Sound in Skype 4.3

Since version 4.3, Skype for Linux requires PulseAudio. It is available from SBo, but since Skype is a 32bit program only, the necessary 32bit compatibility packages should be installed as well. I am running Slackware64 14.1 -multilib system and I have a virtual machine with Slackware 32. So what I did was:

First of all, PulseAudio needs its own group and user. You can add them like this:

groupadd -g 216 pulse
useradd -u 216 -g pulse -d /var/lib/pulse pulse

In the virtual machine, I compiled the following from SBo:

  • speex | an audio compression format designed for speech
  • json-c | JSON library in C
  • pulseaudio | PulseAudio Sound Server

I converted the m to compat32 packages on my host machine like this:

convertpkg-compat32 -i speex-1.2rc1-i486-3_SBo.tgz -e tgz

In case you have no virtual machine at hand, you can use sbotools which is capable of creating compat32 packages from, like this:

sboinstall --compat32 speex

However, with the above approach, the compilation of pulseaudio broke.

Then, I compiled the above packages on the host x86_64 system and installed them together with the ready compat32 packages and Skype. This worked for me right away. I had sound notifications, could hear the Skype test call and was able to record a message and hear it back.

There has been an active discussion about it on LQ where people reported various problems. There were also many suggestions, solutions and a user even prepared packages. From reading the discussion, I decided to configure an un-intrusive set up of PulseAudio. Following the Arch Linux Wiki article, I modified these files as suggested:

# Replace these with the proper values
exit-idle-time = 0 # Exit as soon as unneeded
flat-volumes = yes # Prevent messing with the master volume
# Replace these with the proper values

# Applications that uses PulseAudio *directly* will spawn it,
# use it, and pulse will exit itself when done because of the
# exit-idle-time setting in daemon.conf
autospawn = yes
# Replace the *entire* content of this file with these few lines and
# read the comments

    # Set tsched=0 here if you experience glitchy playback. This will
    # revert back to interrupt-based scheduling and should fix it.
    # Replace the device= part if you want pulse to use a specific device
    # such as "dmix" and "dsnoop" so it doesn't lock an hw: device.
    load-module module-alsa-source device="default" tsched=1
    load-module module-alsa-sink device="default" tsched=1 
    # Accept clients -- very important
    load-module module-native-protocol-unix

    # Publish to X11 so the clients know how to connect to Pulse. Will
    # clear itself on unload.
    load-module module-x11-publish

To be honest, I don’t know it this helps or makes things better…

UPDATE (28.02.2015): you may wish to check these alternative approaches: Skype on pure Slackware64 and Sound in Skype via apulse. Currently, I use the latter.

2 Comments on “Sound in Skype 4.3”

  1. […] have been using the 4.3 version of Skype for several months already, with PulseAudio and its compat packages installed. However, I experienced problems with some Audio programs. XMMS would crash regularly and […]

  2. […] (28 Feb 2015): you may wish to check these alternative approaches: Sound in Skype 4.3 and Sound in Skype via apulse. Currently, I use the […]

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