Skype Under Linux, & Alternatives


My wife and I each have a shrink (psychiatrist), whom are coincidentally partners working out of the same rooms, in Ipswich, 180 km (112 mls) away from us, a 5-hour round trip by a combination of highway and built-up roads. She sees her doctor every 12 weeks or so, and I mine once a year.

For over 3 years now, hers has employed Skype to hold video sessions with those whom are either too far away for easy travel, or whom can’t make the trip for another reason eg moderate illness.

We have only used the Skype option once, and that was around 2013 – 2014, and at that time I was on Windows 7 only, prior to installing Ubuntu Unity 14.04, Zorin OS 9 and Linux Mint 17.0 ‘Qiana’, MATE, in quick succession, followed by my exit from usage of Windows.

Most recently (we are Pensioners on welfare), we had to cancel and reschedule one of her visits as we had not enough petrol (gasoline) money to make the trip, so I am looking at the Skype under Linux options.


The shrink is likely using Windows 7 or later, and so I enlisted the aid of my good friend Brian (aka Member Condobloke), to test-drive Skype. One of Brian’s PCs runs Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ with the Cinnamon DE, and he also has Win 10 on a VM on the same unit.

We had our first Skype session this morning in Oz, and kept peering at each other while we alternately waved and spoke and adjusted settings. Killed an hour. (Definitely) Not sure we got it all sorted, but we had a ball and solved the world’s problems at the same time.

With the Minties (Linux Mint) putting on Skype is as simple as

sudo apt-get -y install skype

because it’s in Clem’s Repos.

You might also be aware of one of Brian’s Topic here, , which we solved with the introduction of dconf-editor.

Now despite having installed probably 100 Linuxes, and currently using 46, I had not ever noticed the flashing icons in MATE’s panel (slow on the uptake, eh, Wiz?). Now, it drives me crackers (thanks Brian).

In the Garage, on its PC, where I am HQ’ed most afternoons, I have 36 Linux, including seven (7) MATE. So I am going through them, figuring to kill two birds with one stone, and applying

sudo apt-get -y install dconf-editor skype

but fail with Ubuntu 16.10 ‘Yakkety Yak’ MATE, one of my faves, sadly to lose support next month.

Seems Mark Shuttleworth’s people don’t include Skype by default (not to say I can’t get a PPA or a .deb for it, have not looked yet).

Mark’s got this bogus Software Boutique instead of a real Software Centre, by default, so I install Software Centre, search under Skype, and get the following:

So my (long-awaited) questions are as follows:

  1. Is spreedme a viable alternative to Skype?
  2. Can we put Skype on the ‘buntus?
  3. If it’s a given that each Linux OS that has Skype in its Repos may have slightly different version numbers down to the dotpoint releases, is/are there features I should be looking for that enhance the experience?
  4. I do not confine myself to just Debian-based Distros, I also use RPM-based, Arch-based, Gentoo-based, and am girding my loins to adventure into the realms of Slackware and the Puppies before the end of the year (there, be dragons)

TIA folks!


BTW and what the frick is Nextcloud?