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Docker! Skype! PulseAudio!

Run Skype inside an isolated Docker container on your Linux desktop! See its sights via X11 forwarding! Hear its sounds through the magic of PulseAudio and SSH tunnels!

Reason: Skype is proprietary Microsoft software that wards off decompilation. It produces encrypted traffic even when not actively used.

Known Issue: While audio works flawlessly during calls and Skype is perfectly usable, the notification sounds such as call ringing do not work.


Follow these instrunctions to get Skype up and running on your Linux box.

  1. Install PulseAudio Preferences. Debian/Ubuntu users can do this:

     sudo apt-get install paprefs
  2. Launch PulseAudio Preferences, go to the "Network Server" tab, and check the "Enable network access to local sound devices" and "Don't require authentication" checkboxes

  3. Restart PulseAudio

     sudo service pulseaudio restart
  4. Install Docker if you haven't already

  5. Fetch the image

     docker pull mfehlhaber/skype
  6. Create an entry in your .ssh/config file for easy access. It should look like this:

     Host docker-skype
       User      docker
       Port      55555
       RemoteForward 64713 localhost:4713
       ForwardX11 yes

    (Optional) I recommend creating an SSH key without a password to be used to connect to this container.
    So in case you used a non-standard filename for your SSH key, add this:

       IdentityFile /path/to/your/ssh/key
  7. Run the container and forward the appropriate port

     sudo docker run -d -p 55555:22 mfehlhaber/skype
  8. (Optional) Copy an SSH public key

    If you plan to use an SSH key, copy the public key to the docker container using the following command. The password is docker.

     ssh-copy-id -i /path/to/your/public/ docker-skype
  9. Connect via SSH and launch Skype using the provided PulseAudio wrapper script

     ssh docker-skype skype-pulseaudio

    In case you didn't copy the SSH public key, the password is docker.

  10. Go use Skype in a safe container!

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