Run Skype on Raspberry Pi

Step-by-step instruction on running Skype on Raspberry Pi

using ExaGear Desktop

Skype is available on many platforms but not on Raspberry Pi (or ARM-based Chromebooks). In this post, we will tell you how to run Skype on Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 using ExaGear Desktop, which allows to run x86 apps on ARM mini PCs.

We had a lot of requests about running Skype with ExaGear, but could not publish a corresponding instruction earlier. The thing is that for playing sound Skype uses PulseAudio sound server, which was not stable on Raspberry Pi. Fortunately starting with Raspbian launched in May 2016 things have become better. Below we give some hints how to configure PulseAudio and run Skype on your RPi 2 or RPi 3.

P.S.: keep in mind that with ExaGear Desktop you can use not only Skype but other chat (e.g. Telegram), music (e.g. Spotify), productivity (e.g. Dropbox) and many other apps on your Raspberry Pi.

 

Raspberry Pi test stand configuration

Model

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

Raspberry Pi 3

Frequency

1000 MHz

1200 MHz

Memory

1 GB RAM

1 GB RAM

Operating System

Raspbian Jessie from Jan 2017

Raspbian Jessie from Jan 2017

Software

Skype for Linux v4.3.0.37

Eltechs ExaGear Desktop for Raspberry Pi 2

Skype for Linux v4.3.0.37

Eltechs ExaGear Desktop for Raspberry Pi 3

Skype installation instruction

Configure host Raspbian system

1. Configure PulseAudio. As described in release notes of Raspbian remove the volumealsa plugin from the taskbar – just right-click anywhere on the taskbar, choose “Add/Remove Panel Items”, and remove the “Volume Control (ALSA)” item from the list.

Raspbian-Task-Bar-Add-Remove-Panel-Items-700x467

Raspbian Panel Applets - Volume Control (ALSA)

2. Reboot the system to apply PuleAudio configuration changes.

3. Please note that you should set your Raspberry Pi 2 device overclocked in order to achieve good quality Skype voice calls. Open Terminal (command line) and execute the following command:

$ sudo raspi-config

Select Overclock section and then “Pi2” (1000 MHz).

Install ExaGear Desktop

4. Download ExaGear Desktop archive with installation packages and license key. Unpack downloaded archive using the following command in Terminal:

$ tar -xvzpf exagear-desktop-rpi3.tar.gz

5. Install and activate ExaGear on your ARM device by running install-exagear.sh script in a directory with deb packages and one license key:

$ sudo ./install-exagear.sh

Launch guest x86 system

6. Enter the guest x86 system using the following command:

$ exagear
Starting the shell in the guest image /opt/exagear/images/debian-8

7. Now you are in the x86 environment that can be checked by running the ‘arch’ command:

$ arch
i686

8. It is recommended to update apt-get repositories on the first launch of the guest system:

$ sudo apt-get update

Install Skype

9. Download Skype for Debian:

$ sudo apt-get install wget
$ wget http://download.skype.com/linux/skype-debian_4.3.0.37-1_i386.deb

10. Install Skype:

$ sudo dpkg -i skype-debian_4.3.0.37-1_i386.deb; sudo apt-get install -f

Run Skype

11. Run Skype from Raspbian Start menu:

Run Skype on Raspberry Pi using ExaGear Desktop

12. Check that Skype Sound Devices use PulseAudio server:

Skype Options - Sound Devices

This is it. Now you can make your Skype calls.

Final notes

Here you can find a brilliant lifehack of how to make video and audio calls work great.

It is also worth noting that with ExaGear Desktop you can run other x86 apps on Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3. ExaGear also supports other ARM-based devices, such as Odroid, Banana Pi, Beagleboard, Cubox, Jetson, Cubieboard etc.

Please note that running Skype on Raspberry Pi 1 and Raspberry Pi Zero is not possible because of lack of NEON support in the hardware of these devices.

Get my ExaGear Desktop

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ExaGear is registered trademark of Elbrus Technologies. Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Skype is a trademark of Skype or related entities. Other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.

  • Фидан

    На Raspberry Pi Model B (512 Мб) пойдет?

    • kambarg

      Нет, потому что на этой модели устройства нет поддержки NEON (к сожалению, хасрдварное ограничение).

  • Kaldrosan

    Video does not work on Raspbian or Ubuntu. Tested with multiple cameras that work fine with other tools.

    • kambarg

      Hi! I got usb camera and will test Skype outgoing video on Raspberry Pi 2 soon.
      Incoming video worked for me.

    • alex leitner

      did you took care if the linux drivers are working for your cam. for me some did not. then i gave a try with ubuntu mate for rpi. there is a better driver support. i even use a tv-webcam with integrated stereo mics. better try mate…

      • kambarg

        I used Trust USB camera and it worked right after plugging in to the Raspberry Pi with Raspbian 8. It didn’t require any drivers or so.

  • alex leitner

    very cool option. going to try a pine64+ skype client for tv and dedicate it to my parents to keep in touch with my lil son … i am looking forward..

  • Refaat Ghanem

    Hello, is it possible to launch a video call with python script??

