Colin.Guthr.ie Illegitimi non carborundum

27Aug/098

Skype + Pulse Goodness

Looks like Auld Nick has got some ice skates..... There is a new version of Skype for GNU/Linux! And it supports PulseAudio pretty well 🙂First of all I'm quite disappointed by the fact that there is no official Mandriva RPM but as this is a binary only app anyway, it's pretty easy to convert whatever else is there to suit your needs.

I only saw one 64 bit package so I figured I'd convert it. It's for Ubuntu, but alien -r skype.deb soon converts that to an RPM. Sadly it turns out that this is not a 64 bit app at all, it's just 32 bit but presumably it's got the necessary dependancies cooked into the package. So overall, the Fedora package will probably run fine on Mandriva.

Once it was installed I fired it up and under sound preferences it just says "PulseAudio" all the way 🙂 Happy Days.

I found that Skype seemed to try and change volumes a bit and that seemed to trigger an assert in pulse so I disabled the relevant setting in Skype for now and things seem a bit more stable since then.

Now, PulseAudio has some nice features, like corking (pausing if the app supports it) music playback when a call comes in. In order to do this, PulseAudio has to know that Skype is a telephony application. In theory this is just a matter of adding "Telephony" to the Categories in the skype.desktop file. Sadly this didn't seem to work for me... not sure why, but I didn't debug for too long. Instead I added a

X-PulseAudio-Properties=media.role=phone

That did the trick. Pulse now knows that Skype is a VoIP app 🙂

One other neat feature (in addition to the music pausing) is that when I connected my Bluetooth headset half way through a call, PulseAudio moved my call across to the headset automatically! Nice.

So the conclusion? Well, there does still seem to be a few issues with the volume setting but overall, this is a great step forward!

So what next? Well work out why the asserts happen on volume changes and then work out why the Telephony category is not parsed from skype.desktop.

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  • That’s great! Skype was one (if not only) of the most important apps for Linux that desperately required pulseaudio support.

    Any chance for a RPM with all your changes available somewhere? 🙂

    • Colin

      I’m not sure about the RPM as not sure about distribution rights… if it’s permitted we can ship it in non-free but I suspect they don’t want us to do that… I’ll ask them (I have a contact there).

  • motitos

    First of all, I’m working with Mandriva 2009.1 x64. I’ve downloaded the static and the dynamic versions, and they both work fine. In fact, skype detected my pulseaudio configuration automagically. I’ve tried the skype test call service, and I got a wellcome message in Spanish!

    • Colin

      Haha! Well I don’t think you can blame PulseAudio for that one. Perhaps your locale is wrong in some way or perhaps your user profile on Skype is set to prefer Spanish?

  • promeneur
  • That's great! Skype was one (if not only) of the most important apps for Linux that desperately required pulseaudio support.

    Any chance for a RPM with all your changes available somewhere? :);. All the best!!

  • Dani

    will you marry me?

    • Colin

      Hmmm, dunno. Send pics :p