Skype is a program that allows you to make phone calls for free over the Internet, and for a fee to land lines. Sounds like an interesting deal, and I know of a few people that use it, so I decided to give it a try.

I went through the install process and setting up my headset and video device. Skype supports video calls, and detected my TV-Tuner as a video device, which would have made things interesting.

By installing Skype, I had increased the amount of instant messaging programs installed on my computer to three: Skype, Xfire, and Trillian. Even more if you count my IRC client, XChat, and the chat-thing that comes with GMail. Most of these have the option (checked by default) to automatically start up and log you in to their respective services as soon as you start your computer, because you obviously wouldn’t ever want to use your computer and not be available to be contacted on any one of half a dozen different networks. I prefer to start and stop these services on my own, primarily so my computer doesn’t take an inordinate amount of time to get to a usable state, so I immediately sought out and unchecked the box labeled “Start Skype when the computer starts”, closed Skype down and went about my business.

Later on I decided that I was going to try and make a call, but to my surprise when I started it up the “Start Skype when the computer starts” option was checked. Upon further investigation, it turns out that this option exists within two places in the program: on the main menu and under the Options menu. I turned both of them off, restarted the program and the options were again checked in both places. This is apparently a known issue without an effective workaround that has been around for some time.

It’s a minor issue, but I’m not convinced that it’s actually a bug. This certainly seems like a design decision, as it hasn’t been fixed in at least two years. Ignoring my instructions is a major no-no, so it got uninstalled. Perhaps I’ll try it again if they get this ‘bug’ fixed.