Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


How to Make Skype Tray Icon Visible in Ubuntu 12.10

If you're using Skype in Unity (the default Desktop Environment) in Ubuntu 12.10, you might notice that the Skype "tray" (or "notification" ) icon is missing. Here's how to make it appear again:

Open up your terminal emulator (hit WinKey and start typing "term", hit enter). Run this:

gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist

You should get something like this:

['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Update-notifier']

This means that Skype is not whitelisted, thus is not allowed by default to display its tray icon. We need to add Skype to the whitelisted programs.

See how we used "gsettings get" in the previous command to see the whitelisted programs? Now we are going to use "gsettings set" to modify that list.

Put this into your terminal and execute the command. Notice the double quotes around the list, and the single quotes around each item in it! Also, make sure to enter this all as ONE LINE:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Update-notifier', 'Skype']"

Exit Skype if it is running, and run it again. Now you should see the icon.


New Skype 4.0 for Linux

The Linux version of Skype loses its beta status with its first update in years.
Improvements include:

  • New Conversation and call views
  • Improved audio and video Quality
  • Additional Web Cam Support
  • improved chat synchronisation
  • New status icons and emoticons
  • “Tabbed” conversations

If you have the old version of skype, you need to remove it.

sudo apt-get remove skype
sudo apt-get autoremove

The new version of Skype is not available in Ubuntu's repositories yet, so you have to download it from the website: Skype for Linux.

If while trying to install you get an error like this:

pkg: error processing /home/aakkuan/Downloads/skype-ubuntu_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb (--install):
trying to overwrite '/etc/dbus-1/system.d/skype.conf', which is also in package skype-bin:i386
dpkg-deb (subprocess): data: internal gzip write error: Broken pipe
dpkg-deb: error: subprocess returned error exit status 2
dpkg-deb (subprocess): failed in write on buffer copy for failed to write to pipe in copy: Broken pipe

It means you haven't completely removed your old Skype install. Make sure to run

 sudo apt-get autoremove

, as mentioned above.

I'm happy and surprised that Microsoft didn't block development of Skype for Linux. I really thought it was going on life support. Now, I haven't had much of a chance to test Skype 4.0 so I don't have an opinion on these improvements yet. Hopefully if it falls short or is buggy, the Linux for Skype dev team will listen to the community and offer updates more frequently than they have in the past.