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Skype Retires Older Apps for Windows, Linux (techcrunch.com) 121

An anonymous reader writes: The newest version of the Skype app takes a big hat-tip from social media platforms like Snapchat and Facebook's Messenger with its newest features, adding a Stories-like feature called Highlights, a big selection of bots to add into chats and a longer plan to upgrade group conversations with more features. Now, as part of the effort to get people to use the new Skype more, the company is also doubling down on something else: Skype is trying to get users off of older versions of Skype. As part of that push, the Microsoft-owned company has sent out messages to users this week noting that it will be retiring a host of older iterations on July 1. Those who are still using them after that day will likely no longer be able to sign on. Skype app won't work on the follow OS versions: Android 4.0.2 and lower, BlackBerry OS 7.1 and lower, iOS 7 and lower, Linux (Linux users must upgrade to Skype for Linux Beta), Mac OS X 10.8 and lower, Symbian OS, Skype mobile for Verizon, Skype on 3, Skype on TV, Windows 10 task-based app, Windows Phone 8.1 and lower, and Windows RT.
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Skype Retires Older Apps for Windows, Linux

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  • What was the plan? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Their goal is to get more new users by pissing off existing users?

    It's Microsoft. This has worked so far, so why not?

    • Yeah, one thing I don't get. If they're not gonna develop newer versions of Skype for all those older OSs they listed above, why should anyone who still uses those OSs upgrade? In fact, they can't, even if they wanted to. One could urge them to upgrade the OSs, but that's not been possible for a lot of them. I had a Verizon Ellipsis 7, which was stuck on Kitkat, couldn't move to Lollipop. Any Windows RT tablet so far can't be upgraded to the new Windows 10 for ARM. Older iPads can't be upgraded beyond

      • Hangouts is probably the worst chat client ever.
        And your suggestions make no sense.
        Last I checked hangouts can not communicate with iMessanger or Facetime ... oops!
        And hangouts does not work on my iPad anyway anymore.

        So what exactly would people be missing again if they don't Skype?
        About 100 friends and business colleagues who only use Skype .... Remember: Skype was once. European company. Plenty of people use it here.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Web-based versions of Skype and Hangouts support only webcam, not screen sharing, which makes it difficult for one member of the team to walk others on a team step-by-step through, say, setting up a PATH environment variable on Windows.

      • "Also, outside Windows, why would anyone use Skype?"

        Probably because they like it, that's just one reason, there are a ton of others. That idea seriously didn't cross your mind?

        • What am I supposed to use to communicate with my developers? Snapchat? Skype is the most widely used basic chat/voice client out there, I'm very sorry that we can't barf rainbows at each other, but it doesn't really get in the way of our work, much.
    • They pissed off me. Yesterday, Skype worked fine on my (old but good) HTC Desire Z, today it doesn't.

      Goodbye Skype. Goodbye Satya.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't we just just please kill it? Permanently? With fire if possible?

    The last time I use that abomination it was so bloated and clunky it was basically unusable even ignoring the "send all your conversations to MS" factor.
    Also I've had a bunch of people give me a skype address as a text-based IM contact. Seriously what the hell?

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Also I've had a bunch of people give me a skype address as a text-based IM contact. Seriously what the hell?

      The one advantage of Skype over IRC in this respect is that Skype stores logs of your conversations that you can retrieve later for reference, including messages sent to you while you were offline.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        IRC has had plugins for servers to allow for buffering of messages for at least a decade.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          IRC has had plugins for servers to allow for buffering of messages for at least a decade.

          Which public IRC network that runs such a plug-in should I recommend to others in this situation? Or would you instead recommend that each discussion group lease an EC2 instance or other VPS on which to run its own IRC server with such a plug-in?

          • by Khyber ( 864651 )

            If you need an EC2 or VPS to run an IRC server, you're doing it wrong.

            • If VPS is wrong for a private IRC server used by a team spanning multiple countries, then what's right? Running it off a home connection? That would probably violate your ISP's TOS. Even if it didn't, the incoming connection would probably get refused by the ISP's carrier-grade NAT [wikipedia.org] device.

              • by Khyber ( 864651 )

                You run the IRC server as a VPN service on your home system. That's how the fuck you do it. Plenty of ways to join multiple IRC servers together via each person's home connection (which offers server redundancy for the buffer cache in caseof netsplit/server failure on one end) and get things going.

