Microsoft Teams: Progressive web app arrives for Linux users

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Image: Getty Images/Nitat Termmee

Microsoft has released its Teams progressive web app (PWA) for Linux platforms as a feature of the existing web client.

The Teams PWA is intended as the replacement for the Teams Linux client, which Microsoft finally launched in 2019 but last month encouraged Linux users to ditch for the upcoming Teams PWA, which can be installed via Chrome and Edge. The PWA option is only available for Linux and is offered as an install via a browser notification. Microsoft will retire the Teams Linux desktop client in December, according to Petri.

The Teams PWA offers “desktop-like” features such as system notifications for chat and channel, dock icon with respective controls, application auto-start, and easy access to system app permissions.

It also supports background effects, gallery view, reactions, raised hand in settings, large gallery, and together mode views. Microsoft began testing these features on Teams for web in 2021.

According to Microsoft, the PWA for Linux lets it “bridge the gaps between the Teams desktop client on Linux and Windows” and lets it ship the latest Microsoft Teams features faster to Linux users.

“Linux customers who rely on Microsoft Teams for collaboration and communication needs told us they want the full richness of Teams features available for their users in a secure way. This can now be achieved using the Teams PWA,” Microsoft explains in a blogpost.

Additionally, the Teams PWA for Linux can be used with Conditional Access configuration applied through Microsoft’s Endpoint Manager. Conditional Access is a policy-based security enforcement mechanism that can be used by admins to require, for example, certain roles to use multi-factor authentication when accessing a web app. In this case, it allows Linux users to access the Teams web application while using Edge.

Prior to the Linux desktop client’s availability in 2019, it had been one of the top requested features on Microsoft’s old Teams UserVoice site.

Microsoft’s blogpost has received mixed reviews from users of the Teams client. Some appreciated the PWA and say it works great, but others complain it’s unstable and lacking features.

Microsoft has built a lot of tools for Linux in recent years, mostly focused on developers and the cloud. There’s the Windows Subsystem for Linux with a Microsoft-built Linux kernel, Chromium-based Edge for Linux, the Microsoft Linux distribution Common Base Linux, (CBL)-Mariner, and its relatively new Microsoft 365 CloudPC, which is available across all platforms, including Linux. But the Teams Linux desktop client was a standout among its Office suite, whose apps otherwise only run in the browser or a VM on Linux.

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