Of course, after we released Skype 2.1 for Linux, there were many different questions. Here I’ll try to debunk a few myths and explain what happens and why it is so.
Myth: There is a 64-bits version of skype available for download.
No, there is not yet. However, we assembled a “helper” package which will pull corresponding 32-bits libraries. This is made entirely for your convenience, so you don’t have to go and hunt for these packages yourself. This brings some compatibility issues with some (especially video) libraries. Check the forum for more details.
We are working on providing a native 64-bits version of Skype.
Myth: Skype now requires PulseAudio.
No, it does not. If you run ldd on skype binary you will not see any references to libpulse, because we load it at run-time. This means two things:
1) If you do not have pulse installed, skype will happily work with alsa.
2) If you have pulseaudio autospawn enabled (default on most distros), even if you shut down pulseaudio manually or remove it from autostart menu, it will be launched once skype attempts to play a sound.
Myth: You cannot control devices output when using PulseAudio.
You can. Just install padevchooser package and you’ll have a nifty tool that will allow you to select where skype streams should be played to or recorded from.
Question: Why do I see only “PulseAudio Server (local)” in my devices list?
This is because you have pulse installed and it was either already running or was autospawned by skype trying to access it. To use ALSA-only you either need to remove pulseaudio or stop it from auto-spawning. To disable auto-spawn, edit or create the file ~/.pulse/client.conf and add a line containing “autospawn = no” there.
There’s also a way to use pulse server running on another machine in your network, for this you need to specify PULSE_SERVER environment variable. This is mostly interesting for thin clients, so they can run skype on a more powerful machine, but use this machine’s playback and record equipment.
Typing something like “PULSE_SERVER=192.168.0.101 ./skype” should work. Check sound options page – you should see devices called “PulseAudio Server (192.168.0.101)”. I’d be interested to hear about your experience with this, especially the latencies and overall sound stability.
You might ask, why don’t we support showing you normal ALSA devices alongside with pulseaudio server? Answer is simple: by default pulseaudio opens hardware ALSA device exclusively, which means no other applications can access it and they either have to go through pulse or give up. If we see pulse running – we don’t even try to muck with it.
Question: What to do if I’m using pulseaudio and other side can hear only clicking noise?
I believe this is due to the bug in skype volume controls which sometimes causes crashes and sometimes this nasty noise. I hopefully fixed it in internal version and we’ll make a beta update after we’ve tested some more fixes in-house. Current workaround is to disable AGC - uncheck the [x] Allow Skype to automatically adjust my mixer levels checkbox on sound options page. Don’t forget to press Apply button.
Question: Doesn’t skype use qt4? It doesn’t look like my KDE desktop.
There’s a default cleanlooks theme used in skype. To make it look like your distro’s style dictates use –disable-cleanlooks command line option.
Question: On my x86_64 distro avatars are not showing.
This is a problem with 32-bits emulation Qt library. It tries to find its image format plugins, but finds a 64-bits version instead and fails to load it.
Specify a plugin path when launching skype like this:
Finally: a productivity tip
In the contact right-click menu you now have “Edit Labels…” item. Choose it and enter multiple comma separated tags you want to assign to the contact. Now you can use them in quickfilter to quickly find someone. I often use russian keyboard layout, and if I accidentally type info quickfilter while using russian, I get weird letters and nothing is found in the contact list. Now, edit labels and type in whatever comes out when you are typing in russian layout to the tags field. Voila, even if you start typing into quickfilter in the wrong layout you will still be able to find this contact!