Running multiple instances of Skype on Linux

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Trying to run a second instance of Skype 4 for Linux and you just bring your running instance in the foreground? Here is how to do it.

Skype has some interesting command line options, so if you enter:

:~$ skype --help


Usage: skype [options]
  --dbpath=       Specify an alternative path to store Skype data files.
                        Default: ~/.Skype
  --resources=    Specify a path where Skype can find its resource files.
                        Default: /usr/share/skype
  --disable-api         Disable Skype Public API.
                        These commands allow Skype links handling.
  --pipelogin           Command line login. "echo username password | skype --pipelogin"
  --version             Display version information and exit.

The option of interest is --dbpath

So the default path Skype uses for it's settings is ~/.Skype

By defining an alternate path in the command line you get a second instance of Skype with a new set of settings.

So the following will get you a new skype instance:

skype --dbpath=~/.Skype_instance2

Now using the same method you can have a third instance and so on.

Adding a shortcut on Ubuntu 10.04

Now to create a shortcut to your second Skype instance so you don't have to type it in command line do the following:

Right click on Desktop

Choose 'Create new launcher'

You can find Skype icon at /usr/share/pixmaps/skype.png

Command: skype --dbpath=~/.Skype_instance2

Name: Skype #2



Adding a shortcut on Ubuntu 12.04

Desktop Icon

Open a terminal and type:

gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new

if the command is not available you may need to install gnome-panel by typing:

sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

Follow the instructions for Ubuntu 10.04 above skipping the "Right click on Desktop" part.

System-wide application shortcut

Application shortcuts are located in /usr/share/applications, you need to create a new file in there for the second Skype instance.

cd /usr/share/applications

sudo cp skype.desktop skype-second.desktop

open skype-second.desktop using your favorite editor and change the the following lines

Exec=skype %U


Exec=skype --dbpath=.Skype_instance2 %U

save the file. Now you should have two Skype icons appearing in the launcher


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