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The future of Skype for Linux

From: Haines Brown
Subject: The future of Skype for Linux
Date: Wed, 11 May 2011 08:05:22 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.2 (gnu/linux)

Skype is the principle way that I communicate with my distant wife, and
so is of great personal interest. However, its acquisition by MS raises
concerns. Will advertising for MS or third parties be embedded? Will MS
mine data for my skype name or other information and sell it to a third
party? While that information is public, MS control of the Skype network
exposes it to predatory policies.

I would like to see a GNU client and network service that does the same
thing as Skype, but without stings to MS. Is that possible?  China has
its own TOM network, but apparently had to get permission for it.

Skype uses a VoIP protocol that is said to be proprietary, and so too is
its audio codec, although there are older codecs that are apparently not
proprietary. And yet a skype application is part of debian, which
suggests that it is not only free but open. There are many cases where
an application is back engineered and renamed (gnash for Flash), but yet
the debian application is named "skype". So is the Linux skype client
proprietary or not?

Then there is the question of the network used by Skype. I'm also
ignorant here, but get the impression that Skype connects to a SIP VoIP
server, and that such servers are proprietary, first owned by Skype,
then eBay, now MS. This would seem to open the possibility of MS closing
access to non-MS users, data mining, or charging a usage fee. 

And yet there's quite an array of SIP servers
( I happen to
use AT&T as my ISP, and see that their SIP service is business
class. Would a buiness class service with, for example, AT&T, prevent MS

Haines Brown

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