In this announcement, https://insights.ubuntu.com/2018/02/01/skype-now-available-as-a-snap-for-linux-users/ we find out that Skype is now available as a snap package for Linux distributions.
For Ubuntu, this means that we can install from the Ubuntu Software. Other distributions that have both Gnome Software and snap package support in Gnome Software, they can install as well. Here is how it looks,
If you are running another Linux distribution, then you can install snap packaging support by following the guide at https://docs.snapcraft.io/core/install
Then, you can install from the command line by running
$ snap install --classic skype skype 184.108.40.206 from 'skype' installed $
Classic refers to the type of confinement that the snap is inside. And classic means that there is a relaxed confinement. One reason why it would need the classic confinement, is if they want the ability of the Skype executable to attach files from outside the home folder (i.e. /var/log or /tmp). There are users that are accustomed to attaching files from anywhere in the filesystem, and they would get a bad experience if they could not do that. Personally, I would be happy with proper confinement, and if I need to attach a file from outside the home folder, I would just copy first manually to my home folder, then attach with Skype.
Here is how the first screen of Skype looks like, when you first run it.
A closer look
Let’s look closer into the snap package of Skype.
$ snap list skype Name Version Rev Developer Notes skype 220.127.116.11 9 skype classic
The Skype snap is into the 9th revision.
$ snap info skype name: skype summary: Skype keeps you together. Call, message and share with others. publisher: skype contact: https://go.skype.com/community.linux.desktop description: | Skype keeps the world talking. Say “hello” with an instant message, voice or video call – all for free, no matter what device they use Skype on. Skype is available on phones, tablets, PCs, Macs and Linux. • Video calls – Don’t just hear the cheers, see it! Get together with 1 or 24 of your friends and family on a video call. Watch your everyone’s smiles and cries when you tell them “We’re engaged!!!" • Chat – Reach people instantly. Send messages to your friends, liven up conversations with emoticons and Mojis, or create a group chat to make weekend plans with up to 300 people. • Share – Do more together. Easily share your screen, photos, videos, documents, and files with your family and friends. Unlike email, Skype will transfer up to 300MB per file. • Voice calls – Camera shy? Make voice calls to anyone on Skype. You can also call mobile and landlines at low rates. snap-id: QRDEfjn4WJYnm0FzDKwqqRZZI77awQEV commands: - skype tracking: stable installed: 18.104.22.168 (9) 159MB classic refreshed: 2018-01-26 13:27:45 +0100 CET channels: stable: 22.214.171.124 (9) 159MB classic candidate: ↑ beta: ↑ edge: ↑ insider/stable: 126.96.36.199 (10) 159MB classic insider/candidate: ↑ insider/beta: ↑ insider/edge: 188.8.131.52 (10) 159MB classic
Here is what we learn,
- The publisher is Skype, which means that Skype/Microsoft are doing the publishing.
- The contact URL takes you to the Skype forum for Linux and not to a dedicated Linux page. We can find there the announcement Skype Is Now Available as SNAP and the link to https://snapcraft.io/skype/
- By default, we are currently installing the version 184.108.40.206, last refreshed in 2018/01/26. If there will be any future updates, they will get installed automatically. You can force a refresh with snap refresh.
- There is an insider version as well, at 220.127.116.11. It requires a special instruction to install that version. See a subsequent section below for this.
Let’s see the installation file of Skype. Here is the generic snap command for this,
$ snap run --shell skype $
Because of the classic confinement, it does not make a difference. If it was another snap, without the classic confinement, then that is the command that you need.
An installed snap would keep files in three locations,
In the first location you expect to find the installation files of the snap. In the second location, the user configuration (username/password, etc). In the third location is the place for the program to keep data.
$ ls -l /snap/skype/ total 0 drwxr-xr-x 10 root root 169 Jan 26 13:27 9 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 1 Feb 1 18:47 current -> 9
$ ls -l /snap/skype/current/ total 1 drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 60 Jan 26 13:27 bin -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 187 Jan 26 13:27 command-skype.wrapper drwxr-xr-x 13 root root 209 Jan 26 13:27 etc -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 14 Jan 26 13:25 flavor-select drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 39 Jan 12 2017 lib drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 43 Jan 26 13:27 lib64 drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 43 Jan 26 13:27 meta drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 26 Jan 26 13:27 snap drwxr-xr-x 7 root root 113 Jan 26 13:27 usr drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 26 Nov 27 2015 var
From there, we can delve even deeper.
Installing the Skype Linux Insider version
As we have seen, there is an Insider version of the snap. Here is how to install it.
$ snap install --channel insider/stable --classic skype skype (insider/stable) 18.104.22.168 from 'skype' refreshed
Help! I got “error: This revision of snap “skype” was published using classic confinement”
Here is the full message,
$ snap install skype error: This revision of snap "skype" was published using classic confinement and thus may perform arbitrary system changes outside of the security sandbox that snaps are usually confined to, which may put your system at risk. If you understand and want to proceed repeat the command including --classic.
This means that we need to add the parameter –classic, as in
$ snap install --classic skype
Help! I got “error: access denied (try with sudo)”
Here is the full message,
$ snap install --classic skype error: access denied (try with sudo)
This means that you are running your Linux distribution in some virtualization environment, and therefore you need to run with sudo. Therefore, run instead
$ sudo snap install --classic skype error: access denied (try with sudo)
Help! “snap “skype” is already installed”, cannot install the insider version
You have already installed the snap of Skype and when you try to install the insider version, you get
$ snap install --channel insider/stable --classic skype snap "skype" is already installed, see "snap refresh --help"
As the message says, if we have a snap installed, we would need to switch to another channel using the refresh command. Specifically,
$ snap refresh --channel insider/stable --classic skype skype (insider/stable) 22.214.171.124 from 'skype' refreshed
And we have switch to the insider version. It is also possible to uninstall/install, but refresh is more refreshing.
Help! I installed the insider version but now I want to switch back to the standard version!
To switch back to the stable channel of Skype, run the following
$ snap refresh --channel=stable --classic skype skype 126.96.36.199 from 'skype' refreshed
Note that switching between channels is fast. No need to uninstall and install again.