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Skype For Linux To Be Open-Sourced "In the Nearest Future"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the more-or-less dept.

Communications 175

rysiek writes "Seems like there might be a revolution in the works, as far as VoIP software for Linux is concerned. After mailing Skype support about Skype providing Mandriva RPM packages, Olivier Faurax got an answer which suggests that the Linux Skype client will be open-sourced. After asking for verification of whether that was the case, the tech support answer claimed it is going to happen, and that it's supposed to happen 'in the nearest future.' Now, this probably only means the client (the underlying protocol will probably be handled by a binary-only library), but even if that's the case, it seems like there is still reason to celebrate."

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Yay (4, Funny)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950062)

Means I can create a client to automatically order in chinese.. or maybe a chipotle burrito and some fresh underwear

Re:Yay (-1, Offtopic)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950086)

and oh yeah.. i almost forgot the mandatory: First post! I have no life!

Re:Yay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950136)

No - you did forget it

Re:Yay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950294)

Mod parent redundant, not offtopic.

Re:Yay (-1, Redundant)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950448)

Mod parent redundant, not offtopic

haha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950734)

U got fuked!!!

Re:haha! (0, Redundant)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950908)

Mod parent redundant

Re:haha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951720)

U got fuked!!!

Re:Yay (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950536)

You can do that without Skype's source code. There are plenty of SIP clients out there and in fact an entire PBX system for Linux that includes the ability to war dial and use text to speech scripts on calls already.

I'd almost wager someone has already written an asterisk script to order for them.

Re:Yay (1)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950952)

I want a .. number .. 14 .. and number .. 27 .. with chipotle sauce ... please add fresh underwear.

Re:Yay (1)

geordie_loz (624942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951076)

however. Having skype integrated into open source PBX as a trunk (using the binary protocal, and the know how of how to use from the skype source) would be pretty good..

Re:Yay (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951436)

Having skype integrated into open source PBX [...] would be pretty good...

Asterisk supports Skype [digium.com] . As does FreeSWITCH [freeswitch.org] .

Re:Yay (1)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950948)

Why buy new underwear when you can just use Chipotlaway [lineboil.com] ?

It is not opensource, until... (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951500)

Now, this probably only means the client (the underlying protocol will probably be handled by a binary-only library), but even if that's the case, it seems like there is still reason to celebrate

The source is not open, until I can build and use it on FreeBSD/amd64 or some other "exotic" platform like that...

Interestingly, the oft-criticized Java has always been more "open-sourced" (even before going GPL), than what the excited write-up is preparing to "celebrate"... Must all be about managing expectations...

Nope, not here yet (-1, Offtopic)

AniVisual (1373773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950082)

I must be in one of the wrong futures [wikipedia.org] .

GUI Code Only (5, Insightful)

jisatsusha (755173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950090)

open gui code, but not communicate library.

Not quite open source then, but I guess it's better than the situation right now. Still no way of ensuring there are no backdoors in the encryption though.

Re:GUI Code Only (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950166)

If you have the client code, you can pre-encrypt before the communications layer if you need the added security.

Re:GUI Code Only (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950214)

You're assuming you can feed anything into their comms layer. I suspect there'll be a heavy duty validation / sanity checking at that point already.

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951482)

How do you validate audio?

Re:GUI Code Only (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951650)

How do you encrypt the audio?

Assuming you are doing the encryption before the comms layer then..

a) you could have done this already without the source code.

b) you would have to do it the old way - analog style encryption in the digital domain. As the data is then put through lossy audio compression afterwards, this would leave very little bandwidth for the speech. The lossy compression may make most kinds of audio encryption impossible anyway.

Re:GUI Code Only (4, Insightful)

quippe (767072) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950348)

If you have the client code, you can pre-encrypt before the communications layer if you need the added security.

*Could* that be possible, you would lose interoperability with windows clients, so why not relying on one of the truly foss voip projects availble?

