[Ubuntu-ZW] Why skype is not part of ubuntu

Kalpesh Thaker luminary06 at gmail.com
Mon Jun 7 11:06:31 BST 2010

hi guys...i thought this was quite an interesting read.. on a very common
question for ubuntu users:


Why is Skype not part of Ubuntu?

Skype is not part of the Ubuntu distribution because it does not conform to
the requirements of the Ubuntu Charter. This is primarily because source
code is not available. A consequence of this is that it is impossible to
understand the Skype communication protocol, which prevents competition and
fractures the VoIP market, making it harder for people to communicate. As an
example, Skype users can only talk with other Skype users because the Skype
protocol is closed. But people using SIP clients like Ekiga can talk with
anyone else using a SIP client (such as Wengophone or Twinkle) since SIP is
a free protocol.

Earlier versions of Skype (1.2 and older) might have issues with basic sound
cards that do not support hardware mixing due to using the Open Sound System

VoIP soft-phones included in Ubuntu

There are several alternative software based VoIP phones, that are 'free
libre open', use 'open' protocols, and are included in the Ubuntu
repositories. Among others, there are:


   Empathy <http://live.gnome.org/Empathy> with full Video & Voice chat
   support, Google Talk compatible

   Pidgin <https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Pidgin>

   Ekiga <https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Ekiga>

   Twinkle <https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Twinkle>

   Wengophone <http://www.wengophone.com/> now known as Qutecom.
   - KPhone
   - Gimzo5

Ethics of Skype

Free Software

Ubuntu supports free software, which anyone can use, modify and improve, and
open protocols, so that different software can interoperate. Skype's
software and the Skype protocol are both entirely secret. Users may choose
to avoid Skype because:

   - They will be forced to use Skype software as no alternatives will be
   - Once they develop a Skype network of contacts, it will be harder to
   move to a free network
   - Skype could begin charging for their service at any time they choose

   Skype has deliberately limited capabilities of Skype for non-Intel users
   (details here <http://blogs.zdnet.com/ip-telephony/?p=947>)
   - Skype is provided and runs natively only on the x86 and x86_64 (32 and
   64 bit), ARM (iPhone) and Power PC (Mac with G4 or G5 processor)
   architectures, excluding people using other architectures

Free speech Users may choose to avoid Skype because they have been engaged
in censorship in China. Chinese users and users in certain countries may
fear that along with censorship, they will suffer disclosure of their
private conversations to other people, authorities or governments.
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