                You must have less than a few months of experience actually running an IRC server if you're not aware of how it's typically been done and usually still done to this very fucking day.

                • by tepples ( 727027 )

                  You run the IRC server as a VPN service on your home system.

                  Then what do you use as the VPN endpoint through which other people connect to the IRC server on your home computer? And even if you do use a VPN service to work around carrier-grade NAT, how do you avoid getting disconnected by your ISP for running an unauthorized server on a home connection?

                  You must have less than a few months of experience actually running an IRC server if you're not aware of how it's typically been done

                  You are correct that I lack experience running an IRC server. So will many people who (probably incompetently) try to set up an IRC server in the wake of Microsoft's sunset of old Skype client versions.

                  • by Khyber ( 864651 )

                    "how do you avoid getting disconnected by your ISP for running an unauthorized server on a home connection?"

                    VPNs are generally encrypted. Unless the ISP is breaking the law by cracking your shit, how will they ever know you're running a server?

                    • by tepples ( 727027 )

                      Unless the ISP is breaking the law by cracking your shit, how will they ever know you're running a server?

                      In other words: "It's not illegal if you don't get caught." Have I mischaracterized your reply?

                      You haven't answered the question of where the VPN server is located. Discussion of the advantage of running the IRC server on a home PC and connecting to it through a leased VPN server as opposed to running the IRC server on a leased VPS depends on this.

              • Yet ISPs typically provide their users a home router / modem / access point combo, with a web GUI that includes a section for port forwarding.

                I think it's a bit nuts to expect people to have a home server though. (and maintain it for a decade, if you want to buffer messages this long)

                • by tepples ( 727027 )

                  Only those ISPs giving each subscriber a separate IP address even have an option for port forwarding in their home modem/router configuration. Those that do not do not. Please read the "Carrier-grade NAT" article that I linked above to learn why some ISPs do not give each subscriber a separate IP address.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        yeah and ms and the nsa have a copy too. but hey, "if you have nothing to hide what's the problem" right? god forbid your kid decides to be an activist/journalist/whatever.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples @ g mail.com> on Friday June 09, 2017 @09:19AM (#54584757) Homepage Journal

    As RAM capacities increase, software becomes inefficient to compensate [wikipedia.org] rather than allowing use of more applications at once.

    Like Discord for Linux, Skype for Linux Beta is essentially Skype for Web wrapped in Electron [electron.atom.io], which is a special-purpose web browser using Blink (the engine of Chrome) specialized for one site at a time. In my tests, it has the same RAM footprint as running a second web browser. Having the equivalent of several 100+ MB web browsers running at once, one for Skype, one for Discord, etc., adds up quickly for people stuck on a machine with 2 GB of RAM, such as my laptop with one RAM slot that cannot use modules larger than 2 GB.

    In addition, Skype for Linux Beta requires more vertical scrolling than Skype for Linux 4.3 because the "bubble" around each message in Skype for Linux Beta takes a lot more vertical space than the more IRC-style message list in Skype for Linux 4.3.

    So what's the alternative? Setting up a VPS and running your own IRC or XMPP server and requiring all your contacts install an IRC or XMPP client with which to continue to communicate with you?

    • Like Discord for Linux, Skype for Linux Beta is essentially Skype for Web wrapped in Electron [electron.atom.io], which is a special-purpose web browser using Blink (the engine of Chrome) specialized for one site at a time.

      While some frameworks can use CSS for styling or even HTML for layout they only partially use of javascript for event handling, I think the lesson here should be clear: never go full javascript.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You could try using Pidgin with the skypeweb plugin instead. You can be connected to 10 Skype accounts at once and still be using less memory than a single electron wrapper.

      There's even a Discord plugin that's just come out. I don't think it does voice yet though.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        I built skypeweb for Pidgin but couldn't find a way to retrieve old logs within Pidgin. It had other deficiencies as well, but because it was months ago, I forget their exact nature.

        • by theCoder ( 23772 )

          I use Pidgin at work to connect to the Skype for Business server. One of the things I like about it is that it keeps a log of all the conversations. It is named something odd, though, and it usually takes me a second to go though all the context menu options to remember which one to use.

          I also like it because it lets me disable the emoticons, which makes reading pasted code much easier. Too much code syntax has things that look like some form of smiley :)

  • Thank god there's WebRTC...
    • And did you know that Firefox Hello solves the problem of getting your WebRTC session to work between two browsers?

      Oh wait...