Re:GUI Code Only (3, Insightful)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950542)

Because a truly foss voip project requires a server or open ports on at least 1 side.
Skype requires only 2 clients that speak the same protocol, the skype network handles the rest.

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951362)

Most SIP clients I've seen support STUN, which allows two NAT'd clients to talk to each other. The basic way that it works is for both clients to send a UDP packet to the STUN server. Their stateful NATs then set up a mapping from the public port to the private port. The server then forwards the address and port to each of the parties and then they can communicate with each other on that port. This needs a server set up on the public Internet, but so does Skype (so you can find the peer to peer network).

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

Alpha Whisky (1264174) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951548)

Most SIP clients I've seen support STUN, which allows two NAT'd clients to talk to each other. The basic way that it works is for both clients to send a UDP packet to the STUN server. Their stateful NATs then set up a mapping from the public port to the private port. The server then forwards the address and port to each of the parties and then they can communicate with each other on that port. This needs a server set up on the public Internet, but so does Skype (so you can find the peer to peer network).

You just made fearlezz's point for him, I've highlighted the points where you did it. Yes, Skype needs servers, but the whole point is that Skype provides servers, some penniless foss project isn't going to provide servers which can cope with 18,989,413 clients at the same time (number plucked from Skype right now, the peak is probably higher).

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951716)

And every SIP provider also runs a STUN server. I can use the STUN server that my SIP provider runs for any communication, not just communication with them or mediated by them, and there are other public STUN servers. You need to enter the address of one (or select one from a list of public ones), but you need to enter the address of your mail server into a mail client and end users seem to be able to manage that...

Re:GUI Code Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951606)

Shouldn't a normal NAT, like Linux's iptables is a symmetric type of a NAT? Then all communications has to happen through Skype servers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STUN

STUN is just a NAT type discovery. It is not a panacea to circumvent good NAT implementations. The only way to avoid NAT is to not to use NAT and that will only happen with IPv6. Use IPv6 and NAT hacks like STUN are over.

Re:GUI Code Only (2, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29952224)

Because a truly foss voip project requires a server or open ports on at least 1 side.

Plenty of free public SIP servers on the internet...

Skype requires only 2 clients that speak the same protocol, the skype network handles the rest.

I'm unclear on why you think that relying on the existence of a single proprietary network is better than relying on a SIP server (which may or may not be operated by yourself and you can switch to a different independent server if you want).

Re:GUI Code Only (5, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950800)

*Could* that be possible, you would lose interoperability with windows clients, so why not relying on one of the truly foss voip projects availble?

I recently took my Warcraft guild down a voice-comm path from Ventrilo to Mumble. Mumble had a lot of things going for it - open source, penny-for-a-year server deal, and a much better experience overall. Everyone could hear everyone and the software worked great without a hitch. That being said, as of today we are back on Vent.

See, while it worked great for us, no one else had ever heard of it, and no one would switch to it just for the benefit of talking to us. In the end we found Mumble made our lives more complex and in sum-total was not a better choice than Ventrilo.

Vis-à-vis Skype - yes you would need a special client to handle encryption, but a simple checkbox could re-enable traffic with those Windows clients. What truly foss voip project inter-operates with those?

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951030)

What would this do to their codecs, which are presumably optimised for regular voice/video? Would it increase the bandwidth requirements?

Re:GUI Code Only (5, Insightful)

SLi (132609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951154)

It wouldn't work at all. Nearly all voip, and I'm sure Skype is no exception, uses lossy compression for the audio. If you stuff encrypted data in, you'll just get garbage out.

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 4 years ago | (#29952144)

Unless you can accurately predict how the datastream will be compressed.

Sounds like a job for ... Oh who cares? It's still a proprietary protocol.

!opensource

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

SLi (132609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951136)

I doubt that. If the binary part is the codec+protocol, good luck trying to stuff anything except audio (and preferably voice then) through it. Lossy compression works poorly for encrypted data.

Re:GUI Code Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951396)

Time to bust out some FEC. But that's just crazy.

