back to article $8.5bn Skype goes titsup again - including website

Skype went titsup on Thursday, days after the announcement of a deal to buy the VoIP outfit by Microsoft. The service fell over around lunchtime on Thursday, crashing the application on many Windows PCs. Early indications suggest that Mac fans were less exposed to the problem but this is unconfirmed. Skype's website was also …

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Anonymous Coward

guessing

Guessing this is why I get

Aborted (core dumped)

After trying to log in on the linux box.

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Gates Horns

Untrustworthy software supplier

Given the new owner and the fact that they are dropping support for the Skype plugin on Asterisk, I wonder how long it'll be before they drop support for Skype on Android and Linux PCs and notebooks. Until then, what kind of hooks their product updates required to run Skype on these platforms will do to integrity/security of the host platform will need careful debugging and network port monitoring to find out. Something you'd want to have a pretty good SELinux policy for. I'm regretting having an outstanding balance with Skype since I last went on holiday, if they drop support for any more Linux based platforms I'll want my money back.

Probably won't be the first enterprise which substantially drops in value following purchase by Microsoft.

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FAIL

Skype

Is only a few letters away from Shite.

Coincidence? I think not!

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Silver badge

That's one helpdesk I wouldn't mind working on

Whenever the service has major faults, the desk goes quiet.

"Problems? we haven't heard of any problems? In fact it's not busy at all. Ahhh ...."

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Dead Vulture

FAIL

The deal hasn't even gone through, and the first service issue is blamed on MS....

Way to go El Reg...

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Joke

Yeah but the deal will go through

so it's better to be early on this.

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not that bad...

Hope I don't sound like a fan boy but...

"Whether or not that happens in this case, the incident will cause users to further question the reliability of the service"

When I compare Skype to my mobile service it's usually a lot better. Heck, it often beats land lines for when I make international calls. It's definitely worth the huge cost of 'free' I paid for it.

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Silver badge

Really?

Most of the time when I use it for video calls between the UK and Ireland, it craps out with lots of freezes/dropped calls despite both ends having good connectivity (>3 Mb/s) as tested. This may, of course, be down to crap connectivity between UK and Eire in general, but somehow, I suspect it's more due to the bottleneck of Skype's servers...

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Really?

I doubt Skype servers have got naff all to do with it.

You’re forgetting, like most do, that Internet comms is far more complicated, than “my good tested 3Mbit connection’. For starters, you’re 3mbit connection means nothing – since that’ll be your downstream rate. You’re , and more importantly, your chums upstream rate will be a key deciding factor in performance, of which you’ll be lucky to get a max of 512Kbit, often 256Kbit depending on your ISP.

So, for example, if you chum is sharing his connection with the kids or whatever and they/he starts messing around on the Internet while on a Skype call that will max his upstream temporarily for brief periods, causing you’re end to stutter, causing you to think Skype is shit.

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Linux

Linux too

Skype on linux was crashing 4 seconds after launch (without even trying to log in). Ended up blowing away the ~/.Skype dir which solved the issue (now to learn I only needed to delete a single xml file oh well). Am curious as to what caused the corruption on all platforms. It's a bit too early in M$-Skype's life to be blaming M$ at this stage, give them a few months and then they'll start playing with the protocol to stop it working on anything but windows (as they kept doing with messenger :|)

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FAIL

@PaulWizard

You really can't beat a front-end to a service that's so well designed that it assumes the underlying service to be infallible and crashes when it's not there. Graceful failure - GUI design 101 surely? Never ceases to amaze me how many commercial products are so poorly written.

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Anonymous Coward

Skype crash

Titsup? really? Sounds more like Skype had a failure of the limpdick variety.

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WTF?

Skype

Its hammered so badly that one cant even download it. Probably because people would naturally reinstall a app after it has crashed. Just great sitting on a remote support call for over 30min now looking like a tart.

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Pint

Eh?

"It works on my machine"

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support link

http://heartbeat.skype.com/2011/05/problems_signing_into_skype_an.html

worked for me.

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For those of you skilled at programming

I'd like to know how in this world a simple xml file which is some ASCII characters sprinkled into a file can manage to crash an application ? And if deleting that file is OK, why do I need it in the first place ? I'm sorry for those Skype developers but the author of such brilliant blunder can't claim to be competent at writing code and should refrain from compiling anything more complex than a short grocery list. Ever!

