GUI Service

OVOS devices with displays provide skill developers the opportunity to create skills that can be empowered by both voice and screen interaction.

ovos-gui, aka, The GUI Service, is responsible for keeping track of what should be rendered, but does not perform the rendering itself

The GUI service provides a websocket for gui clients to connect to, it is responsible for implementing the gui protocol under ovos-core.

You can find indepth documentation of the GUI protocol in the dedicated GUI section of these docs


The GUI state is defined by namespaces, usually corresponding to a skill_id, each with any number of pages.

users are expected to be able to "swipe left" and "swipe right" to switch between pages within a namespace

OpenVoiceOS components interact with the GUI by defining session data and active pages, gui-clients may also send back events to indicate interactions.


pages are ordered and, usually, only 1 page is rendered at a time.

If the screen size allows it platform specific gui client applications are free to render all pages into view.

The GUI clients may be implemented in any programming language, the default page templates provided to skills via GUIInterface should be implemented and provided by all alternative clients.

QML tip: - set fillWidth: true under Mycroft.Delegate to have a page always using the full screen

Active Namespaces

In the context of a smartspeaker, when the GUI is idle a homescreen may be displayed, eg. an animated face or clock


Whenever a page is displayed by a skill, ovos-gui tracks it and sets it's namespace to active, then tells the gui clients to render it.

The active namespace and how long a page stays up are managed by ovos-gui, usually via platform specific plugins.

ovos-gui will decide when a namespace is no longer active, and then the next namespace will be rendered,

Skills using the GUIInterface can indicate how long they want a page to remain active


  • OVOS is idle - homescreen is the active namespace

  • you ask OVOS to play music and the music page shows up - music player page is the active namespace

  • you ask OVOS a question and wolfram alpha page shows up - wolfram page is the active namespace

  • wolfram alpha times out - music player page is the active namespace

  • music ends and page times out - homescreen is the active namespace

NOTE: GUI does not yet support Session, in the future namespaces will be tracked per Session allowing remote clients to each have their own GUI state

GUI Plugins

NEW in ovos-core version 0.0.8

The active namespace is tracked by ovos-gui and manages the homescreen skill, desktop implementations like Plasma Bigscreen do not have a homescreen, instead they manage each skill in their own window

A single GUI plugin can be loaded in ovos-gui to handle bus events and provide companion python code to GUI clients, this is usually done by your OS and specific to a use case.

plugin description notes
ovos-gui-plugin-shell-companion extra functionality for ovos-shell message specs
ovos-gui-plugin-bigscreen window management for Plasma Bigscreen Voice Apps UNMAINTED
message specs
backup fork in life support ovos-plasma-bigscreen-qt5
ovos-gui-plugin-plasmoid Plasma integration of different Mycroft AI services UNMAINTED
never migrated to OVOS


The gui service has a few sections in mycroft.conf

"gui": {
    "idle_display_skill": "skill-ovos-homescreen.openvoiceos",
    "extension": "generic",
    "generic": {
        "homescreen_supported": false

"gui_websocket": {
    "host": "",
    "base_port": 18181,
    "route": "/gui",
    "ssl": false