Preencryption: only maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951148)

If they use some kind of codec, it would assume certain things about the data (being voice data, frequency limits and spectrum, etc.) which might be totally mixed up by prepending an encryption. So maybe sound quality would be horrible, or decryption on the other side totally impossible.

Re:GUI Code Only (3, Interesting)

asdir (1195869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950258)

Can someone please translate? Does that mean that an open client could be forked that works with skype but is not skype? Like, say, gizmo or ekiga? Thanks for enlightening a non-techie Linux enthusiast (yes, we exist :-) ).

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950370)

Pretty much, as long as you could change the front-end to use some other VOIP protocol other than Skype. In fact, what I'd like to see is something like Pidgin for VOIP. Transparent support for many protocols. Then you can just have your contact list of friends and call them, regardless of what they use.

Re:GUI Code Only (2, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950554)

sounds a bit like how the N900's phone and messaging system will work.

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

dopeghost (107650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950770)

I'd say no. Given the likely chance that they will open source only the gui code and not the protocol library, the program might as well be closed source. A program like Pidgin that wanted to include skype support would have to include a pre-compiled 'blackbox' file to actually communicate with anything, and since the source for this was not available, it could no longer be distributed as open source.

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950600)

Okay, it's not really open source. But it does allow a whole range of new applications. For instance: sipskype bridges (for asterisk or any other pbx).

Re:GUI Code Only (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951586)

There is already a Skype API for (gui) programs to use. It operates on text commands.
For example, you can already integrate Skype into Pidgin: http://code.google.com/p/skype4pidgin/ [google.com]
And with some pidgin plugin for encryption (both on the Windows and Linux side, e.g. OTR or PGP), you can have private (text) conversations.

WTF is "the nearest future"? (2, Interesting)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950092)

I'm trying to grasp what could possibly be the "nearest future"? A picosecond from now? But of course, you could have half a picosecond, and half that, and half that, etc.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (5, Funny)

jisatsusha (755173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950106)

Planck time [wikipedia.org] , of course.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950188)

Is there a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planks_constant [wikipedia.org] for time?

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (1)

Ignatius (6850) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950358)

sort of

    t_planck = sqrt( hbar * G / c^5 ) = 5.3912e-44 s

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_units [wikipedia.org] for details.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (1)

unts (754160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950196)

Keep halving it and eventually you'll be in the present.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950268)

Yes, but it'll take infinitely long to get there...

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (3, Funny)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950768)

Actually, it's impossible to be anywhere other than the present.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951646)

Free candy tomorrow.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950252)

lim future(t)
t->now+

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950534)

In several languages, the superlative (formed in English like "nearest") can also mean something more along the lines of "very near." I imagine this is probably the case in French. It isn't in English, but a non-native speaker might not notice when he goes to translate his superlative expression into English.

Re:WTF is "the nearest future"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29952180)

In several languages, the superlative (formed in English like "nearest") can also mean something more along the lines of "very near." I imagine this is probably the case in French. It isn't in English, but a non-native speaker might not notice when he goes to translate his superlative expression into English.

Correct. English "next" is simply a variant of "nearest". Compare German nahe and nächst (pronounced exactly like "next").

This could be incredible... (4, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950244)

I use a lot of voice software on my laptop, and Skype is one of the few that is fine with my not using a headset. I'm not certain how it does it, but I assume they're filtering the sound coming out of the speakers against the mic input. I've always wanted to take Skype's client and plug it into, say, Ventrilo.

Could this open up that possibility?

Seems largely pointless. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950262)

With something like Skype, pretty much all the stuff of interest is in the protocol(and the weird stuff that it gets up to, burrowing through firewalls and being designed to be heavily resistant to inspection and so forth). The UI isn't ghastly; but it isn't very interesting.

Obviously, this is exactly why Skype would be OSSing the GUI and not the protocol binary blob; but it is also why the news isn't of much interest. As long as basically all the program's important functions depend on a binary blob you can't see what it is doing, you can't port it to other architectures, you are really no better off than if the whole thing were binary.

