back to article Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won't love this

Microsoft loves Linux. Unless you are a Linux user who happens to want to use Teams. In that case, you probably aren’t feeling the love quite so much. Users of that other collaboration platform, Slack, have enjoyed a Linux client for some time. Teams users, on the other hand, have had to make do with a browser experience that …

  1. HxBro
    WTF?

    Teams is wonderful if you only talk to one team

    I had the pleasure of using teams recently, as they've moved/forced people off skype for business, OK no problem, I'll install teams... all goes well until you might actually want to speak to different teams. It appears you can't have more than one, you need to switch each time, making it pretty much a pita to use, with multiple clients, I now have to have 1 in a browser, 1 on desktop, and hope nobody else wants to talk to me in real time...

  2. Jason Hindle Bronze badge

    Re: Teams is wonderful if you only talk to one team

    They managed to make something less useful/usable than Skype for Business? That deserves some sort of award.

  3. Champ

    Re: Teams is wonderful if you only talk to one team

    You're definitely doing it wrong - it's a piece of the proverbial to engage with multiple teams in Teams.

    The only bad thing about Teams is the name, giving rise to sentences like "I've set up a new team on Teams", "Is your team using Teams", etc

  4. SeanEllis

    Re: Teams is wonderful if you only talk to one team

    "Multi-window for chats and more" is one of the top requests on the Teams UserVoice forum (https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16926739-multi-window-for-chats-and-more). It's been in "working on it" state since August 1 (this year) but there is no sign of an ETA.

  5. Justicesays

    Re: Teams is wonderful if you only talk to one team

    And , as in the case of the comment you replied to , confusion between the product itself and the thing it manages:

    "all goes well until you might actually want to speak to different tTeams"

    As the OP is clearly trying to communicate with multiple clients, each with their own Teams setup.

    Maybe a third party app could help:

    https://jeffangama.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/how-to-connect-to-multiple-tenants-microsoft-teams-the-user-friendly-guide/

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    If they published the protocols ...

    then someone would probably implement an open source client. But Microsoft will not do this because they do not want the competition. Someone might also implement an open source server - which would be even worse as far as they are concerned. Look at their other stuff - how they make compatibility hard.

  7. overunder

    Re: If they published the protocols ...

    I don't understand why browsers don't make more controls available to HTML5 so you can just do everything in a browser, then say goodbye to skype, teams or whatever else.

    It's not rocket science today, and back when Flash was still owned by Macromedia, some did just that with a little .js, Flash and ICQ. It wasn't what you'd think either. They used Flash for the audio and ICQ for the video (apparently hacking buffers from Flash was harder). But, the final presentation was done in a few iframes. Sure, there might of been some ActiveX hacks involved, but I've seen first hand the pieces to do it in HTML5

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: If they published the protocols ...

    What, like WebRTC?

    Another tech Google kicked to the curb in favor of proprietary, centralized services. The major piece missing was a "ring" or notification service. It's been available in Chrome and Firefox for the last 4 or 5 years, but was already dead by that time. Security concerns now make how to disable it a popular topic.

  9. GnuTzu Bronze badge
    Linux

    "Vanishingly Small"

    "Linux has a vanishingly small share of the desktop market."

    Makes me feel like an old fogey Linux user (Mint exclusively now). I've been so pleased with how good the Linux desktop has gotten that I can't ever imagine going back to a proprietary desktop. Yes, I've had a Mac and, like so many, I have no choice about what I use at work. And yes, Windows 10 is sheer torture for a power user and command-line warrior (Cygwin being my salvation). I guess there's no attraction to a phone/tablet, Facebook, consumer-sheeple generation to think about their freedom. Would this change if Android could become a more viable desktop, and would that be a happy thing?

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    > like so many, I have no choice about what I use at work

    Not me... "you want me to get work done? then I will be using Linux..."

