Skype launches as a ‘snap’ to cater to more Linux users

Microsoft has some good news for Skype users on Linux today: The VoIP communications app is now available as a snap, the packaging format designed for all popular Linux distributions.

Skype has in fact been available on Linux for years already, though the company had effectively ignored the platform until July 2016, when it announced it was working on a new WebRTC version. That client graduated to beta last March with a host of new features, and it has been iterated upon in the months since, though with numerous complaints that it is not entirely stable. It’s worth noting here that the older native Skype for Linux app was officially sunsetted last July.

Snaps were created by Ubuntu developer Canonical as a universal Linux package that works across any version of Linux on any device. This offers additional benefits to developers, including automatic software updates, as well as rollbacks — so if a new version of a particular software turns out to be a little buggy, they can easily revert back to the previous version.

Above: Skype on Linux

Today’s news comes shortly after Spotify turned to snaps for its Linux desktop client.

Ultimately, snaps ensure that developers like Skype don’t have to tweak their builds to suit different Linux distributions. The existing Skype Linux client officially worked with Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, and Fedora, but the addition of snaps means Skype should also work natively on the likes of Linux Mint, Manjaro, Arch Linux, and Solus too.

“We want to be able to deliver the same high quality experience on Linux as we do on other platforms,” said Jonáš Tajrych, a senior software engineer at Skype. “Snaps allow us to do just that by giving us the ability to push the latest features straight to our users, no matter what device or distribution they happen to use.”

It’s worth noting here that the new Skype snap serves as an additional option for Linux users. Those already using the existing Skype desktop client can continue to do so.

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