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If the goal is to open up Skype, this isn't the way.

Even if some insane insomniac de-twiddles the pages upon pages of optimized indirection in this code (which I seriously doubt), all Skype has to do is tweak the protocol or encryption and the researcher is back to square one. It's a losing battle. And that's not even getting into the legality of it it all.

How about instead of trying to fruitlessly crack Skype, we spend the time making something that's both open and better?

If the system can successfully masquerade as an older Skype version it stands a chance. That is unless Skype has a baked-in not yet understood mechanism for pushing protocol changes to its clients. Skype would have to find discerning features, implement it on their servers and possibly even push it to their client updates. Whenever such discerning features were found it's a simple matter of arms race, i.e. a difficult but fair chance. Alternatively Skype can start blocking older versions which is rather unlikely.

Concerning the open and better issue; There definitely are open alternatives. None of them have quite the firewall-defying capabilities of Skype. Nor the user base for that matter. Building any kind of social network is fraught with chicken&egg problems and those first to reach mass have it made. Just check how one of the richest and most powerful technology companies Google is struggling to get a foot in Facebook's market.

It's not that easy for Skype to tweak their protocol, since they have to ensure that slightly older installed versions continue to interoperate.

There is WebRTC (http://sites.google.com/site/webrtc/) for Real Time Communication/Conferencing which Google just open sourced. I think that's the way forward rather than developing a separate "Skype-killer" protocol/app.

Both seem quite valuable. Long-term, we want an open peer-to-peer encrypted communication system. Short-term, until Skype dies, it would help to have the ability to interoperate with people who use it. Similarly, while XMPP represents the right open standard for chat, existing Open Source chat programs still need to know how to interoperate with MSN, AIM, and Yahoo

You may be interested in this[1], open technology for voice and video on the web.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2605390

> How about instead of trying to fruitlessly crack Skype, we spend the time making something that's both open and better?

There's value in making an open client that works with the existing network (for example, Microsoft recently killed the Skype integration plug-in for Asterix).

Skype is not yet part of Microsoft. Skype retired the little-used app on its own.


yes, that.

Are they going to force an upgrade to the Skype client, in order to enforce a change to the protocol? That would not be a great move. A lot of us are using older clients, due to how much we loathe the newer versions.

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