Skype drops support for ALSA

In a Skype blog post yesterday, the announcement was made that the latest version of Skype has dropped support for the ALSA sound system and that Linux users are expected to use PulseAudio exclusively from now on.

Boo Hoo Microsoft, for killing this itsy bit of Linux compatibility in your closed-source product.

I guess for Slackware users it is game over for Skype calls. Time to find out if we can come up with a solution that bundles private libraries for PulseAudio so that we do not have to pollute the system directories with it.


45 thoughts on “Skype drops support for ALSA

  1. I’d replied to Willy’s tweet yesterday on this exact issue. Hopefully there won’t be any changes in Slack over the short term to break v4.2 – not ideal but if that’s all we can do …

  2. Skype is getting more and more bad. Microsoft just decides to have the monopoly and can do whatever they want.

    The same thing happened with Chrome and NPAPI. We should learn that being dependent on a big company is never a good sign.

    Didn’t Microsoft decide do drop the 3rd-party-API in Skype a while ago? That would make the next version unusable, even WITH alsa support.

  3. Ugh. One of the big reasons I stick with slackware is because it isn’t dependent upon pulseaudio. I’m a composer who does a lot of computer music. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but I’ve never had audio work properly on a system that required pulseaudio (even if it isn’t being used.)

    First questionable privacy issues WRT Microsoft and skype, now this. Yep, not using it. My nieces can pick up a phone, or I can hold my nose and do facetime on one of the macs.

  4. Did the previous version of Skype stop working? I saw the news about the new pulseaudio requirement, and just decided not to “upgrade.”

  5. It’s time to look at replacements for skype.
    I don’t trust skype anymore with servers under american laws and cloud integration.
    But i do like “share desktop” function in skype.
    Is there an good replacement for skype?
    I need audio calls, text chat and share desktop.

  6. we can all despise Skype, but if we need to communicate with other people who uses only that, we must cope

  7. Time to find out if we can find another application. Since when Microsoft bought skype it sucks both on Linux and on Android (since 4.4.0 on my Nexus 4 it is impossible to use it: crashes, reboots and so on), I had also some bad news about IOS.

  8. I had recently totally reworked my oiNKpod and installed a fresh new Slackware-64 -current and got kde -current up-to-date. After installing the 32-bit-multilib-packages for current, the old skype packages install and work just fine. I do get business contacts via Skype, so it is important.

  9. What are the issues with PulseAudio? I haven’t tried it and am a bit leery of doing so because I am not wanting to have to clean out my system back to scratch just to get rid of it.

    I am not sure that ALSA is all that great, so I am wondering what is so wrong about PulseAudio.

  10. Hi,
    I’ve managed to add the pulseaudio using the sbo packages for both 64-bit and also created the compat32 packages, however for best experience i had to rebuild alsa-lib and alsa-plugins(sbo) packages.
    Now this thing works, and i can do video calls over skype on my multilib system, however hwdts and hwac3 output from mplayer does not work and also the sound for any DTS or AC3 videos are crap using digital out/passthrough.

    All in all it is inconvenient, but can be done.

  11. @Regnad Kcin: there are many problems with pulseaudio. It is a failure in that it is supposed to be simple and “black-box” but its not – I always have to dig in some configuration to make it work. It is also a failure in that it is supposed to simplify things, but it also makes it complicated; because it tries to guess what you want, is very intrusive, and when you change configurations it often doesn’t know what to do. Lastly, it is painfully slow by design. It resamples every single audio “manually”. You literally have to choose between quick resampling or a good resampling. If you like to do anything computationally intensive while listening to music, give up. You can’t. That’s pulseaudio.

  12. Thanks for the comment. Not sure what you mean by “black-box”. Your description reminds me of microsoft, though.

  13. I moved over to google talk for my long distance phone calls.
    keeping old skype. 4.3 now in slackbuilds is pretty much broken
    for voice. With out pulseaudio and pavucontrol.
    As for pulseaudio install pretty much breaks everything I have set up for DJing. Like skype call in etc. ALSA is in the kernel so there are many eyes on it. I believe they have set a standard.

  14. I was refused login today using 4.2. Upgraded to 4.3 on a 32 bit machine using the scripts (Skype, PulseAudio, speex, json-c) and was able to make a test call. I haven’t run into any problems yet with other apps (mostly Flashplayer would be noticed). I have not tried my wife’s multi-lib machine yet.

  15. When I logged out of Skype this morning and tried logging in again, Skype would tell me it could connect to the service.
    I then upgraded Skype to and ran that new version.
    It started, connected and I was able to chat to others in my contact list.
    It then occurred to me that I never use voice or video in Skype, so I an not affected by the sudden PulseAudio requirement. The sound is gone (including startup sound and notifications) but the chat still works.

    I guess it’s time for everybody to switch to better alternatives if you want voice and video.

  16. Never give up my slack just moved to Google hangouts for conference calls and video. Set up a free google number that calls all my phones numbers easy stuff.