    I do have a Windows 7 VM for the shitty Cisco Jabber garbage, but I won't be using Windows 10. Not even Bill Gates has enough money to pay me to use that abomination.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @GnuTzu - Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    Sorry, mate, but if you'll ever see Android on the desktop it will be as locked up as Windows so don't bother looking in that direction. Right know I'm bracing myself for the EOL of Windows 7 and Linux Mint is a good candidate. I've been using it for a while and as you say, it is quite good and fit for purpose.

  12. Dwarf Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    Its odd then that many developers work on Linux machines and just use their Windows PC to fire up a couple of Putty sessions and Chrome.to access the web based apps that they are developing.

    What gets developed is what people end up using shortly, so the days of Windows continue to dwindle as more and more platforms end up back-ended on Linux.

    OK, there was lock-in on the desktop things like Outlook, but with that having gone all cloudy, then whats really left - a generally a bunch of legacy apps that companies use and an office tool set that's has multiple competitors in the market, so the days of a Windows desktop won't continue.

    The more that Microsoft try and limit products to their favourite OS, the more that people will get get fed up with them - you either embrace the competing products, or you put up a big wall and people get fed up with that artificial barrier and do their own thing.

  13. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    People have been predicting the death of the Windows desktop for a very long time. There are far too many who find Windows works "perfectly fine" at this point to see a real change.

    If ME, Vista and Win8 didn't chase people off, 10's not going to have much of an impact.

  14. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    embracing the competing products... in this case Linux and POSIX in general.

    Yeah, MS definitely _IS_ embracing. Next will be extending. Then extinguishing. *EX-TER-MIN-ATE*

    VS Code running on Linux is NEVER designed to actually build Linux applications. It's for ".Not Core" applications. The 'Extend' part of 'Embrace Extend Extinguish'. And it was written with NodeJS which is a complete joke. And I'm not laughing.

    So what they've done with 'Teams' is apparently what they've always done: EXTEND to the point where you can't use the old system any more, you MUST adopt the 'Microsoft XXX' or you can't use it. I have no doubt that the reason ONLY Chrome 59+ works is because of MS and 'bleeding edge' - if they're not driving it themselves, they'll use it to FORCE users onto "new, shiny" as a path to 'Extinguish'. They're making use of some 'new, shiny' feature ONLY found in certain browsers and rejecting everything else. And Chrome looks like Win-10-nic with the 2D FLAT and also 'big Google', etc.. I'm considering the black helicopter icon now...

    Yes. They're manipulating you. Unless you've abandoned them. In which case, they'll ISOLATE you.

  15. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    Not many developers use linux in my experience -- as someone who has worked supporting linux-based applications (mainly web stuff) for the past 18 years. I have been primarily linux on my desktop since 1998. I do keep a win7 VM running 24/7 for some work things though.

    OS X seems to have killed 98%+ of of the developers I have worked with from using linux over that time. It was sad to see but understandable I guess for their use cases. I don't need more than 1 hand to count the number of folks at organizations I have worked at either developing software that will run on linux, OR support staff that run the linux systems that run linux as their primary desktop over the past decade (I think the actual number may be as high as 3, maybe 4). At the same time probably less than 20 people using Windows to do the same things(guesstimate). OS X dominates.

    I tried OS X for a few weeks at one point but it was not my thing. Didn't even like the hardware ended up buying my own laptop so I wouldn't have to use the Mac trackpad (don't like (any)track pads, I want the touchpoint), Linux with Gnome2 + mouse over activation + desktop edge flipping + virtual desktops is what I like the most, so currently run Mint 17 MATE with 16 virtual desktops and the built in display(not a fan of multi display) on a Lenovo P50 laptop.

    I was a believer in Linux on the desktop up until maybe 2004-2005, when I accepted that the linux kernel devs will likely never have a stable driver ABI which would of addressed a good chunk of issues with desktops and wide ranges of hardware.

    I do use slack on a daily basis(Linux and Android) just for chat at work, never touched any audio or video capabilities it might have. I preferred(past tense) Skype which we were using before, but MS killed that generation of skype years ago and now it's as bad or worse than Slack for chat (don't care about audio/video).

