Microsoft has today announced a brand new Skype client for Linux, currently in alpha and available now for the Linux community to download, use and test. Due to the app being in alpha (that's pre-beta, as in really unfinished), there are a lot of features missing and likely a number of bugs that still need to be ironed out. Luckily, Microsoft says they are committed to the Linux platform and therefore are hoping testers will partake in submitting feedback throughout the development process.

The new Skype for Linux client is brand new and very different from the old, outdated Skype for Linux client that Linux users have unfortunately had to put up with. The new alpha introduces the new Skype UI, alongside file-sharing, photos, videos, emoticons and a whole lot more.

Microsoft is asking Skype customers on Linux to help test out this new client by using and providing feedback the Skype team:

"We can only get better with your feedback. As we develop this new version of Skype for Linux, we need you to test, provide feedback and help us prioritize features. You will notice that with the Alpha version of Skype for Linux, which uses our next generation calling architecture, you will be able to call your friends and family on the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, but you won't be able to make or receive calls to and from the previous versions of Skype for Linux ("

Microsoft has also announced that users using Chromebooks and the Chrome browser on Linux can now make calls via the online Skype website using the Skype WebRTC plugin, which is great news indeed.

Microsoft is trying to position Skype as a universal chat program, competing alongside WhatsApp, iMessage and many other communication platforms. Getting an updated client out on Linux will definitely make good progress within the Linux community, so if you're willing to try it out, make sure you give it a download!

Download Skype For Linux Alpha