Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won't love this

Learn to love the browser instead


Updated Microsoft loves Linux. Unless you are a Linux user who happens to want to use Teams. In that case, you probably aren’t feeling the love quite so much.

Users of that other collaboration platform, Slack, have enjoyed a Linux client for some time. Teams users, on the other hand, have had to make do with a browser experience that is often less than ideal. Hence the fifth most requested Teams feature in Microsoft’s UserVoice forum is a Linux client.

The request was made nearly two years ago and, at time of writing, has attracted 5,376 votes and 37 pages of comments. Yesterday, however, Linux users hoping to become first class citizens were dealt a cruel blow. A Microsoft representative has admitted that no, there is no dedicated engineering resource working on a Linux client.

The omission is an odd one. Microsoft has a Skype client for Linux, so a similar client for Teams should not be beyond the imagination of the Windows giant. Particularly given its much-publicised love for the Linux platform.

Using Teams through a browser on Linux is a limiting experience. Video conferencing, calling and desktop sharing are problematic, if not impossible. In the current documentation for Teams, Microsoft states that Meetings is supported on Chrome 59 or later, but Firefox users are out of luck for Calling or Meetings and should download a desktop client. Oh, or use Edge.

Neither of the latter two options are really viable for Linux users.

One enterprising Teams enthusiast has published a method of coaxing video calls and presentations into life on Linux via Chrome or Chromium, but the process is a little convoluted and effectively has the browser pretend it is actually Edge in order to prevent Teams from ignoring it.

It is all rather unsatisfactory, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to get more detail on its decision.

Linux has a vanishingly small share of the desktop market compared to Windows. However, this has not stopped Microsoft releasing developer tools such as Visual Studio Code on the platform. In the light of that, it seems an odd call to exclude those same developers from the full fat version of Redmond’s collaboration vision. ®

Updated to add

There may be a reprieve on the horizon for penguinistas – some engineering time may be devoted to Microsoft Teams for Linux, after all. "Thanks for the feedback – we hear you loud and clear," said Redmond's Suphatra Rufo after this story was published.

"After talking this over with the engineering team, I confirmed this will remain on the backlog and we are actively considering how to accelerate."


Other stories you might like

  • Protonmail celebrates Swiss court victory exempting it from telco data retention laws

    Doesn't stop local courts' surveillance orders, though

    Encrypted email provider Protonmail has hailed a recent Swiss legal ruling as a "victory for privacy," after winning a lawsuit that sees it exempted from data retention laws in the mountainous realm.

    Referring to a previous ruling that exempted instant messaging services from data capture and storage laws, the Protonmail team said this week: "Together, these two rulings are a victory for privacy in Switzerland as many Swiss companies are now exempted from handing over certain user information in response to Swiss legal orders."

    Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court ruled on October 22 that email providers in Switzerland are not considered telecommunications providers under Swiss law, thereby removing them from the scope of data retention requirements imposed on telcos.

    Continue reading
  • Japan picks AWS and Google for first gov cloud push

    Local players passed over for Digital Agency’s first project

    Japan's Digital Agency has picked Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for its first big reform push.

    The Agency started operations in September 2021, years after efforts like the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) or Australia's Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). The body was a signature reform initiated by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who spent his year-long stint in the top job trying to curb Japan's reliance on paper documents, manual processes, and faxes. Japan's many government agencies also operated their websites independently of each other, most with their own design and interface.

    The new Agency therefore has a remit to "cut across all ministries" and "provide services that are driven not toward ministries, agency, laws, or systems, but toward users and to improve user-experience".

    Continue reading
  • Singaporean minister touts internet 'kill switch' that finds kids reading net nasties and cuts 'em off ASAP

    Fancies a real-time crowdsourced content rating scheme too

    A Minister in the Singapore government has suggested the creation of an internet kill switch that would prevent minors from reading questionable material online – perhaps using ratings of content created in real time by crowdsourced contributors.

    "The post-COVID world will bring new challenges globally, including to us in the security arena," said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at a Tuesday ceremony to award the city-state's 2021 Defense Technology Prize.

    "For operations, the SAF (Singapore Armed Force) has to expand its capabilities in the digital domain. Whether for administrative or operational purposes, I think that we will need to leverage technology to the maximum," he declared.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021