    I was die hard irc back in the 90s, the dot com bust caused the communities I was involved with on irc to mostly evaporate and I stopped going. irc is good too though the integrated ability to store messages while the user is not connected is something I never saw in irc (outside of maybe bots or something, I ran eggdrop bots for years).

  16. DCFusor Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    Nate, you might be in a silo. For around 10 years, nearly all the devs I've worked with use linux - even if it's a VM on a Mac or Windows, but mostly native with perhaps windows in a VM to test some things.

    Windows has a huge legacy for untrained office workers, sure, and unlike linux pays a ton of astroturfers, and pundits - to tell everyone it's the only thing out there...

    It ain't necessarily so. Now that a lot of the world does things in browsers, and most servers run linux - by a huge margin - the devs who write that server side stuff use...isn't it obvious?

    Even Azure is largely linux. AWS? See any list of facts for a citation.

  17. Timmy B Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    "If ME, Vista and Win8 didn't chase people off, 10's not going to have much of an impact."

    And considering we're approaching the point where 10 overtakes 7 in user share it shows that there really hasn't been an impact on the Desktop.

    And Linux is still not fit for your average user. I just set up two PCS, one for the other half with Windows 10 and one for me as my regular "how good or not is it now" Linux test. These were both 3 year old Dells of very similar spec. The Windows 10 one installed everything, connected to the home network, spotted the printer and installed that - no driver issues, nothing. On windows 10 I want to set up the backups -browse the network to the NAS to get the software - all fine and dandy. Now this is a mainstream printer and NAS by well known names so I expected no problems. Linux - all drivers installed correctly - all well and good - except the printer. A bit of googling later and some command line work and it's all good. NAS drive - a bit off googling (I don't use Linux often) later and I get shares and configs all set up.

    That is what will stop your average user - they will simply stop at "a bit of googling and command line stuff" and go back to Windows. Who could blame them? It takes 1/2 hour to install Windows and it all works. It takes 15 minutes to install Linux - good it's quicker, but then 2 hours to faff and figure.

    Just not good enough for Johnny or Jane average.

  18. Champ

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    > For around 10 years, nearly all the devs I've worked with use linux

    Conversely, since I moved away from DEC/VMS in the early 90s, all the dev I have done, and all the Devs I have worked with, have used Windows

  19. gerdesj Silver badge
    Linux

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    "OK, there was lock-in on the desktop things like Outlook,"

    Evolution EWS gives you a full Exchange mailbox experience including calendaring. Get Kerberos working (winbind from Samba) and it is truly SSO as well.

  20. Timmy B Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    "Conversely, since I moved away from DEC/VMS in the early 90s, all the dev I have done, and all the Devs I have worked with, have used Windows"

    +1 here - I've never, since starting on Windows, developed using anything else. Except for the odd "mess about and see"

  21. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Re: "all the Devs I have worked with, have used Windows"

    Surely this shows how flexible the tools created for developers are these days.

    I am a Windows desktop user, I admit we Windows users have actually benefited hugely from a lot of Open Source projects. Nearly every Open Source project has a port for Windows, whether its Gimp or OpenTTD.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    ...and, like so many, I have no choice about what I use at work.

    Yes, but fortunately I work for a Linux company, so that workstation client is Linux.

  23. GnuTzu Bronze badge

    Re: @GnuTzu - "Vanishingly Small"

    "Sorry, mate, but if you'll ever see Android on the desktop it will be as locked up as Windows..."

    Yeah, you know why asked. It was almost a rhetorical question.

  24. GnuTzu Bronze badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    "fortunately I work for a Linux company..."

    My eyes are so green they are bleeding Vulcan blood.

  25. whitepines Bronze badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    @Timmy B So here's my opposite anecdote. Two PCs, both AMD, both with fancy AMD GPUs. One is for general purpose use (Linux), one is for gaming (Windows 10). The Linux box just worked. The Windows box forced me to go find drivers from AMD, faff around trying to get a version that actually worked, wanted to download gigabytes of data (from multiple failed / crashed driver installs), all the while bombarding me with ads (from AMD) and nags (from Microsoft, sorry, won't activate until I know the hardware is set up right since it's a royal PITA to reactivate after a hardware change).