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Pint

Don't be too hard on rapid hacks.

0) Bad/Missing filesystem error handling

1) Bad charset conversion on reading

2) Using unsecured buffers when reading

3) Bad or buggy or homegrown XML parser

4) Missing XML error handler

5) Not pumped through XML schema verifier

6) XML schema is bad in the first place

7) Subsequent grabbing of values fails due to still unexpected input

8) Inconsistencies between data that is "far away from each other" in the input XML

etc. etc. etc.

It's not easy for fresh meat coders.

Also, incoming flying designer chairs etc.

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Failure to sanity check parameters

An XML file is basically a standardized format for stashing data. Apparently Skype caches some parameters there that are wrong enough when read back the application doesn't work. Delete the file and it starts from defaults which are sane and good enough to run.

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Boffin

I don't know about "skilled" but...

Just because deleting shared.xlm is the fix, doesn't mean it's responsible for the crash. This could simply be an expedient way to force the application to reload some failsafe defaults. A quick peek shows it contains among other things a cached list of hosts, so for example if some of these hosts have gone haywire, this would be a simple way to prevent Skype from connecting to them (and it would presumably bootstrap off some Skype-controlled server instead).

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Silver badge

Dead simple explanation

Not that I even know what's in the file but...

<last_log_file value="sometimestamp.txt" />

App checks for file. File isn't there. App doesn't have an exception for this. App panics.

Boom! Headshot.

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WTF?

really?

Been connected all day with no issue (on Linux ...)

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And Win 7

No probs here. The problem must have been geographically localised.

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Strange...

...mine's been almost completely unaffected. It starts, logs in, dials, connects (to a netbook on a separate network but same internet connection) voice/video.

It did crash on the netbook on first start, but an immediate restart works fine and has ever since.

Running Ubuntu 10.04 32bit Desktop/Skype (Beta) Version 2.2.0.25 on this and Ubuntu 10.10 32bit Desktop/Skype (Beta) 2.2.0.25 on the netbook.

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JDX
Gold badge

Maybe it's MS

If they make it look bad maybe they can demand a cheaper price, like when a surveyor finds damp in the house you want to buy.

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Silver badge

It's back up now.

See title.

See also tempest, teacup and wtf, El Reg?

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IT Angle

Just wondering:

I read the first article which said Skype doesn't integrate with Microsoft Office. True you do need to install an add-on, but Outlook really comes alive with Skype, maybe you should do a little more research. The other thing I haven't heard anyone mention is Skype's lack of Fax support. This is a major issue which Microsoft is likely to address. For Outlook users it really is a big deal, because most Office users have high speed Internet but not a working Fax modem connected to a telephone line. For a lot of small business owners an inexpensive Fax solution is absolutely huge as are the time savings.

Lastly, there are plenty of uninformed people that might not download, install, and configure Skype, but they will use it as a feature on a new television, game console, or Blu-ray player.

All-in-all, the potential is so huge as to upset the status quo, no doubt the ensuing battles will make for interesting reading.

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Skype tits-up on Macs - you bet!

You bet! Long story short: Skype crashe on my main Mac while trying to call a Windows box. That bos then fell over. I fired up Skype on 2 back-up Macs (no problems) and on a W7 Windows box, also no problem. Meanwhile the guy I had been trying to call reported he could no longer log-in, tried 2 soft re-starts - no joy - the a hard reboot, and got Skype back. Even with a hard re-boot I could not get the 1st Mac to log-in. Final solution was dump Skype and all associated files and re-install. 2 hours later, problem solved. What a waste of half a day!

So, not only was my Mac affected, it was a bloody nightmare to get it back up and running. The interesting thing is that you had to be online at lunchtime for the problem to manifest itself. All of my backups were offline, and when fired up, performed faultlessly.

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WTF?

Umm

Umm, Skype on Win32 connects fine here in the UK, shows contacts online. Client v4.2....

Are you sure it's broken ?

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Dead Vulture

Just born...

I am delighted to announce the birth of El-Reg today at...

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Gates Horns

pleeeease

Please, MS, don't make us eat your dog food.

