Why does anyone would care about Skype in 2017 where it has basically became some sort of strange clone of Snapchat, Instagram and Discord (all three of which I hate) with a UI that looks like something designed by and made for 12 year olds on the mobile version? I'm not even surprised Microsoft has butchered the Linux version and also left it discontinued for so long, to try to gain a monopoly on the market...
This is why I stick to actual protocols like IRC, XMPP and decentralised, secure platforms rather than centralised, proprietary and freedom-stripping rubbish that you can't be in control of.
It's good for free calls & chats between Microsoft Accounts (or Outlook/Hotmail) users, many of us has an extensive list of contacts. While Skype is far from perfect & the UI doesn't look like much thought process went in, is still very popular, used by many. While I can adapt to most any other if needed, it's hard to convince some of my most frequent contacts to make the switch from a platform they've used since inception. I mean, why fix what's not broken? That's why I added Skype for Linux long ago, although was less functional than today & still not quite the same as on Windows.
Yes, Microsoft does sell customer data to carefully screened offerings, yet I believe the NSA deal has been overblown. Few smart minded criminals would touch Skype for their deeds, as the app collects device information, making it traceable to the user. Most would prefer another messaging app or connect via the Tor browser somehow, chances are, they have a messenger app also.
For the last 4-5 years on these Tech forums, all I've hears is how the NSA is looking over everyone's shoulder, yet have not heard a single person in face to face conversation mention having the NSA knocking on their door & that includes myself. Chances are that the ISP's that we pay for are more apt to 'peek' into our business than the NSA, example when I called for service, they knew I have self-installed VoIP (that they'd prefer to provide & call 'digital phone service') & Apple TV connected to the network. Our ISP's will have & retain far more data than the NSA has collected on most US citizens, no matter how the numbers are presented. Probably because ISP figures won't be exposed. If there's one major competitor in a given area that leaks as much data as (example) the other three combined, many will make the switch to another. Even if that one collects as much, if not more, data than the one caught red handed.
Like my colleague buddy215, I use Skype for free calling with my other Skype contacts, am not into the video nor text features.
In fact, except when have my motion detector on while away, my webcam's lid is flipped over the lens & usually unplugged when not in use. On my notebooks, carefully using a close as possible matched color of tape, have the combo webcam/mic tightly covered with a narrow Band-Aid, then apply the layer of tape that matches the color. Usually black electrical or grey duct tape matches the scheme & very few notices. When needed, I'll use a set of earbuds with a mic called Ultimate Ears, which produces better quality audio & microphone experience then the onboard anyway, while ensuring that one cannot catch me on video.
Oddly in this day & time, while notebook screens have gone to 4K on many models, the bundled webcam is still 720p, so the video will be crappy anyway & I don't expect the mic is much better.
Will give WIRE a shot on one of my Linux Mint 17.3/18.2 installs & compare the difference, although I don't expect it to be a gamebreaker. Not as long as my most frequently contacts uses Skype, plus can make free calls throughout the US & Canada within my GMail account to those not on the list.