Skype Reverse Engineered

Hi!

Good news for Free Software and open protocols: There has been a sucessful attempt to reverse engineer Skype (Magent URI). Nice timing, shortly after Microsoft’s acquisition Skype could finally be broken. :) He is also including modified Skype executables allowing debugging etc., which is usually prevented by really elaborated anti-features (encryption, kills itself if there is a debugger etc.). The sample code is able to send a message via Skype, awesome!

Now there are hopefully soon implementations for Telepathy or libpurple (used by Pidgin and Telepathy Haze). One may say we should not promote such proprietary protocols, but: For many people Skype is important (do not say you do not know anybody, it varies, in some groups everybody is using it, somewhere else it is different, I am not using it). The chances that they will switch to Free Software (KDE/GNU/Linux) are much higher if there is support for Skype without proprietary software. And once they start using Pidgin or Telepathy, it is no problem for them to use open protocols, too, you can simply tell them they have to click those buttons and then they can communicate with you using an open protocol like Jingle or SIP (or XMPP for text messages). Thus it does not only help to spread Free Software, but also to spread open protocols. And all future attempts to commercialise the private data created by Skype can be easily prevented. Even Windows-users may start using Pidgin or something like that against the advertisement. Regarding “it is just a hack”: They cannot simply change their protocol, because there is Skype hardware which cannot be updated and would not work any longer (that would make all non-idealist customers unhappy, too). And for WLM/.NET Messenger/MSN and Oscar/ICQ it has been working well since long time (even with Kopete ;)). Really, really great news!

7 Responses to “Skype Reverse Engineered”

  1. hate-engine Says:

    >The chances that they will switch to Free Software (KDE/GNU/Linux) are much higher if there is support for Skype without proprietary software

    1. s/ without proprietary software//g.
    end user doesn’t care about implementation
    2. consider wine

    >And once they start using Pidgin or Telepathy, it is no problem for them to use open protocols, too, you can simply tell them they have to click those buttons and then they can communicate with you using an open protocol like Jingle or SIP (or XMPP for text messages).

    1. no, they won’t. how many people have switched from ICQ? even after their attacks on alternative implementations, even after embedded mandatory XMPP, nobody consider switching.
    2. guys should focus on improving opensource protocol like XMPP/Jingle (esp. NAT traversal), so there will be no need for skype
    3. “you have to click on SIP or XMPP” – “why? who’s using that shit for VoIP? nobody, right? why should i switch?”

    >They cannot simply change their protocol, because there is Skype hardware which cannot be updated and would not work any longer (that would make all non-idealist customers unhappy, too).

    why not? why not to change protocol such way that alternative implementations would stop working? why not to push updates for everybody?

  2. The User Says:

    end user doesn’t care about implementation

    They may care about features (Google Talk, ICQ, Facebook integration), privacy and advertisement. And they may care about freedom if you explain it to them.

    2. consider wine

    Actually there is a native Linux version of Skype.

    1. no, they won’t. how many people have switched from ICQ? even after their attacks on alternative implementations, even after embedded mandatory XMPP, nobody consider switching.

    I do not know about any statistics, but is that advertisement not really, really annoying?

    3. “you have to click on SIP or XMPP” – “why? who’s using that shit for VoIP? nobody, right? why should i switch?”

    Because I say “pleaaase, give it a try”.

    why not? why not to change protocol such way that alternative implementations would stop working? why not to push updates for everybody?

    Because the hardware cannot be updated?

  3. hate-engine Says:

    >They may care about features (Google Talk, ICQ, Facebook integration), privacy and advertisement.

    privacy? ORLY http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICQ#Privacy_and_copyright

    >Actually there is a native Linux version of Skype.

    isn’t all this whining over internet is about Microsoft purchase, so Linux will ceased to exit?

    >I do not know about any statistics, but is that advertisement not really, really annoying?

    i was talking about alternative implementations (QIP in fact). they don’t contain ads.

    >Because I say “pleaaase, give it a try”.

    good for you that you able to convice people to do so

    >Because the hardware cannot be updated?

    i’m sure, that skype is not implemented as chip. i’m sure it implemented as software + some CPU + probably some kind of crypto/codec accelerators. software could be changed, as usual.

  4. Blablabla Says:

    I just hope that Micro$oft don’t make modifications to the Skype protocol (like they did with MSN) so we have a ‘standard’ protocol to work with (and use) it without stupid restrictions.

  5. The User Says:

    I hope that the acquisition will be a financial disaster for Microsoft. Free Software implementations would certainly help. I am confident – for MSN it worked, too, there is even video chat support. There is currently bad publicity for Skype/Microsoft, people get aware about problems (privacy, advertisement) and there are good chances free implementations would be actually used.

  6. Andy Says:

    Microsoft did flush 8 billion and the sellers are laughing all the way to the bank

  7. Itaz Paperless Says:

    MS does know a thing or two about Skype which we dont.

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