IOW (2, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950314)

Not OSS. Nothing to see here, move along...

Re:IOW (2, Informative)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950398)

Yes it is OSS. It's not GPL, but an open source frontend with the right license would still be OSS.

Re:IOW (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950514)

So then the Nvidia drivers are OSS right? I mean they ship with some open source parts.

FAIL

Re:IOW (3, Informative)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950696)

The open source parts are open source (shocking!), just like an open source frontend on top of closed source libraries still is an open source frontend.

Is the full driver then open source, no. Is full Skype open source, no. But is the driver glue open source, yes. Is the frontend open source, yes.

Re:IOW (1)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950760)

The open source parts are, the closed source parts aren't. Characterizing the entire package as OSS would be wrong but to say it's not open source at all is also wrong.

Re:IOW (1)

quippe (767072) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951056)

The open source parts are, the closed source parts aren't. Characterizing the entire package as OSS would be wrong but to say it's not open source at all is also wrong.

The OSS GUI is dependant on the closed library; viceversa you cannot say the library is dependant on the GUI.
So if you want a FOSS system implementation, having skype means installing non-FOSS whichever is the GUI -> FAIL

Re:IOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951446)

When (if) the code is released, Skype will be *exactly* as OSS as the Nvidia drivers.
Which the community labels as not open source.

Re:IOW (2, Informative)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951608)

Yes it is OSS. It's not GPL, but an open source frontend with the right license would still be OSS.

If the underlying driver isn't also GPL'd, then it's not open-source.
 
And as long as we don't have access to that underlying driver, we have no way to guarantee that there's no backdoor into our communications.
 
Of course, we already know that the Austrian interior ministry has confirmed it has no problem [h-online.com] listening to Skype conversations [theregister.co.uk] .
 
If Austria can do it, it seems likely that other governments have that capability (even if they claim otherwise despite documentation to the contrary [wikileaks.org] ).

Re:Seems largely pointless. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950368)

I agree that this isn't news, but I don't think it's pointless.

With the binary blob being available as library (well, it is speculated anyway), one can VoIP-enable one's own applications (whether it's an IM cilent or tech support tool) with a piece of code that is tested and is known to work well under all kinds of different configurations. A lot of the free VoIP out there isn't quite up to snuff, and requires a lot of end-user mucking around to get to work.

Re:Seems largely pointless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950492)

Ding ding ding ding ding!!! You win the prize. If they're not OS'ing the protocol, this is utterly meaningless.

Re:Seems largely pointless. (2, Insightful)

Youngbull (1569599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950778)

you could potentially integrate Skype into Empathy or Pidgin if the license is right so I think it's a good thing!

Re:Seems largely pointless. (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950980)

As a few other have pointed out, it could lead to a lot more clients supporting the Skype protocol. Integration into the Linux desktops and their messengers/VOIP clients could be a real advantage. I certainly wouldn't mind dropping one extra piece of software in favor of a more integrated approach. It may also provide some useful code for webcam interfaces since they can still be patchy on Linux machines.

Re:Seems largely pointless. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950988)

Yes you are. If you think like me: Wrap the whole thing in a server. Don't even think about writing a GUI for it. Write a SIP wrapper. Then put that gateway on one single server, and tell Skype to go fuck themselves. ^^

Re:Seems largely pointless. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951002)

It's neither completely perfect nor completely worthless.

If they're actually putting the protocol implementation out as a binary-only library, and encouraging open source development on top of that, this enables some freedoms without enabling all freedoms.

For example, this makes it possible for me to write a program that monitors a twitter feed, looks for certain keywords in it, and when it finds them, calls me via Skype and uses my own text-to-speech code to read the message containing the keyword out loud to me.

In theory, it also lets me implement my own IVR application on top of the protocol. You know what I mean, "say yes to continue", that kind of crap. We could build an IVR Wikipedia tool for the blind with this.

