We waited a little while with this news, because we wanted official confirmation from Skype before jumping on the internet bandwagon. It’s official now, so here we go: Skype has announced that it will release its Linux client as open source. A little late, but welcome nonetheless.
Anyone who has ever had to misfortune of having to deal with the Linux version of the Skype client knows that is not even remotely close, feature-wise and quality-wise, to the Mac OS X and Windows versions of this little oft-used program. The program is still in beta, and stuck at version 2.x – whereas the Windows world is already in the 4.x range.
Outdated, at best. Useless, at worst.
It seems that the guys at Skype have realised this as well, as they have announced that the Skype client for Linux will be released as open source. This would theoretically make it possible for Skype to be included in Linux distributions, too.
“This will be a part of larger offering, but we can’t tell you much more about that right now,” the company blog states, “Having an open source UI will help us get adopted in the ‘multicultural’ land of Linux distributions, as well as on other platforms and will speed up further development.”
Now, while this is a step forward, the big question was whether or not Skype would open up its protocol as well. While it’s nice to have the client available as open source, the real meat for most people is stuck in the pipes, so to speak. As many had predicted, this will not happen; in the comments to the above blog post, Skype made it clear they will not open up the protocol.
Even if they never open up the protocols, just having the chance of looking at the source code of the client alone will help developers to fix the parts of the code that don’t play ball very well with Linux/*nix’ userland and give some insight that will allow the development of new and innovative ways of using Skype – as in the service.
I am really looking forward to it!
German police should be happy.