Linux sucks – Getting Skype working

Months after intially installing Skype, I finally got it to work properly (i.e. not conflict with music players / YouTube / etc).  It took way too much Googling and I spent a lot of time trying suggestions that ended up not working, but eventually I found a solution (full thread) on the Ubuntu Forums that almost works. These are the steps that actually worked for me:

  1. Put this into ~/.asoundrc (create the file if it doesn’t exist):
    pcm.skypeout
    {
        type plug
        slave.pcm "dmix"
    }
    ctl.skypeout
    {
        type hw
        card 0
    }
    pcm.skypein
    {
        type plug
        slave.pcm "dsnoop"
    }
    ctl.skypein
    {
        type hw
        card 0
    }
  2. Edit /etc/pulse/default.pa as root (I can’t figure out a “nice” way to do this from the GUI, but in a terminal you could try “sudo gedit /etc/pulse/default.pa” – I used vim).
    1. Comment out “load-module module-hal-detect”
    2. Find the “module-alsa-sink” and “module-alsa-source” sections and add these two lines:
      load-module module-alsa-sink device=dmix sink_name=output
      load-module module-alsa-source device=hw:0,0

      On my Desktop PC, I used “device=hw:SB,0″ rather than “device=hw:0,0″.

      I’ve attached a patch that you can use to automate this (“sudo patch -p0 -d /etc/pulse < default.pa.diff”)

  3. Restart PulseAudio (or reboot).  You can restart PulseAudio by running this in a terminal:
    killall pulseaudio && pulseaudio &

    I got some error messages, but you can ignore them.

  4. Try Skype.  If it still isn’t playing nice with other applications, go to the Sound Devices section in Skype’s settings and change “Sound In” to skypein, and “Sound Out” and “Ringing” to skypeout.
  5. If Skype still isn’t working, go back to step 2, but instead of “hw:0,0″, try other values like “hw:SB,0″; if that doesn’t work, you’re going to need to do some more Googling.

There are three things that suck:

  • It doesn’t work out of the box
  • There is no obvious way to edit a config file in /etc (this requires root privileges, but “Text Editor” doesn’t use the graphical sudo functionality to get the privileges it needs)
  • Following this advice means that in a future upgrade (maybe to 8.10, for example) you risk having to merge differences between your hacked “default.pa” and the maintainer’s version; this would be unreasonably difficult for most people to understand.

Comments are closed.