    Linux provided the far simpler and easier experience here.

  26. Updraft102 Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    The average Johnny or Jane average is not going to set up Windows or Linux on any PC. They think of the PC like a TV or a toaster... get it out of the box, plug it in, use it. Installing an OS, even if everything goes perfectly, is like black magic.

  27. tq42

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    I don't think your perception about Linux market share among developers is necessarily accurate. Linux as a developer desktop is huge in big companies like Google, Ericsson and many others. Sure, the total market share of Linux in the desktop segment seems to be about 2%, although it's difficult to measure. But everything indicates that the market share of Linux as a developer desktop is significantly higher. Just ask yourself, why would Slack, which is mostly used by developer teams for collaboration, even exist for Linux if the market share would be "vanishingly small"? Or why would Developer Studio Code exist for Linux? Or why would Microsoft develop WSL?

  28. Timmy B Silver badge

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    @whitepines

    I've not used AMD anything for quite a while and it was a GPU the last time I did and I had driver pains then. Interesting that it's still the same. I do have to wonder why you have difficulty with activation. I have a PC there that's a veritable triggers broom and I have never had to re-activate. Could it be AMD not playing nice again?

    If nVidia can get it right then why do AMD have so much trouble?

  29. philnc

    Re: "Vanishingly Small"

    But, sadly, Evolution also gives you ugly and sometimes unpleasantly surprising message formatting if you go with HTML mail. Honestly, the sorry state of mail clients on Linux probably drives a lot of people to web mail.

  30. JohnFen Silver badge

    No Teams?

    No loss.

  31. Hans 1 Silver badge

    The omission is an odd one. Microsoft has a Skype client for Linux, so a similar client for Teams should not be beyond the imagination of the Windows giant

    Hm, since when is Skype a nodejs app like Teams? Nobody likes teams, it is imposed garbage.

  32. Steven Raith

    Linux client for Skype?

    Meh, Skype for Linux is pretty much just a window wrapper around the web client version anyway.

    It's improved a bit lately but it's still pants.

    Steven R

  33. smot

    Re: Linux client for Skype?

    And Skype for Linux is not Skype for Business, which doesn't have a Linux client app.

    Teams will be replacing much of the S4B functionality soon, so that will narrow the choice even further.

    I'm required to use this shit at work where I'm surrounded by MS devotees.

  34. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: Linux client for Skype?

    Meh, Skype for Linux is pretty much just a window wrapper around the web client version anyway.

    It's improved a bit lately but it's still pants.

    The previous slightly more capable version than the bloated (still electron based?) version was always several releases behind the Windows version.

    Don't think an MS EEE strategy will fly with 'Linux, they're welcome to try though.

    What Microsoft love, is the idea of people running 'Linux on top of Windows software. Quite happy to help OSS to run free software on a licensed Windows platform. Run windows programs on 'Linux, not likely....

    Tickets please.....

  35. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Using Teams through a browser on Linux is a limiting experience. even on windows it is better, imho, ymmv.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tell me about it

    We're a Linux shop with over 200 public-facing cloud systems. My (support) team all have Linux desktops or laptops. I have a dual-boot Win 10/Debian laptop.

    When we have account or tech calls with our Microsoft contacts, we insist they use Google hangouts so that 'it just works'.

    I had an online meeting today using my laptop booted to Win 10 - my MS contact had to call my cell phone as Skype of Biz just sat there spinning when trying to make a connection.

  37. SVV Silver badge

    Love Microsoft Teams?

    Then you are an an unimaginativie type, for whom the concept of collaborating together using the Internet on a flexible and hoc basis using various ways and means according to requirements has passed you by completely as you rather sadly say "Yay, Microsoft Teams! Now we can work together on the Internet!"

  38. Maventi

    This is no surprise - Microsoft is very specific in terms of how it 'loves' Linux and all of them involve revenue. Microsoft supports Linux in terms of:

    1. Allowing users to run Linux apps on their own desktop OS (Windows 10). This helps keep devs on their platform (revenue stream) who might have otherwise moved on.

