Microsoft purchasing Skype – what could this mean for Linux?

Update: Microsoft have since released a statement assuring that they will continue to ‘invest and support non-Microsoft platforms.’

Microsoft are to close an estimated $8.5 billion deal to acquire internet-telephony service Skype, allthingsd are reporting.

Skype – with a reported 600 million user accounts – is one of the most popular cross-platform desktop VoIP applications currently available.

Microsoft purchasing it would give Microsoft an unparalleled foothold in the desktop communication market overnight thanks to their already dominant position with Windows Live Messenger.

But what would happen to the Linux client?

Likely nothing.

Part of Skype’s success is that it is accessible to users of various operating systems. Yanking support for a Linux client would cut off millions of Linux Skype users, thus affecting their Windows and Mac OS contacts too. Not to mention that thousands of those Linux users are paying customers; and the purchase of Skype wasn’t done out of an altruistic epiphany on the part of Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft will likely be keen to have input in the design and development of Skype – potentially merging it with one of their own products – and this will take time to achieve.

The development of Skype’s Linux client has been slow, bordering on static, for a long time. One would guess that unfortunately this acquisition also wouldn’t see that sped up overnight, a shame for Linux users who feel they’re missing out on the features prevalent on other platforms.

As edlt points out below: “We’ll continue to not get updates!”

Ars Technica via WSJ


Lubuntu made ‘official Ubuntu derivative’

Lubuntu news

After what seems like an eternity of waiting, the light-weight LXDE based Ubuntu spin ‘Lubuntu’ has been granted ‘official’ Ubuntu family status.

Lubuntu 11.10 will be the first fully supported release, with its desktop packages made available in the Ubuntu repositories for users to install alongside their chosen desktop environment - as is currently the case with Kubuntu and Xubuntu.

It is hoped the move will see Lubuntu achieve greater visibility within the community and beyond.

Lubuntu is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that is aimed at computers with comparatively ‘low’ hardware.

A formal announcement on the decision is expected later today.



Plans for greater Unity app integration in Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu 11.04 brought with it a shiny new Launcher with shiny new capabilities, such as the ability to display progress bars, count badges and quicklists on application Launcher icons.

Although Ubuntu 11.04 didn’t see the default application take advantage of these features to any great degree plans are afoot to provide Oneiric’s default apps with Unity integration from the get-go.

Chromium daily adds Unity quicklist

Default applications

So what can we expect to see? Based on discussion at UDS: -

Gwibber already has Quicklist support in Unity but will benefit from an unread tweet/message count in Ubuntu 11.10.

Update-Manager will receive an update count, progress bar and quicklists containing items such as ‘check for updates’, etc.

Banshee won’t gain player controls in its’ quicklist but ‘media sources’ – as currently found in the Banshee sidebar – will be entered. A progress bar for music and podcast download will also be looked into.

Dynamic quicklists – as seen in AWN and Docky – have been suggested for use with Nautilus, with its quicklist containing user shortcuts and favourites. Progress bars to relay something transfer/copy status are also being mooted.

Other integration changes planned include control items in Transmission’s Quicklist and progress bars for Brasero – and the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Simple quicklists are also proposed for Gedit, the Terminal, new default backup ‘Deja Dup’ and movie player Totem.

Quicklists for other apps

Filling in the gaps for non-default applications has been the community at large, diligently adding Unity-launcher support to their favourite applications.

Ubuntu are keen to get help creators of 3rd party quicklists for their application get the changes into the relevant Ubuntu packages/upstream so that everyone can benefit from them.