So: some freedoms, yes, but certainly not all the freedoms folks might want.

If you think about it, it's really a little like using a credit card processing system. You have hooks to do certain financial transactions, and building that into your applications lets you do valuable things, but you don't have the complete freedom to do whatever you want with the financial protocols.

Re:Seems largely pointless. (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951314)

I would love a UI that makes sense, on Win32 and Mac OS X.

The audio support is ghastly (1)

xant (99438) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951982)

Skype is a huge source of pain when people discuss Linux audio. It's possible to get it working (mainly by pretending pulseaudio doesn't exist), but so many people have so many problems with it that there's still a widespread belief that it's completely broken. If only the client-facing parts get open sourced, the audio interface ought to be part of that. The protocol, as far as I can tell, works pretty damn good (despite it occasionally telling me someone's offline when I know they're not). I'm fine with not having access to that. But I really want someone to put in decent audio compatibility.

Good riddance, crappy ugly Skype client (1)

neiras (723124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950298)

Hopefully this means that libpurple, telepathy et al will be able to make Skype calls.

Once you get users out of a proprietary client, it's that much easier to transition them to a more open equivalent.

"You mean I just get a SIP account and calls cost less than with Skype?" Sold!

Re:Good riddance, crappy ugly Skype client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950364)

Telepathy can already make Skype calls on Maemo 5/N900. SIP too. But no Skype video calls yet.

The problem with transitioning of course is when they ask "how do I call my Skype buddies with SIP?"

Re:Good riddance, crappy ugly Skype client (2, Informative)

neiras (723124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950638)

The problem with transitioning of course is when they ask "how do I call my Skype buddies with SIP?"

It works for the calling-landlines case. For everyone else, there are SIP->Skype gateways like Gizmo5's OpenSky.

Re:Good riddance, crappy ugly Skype client (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29952132)

Hopefully this means that libpurple, telepathy et al will be able to make Skype calls.

That's pretty much it - this is the only real advantage to be derived from this. Not Skype somehow becoming "open", but that Pidgin, Ekiga etc can all support it as yet another protocol.

I wonder also... even if they release it as a Linux libskype.so, I can't imagine it being very strongly tied to Linux. I mean, how many system APIs would such a thing really need? Mostly just networking... and otherwise it's just x86 (and hopefully also amd64) code. In that case, it could probably be wrapped into a loader and API shims that would let it be used in Windows as well - it would be tricky, but the makers of a few popular multi-network clients (such as Trillian) might be willing to go to those lengths.

protocol will probably be ... binary-only (5, Insightful)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950340)

So, assuming the OP is right, they're basically open-sourcing a telephone where the only thing you can change is where the numbers are placed and what the handset looks like. Maybe I'm missing the point, but how does this benefit anyone?

Re:protocol will probably be ... binary-only (2, Interesting)

RanCossack (1138431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950456)

So, assuming the OP is right, they're basically open-sourcing a telephone where the only thing you can change is where the numbers are placed and what the handset looks like. Maybe I'm missing the point, but how does this benefit anyone?

Well, that's not a bad analogy at all... to answer your question by continuing it a bit, imagine "what the handset looks like" is "covered in spikes" and "where the numbers are placed" is "at random" on their default handset.

Re:protocol will probably be ... binary-only (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950516)

I'd say that having a bit more control of the implementation of sound would lead to less problems in the future (the constantly-moving linux sound architecture has until recently had Skype on a constant catch-up). Also could lead to integration with Pidgin or similar IM-aggregators, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

Re:protocol will probably be ... binary-only (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951228)

Well, you also have control over the cord that connects the handset to the receiver, so you have a lot more control over how the sound gets to you than you would otherwise.

But I'd rather use Pidgin.

Re:protocol will probably be ... binary-only (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951488)

How about integrating the binary-only Skype support into Ekiga or Pidgin or whatever other open-source video/conference/chat programs? Gets close to using one program for all of your real-time communcation needs, regardless of protocol...Skype was the big missing protocol in most of those programs, IMHO. Hopefully it wouldn't be too hard to write a wrapper layer around the binary Skype library and make it appear as just another protocol library/plugin to those programs.

