Skype is down (yes again!)

In August 2006, moments after reaching 7 million concurrent users online for the first time in its history, the Skype cloud got frozen, see my post “Frozen Skype Cloud”, and some more comments in September of the same year.

Well, it seems we have a similar problem today December 22: I could not log in, and the problem isn’t on my side: the concurrent users online are reaching levels of only 5 million users online according to the erratic Skype RSS feeds (5.138.992 at 18:40 GMT), and below 9 million according to the nice Nyanyan graphs, while it should be way above 20 million at this time of the day.

Skype servers down? Skype supernodes down? And why? The Skype blog isn’t accessible, the Skype website seems to be OK, the Skype forum seems to be unavailable, the Skype RSS Feeds gives sometimes the “cannot locate the Internet server or proxy server error”, etc.

And by the way, the Skype RSS feeds don’t give amount of downloads anymore, and this since ages!

So, what happens Skype?


Anonymous said...

I don't know what Skype is gonna do but I have some serious business to attend to.I wish everyone would get the thumbs out of their asses and just do your job.I pay money to use skype and this is the service I get?Not to mention the fact that skype's UI is way out of control.I have paid to use skype for over two years and I think this is the last time I put my important life on hold for skype.I demand a refund and/or a free month of service...Thats the least they could do for their 9 million customers for FREEZING all of our lives on fuckin christmas.

The Ceej said...

You know what's really weird? I started looking up these articles because I couldn't connect to Skype and everything else seemed to be working. Now, I'm connected again, but I seem to be the only one. None of my friends are online and there are always a few. The articles are still showing it's down, the links you say are down still are. So, I'm the only one that is currently connected. That makes me feel special. I have Skype all to myself.

Anonymous said...

There must be reeeally huge explosion in their data center, otherwise I don't get it.

Jean Mercier said...

To all,
thanks for the comments.

To Anonymous "one":
Let's be honest, every company has sometimes a huge problem, even your classic old fashioned PSTN telephone company (mine was out several times). Remember also Bhopal, Chernobyl, or ... BP.

The difference with a Skype outage is that it isn't life threatening, and that most customers uses it for free!

The Ceej said...

Yes, Mr. Mercier. Companies have accidents all the time. However, they also screw anyone and everyone over at every opportunity in their endless power struggle. In this instance, I would wager to say it was an accident, however. And, I have no reason to believe negligence is involved such as the BP oil fiasco.

I would be the first one to slam a company (as they DO get away with too much an appeal to their "rights" of which they have none per the understood moral rules), but in this instance, I think they should be defended.

Gilad Nevo said...

I guess this is not unexpected. I am a frequent Skype users and have obviously seen that the quality of relations have been steadily declining. Calls that are broken are not uncommon. Users online can not be seen, not uncommon. And now the crash. I unfortunately think that something has happened after the sale. Perhaps it has to do with the number of users ...
I use Ubuntu and it has not seen any development of Skype for this platform in a long time.


Jean Mercier said...

Hello Ceej,

Thanks for your second comment. I understand your comment on "moral rules".

Like I said, the difference is that Skype is not life threatening, but all companies or even human beings do sometimes take risks they shouldn't, and sometimes it really turns out to be a catastrophe.

Should they be defended? I don't know, and even don't think so, but a life without risks and dangers would be very boring ;-)

Jean Mercier said...

Hello Gilad,

I don't agree that this was to be expected and that the quality went down. The "users not seen" problem is from the very beginning and is partially due to the P2P technology.

I agree however that they are not really interested anymore in Linux, because the money is in other operating systems, and I agree that the selling to eBay and later on to other investors is not really improving the quality goals.

Anyway, every company is looking for profit ... it is the ultimate goal, but profit without quality is impossible in the long run!

The Ceej said...

Well, Mr. Mercier, I am normally in favour of treating a company as if they're a scam artist who would screw over anyone and everyone given the opportunity with a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude, and always put the burden of proof of a dispute between an individual and a company on the company. I'm glad you're aware of the moral rules that dictate this as many people will act as if the company has the same rights as the individual when that notion is absurd because giving rights to something larger than an individual takes them away from the individual.

