OVOS Shell

OVOS-shell is the OpenVoiceOS client implementation of the mycroft-gui-qt5 library used in our embedded device images

Design Principles

The OpenVoiceOS Shell was designed with some simple principles in mind.

The visual interface is always secondary to the voice interface.

Our goal is to make all interactions Voice First, meaning that the user could accomplish their tasks with just voice interaction.

Touchscreen menus should be kept to a minimum, this reinforces using the primary mode of interaction, voice.

However, many important controls need to be implemented as multimodal such as the ability to return to the home screen, change the volume, change the brightness of the screen, control media playback, and other system settings.

OpenVoiceOS images ship with ovos-homescreen and ovos-shell, built on top of QT5, these components ensure the viability of the GUI in embedded devices running ovos-shell via EGLFS, without requiring a traditional desktop environment

Companion Plugins

To unlock full functionality you also need to configure ovos-gui-plugin-shell-companion in mycroft.conf

This plugin integrates with ovos-gui to provide:

  • color scheme manager
  • notifications widgets
  • configuration provider (settings UI)
  • brightness control (night mode etc)
  "gui": {
    // Extensions provide additional GUI platform support for specific devices
    "extension": "ovos-gui-plugin-shell-companion",

    // homescreen skill to use
    "idle_display_skill": "skill-ovos-homescreen.openvoiceos"

OVOS-shell is tightly coupled to PHAL, the following companion plugins should also be installed


The Shell can be configured in a few ways.


Display settings

Color Theme editor

Shell Options

~/.config/OpenvoiceOS/OvosShell.conf can be edited to change shell options that may also be changed via UI. An example config would look like:



Shell themes can be included in /usr/share/OVOS/ColorSchemes/ or ~/.local/share/OVOS/ColorSchemes/ in json format. Note that colors should include an alpha value (usually FF).

  "name": "Neon Green",
  "primaryColor": "#FF072103",
  "secondaryColor": "#FF2C7909",
  "textColor": "#FFF1F1F1"