Skype shows progress for non-Windows versions

Linux Skypers have a reason to be cheerful – version beta has arrived – the first major step forward for the Linux client for three quarters of a year.

Since being bought by eBay, the Windows version of Skype has stormed ahead beyond version 2.5, adding video, performance, quality and UI improvements. Its poor brother in the Linux version has not had the same attention lavished on it.

Although the new Linux beta lacks headline-grabbing features such as video, it does sport some major improvements.

Most notable is the addition of ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture). The client can now be switched in the Options menu between ALSA and Open Sound System (OSS).

Also, the Linux client now includes a public API for the X11 windowing system, giving developers a way in to integrate Skype with other applications.

On a lighter side, all the latest emoticons are now present and correct as well as mood messages. The overall look and sound has also undergone a refresh.

The beta is available from the Skype website.

Mac Skypers have been cautioned, however, over the availability of an unofficial video version of the client. Skype says that a video version has been downloaded by various people from warez sites.

‘What you need to know about this version is that it is an internal unstable development version, and thus it is extremely buggy. It may and will destroy your contacts and other data. It is completely unsupported and if you experience problems due to using this version, you’re on your own,’ reads the Skype blog.

It promises an official video release will be made soon and adds a picture of the current development version of Skype video on the Mac as proof.

Skype also says that its SkypeIn service, allowing fixed and mobile phones to call your Skype account, continues to experience quality issues. It says ‘this is a software and operations problem at Skype and the engineering and operations staff are working to fix it’. The new Skype HeartBeat offers an overview of the status of Skype services.

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