Skype for Linux 4.1 arrives with Microsoft account support
Microsoft's Skype division has released version 4.1 of its popular closed source VoIP, video and text chat software for Linux. The latest release of the software, labelled 188.8.131.52, is a major update to the 4.x branch and brings with it enhancements to the application's user interface and several new features, such as support for signing into Microsoft accounts.
With version 4.1, code-named "The new buddy", users can now sign into Skype using their Microsoft accounts and can communicate with other users from Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail and Outlook.com. The change is part of Microsoft's plans to retire Windows Live Messenger, formerly known as MSN Messenger, in the first quarter of 2013 and switch these users to Skype; users with both a Skype name and a Microsoft account can merge the two instead of having to switch accounts.
When on a call, users will now receive a notification of unread messages and users can exit full screen call view by pressing the ESC key. A new hotkey has also been added: pressing "d" will invoke the dial pad during calls; a full list of shortcuts is provided in the /usr/share/doc/skype/README file.
By adding the "--secondary" command line option when launching a Skype client, users can now run more than one instance of the software. Other changes include support for setting different audio streams for sound notifications, audio and video quality improvements, and support for Skype URIs on web sites, as well as fixes that are said to improve the client's overall stability.
Further information about the update can be found in the release notes. Skype for Linux 184.108.40.206 is available to download for various distributions including 32- and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 12.04 and Debian 7.0, as well as 32-bit versions for Ubuntu 10.04, Fedora 16 and openSUSE 12.1 or later.
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