Using Skype on your PPC Macintosh in 2016

The way we talk on the Internet fundamentally changed over the past 20 years. When I came online through AOL in the mid 1990s there were chat rooms and instant messaging clients. I still remember the *beep* of my ICQ client when receiving a message all those years after.

ICQ LogoICQ’s fame didn’t last forever, and it would eventually be inherited by Skype on my Mac. Skype did not only contain most of ICQs features (a manageable contact list, live chat, file transfer, etc.) but also added voice over IP telephony. Including even video telephony, though the video part was never mandatory. A baffling concept for millions of users that still paid hefty sums for long distance calls to their service providers.

Ever since using Skype I had been happy with it, if it weren’t for the Microsoft take-over and the subsequent aggressive advertising that led so many Skype users to block any new updates. (They usually came with lots of ads and other bloat)

End of PowerPC support

Of course there was a Skype client for OS X, and things worked so wonderfully when they announced the drop of PPC support in future versions. Alright, no problem – we just keep using our old client, and as long as there are no fundamental changes, we’ll happily go along. “Well, you won’t,” replies Skype, “because we’re doing a version check upon connecting to the server and will keep you out of our yard if you don’t have at least version running. And to make things even more difficult, we won’t offer a PowerPC version for download anymore!”

Well, those quotes are entirely from the fantasy of yours truly, and the reality comes closer to, “Who is still using a PowerPC Mac in 2016? Let’s drop these downloads and save bandwidth”. Well, little do they know about our fine little community still clinging to their old machines!

However, there is a way around their lock-out and here is how to get Skype going on your 10.4 & 10.5 PowerPC Mac again:

  1. Download Skype_2.8.0.866.dmg and install it to your hard disk, e.g. applications folder
  2. Download TextWrangler or another capable text editor like Smultron if you don’t already have one. Beware: OS X Text Edit won’t do.
  3. Start the Skype app, go to settings, and disable automatic update. Otherwise it’ll overwrite your changes. Quit the app.
  4. Go to Skype in your applications folder and open the folder by right-clicking the symbol and choose “open package contents”
  5. Open the contents folder, then open the info.plist file. This XML file contains the info on what version we’re using.

Skype info.plist in TextWrangler

  1. Replace the three instances of the old with Be cautious not to change anything else in this file. Then save the changes and close.
  2. Now start up Skype, type in your user name and password and connect. Voilá – you’re using Skype on your PowerPC Mac again!

The only downer so far is that I couldn’t get my iSight camera to work, so it’s only voice telephony so far. Still, not bad for a more-than-a-decade-old PowerPC Mac, right?

Keywords: #skype#skypemac #skypeppc #skypepowerpc

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