Microsoft’s Cortana’s Evil Twin is Making Its Way To Linux Desktop, Say Hello To Mycroft

Mycroft is an open source voice assistant capable of responding to both keyboard and voice inputs.

Mar 17, 2017Apps
Mycroft on Linux

They say that in the future cars would fly, robots or cyborgs would walk around like regular people and humans would replace their body parts without even going through a surgery.

Well, until that day comes, we can in the meantime dwell upon the fact that people talking to machines is becoming more and more prominent in our daily lives.

Started with, perhaps most notably in this decade, Apple’ Siri, the trend quickly caught on and continued through Google’s Assistant and then Microsoft’s Cortana.

At this point, with all the commercial companies racing against each other, it became clear that the open source world will not stand by for long. A Kickstarter project was then raised and not too long afterwards a final, production-ready prototype showed up.

The name given to the project is Mycroft, not to allude any similarity to Microsoft, but based on a character from the famous Sherlock Holmes series, Mycroft is Sherlock’s older brother.

The makers behind Mycroft see it as the real life incarnation of favorable fictional characters such as – Iron Man’s “Jarvis”, Short Circuit’s “Johnny 5” and Tiberian Sun’s “EVA” – largely hinting that the end goal is to have a fully autonomous AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Mycroft Mark 1

Mycroft Mark 1 – a little table robot

While the first iteration of Mycroft – Mark 1 – took shape in the form of a little table robot, the open source nature quickly allowed it to shift itself into other devices as well.

Mycroft On Linux

Early examples of desktop-Mycroft demonstrated it running on GNOME desktop environment on Ubuntu, yet it seems that demo didn’t soar much ever since.

On the other hand, a cooperation between Mycroft team and KDE developers have already yielded a working plasmoid (desktop widget) which is meant to be integrated into Plasma desktop.

Still in its early stages, the plasmoid already gained some nice features such as: theme integration, visual feedback – meaning Mycroft displays visual signs that show its responsive, and it even gained Suggestion feature that suggest input according to past experience.

As of time of writing this, Mycroft can be installed on KDE Neon and Fedora distributions out-of-the-box. Users of other distributions will have to make a little more effort to the plasmoid to work.

Note that as the project is still at the beginning of its Linux way, random hiccups may be encountered and in either case, user feedback would be highly valuable for the developers.

Learn more about Mycroft plasmoid – how to install and use it by clicking here.