  • Marcello Fini

    Hello, I bought with two webcams (a logitech and a trust). Both work as far as video is concerned, but audio is only one way and only works sometimes / for a short time!
    Specifically, the microphone of the webcam is not functional. Any clue?

    • kambarg

      My trust camera has builtin microphone and two cables – a USB and a separate cable for audio in. As long as Raspberry Pi doesn’t have audio in I use USB sound card to which I plugin the second cable. This way microphone works.

  • Toshibochan

    How I can add push button to make a call?

    • kambarg

      What do you mean, what is push button?

  • Toshibochan

    Is possible to use gpio pin to use push button and make call?

  • Fawad Ahmad

    hey very helpful tutuorial
    skype is running on my raspberry pi 2 but can’t hear a sound and also mic is not functional
    i am trying with usb sound card
    any help???

    • kambarg

      Did you check headphones and mic work without Skype?

      • Fawad Ahmad

        thank you @kambarg for replying
        only headphones is working
        i checked it with the command “speaker-test -c2” and also listen songs on youtube..it is working well but when i make a test call on skype ,nothing hears

        • kambarg

          Try this:
          $ sudo raspi-config
          select Advanced -> Sound -> Headphones
          I noticed that sometimes automatic option that is set by default doesn’t work properly.

  • Fawad Ahmad

    is it possible to make calls through skype running on pi without pulseaudio???

  • Dobson Sky

    works great on rasp 3 .thanks !

    • Kudlaty

      Hi, which guest system have you used to install skype?

      • Dobson Sky

        sorry for late reply , hope i understand your question , i followed the procedure above so

        guest x86 system

  • Edward Firmo

    Did you guys saw that Microsoft have release a new Alpha version of Skype for Linux?

    https://community.skype.com/t5/Linux/Skype-for-Linux-Alpha-and-calling-on-Chrome-amp-Chromebooks/td-p/4434299

    I will try to run it on my RPi this weekend, but will be glad is someone can share experience and first impression.

    • Joe Smith

      So did it run? Thanks

      • kambarg

        It is 64-bit version. Currently official version of Raspbian for RPi 3 is 32-bit so you cannot test 64-bit apps there.

        • Joe Smith

          Thank you for your response.

  • Bob Dylan

    sadly Alpha Skype is 64 bit with no plans to support 32 bit.. Exagear only supports 32 bit applications

    I cant get audio to work proplerly on skype exagear ive. ive been troubleshooting for the past few days straight.

    Guess im out 27 dollars

    • kambarg

      Hi Bob!
      Eltechs is planning to release x86 64-bit apps support soon. Currently solution is being tested. And if your license key is for Pi 3 or for ARMv8 devices then you will get this update for free.

      As for 32-bit Skype, there are 2 options:
      1. use skype v 4.3 as described in this tutorial (just make sure you did accurately all prerequisits)
      2. use skype 4.2. This approach was found by some users (see comments above and below) and as I understand in this case skype uses alsa instead of pulseaudio and works more stable.

  • Bob Dylan

    Wow i got it to work with 2 way video calls and sound
    Its laggy as all heck but it works.

    What i did:
    I added this step i found in a thread from 2015
    http://www.cnx-software.com/2015
    5) Pulseaudio by default does not accept socket calls. You can change it using paprefs utility.
    $ sudo apt-get install paprefs
    $ sudo paprefs
    Select “Network Server” and check “Enable network access to local sound devices”.

    6) Run skype with the following option:
    $ PULSE_SERVER=127.0.0.1 skype

    After that i made sure to keep pulse audio while making calls in order to tweak settings

    Eventually it worked

    -bob dylan

  • el jugador

    I solved the audio and mic problem with a downgrade (skype 4.3 to 4.2). in 4.3 I had only virtual devices and couldnt change them. In 4.2 to select the correct devices was possible…

  • goha

    Ecco il tutorial in italiano di come gestire Skype e Spotify: http://www.conticello.it/blog/?p=160

  • ああああああああ

    Hi
    Does it work on video chat ?

    • goha

      Yes, it works. But video from RPi freezes sometime. I don’t know for sure but it might depend on which camera you connect to RPi.

      • ああああああああ

        Really? thank you

  • Toshiyuki Takamatsu

    Hi I want ask if have Python skype to use in raspberry pi? I want make skype video doorbell using raspberry pi!

    • ああああああああ

      実は私も同じことを考えています。コマンドラインかパイソンで動きそうですよね。
      ちなみにもうすでにExaGearをダウンロードしましたか?

      • Toshiyuki Takamatsu

        ExaGearダウンロードしてませんよ! ExaGearではなにできる?

        • ああああああああ

          x86系のCPUで動いているソフトが動くみたい。
          SkypeはRaspberry piみたいなARM系のCPUでは動かないので
          ExaGearを使ってバーチャルマシーンみたいな感じでx86系のソフトを
          動かしているのだと思いますよ。

          • Toshiyuki Takamatsu

            I need Python code. I want make skype video doorbell

          • goha

            You can install python in command line terminal and then use it to run your python script.

  • Toshiyuki Takamatsu

    Anyone know how to make skype call from Python or command line on raspberry pi?