Ages ago, Skype was its own thing and that was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked and worked well enough cross-platform. I could run Skype on Linux at home, on Android when out and about, and text, or talk, or even video chat with others, even if they were using a Mac or running Windows. At least one little thing was sort of right with the world. And then Microsoft bought Skype. The first, very predictable, thing they did was to all but ignore Linux.
Microsoft ignoring Linux wasn’t all bad. At least they were no longer targeting it and lying about it. Meanwhile, I kept running the old version of Skype as it was in the software repository and it worked. I could re-size things to my liking, adjust theme some, and go on. Things were still mostly right with one little thing.
Recently, though, I noticed that though I’d set myself ‘AWAY’ and had NO (count them: ZERO) other instances running, I’d come back to find Skype had re-set me to the default ‘ACTIVE’ or such, not the ‘AWAY’ I’d set. Uh oh. Cracked?
And then a day or three ago I came back to find Skype had closed – without my having closed it. Crap. Tried to start it. No dice. Oh crap. Web search… oh joy, the good, old version I’d been using was no longer supported and was actively being disabled. I’d seen the new version. It wastes screen like I have a freaking WALL for a monitor and can devote a square foot to what should be a mere few inches. And it cannot be readily shrunk. Minimized into an easy-to-miss taskbar tab, sure. But made actively visible at a sane size: Nope. “Get a bigger monitor.” Gee, I’m already running dual 27 inchers on the main machine. The secondary machine has but one monitor – and it will stay that way. And then there’s the laptop where screen, already the most precious resource in all (home) computing is even more precious still.
Evidently some damn fool in Redmond (or in their pay) has the stupid belief that s/he knows what I need or want more than I do. This idiot ought be fired – out of a cannon into a hard, thick wall. If that’s too cruel, they can be left near Tierra del Fuego and after they WALK back to Redmond, then, maybe, they can resume work. Maybe the dimwit will have learned something about people on the trip – assuming survival. People want what they want, focus groups be damned.
More web searches followed. So much stuff for Windows.. even when I search with -Windows to try to get useful results. Finally one page suggests a file to go edit. It’s outdated, and that particular path and file doesn’t exist. However, it does lead me to look at the .config directory. Aha! ~/.config/skypeforlinux/settings.json which has some window-size numbers in it. I reduce them and save. A quit and re-launch and.. it’s better. Lather, rinse, repeat. Much better. Still a bit too big (somewhere, there is another hard-limit on minimum size. Did I mention BAD DESIGN?), but at least almost-sane. Crap! The damn thing “fixes” my edit. Alright, I change it back and set things READ-ONLY. Take that, you incompetent shiteheads! So far, it seems to be holding.
The “amusing” thing is that after so long, all those years of hearing whinging about how in Linux one must resort to “hand editing” of configuration files, unlike the “easy” everything-is-graphically-controlled Microsoft Windows, it’s the Microsoft product I need to fix by editing a config file and adjusting permissions.
My next laptop, if there is one, will NOT have Windows on it – ever. Not even from the manufacturer. Those shiteheads at Microsoft deserve precisely NONE of my money Really, they though should be paying me damages for suffering. And if I end up paying a few bucks more, well, at least it’ll go to a better class of people – and verified compatible hardware. Dear Toshiba: Your laptops are nice, but until I get them unbesmirched by MS-Windows… bye!
Oh yeah, the old Skype was rather like IRC. Nice, simple, good. The new version? As @mjsminkey said on Twitter, “They made it into a suckier version of FB Messenger.” My text is sort of right-justified. Bleagh. And I get a damn tutorial or adverts or close on every launch. Bleagh. And ‘AWAY’ isn’t even an option any more. Only ‘ACTIVE’ ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ and ‘INVISIBLE’ are listed choices. Yeah, a dumbed-down Fisher-Price interface that lacks options some damn fool thinks are unneeded. Well, those three choices are not always any of the right choices. So now the account is probably going to be ‘ACTIVE’ all the time, unless truly signed off. If someone gets in a huff that there’s not a quick reply, they SHALL get told to go vent at Microsoft. I’d set ‘AWAY’ like a sane being if I could.
The ONLY thing they got right was including the choice of a decent dark theme in the setup. Better if I could fully control color choices, but… well, considering the source, it’s a win.