    Slackware Google voice in hangout is nice. Slackers make the best hangouts. How was them Micro breweries in the bay area.

  17. Just man up and adopt PulseAudio into Slackware. Geez. Ubuntu’s Pulse integration was shit back in the day but Pulse itself provides useful extensions to the Linux audio stack — from userspace where they belong. It’s stable, it works, and it’s the new standard.

    Slackware users and maintainers are going to have to accept that Pulse, systemd, and Wayland are becoming core components of the modern GNU/Linux ecosystem, without which critical software will fail. Instead of fighting this trend they should accept and embrace it.

  18. Jeff, nice to see a real troll here.
    Slackware does not have to accept anything,

    We have never even discussed Wayland until now, but it has no negative vibe associated to it so I am neutral toward Wayland and watching how it develops. At this point, I see no reason to switch from X.Org to Wayland.

    I do not think systemd is entering the distribution any time soon; and adding pulseaudio is left as an exercise to the reader. There is no reason to have it as part of Slackware, except to support proprietary Microsoft software. Duh?

    If no one would fight the adoption of pulseaudio and systemd, we would all just be sheep. I am glad there are some people still who keep a level head and actually consider the pros and cons on other merits than a mere “but everybody else is doing it too !”.

  19. Hi, if anyone need to continue using skype 4.2.x version, follow these steps:

    * remove skype 4.2.x version
    * install skype 4.3.x version
    * connect with mark to “Sign me in when Skype starts”
    * click Quit (don’t Sign Out)
    * remove skype 4.3.x
    * install again skype 4.2.x version
    * now the skype will connect automatically

    I hope it works!

  20. Making the trick with the automatically ‘sign me in’ can work at now (maybe) and at the expense of your patience to install and uninstall skypes versions sometimes. I have never disconnected my Skype through months, but today (August,15) I was obscurely logged off from Skype and so I could not connect anymore, receiving the same message you all are talking about, and so I am here. I think M$ is kicking off their old users.

  21. Has anyone tried apulse?
    There’s a slackbuild available on, and it would seem to be a more Slackware friendly solution (if it works!).
    Any thoughts?

  22. I’ve just tested Skype with apulse, and looks like it’s working. I’ve checked it only with “skype test call” so far, but results look promising 🙂

    After building apulse (see you can run skype with the following command:

    apulse skype

    Skype did, however, stop responding two times for me, and I had to restart not only Skype but even reload ALSA settings with /etc/rc.d/rc.alsa restart. We will see if this happens very often – it happened for me only when I had capture devices (internal mic) switched off, so perhaps this won’t happen under “normal circumstances”.

  23. As with some others, avoidance of Skype carries rather severe penalties in terms of interacting with people I have to deal with. So, avoiding Skype is not a serious option.

    I first set the monster up, fitted in Pulseaudio, managed to break my setup for 32-bit software and got help here, then managed to get the Skype client running, for a fairly low bar of “running”. At first I thought all was good, that didn’t last long.

    Aside from the Linux version missing a few features, Pulseaudio had two problems, It would periodically not connect to Skype and I had to reboot the machine to recover, and the Record Greeting feature didn’t work.

    I got apulse. This worked just fine, for about an hour. While I could record my voice mail greeting with it, after about an hour on a call, I just lost audio. I could kill and re-start Skype, but then the failure happened again after a while. Each stop and start went less time before failing.

    At the moment I’ve created an ugly hack of setting Pulseaudio to not auto-spawn, and I have a shell script in /usr/local/bin/skype that launches Pulseaudio, executes the actual Skype client, then shuts down Pulseaudio when Skype exits. This has, so far, terminated the problem of Skype starting without sound.

    I am looking into the skype_oss_wrapper, if it works better than apulse I’ll try to run with it for a while. My worry is about selecting interface devices. With apulse I had to set environment variables for that.

  24. Tried skype_oss_wrapper, no sound, Skype recognized Pulseaudio, but there was no way to switch things so I don’t know if the wrapper was working at all.

    Also, above, I meant that the Linux version of Skype is missing a few features.

    I started all this having only heard of Pulseaudio and noticing that most references were negative. Having had first hand experience with the thing, I now see that those entries were unnecessarily kind.

  25. It really works!! Thanks RafaBR
    Posted: August 13, 2014 at 17:31

    Hi, if anyone need to continue using skype 4.2.x version, follow these steps:

    * remove skype 4.2.x version
    * install skype 4.3.x version
    * connect with mark to “Sign me in when Skype starts”
    * click Quit (don’t Sign Out)
    * remove skype 4.3.x
    * install again skype 4.2.x version
    * now the skype will connect automatically

  26. older thread.
    seems the new skypforlinuxbeta no longer requires pulseaudio.I always thought this strange that people that develop for the mass would do this and set up up a system not maintained by the kernel team. And so it seems Microsoft read the writing on the wall. i am not against pulseaudio it is another tool in my Slackware box. Just like bluetooth did the compile against the pulseaudio headers. That lead Pat to make a good tool great.

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