Skype 4.3 on Fedora 21

Skype 4.2 for Linux was supposed to have stopped working this past August. Despite that, some of us were able to keep connecting. But for me the bell has now tolled. A happy ending follows.

NOTE: Shortly after upgrading to the 3.19 kernel, my microphone stopped working on both my Fedora 21 systems. There had always been multiple problems getting audio to work correctly on the C720 Chromebook, but my desktop had never had issues of that kind since switching to an external USB mic. Turns out that to make it work there I had to disable every input other than the mic, and to set the “Built-in” audio to output only. A cautionary tale for anyone else out there working with Skype and PulseAudio. One positive note: I can now use Skype’s 32-bit rpm for Fedora once again, so long as the dependent packages listed below are installed first.

I had avoided upgrading to Skype 4.3 for Linux because of problems in its PulseAudio integration. Specifically on Fedora 20 I was unable to get either audio output or input to work. But when I upgraded to Fedora 21, everything fell apart.

The rpm packages for Fedora from Skype are 32-bit only affairs, clearly labelled as supporting Fedora 16. That’s a version of the distribution that reached EOL (End Of Life) almost 2 years ago (on 12 February 2013). Clearly there have been huge changes in Fedora since release 16, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that Skype 4.2 continued to work as long as it did.

After having Skype 4.2 fail to connect on my newly upgraded Fedora 21 workstation, I did all the normal diagnostic stuff you’d expect like checking to make sure the i686 versions of all dependencies were installed (they were) and forcing my password via the Skype site “just in case”. Nothing worked, so I decided to give 4.3 another go. The rpm package installed without error and the client launched, but as before I couldn’t get any audio output or input. So I decided to try the “dynamic” tarball download of 4.3 for Linux. This also launched fine, with the same audio issues.

Finally I searched around a bit on the Internet and found Install Skype 4.3 on Fedora 21/20, CentOS/RHEL/SL 7/6. This article was a blessing. Not only did it confirm the actual dependencies required (using the tarball means that you don’t have the luxury of getting yum to resolve dependencies for you), but it provided a shell script launcher that resolved my audio problem.

Here are the steps I followed:

1. Download Skype for Linux 4.3 Dynamic.

2. Unarchive to /opt/skype.

3. Verify the i686 versions of all dependencies installed.

alsa-lib.i686
fontconfig.i686
freetype.i686
glib2.i686
libSM.i686
libXScrnSaver.i686
libXi.i686
libXrandr.i686
libXrender.i686
libXv.i686
libstdc++.i686
pulseaudio-libs.i686
qt.i686
qt-x11.i686
zlib.i686
qtwebkit.i686
libcanberra-gtk2.i686
gtk2-engines.i686
PackageKit-gtk3-module.i686
alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i686

4. Create and install skype.sh launcher under /opt/skype and symlink to /usr/local/bin/skype (make .sh file executable — “chmod ugo+x skype.sh”).

#!/bin/sh
export SKYPE_HOME="/opt/skype"
$SKYPE_HOME/skype --resources=$SKYPE_HOME $*

5. Symlink Skype icon from /opt/skype/icons/SkypeBlue_48x48.png to /usr/share/pixmaps/skype.png.

6. Create and install skype.desktop to /usr/share/applications.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony
Exec=skype %U
Icon=skype.png
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Categories=Network;Application;
MimeType=x-scheme-handler/skype;
X-KDE-Protocols=skype

POSTSCRIPT:

Had a bear of a time getting this to work on my Acer C720 running Fedora 21 on a 64GB SSD drive. While Skype 4.3 launched OK I couldn’t get any audio and the menu icon wasn’t showing up. In the end I was able to get the audio going by opening the PulseAudio volume control and disabling the HDMI interface (selected “None” in the drop down). The icon seemed to return when I backed out of mapping /tmp to RAM only (I also removed the noatime parameter for all volumes).

This entry was posted in System Administration, Systems Analysis on by .

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).