Skype hasn’t been very nice to the Linux crowd over the years. The Skype client for Linux has always lacked features and lagged behind other platforms in terms of performance and speed. That’s still the case, but today’s update might just make it a bit better.
Today, Skype for Linux hits version 5. The new version is not an Alpha, but a Beta, progressing the app to the next stage of development.
The update brings the Linux client closer to parity with the iOS, Windows, macOS, and Android clients. At least, somewhat. Make no mistake – Skype for Linux still lags behind the Skype clients on other platforms, but it is getting there.
For example, Skype for Linux is yet to support group video calls. Yes, that’s a basic Skype feature, and yet is not present in the Skype for Linux client. That’s how bad things are.
Setting that aside, let’s talk about what the update brings; for firsts, Skype will now display the ‘Away’ and ‘Do not Disturb’ statuses in the contacts list.
That’s a good start, but there’s more: it’s now also possible to make one-to-one video calls from the Linux client to users on other more common platforms like Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
In addition to that, Skype for Linux users can now also use the screen sharing feature in video calls.
It is now also possible to make landline and mobile calls via Skype with Skype Credit. So, more ways to spend that money.
Finally, for those who swear by Unity launcher for Linux: Skype will now show a counter for the number of unread conversations.
Skype for Linux is now in beta. It’s a slow progress, but further features and improvements will come in due time.
For now, if you must, you can download the Skype for Linux Beta version 5 client over here.
Skype says they want to create a Linux client that is as feature rich as the client on other platforms. To get there, will be a long journey. But, at least we get some incremental improvements on the way.