It would be best if they can run without having Skype installed at all. Does such a creature exist?
Warning - Current status of imo.im suggests that Skype support may be fleeting:
We are unable to support Skype due to our inability to connect to their servers. We don't know if we will be able to support Skype any time soon as it depends on factors out of our control.
https://imo.im/ supports skype, and is web-based.
- Completely free
- It runs from any modern browser - no installation required, OS doesn't matter
- No need to keep Skype installed and running (the only IM I know that does that)
- Keeps logs of all your chats
- Available for free for ALL major mobile OSs
- Supports all major IM protocols
- Links all your accounts from various IM systems to one (i.e. you can log in to any one of them, and the system will log you in to all other automatically)
- Allows more than one Skype account to be running in the same time! (Just discovered it myself - I have two different accounts for work and for private chat, and it was a pin in the head to sign in and out all the time; with IMO it's great.)
With this, all others are simply out of competition.
Only one shortcoming - you can't really install it on a desktop computer as a stand-alone application, like we are used to. But it's more a problem with our habits that with the product itself.
Trillian 5 doesn't require skype to be running, or installed at all, at least for the windows version.
Please note that both of these require Skype to be installed and running. I've added them since I don't think you will find a legal app which natively connects to the Skype server, as Wikipedia states that:
Reverse engineering of the Skype protocol by inspecting/disassembling binaries is prohibited by the terms and conditions of Skype's license agreement.
SkyLlian is a Skype plugin for trillian.
There is IMO.IM which support Skype without Skype installed...
That is for one obvious reason... It is a web service, and not an installed IM client.
That said, the programmers community should look their way (IMO) for knowhow. I am certain that the problem is in strong encryption Skype use in their protocols.
IM+ is a chat application for mobile devices (iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile) and it supports Skype among others.
I use Trillion, love it. It uses SkyLlion as a plug in, must have Skype downloaded and running. Enjoy this chat client.
(Disclaimer, I'm on the Yuuguu Dev Team)
Yuuguu (Windows and Mac versions) supports Skype chat and will work with GTalk, MSN, AOL and Yahoo messenger accounts. However, as far as I know, the Skype API requires Skype to be running (although it can be switched into silent mode).