. In an effort to bring all Skype versions close to feature parity across all the supported operating systems, this new update focuses on:
- Calling updates: Calls to mobiles and landlines with Skype credit, one-to-one video calls can be made from Linux to Skype users on the latest versions of Skype for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
- Better collaboration: Linux users can now view shared screens from other Skype desktop clients (Windows 7.33 and above, Mac 7.46 and above).
- Usability improvements: Unity launcher now shows the number of unread conversations, online contacts in contact list now include Away and Do Not Disturb statuses.
The reasoning behind Microsoft's switch to this package based around WebRTC is due to the company's wish to transition Skype from "peer-to-peer to a modern, mobile friendly cloud architecture". The eventual intent however, is to do away with all different versions and just have a unified cross-platform client.
In the meantime, for those wishing to test it out, the Skype for Linux version 5 Beta is available at the download page.
Source: Skype Blog