Earlier this week, the folks at Skype updated the latest and greatest beta version for Linux. Beta 2 of Skype 2.1 adds some features that Windows and Mac users have enjoyed for some time now — screen sharing, quoting of chat messages and support for different user interface styles. Also in the beta build is support for High Quality Video and super wideband audio, but if I recall correctly, those were introduced in a previous version. The screen sharing can be full screen or just a selected portion according to Lifehacker.
To get the beta build running on your Linux distro, your system needs are pretty meager — a 1GHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, 20 MB of free storage, a video card with Xv support, and of course, a microphone and headset jack.
Skype is one of the few apps I install on every machine I have simply because I find it so useful. The screen sharing feature trumps my other oft-used app for audio / video chatting, which is Google Talk. You can collaborate on documents in real time with Google Docs while chatting on Google Talk, but it’s just not the same. The fact that Skype is supported across platforms also makes it a key app. It’s getting to the point where I need an app to be usable on nearly every type of architecture whether it’s an operating system, mobile platform or the web itself.