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Skype To Take Action Against Reverse-Engineering

Free Software

Published on 03 June 2011 10:44 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
46 Comments

Yesterday we reported on a freelance researcher reverse-engineering the Skype protocol and beginning to write open-source code that would work with this popular VoIP network. A representative of Skype has now contacted Phoronix to inform us they will be taking "all necessary steps" to stop this effort.

After that article was published about the independent researcher, which was also picked up by several other news outlets, I hadn't contacted Skype to see what their views were regarding this reverse-engineering or open-source code. However, this morning, the vice president of a PR agency representing Skype fired off an email to me. Aziza Johnson, the VP of Kaplow PR, had the following official response on this open-source Skype effort:
This unauthorized use of our application for malicious activities like spamming/phishing infringes on Skype's intellectual property. We are taking all necessary steps to prevent/defeat nefarious attempts to subvert Skype's experience. Skype takes its users' safety and security seriously and we work tirelessly to ensure each individual has the best possible experience.

I have not communicated with Aziza or that PR agency in the past, but it's interesting to see the very proactive steps that Skype is now undertaking to squash this work. Perhaps if Skype's Linux client had been better maintained and offered a feature parity to the Windows and Mac OS X clients, there wouldn't be people spending time on reverse-engineering the protocol so that they could write their own client.

As of right now, the Skype open-source blog, hosted by Google's BlogSpot, remains online. There's even a new posting about testing out this researcher's sample code.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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