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Skype Version 1.0 for Mac OS and Linux Released
February 1, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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It seems just about anything Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström gets their hands on turns to gold. Back in 2001, the two redefined file-sharing with a fledgling network named FastTrack. At the time, they were at the helm of a largely unknown piece of software dubbed "KaZaA" (notice the capitalized Z and A.) Their software would go on to dethrone Napster and be the reigning P2P network for over two years.

However times changed and the rights to FastTrack and Kazaa (notice the lowercase Z and A) were sold to the Australian firm Sharman Networks. While FastTrack and Kazaa were no longer in the possession of Janis and Niklas, their P2P talents would not stop there. In August 2003, the duo would release Skype - with the hope of redefining VoIP (Voice over IP) like they redefined the P2P world.

Almost two years later, it appears this hope may actually happen.

Since that time, Skype has grown by leaps and bounds. Much like their former project FastTrack, Skype has obtained over 58 million downloads with well over 1 million users online at any given time. Sounds like a statistic for a P2P application, does it not?

That is the key reason for Skype's success over other Internet telephony applications from such vendors as Net2Phone or ICQ. These applications are simply VoIP applications, nothing more. As described in Skype's FAQ section, many individuals cannot utilize these applications if they are behind a fire-wall or NAT (Network Address Translation) device.

However, P2P technology transcends these obstacles and allows users to participate in VoIP. The network Skype uses is very similar in structure to the FastTrack network, however uses end-to-end encryption to protect the users privacy. Already a success with Windows, Skype has slowly integrated the Mac and Linux community into the network.

Although versions for Mac and Linux already existed, they were in beta release. Nearly a year in the making, both Mac and Linux users can take advantage of all the features available such as conference calling and group chat.

“We encourage all Mac OS X and Linux users to experience the cost and quality gains with version 1.0 Skype software," said Niklas Zennström, Skype CEO and co-founder. "We thank all those who downloaded the beta products as we were developing; your support has been fantastic. We will remain committed to innovation and will continue to expand platform choice."

Unlike its FastTrack/Kazaa cousin, Skype contains no spyware or adware. There is a growing community using this network, check it out!

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Software

Read the Skype press release here.

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