Friday, February 8, 2013

Congratulations to Microsoft for buying Skype. They simply destroyed the compatibility with Linux.

Update: I actually seems to be working now. However, it's not brilliant at all, the quality is unacceptable for any standard, in my opinion. The sound tends to be very unnatural, and it gets stuck for a few times every single second, so you must sometimes guess what the person at the other end is saying. Furthermore, the video gets behind for about 7-10 seconds after just a few minutes of talking. I talked with a lot of  friends from twitter, and they all complain about Skype. I have no idea where Microsoft is heading towards. 

 Who has not heard of Skype? It's probably one of the most known and popular service for voice and video chatting over the web, and it's been a wonderful product a few years ago. The times in which the quality of both sound and video were great have disappeared a long time ago, and all that's left today is a poor service, with quality which is below any acceptable level and disastrous compatibility (given the fact that mobile and Linux usage have significantly increased over the last few years).

Skype's decay has actually started before it getting acquired by Microsoft, but Microsoft only made everything worse. Before the Microsoft story, Skype was somehow working for me. I am using Linux most of the time, because not only I enjoy it the most, but my University courseworks and tasks require me to use Linux for almost every single module I have on my course. So I had to use Skype under Linux, which used to work quite decent, I might say.

However, over the last few months, it's been getting worse and worse, and now it is completely unusable under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (after being bought by Microsoft, coincidence?) . From the very beginning, video quality was a total mess under Linux, as the colors were completely out of their place and I always had a lot of shadows of different colors going on in the place where my image should have been (my image was still in the background, with all that going on on top of it). But recently, it started to crash frequently, mostly when I was trying to answer a call (calling worked just fine). And it still used to be decent, even like that!

But now, it reached the point when it signs in, and that's virtually all it can do. There are no connections going on at all between me and the other contacts, no matter what device/OS they use. All contacts appear as offline, I appear offline to them, I can't call, they can't call, so it's completely useless, and this has been happening for about a month now.

I gave up any chance that Microsoft will even think about fixing something, the last update they launched has done nothing good (it seems to have broken anything which was working), except bringing compatibility with MSN (which by the way, I heard they are planning to close and use Skype as their main messaging service). I just suppose they are probably trying to close down the compatibility with Linux because their recently-launched Windows 8 seems to be a flop, and Linux seems to be gaining more and more market share (or simply "users", because it doesn't really have market share as it's open source).

Therefore, the only chance of getting a Skype conversation is through Windows, but the situation is not exceptionally good even there, while doing Windows-to-Windows video calls (but this is another story). Microsoft's own software doesn't work good on their own operating system, so there is nothing new here. They simply deserve their Windows 8 to fail so bad that they will be motivated to do much better software, which works exceptionally at least on their own software!

Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for a flawless product from them for Linux. All I want is one which just does its job, on software it used work on.

The best alternative out there: Google hangouts. Unfortunately, its interface is sometimes confusing for some users, but quality and compatibility wise, it is absolutely perfect. Recommended trying.