Rolling back Skype on Fedora

I’ve been running Skype 4.3.0 on Fedora 20 for awhile, but with difficulty. Today I rolled back to 4.2.0, and was relived to see my troubles go away. For now.

After going back to Gnome on Fedora 20 I found that while many of my problems with PulseAudio receded, getting my v4.3.0 copy of Skype to work had become a struggle. Of course even Windows has problems intelligently handling various inputs and outputs (speakers vs. headphones, USB vs. phono jack headsets), but l having to spend 10 minutes resetting things on my Linux laptop just to call my kids on Skype was getting old really fast. I’m still not clear on the root cause, but in all probability it has to do with changes in PulseAudio (Skype 4.2 was the first version to exclusively route things through Pusle rather than addressing the underlying ALSA sound system directly).

One clear disclaimer in all this: Microsoft only certifies its latest rpms for Fedora 16 on an i586, and so there’s no use complaining to anyone about these sorts of problems.

Fortunately I still have rpm for Skype 4.2.0 in my software archives, so I uninstalled the newer version and set the older one up. Voila! Everything worked again. I’m not happy with running older versions of software, mostly because of the security implications that usually carries with it. But under the circumstances I’m going to be content for now with the present truce (although I’m under no illusion that this will break again, probably next time as the result of some new regression in PulseAudio).

Ironically, while Skype used to be a key part of my home office setup, the introduction of a company furnished iPhone has dramatically reduced my Skype usage and I’ve been considering dropping my dial-out subscription (I dropped my dial in number awhile ago, for a $60 per year savings). Right now my main use for Skype is to ring up my kids to get them down for dinner. I won’t be switching to Google Hangouts for that, but might try finding a decent SIP client for Windows to leverage my existing home VOIP solution (last time I checked all of the SIP clients out there for either Linux or Windows were horribly lame — but I’m a glutton for punishment).

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).