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Skype has abnormally high CPU usage while idle

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Routine Adventurer

Skype has abnormally high CPU usage while idle.


I can't get my laptop under 70 degrees celsius unless I cpulimit or quit skype, and cpulimiting it actually makes it completely unresponsive, as if some other thread is constantly generating a lot of work and taking priority over the UI thread.


What the heck is skype doing? (And why do any of its threads need nice -10?) It takes up more CPU time than pulseaudio, truecrypt, and deluged combined.


Its CPU usage is constantly between 5 and 50 percent*, it's absolutely horrible.


*While idle. I'm unable to make calls.


I know this is expected from a linux user, but for all I know, Skype is malware. It's not open-source, so I can't find out for myself, and there are no open-source alternatives so the frankly shameful amount of bugs I encounter in Skype will never be fixed.


There are several bugs I'd love to be fixed in Skype, but first, PLEASE, optimize your code. It's absolutely horriffic at the moment.

  • arch linux
  • cpu
  • Linux
  • optimize your code and I don't mean -O3
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Casual Adventurer

same version, under linux, CPU usage is 2-3% when idle (which is, by the way, too high!) on Ubuntu 12.04 Sandy Bridge i7 2600


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Novel Tourist

Same version, kubuntu 13.10, i7 processor. Skype uses a constant 3% CPU when idle, which is completely unacceptable, since it drains the notebook battery. Please fix this.

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Novel Adventurer

I see the same - 2-3 % idle CPU usage on a quadcore xubuntu 13.10. Please fix it.

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Novel Adventurer

OK, we're 9 months (!) from the first post on this thread, and still no answer from a moderator/techincal specialist.


Same here on Fedora 19 (64-bit) KDE 4.11.5 on Intel i3, with Skype (32-bit; as a side note, why no 64?).

Skype uses 2-3% on idle, see attachment. As you can see all other services, programs, KDE daemons, etc. are not causing any CPU wakeups, but Skype does.


However I haven't tried the latest version of Skype (4.3) yet, and I'll do it the next time and report back.

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Routine Adventurer

Attached are statistics from my desktop over approximately a 24 hour period for the processes shown (other than firefox and adb).


Pulseaudio tops skype this time but that's because I've had music playing through mpd for a few hours. Skype uses more than 16 times the CPU that pidgin does, and almost double the RAM! RAM isn't shown in the screenshot but take my word for it. Bear in mind that I haven't taken (or made) any calls in this period of time, and pidgin has been signed into three different services and using encrypted chat.


I really wish that at least the protocol would be documented so someone could work around this, at the moment I don't think the guys writing skype realize just how unstable the linux port is. At least it's better than the Android port.

[Edit for those unfamiliar with linux processes: "TIME" is the cumulative time that the program has been scheduled for on any core, effectively making it a measure of total CPU usage for a given time period]

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Novel Adventurer

I just tried Skype, exactly the same results (as I expected, unfortunately): Skype is the outlier.



OK Skype experts, the time is *now* to react and solve this issue!

Documenting the protocol may be a step in the right direction, as Score_Under pointed out.



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Novel Tourist


 Same problem. Ubuntu 14.04 and skype


 The computer overheat when using the webcam. It doesn't happend with audio calls.


 The video works very fine with any other program, just video with skype overheat my laptop.

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Novel Tourist

Same here, 2% to 4% nonstop wasted CPU on my laptop. Skype's real use is destroyed - I can't have it always on. I have to exit Skype and avoid it, only launching it as necessary.


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Novel Adventurer

Those of you who run Chromium 37+ might want to try just using the Android version of Skype, as there's a new compatibility shim that allows you to run Android apps in the browser, and someone's specially packaged Skype for use on ChromeOS in this case (where it wasn't previously available): It's Java, but I bet it'll actually have fewer idle CPU issues (though I'm not sure how well audio sources will work, it's worth a shot). I can't run it myself since I'm currently holding on Chromium 33 as the newer non-GTK versions cause occasional hangs in Unity (and my Linux machine is a powerful desktop so I'm not that bothered by bad idling), but it might be the solution to some of your problems...

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