I cannot defend Skype going down. That would be absurd for the above reasons. I can, however, understand that this is probably either an accident or external sabotage, meaning Skype is not at fault for the actual outage in any sense of the word that allows me to place blame on them. Now, how they handle out outage is equally important, but I don't know how they've been handling it. I typically don't sit by my Skype and watch it. I know it was down when I woke up, it was up for at least an hour when no one else had it, and it's down now, but I don't have the time to follow it. So, unless you know something about the way they're handling it that I don't, I cannot throw accusations at them at this point. That may change in time, however, and the actual importance of the Skype service is also an issue here.

The BP oil fiasco killed hundreds of people, and an entire gulf full of life. The Toyota issue killed dozens of people. Even AT&T and Google with their maintaining control over their clients is more important than one of many lines of communication going down for several hours. This is not an emergency, but you've made that point as well.

In conclusion, I have to defend Skype, not for their actions, but against the people thinking with their emotions. I hate it the same way I hate having to defend the likes of United States President Obama and talk host Rush Limbaugh when people make outrageous accusations against them. I just wish people would think, and make the right accusations, because there are always plenty of legitimate reasons to hate those in power. There is no need to go crazy about it because it only hurts your cause.

The Ceej said...

Also, you are incorrect about profit being their ultimate goal. If you pay attention to the decisions a corporation makes, it will be clear that power is the ultimate goal. Profit is just one of their favourite means to power.

Anonymous said...

Well, can you explane why the servers are down??

The Ceej said...

Last I checked, Anonymous, they weren't.

As far as why it took so long, because Skype doesn't have a server. It relies on the node/supernode system, and as a result, has only gone down twice, in its seven-year existence. Pretty good track record for this type of technology, methinks.

The downside, however, is there is no real fix when it does go down. It went down because most of the supernodes went offline, for unknown reasons (they're not owned by Skype), so it was fixed by their building a whole bunch of "mega-supernodes," which got most of us back online pending the supernodes coming back up.

What did you think this was? Another AIM but with video chat? No. This is serious business.

Doot said...

You have two camps, it seems.

The "take it easy, it's a free service" camp.

You've got the "This is supposed to be a serious telecommunications company, it should be up, I need to make calls, damnit"

My opinion is that skype has become worst of both worlds. The paid services have become too expensive for me compared to other VoIP services. I use voip.ms and an IP PBX. I've out-grown skype. I suggest people not use it for serious business. Customer service is awful if you actually have a problem and you have to have back-ups anyway for mission-critical moments. Well, turns out those back-ups are cheaper than Skype, so why use Skype?

Jean Mercier said...

Hello Doot,

I think I can agree with your point of view. I also almost stopped to spend money on Skype. In the past I used it even for local calls.

So for me, the free services are what I need: presence indication, calls with webcam, file transfer, ...

The Ceej said...

I stopped spending money on Skype myself. Now, I have a Skype credit balance too small to use, but large enough where I can place toll-free telephone calls. I refuse to give them more after the way they treated me over the pay service, but they aren't advert-supported, so the free service still works fine for me. Google is advert-supported, however, so I boycotted them after their little game.

Simply put, losing Skype for a few hours isn't that big, and it's funny to see people overreact. But, that doesn't mean Skype should be off the hook if they handled it poorly (which they did not. They worked around the clock to create mega-supernodes to get everyone back online as quickly as possible), but even I, a major anti-corporate activist, pick my battles, and this one just wasn't worth fighting.

Anonymous said...

followed this "Only one guy deserves Death Penalty: the one who invented countries, borders, nationalities, visas and passports!" from http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=94690

This may be the most idiotic statement I have ever heard. You are may be the the "greatest" leftest to ever live.

The Ceej said...

Well, anonymous, except for the "only one guy" part, that is a fairly true statement. How many lives have those things ruined? If you were massively upset by Skype going down one day, but perfectly okay with the existence of countries, perhaps you need to get your priorities straight.

And the thing is, countries only exist as long as the people believe they do. Ergo, as a people, we have the power to eliminate them just by refusing to acknowledge. I've already done it. Why haven't you?

Jean Mercier said...

Hey mister Leftest Anonymous,
Thanks for your idiotic comment on my blog. I think I can guess your nationality! I also admire your courage: remaining anonymous is the best way to leave bullshit anywhere on the internet.
As your comment isn’t spam and as I do not feel insulted I will not remove your verse. I wish you a happy Christmas and I hope you will never have to travel “abroad” to the next village in your rocky and snowy mountains, because I guess you would be scared.
And I will continue to say that I would prefer a peaceful world, without death penalty, borders and passports, although I know this is a utopian dream. Narrow mindedness isn’t my strength!