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Add Skype to The Ubuntu Messaging Menu

Add Skype to The Ubuntu Messaging Menu

Skype – the most parochial of IM apps, but one many of us can’t do without.

The good news in Ubuntu 11.10 is that Skype now uses an ‘indicator applet‘ to display its tray menu (though not by choice).

This makes for a consistent user-experience across the top panel, with all menus behaving the same way (click > menu): –

But with Skype being a ‘messaging’ application many feel it should be integrated into Ubuntu’s Messaging Menu, alongside Empathy, Thunderbird and Ubuntu’s native Twitter app ‘Gwibber’.

Although such a feature is not provided in Skype or Ubuntu by default, by installing a few extra third-party packages we can ‘put’ Skype into the Ubuntu Messaging Menu.

Skype Wrapper

The tool we use to integrate Skype into the Ubuntu Messaging Menu is called ‘Skype Wrapper’.

It was originally put together by OMG! Ubuntu! reader ‘Bennett’ (whose e-mail address i’ve since lost).

For Ubuntu 11.10 Bennett’s script has been touched up by Shannon Black, who has added in the following features: –

  • Support Group Chats 
  • Lists all unread messages
  • Each unread message opens the relavent Skype chat window
  • Opening this minimizes Skype, and thereafter clicking it brings focus to skype

How to add Skype to the Ubuntu messaging Menu in Ubuntu

It should go without saying – really, it should – but you will need to have Skype installed prior to following this tutorial.

If you’re using Ubuntu 11.10 you’ll need to download and install the following ‘python-skype‘ package . Although the package was readily available in previous versions of Ubuntu it is not available in Ubuntu 11.10.

Download python-skype

If you’re using Ubuntu 11.04 or earlier you can hit the button below to install it.

Click to install python-skype

The next step is to download the ‘Skype Wrapper’ .deb – this is what puts Skype into the Ubuntu Messaging Menu. Install this as you would any other .deb file (but choose the ‘ignore’ any prompts about the .deb being of bad quality – this is simply an error due to the way I compiled it but doesn’t affect anything.)

Download Skype Wrapper

Now you’re all set – well, almost.

Chances are you won’t want Skype to appear on both your top panel and in your messaging menu. To hide the former we need to remove the following package.

Open a terminal and enter: –

sudo apt-get remove sni-qt

Be careful when removing software. To undo this change simple re-install the ‘sni-qt’ package

 You’re all set! You can now launch and control Skype via the Ubuntu Messaging Menu.

Skype in the Ubuntu messaging Menu


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This entry was posted on October 30, 2011 by in link and tagged , , , , , , .
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