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Already pulling Skype for Asterisk

Days after Ballmer said "We will continue to support non-Microsoft platforms because it's fundamental to the value proposition of communications," we see the first non-Windows version getting pulled. Any bets on which one's next?

http://blogs.digium.com/2011/05/26/skype-for-asterisk-end-of-sale-july-26-2011/

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Anonymous Coward

A Title

I think there is a big difference between continuing to support free end user clients and supporting a PBX system.

I can't imagine MS wanting less people using Skype, hence they will support lots of clients. I can imagine them wanting to limit the ability of anyone but them to bridge betwwen Skype and other telecoms networks, Henc they won;t support PBX systems. Skype out appears to be one of the few ways they have to directly make any money from it.

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Pint

The race to the bottom.

This tale of a global melt-down of Skype made the front page of Slashdot with a speed even kdawson would have envied.

http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/5/26/skype-crashes-and-burns/

It has not been treated charitably even on the blogger's home page:

"This isn't a news piece. It's a 12 year old in their parents' garage pulling together loose strings of thought like a radio talk show host."

For the current statius of Skype and the fix for all operating systems(delete the shared.xml file)"

http://heartbeat.skype.com/

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Thumb Up

As a long time skype user

It actually isn't bad. I have yet to ever not be able to make a call when I want to, its simple enough to video conference with grand parents in different countries (for free as well). I can also sit on the beach in Hawaii and use my sprint data plan to call blighty for a relatively small yearly fee.

Whilst it isn't perfect it is acceptable. I used broadvoice's service years ago and it was terrible and I paid considerably more for it to boot.

I have no idea what to expect from MS buying skype, perhaps a ribbon interface to screw it up? As long as it continues along as a fairly reliable cheap way to not pay stupid international calling fees, have simple video conferencing and granny proof 'other country' skype in numbers all is good :)

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Black Helicopters

Mine has been fine

I was using it without issue when the outage happened...

Maybe it was caused by UK government, testing their new snooping software

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Sentience?

"Some security researchers half jokingly suggested the outage was caused by plans to move the platform to Microsoft's .Net framework."

Perhaps the Skype network of servers is big enough and complex enough to have developed sentience? It too reads Google and knows what Microsoft did to Hotmail, and in contemplating its future had a seizure?

My theory is at least as good as "some security researchers."

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Anonymous Coward

Why not?

Or perhaps this issue is caused by the idiots from Anonymous "punishing" MS/Skype with a DDoS for failing to renew the contract with Digium and dropping Asterisk support.

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Coat

FANBOIs

Yes it got us as well and phones and ipad - I went off and had some lunch.

It's still not working so I've switched over to AIM and iChat.

As has been said it's a value for money service :0)

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Can't help but notice the website has been redesigned to be more M$-friendly...

... i.e., the links to all the free downloads are now hidden away at the bottom of the page, and 90% of the space is taken up telling you how cheap the paid-for services are...

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Anonymous Coward

title

You mean because it says "get skype" at the top and not "download", you're unable to find it?

*rolleyes*

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ooVoo

Nuff said.

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Bah!

My one personal experience of Skype was trying to conference with Joe Haldeman at this year's I-Con (http://www.iconsf.org) using the not-ready-for-prime-time POC.

Jitter on the picture, stuttering sound, sometimes both together, dropped connections. Then the endless process of reconnecting, only to have it all happen again.

I called it "The Forever Conversation".

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Grenade

So where's the story about Live Messenger service having gone "Tit's Up" ?

Ah yes, it's actually normal for Live Messenger to go down regularly and indeed intermittently - so no news story there I guess.

"Windows Dead Messenger" would be nearer the mark. I reckon Microsoft might have bought Skype to learn something about service resilience and reliability. They certainly need to learn something in that area.

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Uses

Surprised no-one has twigged a major use MS could have with Skype, maybe I'm just more astute. Combine Skype with Kinect and you have a kick as facility.

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Well its not that bad

according to their site:

"A small number of Skype customers are experiencing difficulties using Skype."

in fact there's an image of a woman laughing her heart out on the main page.. it couldnt be that bad if somebody's LOL.

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Terminator

Skype & Microsoft

New Name

Sky .Net

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FAIL

Ah, just got an update email from Skype Support...

On an email address that does not normally get SPAM (thanks no doubt to that big email marketing leak- Thanks Chase! Been getting special LimeWire bulletins on this one too) so it look like the scammers are on top of the situation. Site looked really nice in my iPhone browser, almost like Skype's site...

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