Microsoft continues to expand their cross platform reach with the release of Skype for Linux and plugin free calling on Chromebooks and Chrome for Linux.
Unlike some companies who choose not to be a good citizen when it comes to cross platform support, I am looking at you Google, Microsoft embracing Linux and Chromebook users is an acknowledgement that those communities. despite their level of marketshare, deserve good tools and access to resources like Skype and browser based browinsg.
Today's news introduces a Skype for Linux Alpha download in either a DEB or RPM package format that directly supports the open WebRTC framework for real time communications in a web browser.
According to Microsoft this brings many benefits compared to the current Skype for Linux client:
"For example, you’ll be using the latest, fastest and most responsive Skype UI, so you can share files, photos, videos and a whole new range of new emoticons with your friends."
In addition, this version of Skype for Linux will be able to interact with users on Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android which was not possible with the current client.
Of course, since this is an alpha release of the new client, Microsoft wants your feedback to help build out this new client so it performs reliably. Feedback can be left in the Skype Community forums using a LinuxAlpha label.
One other aspect of this announcement was the introduction web based calling, using WebRTC, for users on Chromebooks and Chrome for Linux. The feature set for this method of calling will be the same as the new Skype for Linux client.
Microsoft makes a point in their announcement blog post that these are very early steps in building this new client and its capabilities so be sure to give them feedback on what you are looking for in this client so it meets the needs of Linux and Chromebook users in the future.
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