  • "Linux users must upgrade to Skype for Linux Beta" - how about they wait until it's no longer "Beta" but a stable product? I keep trying it and reverting to the older version as it is STABLE even thought it's 32bit running on a 64bit Fedora 25 install. IF there were a workable alternative that my over-seas friends would actually use, I'd drop Skype in a heartbeat due to this sort of backhanded BS.

  • I forgot my phone at home one day, and had to make a phone call. pull up Skype, pay $10, make the call. Lesson learned, stop forgetting phone.

    Last fall I needed to use it for the video only, so a remote tech support could see the results as me made changes to a configuration for a video display. That was free.

    I am so glad I am not tied to it for my routine jobs. And I don't have any friends, so there's that too.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      You couldn't make a free google voice call to find your phone?

      You *MUST* be new around here.

      • U.S.-only (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples @ g mail.com> on Friday June 09, 2017 @10:35AM (#54585303) Homepage Journal

        Google Voice is exclusive to the United States, and I imagine that for most people, Google Voice isn't worth the cost of immigrating.

        • ...Google Voice isn't worth the cost of immigrating.

          Fewer and fewer things are.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          As if the world doesn't know what a VPN is.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            I imagine that most VPNs don't also forward the SMS that Google Voice's enrollment process sends to verify your existing number (source [google.com]).

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              Yes, it does, which is how scammers steal cell phone numbers using said Google Voice two digit verification.

              As in I just fought this exact scenario two days ago for one of my neighbors who had her phone hijacked after listing her number on CL and fell for the scam.
              GV forwarded EVERYTHING.

              • by tepples ( 727027 )

                GV forwards text messages. The VPN that you use to sign up for GV in the first place doesn't.

                • by Khyber ( 864651 )

                  The VPN forwards anything that is data and you can do SMS over just about any protocol now days.

                  • by tepples ( 727027 )

                    Someone subscribing to Google Voice outside the United States in violation of the Google Voice TOS would still need a U.S. SMS number that'll forward messages "over just about any protocol".

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      I simply picked up the phone at work and used that.
      You do know that phone on your desk can be used for phone calls right?

      • You do know that phone on your desk can be used for phone calls right?

        You do know that traditional landline and cellular carriers charge far more per minute for international calls than, say, Skype or Discord or Hangouts?

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Almost no businesses use "traditional" lines anymore they are all VOIP and typically have very low international rates.
          Disclaimer: I worked for years managing phone systems, traditional phone lines do not get installed for anything but fax machines and alarms anymore.

      • I wasn't at my desk. I don't have a desk. I do onsite repair work.

        That particular day I was in a fitness center diagnosing their Audio/Video system, and needed to speak to my tech support office.

        I could have used the customer's phone, but that wouldn't have looked very professional. And if it wasn't cordless, I would be at the front desk, 100 feet (30 meters) from the A/V rack while calling about it. So, overall, Skype was the best option to cover the "Oh, FUCK!" problem.

  • I retired Skype

  • I wonder what this means for Tom Skype [skype-tom.com]. Pretty much every action from Microsoft over the last few years has been to reduce our privacy and collect even more data, so maybe it's an upgrade to increase their surveillance capabilities.
  • The summary should have mentioned there is no solution for 32-bit Linux machines.

    • Many PCs running the i686 version of Linux actually have x86-64 CPUs. Reinstalling from x86-64 installation media, as I did in December 2016, allows running x86-64 applications. Even a 7-year-old Atom N450-based netbook supports x86-64.

      What substantial numbers of PCs with i686-only CPUs have been manufactured in the past seven years?

      • Mine, Intel Core Duo CPU T2400 @ 1.83GHz × 2 . :-( Runs Ubuntu just fine.

        • I will probably just use the web client for Skype text chat and do voice/video calls using my Android tablet, which is what I usually do now anyway.

        • What substantial numbers of PCs with i686-only CPUs have been manufactured in the past seven years?

          Intel Core Duo CPU T2400

          A first generation Core Duo CPU (codename Yonah) would have been sold in 2006 or 2007 (source [wikipedia.org]). By the end of 2007, it would have been replaced by a Core 2 Duo (codename Conroe/Allendale), which introduced support for x86-64 (source [wikipedia.org]). Any Intel Core CPU from the Dale, Nehalem/Westmere, Bridge, Well, or Lake generation will run 64-bit code.

    • The summary should have mentioned there is no solution for 32-bit Linux machines.

      In deed there is no solution to 32-bit linux machines.