Also as FlyingBishop brought up, it takes the (somewhat buggy) audio/mic/video/webcam support out of their closed code, so hopefully it will get cleaned up or just replaced entirely by Ekiga/Pidgin/etc.

Did you RTFM ? (1)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950356)

Nowhere in the article (er .. blog post) it's said that there will be a binary component. It's just a guess from a comment from some random guy. So no need to ague ad libitum on what will be Free software or not, let's wait.

Nope (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950372)

I call bullshit. I think it's just a tech support guy misunderstanding (and it seems a bi-lingual conversation so the chances of that are even higher).

Open-sourcing Skype is very different to allowing Mandriva to add a non-trademarked icon to the Skype software (a bit like bundling Firefox - fine so long as you respect the trademark on the name and/or the logo and their requirements), or put a Mandriva icon onto the package etc. The two are discussed interchangeably and I don't see how they are related.

I think it's more likely a massive misunderstanding on the basis of zero evidence / poor translation. At best, I reckon that Skype for Linux will allow itself to be packaged more easily.

How slashdot works (4, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950502)

1) In a bilingual conversation, Skype support employee says "Skype will from now on be part of the open source community."
2) Blogger posts saying that Skype will be open sourced in nearest future
3) get reposted on various blogs
4) ???
5) Verified "news" on slashdot

Re:How slashdot works (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951110)

4) when requested clarification, support states explicitly "it will be open sourced in the nearest future" in plain english (as all the rest of the conversation was, only the blog is bilingual)
FTFY (F as in "filled")

Re:How slashdot works (1)

ofaurax (1669464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951802)

"will become open source in the nearest future." is from the tech support, not from me.

Re:How slashdot works (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29952178)

5) Verified "news" on slashdot

6) Other more or less reputable news media "lifts" it from slashdot
7) Somebody references it on wikipedia
8) Other more or less reputable news media "lifts" it from wikipedia
9) Somebody adds more sources to wikipedia
10) Welcome to 1984 - and then some

Re:Nope (3, Funny)

Mooga (789849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950868)

I agree, I just called Microsoft and they also told me that they would "open source Windows 7 in the nearest future."

Re:Nope (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951578)

Story has been confirmed at the Skype Linux blog:
http://share.skype.com/sites/linux/2009/11/skype_open_source.html

They are making an open source UI to allow better integration with distros.

Re:Nope (3, Informative)

ofaurax (1669464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951732)

First, I'm not an employee of Mandriva. I didn't ask for anything other than an official skype RPM for Mandriva, on the skype download page or on the Mandriva repositories (in "non-free"). There's nothing to do with icons or trademark. As english is not my native language, I asked for clarification when reading "part of the opensource community". The answer is "will become open source in the nearest future." If you don't trust my language skills, just read the "blockquote tag" answers from the tech support. I only copy/pasted.

Cautiously Optimistic? (1)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950428)

From a practical perpsective this is good news and a step forward.

However, if part of this "open source" announcement means a binary-blob needs to be included on an open-source OS (e.g. Linux) should we still be worried?

Off the top of my head I can think of graphics cards, wireless network adapters, software and scanner-type devices that need binary "blobs" to be usable.

I am worried because this could be a growing trend of reliance on companies policy of releasing binary only software onto a open-source OS.

E.g. I have a laptop with an ATI-based graphics card (r200M). I have been using the closed source driver to enable me to enjoy meaningful 3d-accelerated performace on my laptop. Unfortunately the new version of the driver(9.10?) now considers my card "legacy" which means the previous version (9.2) will not compile with the latest Xorg release.

If the driver was *fully* open source then at least something can be done about it.

I had to deal with this with MS Windows - it's one of the many reasons I use Linux.

Re:Cautiously Optimistic? (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950470)

IIRC R100+ chips are supported by the open-source Radeon driver, which also includes 2D, 3D and kernel mode-setting.