    2. Ensuring Linux VMs run well in their hypervisor. This is purely a play at Azure - MS knows that the majority of Internet platforms use some form of FOSS stack and that isn't changing any time soon. Better to embrace and provide somewhere to host it reliably (i.e. Azure). That makes up half of Azure now, and is steadily increasing. That's at least double the Azure revenue than would be the case without good Linux support.

    3. Supporting expensive but niche products like SQL Server on Linux. Once again, new opportunities for revenue in terms of SQL Server licensing.

    4. Enterprise is heavily entrenched in Microsoft, of which one factor is that the whole stack is designed around itself (some might call this vendor lock-in). This represents a big, steady revenue stream.

    Producing an 'enterprise' client app such as SfB or Teams for the Linux desktop sets a (very small) precedent for validating the Linux desktop as a viable enterprise option. This in turn threatens (albeit lightly) number four above with little to gain in return. No wonder there is little incentive for them to make this a reality at this time. Eventually as the revenue model moves more towards cloud then this will matter less to them, so no doubt far down the track we might see some progress.

  39. Joseph Haig

    Backlog?

    "After talking this over with the engineering team, I confirmed this will remain on the backlog ..."

    If it remains on the backlog then it is never going to get worked on, right?

  40. SeanEllis

    ETA

    Good news to hear that the backlash put it back on the backlog.

    But 6 of of the top 10 requests where MS are already actively "working on it" have seen no progress in 600+ days, Linux users should adjust their expectations accordingly.

    What is even more bizarre about this lack of movement from MS is that Teams is an Electron app, essentially a web page in a box. And the very first text on the Electron web page is "Build cross platform". The whole point on Electron is to allow you to deploy the same web page in a Linux-shaped box.

    Although Linux users are a small minority, the probability of at least one Linux user being in a team approaches 100% as the number of people using teams gets bigger. And since the whole point of Teams is to be the One True Place for All Communication, having to maintain a separate system to talk to the Penguinistas is not attractive. In fact, if you have that system anyway, why bother with Teams?

  41. Tim 11

    Re: ETA

    +1 - writing the app in javascript using a cross-platform technology and then not releasing it on linux is completely baffling, from a technical standpoint at least.

  42. SonOfDilbert

    But...Microsoft said they <3 Linux now

    This is strange given that MS have claimed that they are now in love with Linux and how much open source they say they contribute and how many patents they have opened up for all to use.

    Must be a business decision. Oh, wait, maybe their whole about-face on open source and Linux is also just another business decision...

  43. Allonymous Coward
    Pint

    I'm a Linux user and I don't love Teams

    So... meh.

  44. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Edge case

    Firefox users are out of luck for Calling or Meetings and should download a desktop client. Oh, or use Edge.

    So here's a use case for making a UWP runtime for Linux (still don't know if it would be Wine-based or not). Biggest hack after that would be getting the Edge browser code *without* MSWin10. In theory it's doable, but all it gets you is a bunch of crap MS apps.

  45. IanMoore33

    zoom.

    zoom.

    Zoom.

    people need a "team " component to communicate with the person sitting next to them ...???

    .

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to accelerate

    F=ma; a=F/m; make F>0

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Linux client? Ok, you will have no place in my organization then

    Been using Slack for some time when Teams came up (long time ago it feels now) and my first request was "a Linux native client". The reply from that project's PM was something along the lines "we will put that on the roadmap". My take was, "ok, until you have a one with feature parity don't expect any support or promotion of Teams within my organization...". We are still using Slack and loving it. The internal Teams pilot died and no even remembers it. I don't blame the "Teams" team who were always very professional/polite/kind with us but someone above them that still thinks that Windows support is enough for a communication platform that's trying to unite a multi-platform dev team spread across the globe.

    S4B was something that we tried for a couple years and abandoned/switched for Zoom.

    Zoom also has a great Linux and Android client.

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