      Wait, what was the subject? Nevermind, it doesn't matter...

  • I personally don't care what they do with Skype, Empathy, or any other similar programs. They compromise security. You can have it.
  • by OFnow ( 1098151 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @10:57AM (#54585443)
    Since Microsoft bought Skype the Linux support went from fine to out-of-date to mostly unusable to skype-no-64-bit (so useless). I still have a few dollars credit on skype but will never use the cash. I used skype as a way to call numbers outside our landline zone, but now I just use a mobile phone: the cell signal is just enough better (now) to make that possible.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @10:59AM (#54585473) Journal

    I see lots of complaints. But no suggestions for alternatives.

    (Example of a bad alternative: Google Hangouts. Some of my correspondents don't have skype and set up a business conference on that. Turns out Netscape removed the feature it depended on (as a glaring security tarpit) back in March, and Google has yet to come up with an alternative so I had to install a variant that could still run it - miss the first about eight minutes of the meeting when it didn't join correctly - and later unscrew my browser history after it made itself the default - for a total loss of several hours of work time. Also: It assumes video is almost always wanted (a bandwidth disaster) and makes it nearly impossible to do voice-only without an initial video connection.)

    So:
      * What are good alternatives?
      * Are there any good open source alternatives?

    • by kaur ( 1948056 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @11:38AM (#54585751)

      Wire.

      https://wire.com/en/privacy/ [wire.com]

      Open source, open protocol, end-to-end crypto.
      Based in Berlin thus not subject to US laws.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      (Example of a bad alternative: Google Hangouts. Some of my correspondents don't have skype and set up a business conference on that. Turns out Netscape removed the feature it depended on (as a glaring security tarpit) back in March, and Google has yet to come up with an alternative so I had to install a variant that could still run it...

      You're gonna have to explain that a little better. Netscape hasn't existed as an independent company for years, and is nothing more than a brand name used by parent AOL now. They stopped supporting their browser officially in 2008. So I'm curious how they could have an impact on any web service they don't own as recently as three months ago.

      • You're gonna have to explain that a little better. Netscape hasn't existed as an independent company for years ...

        Sorry, meant Firefox. (Had "Netscape" on the brain because I'm an old fart who predates the split.)

    • by e r ( 2847683 )
      Ekiga [ekiga.org]?
    • by gmack ( 197796 )

      I am currently experimenting with Ring [ring.cx]:

      • It handles every platform I use (Linux, windows, Android)
      • It handles my 1080P webcam that Hangouts chokes on
      • Allows multiple devices per account which make or break feature for me considering my office has bad cell reception.
      • Seems lighter weight resource wise than most of the alternatives
    • by Quietti ( 257725 )

      I'd really like to know the answer to that one too.

      Every time finding a replacement for Skype is brought up, suggestions fall into two camps:

      – Whatever the GNOME guys currently like.
      – Some other obscure app-in-the-making that has not yet achieved mainstream usability and that is not ported/portable to all OS (typically: closed source and only for Mac/PC, or open source and essentially designed for a specific Free Desktop's toolkit).

      Sorry, none of these qualify as a replacement that will guarante

  • by allo ( 1728082 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @02:58PM (#54587197)

    It's absolute evil to block old versions without a real need. People may have reasons to stay with this version. And when they now make a hipster version, they have even more reasons.

    • Wow your username is the name of yet another chat or video service (I don't know) that only runs on some limited platform and will likely be shuttered in a couple years by the company that makes it (Google)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately beta for Linux sucks big time. For past two weeks it stops showing new messages while ancient 4.x works fine. And they want to retire it.

  • Given that VIDEO doesn't work in Skype for Linux Beta (only audio and chat), and video is pretty much the whole point of using Skype, this news should be read as "Microsoft kills off Skype on Linux".

    "We'll keep supporting (platform X/technology Y/...)" these days seems to be a promise that can be made easily to generate goodwill with the FTC and its European counterpart, only to be broken afterward without consequences.

  • I am a long time Skype fan; it was a powerful communication tool, not a social networking toy. If offered easy transitions from text to voice to video, easy exchange of files, cross-platform consistency,
    reliability with an easy to use interface.

    No more. The Skype Android June 2017 is a disaster. They have deleted important features and added toys.

    1) there is no more contact list; you can't tell who is available.
    2) bad use of screen real estate
    3) no configuration
    4) no user alpha/beta; it's just install

    I u

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