Re:Cautiously Optimistic? (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950628)

I had to deal with this with MS Windows - it's one of the many reasons I use Linux.

Perhaps you jumped to Linux without considering that it wasn't the end all be all solutions that you were told it was?

When switching from Windows to Linux you give certain things up, when switching from Windows to MacOS you give certain things up, and indeed when switching from Linux to * you give certain things up. If you didn't, they would all be equal/the exact same and you'd have no reason to switch at all.

Abandonware in 3....2....1.... (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950446)

This is the same old story. The business doesn't want to support a Linux client so they open the code they have and abandon it.

I didn't bother reading TFA so maybe someone else can inform us how would one go about acquiring the binary blob in the future? What distros will the blob track? What about an ARM build? Ebay wants to limit their dev hours but abandoning the gui doesn't help them much.

Which is why I think they'll just abandon the OS altogether sooner rather than later and put a happy face on it with this stunt.

Re:Abandonware in 3....2....1.... or not (1)

nangus (1026732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951666)

I would actually be perfectly happy with a situation like this. This was as far as I can understand the original purpose of the gpl before people started going crazy and getting greedy. People wanted to be able to fix software that was created and then abandoned. With the source being closed the only way to fix a closed chunk of software would be to totally recreate the software using best guess as to what it was doing and how.

If a manufacture no longer wishes to support something, this is the best solution imo. OSS can never truly become abandoned, if I find some software that I like and it is no longer supported.

I am free:
--take the software
--update the libraries
--fix any bugs
--share (maybe start a project so other people can make fixes)
--???
--profit.

That is what the gpl meant to me before people got greedy, before people started to worship, before it became a religion...

having visual hallucinations (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951874)

"The business doesn't want to support a Linux client so they open the code they have and abandon it"

How do you deduce this from a single blog post ..

"the Linux Skype version will become open source [ofaurax.free.fr] in the nearest future"

The first thing I'll build: (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29950726)

A Skype-SIP gateway server. And then abandon all and everything that is Skype from my systems. (Except for the gateway on one server, of course.)
I'll open-source that too, and will make huge enterprisey pitches for the PHBs, until the closed-source virus that is Skype dies out for all eternity, until the end of all time.

Re:The first thing I'll build: (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951052)

Why bother copying Skype's protocol? Just do your own and make it opensource. And of you run your own free server (just make money from advertising or something, not charge for the service itself) you'll take customers away from Skype immediately.

Re:The first thing I'll build: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951300)

Oh look! A skype SIP gateway http://www.skype.com/go/sip/ [skype.com]

The first thing I'll download. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29952232)

"I'll open-source that too, and will make huge enterprisey pitches for the PHBs, until the closed-source virus that is Skype dies out for all eternity, until the end of all time."

Much like Apple will die out. Here's a clue, Skype did for VOIP what Apple did for computers. Made it easier for the average person to be a participant.

Right now getting Skype running is simple download, install, run, create account, enjoy. SIP is a little less Plug and Play.

SKYPE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950978)

U mean the worst VIOP/Teleconference software out there? Who even uses it? They must be on the way out to consider such a move.

update from linuxcrunch (2, Informative)

itwadi (1531911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951950)

After contacting Skype's representative,Linuxcrunch.com [linuxcrunch.com] got an update for this issue: "We appreciate our user community's enthusiasm and realize this is something they have been wanting for a while. We realize the potential of the open source community and believe that making Skype for Linux an open source application will help to speed up its development and enhance its compatibility with different versions of Linux. While it is our goal to make Skype for Linux source code available to the community in the nearest future, we are not at a point to disclose an exact release date yet."

Speculations suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29951986)

Skype is an evil closed source platform as we speak.

I believe it once I see it. And "open sourced" can mean anything at all, tell me the license when the deed is done. If it's done!

In other news Luxemburg might declare war on the US of A...

We don't need shit like this on /. thank you.

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