Skype recently launched a new application build for Linux systems, upgrading the previous Skype for Linux to Skype for Linux Alpha.

It's under development, yes, but hold on a minute, it's not just an experimental Alpha build, it's way more than that. Skype for Linux Alpha might not be a fully stable version as compared to those on other operating systems, that is, Windows, but at its current state, it's way more functional than the old Linux version.

How so? Simply put, it's an upgraded Skype for Linux version despite its Alpha state.

Skype For Linux Alpha

Skype for Linux Alpha introduces users on the open-source OS to a slew of new features previously unsupported by earlier versions.

The new version revamps the whole user interface to make it faster, more reliable and highly responsive. The Alpha UI reflects current interfaces on other systems and does away with previous text menus that cluttered the screen; contextual icons now appear across its fresh new UI.

Furthermore, Skype has augmented additional functions to the application, enabling users to send various files and media through the app, as well as adding a whole new range of emoticons to perfectly capture the context of a conversation. Users can now share videos and images with their contacts without having to leave the Skype platform.

Of course, while Alpha adds a good amount of new features, it still is, first and foremost, a shared development build, and the company needs input from its users to further improve the application until it reaches its final build.

In an effort to push Linux users to the new update as well, the company notes that calls made to older Linux versions (4.3.0.37) are not supported, though the app is more than capable of handling ones made to Mac, Windows, Android and iOS systems.

Web-Based Skype Calls

In addition, the company is releasing a working Alpha build — one that more or less carries the same features of the standalone Skype for Linux Alpha application — for web-based Skype calls on Chromebooks and Linux-based Chrome browsers. Users do not need to install any application to access the feature and can use Skype's platform directly through their browsers.

This feature uses the same ideas from its Windows counterpart, Skype plugin for Microsoft Edge applications, utilizing WebRTC this time, as opposed to Windows' ORTC API.

"This is our initial step on our path to replicate ORTC capabilities beyond Microsoft Edge," writes Skype's announcement. "As such, we want to hear feedback to help us deliver more excitement in the upcoming months."

Those who wish to use the updated standalone version instead may download Skype for Linux Alpha to start exploring its new features. Feedback and support may be submitted to the Skype Community.

Photo: Mark Doliner | Flickr

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