It would be best if they can run without having Skype installed at all. Does such a creature exist?

  • can you use trillian for mac with skype? i know it works on windows but i cant seem to get it set up on the mac.
    – user123044
    Mar 14, 2012 at 21:56
  • 3
    Why doesn't this fit the rules? Its a valuable question. There are sensible answers to try. Stackoverflow is pushing me to find other places to look for new answers/ideas. Jun 27, 2013 at 14:57

10 Answers 10


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.

  • +1 Great company, spoke with a rep at a recruitment fair.
    – Evan
    Aug 1, 2009 at 3:28
  • I wonder how they've done it. their site mentions that it's not endorsed by skype.
    – Stann
    Feb 4, 2011 at 16:59
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    @Andre: Can't they just launch Skype process in the background when someone logs in? Even though Skype is very closed about it (both the source and the protocol), it probably isn't too difficult to convince multiple instances to be run.
    – kizzx2
    May 24, 2011 at 16:29
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    @kizzx2. well. I'd say resources usage would be prohibitively high.
    – Stann
    May 24, 2011 at 18:10
  • My biggest pain point with Skype at the moment is that my contacts' online status is not being updated. I see them online when they're not which is really annoying. imo.im doesn't lag behind which is great!
    – Oliver
    Feb 22, 2013 at 8:52

Trillian 5 doesn't require skype to be running, or installed at all, at least for the windows version.


Both Kopete and Pidgin have Skype plugins. The Kopete one is bundled with the main app as far as I know, and for Pidgin you have to download the Skype Pidgin plugin.

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.

  • 1
    besides that, there is a skype codec library which is already used with the open source project Asterisk enabling many softphones to work with skype. I just don't know if this codec can be added directly to the softphone or if it needs an Asterisk proxy.
    – Jader Dias
    Aug 30, 2009 at 13:17
  • voip-info.org/wiki/view/Skype
    – Jader Dias
    Aug 30, 2009 at 13:18
  • there is no point in doing this because you still have to run skype in the background.
    – Stann
    May 24, 2011 at 18:11
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    actually there is if you cannot stand the skype user interface, particularly for chat.
    – ericslaw
    May 31, 2011 at 23:45
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    But it says that the right to reverse engineer the skype protocol in the US and the EU is protected and allowed: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype_protocol#Legal_issues . I don't think I've misread that. Jan 21, 2013 at 3:23

SkyLlian is a Skype plugin for trillian.

  • 3
    The latest version of Trillian (Astra) supports Skype without additional plug-ins. Be aware that it uses the Skype API which requires Skype to be installed. Aug 27, 2009 at 12:35
  • 1
    if it uses the Skype API which requires Skype to be installed AND RUNNING
    – Jader Dias
    Aug 30, 2009 at 13:14
  • the latest version of trillian does not require Skype to be installed at all.
    – caesay
    Mar 19, 2013 at 3:14

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.


Trillian Astra supports Skype and many other connections.


(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).


For completeness' sake, there Miranda, too, with its Skype protocol plugin. However, as most of the previously mentioned programs this, too, uses the Skype API, and requires Skype to be installed and running. Moreover, the Skype plugin doesn't seem to be under active development right now.

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