FAQ: OVOS, Neon, and the Future of the Mycroft Voice Assistant


Hello! I’m Chance from OVOS, here to clear up some frequent questions and concerns (such as, what’s OVOS?).
…and I’m Clary from Neon AI, your collaboration-supporting forum admin. I’m here to help, please reach out if you have an idea to improve this collaborative space, or need my support to create a wiki or other feature. I’m here to help.

This post is a Wiki, which means we welcome contributions from community members.

Please feel free to ask either of us any follow-up questions below.


I don’t want to read all this. What’s going to happen to Mycroft, the software?

Although MycroftAI, Inc. has ceased development, the Assistant survives.

A few years ago, some of MycroftAI’s partners started using @JarbasAl ‘s code (more information below) which eventually became a fork of the assistant. Now that MycroftAI is unable to continue development, the fork’s devs - The OVOS Foundation - have decided to take up leadership of the Assistant’s development and its open source ecosystem.

MycroftAI has signed over Mark II software support, as well as these forums, to one of those partners, a company called Neon AI. Between the OVOS Foundation and Neon AI, the voice assistant and the smart speaker projects are getting a new lease on life.

The Neon AI Assistant is a direct replacement for Mycroft’s assistant on the Mark II. Our private personal voice assistant works on other platforms as well, though none are as end-user friendly as the Mark II. We’re working on that. We have our own skills, as well as using some of the code from OVOS, and from parts of the Mycroft project. It really is a shared ecosystem.

The OVOS Assistant - it’ll get a better name soon, we promise - started out as a drop-in replacement for Mycroft. It should be compatible with all your classic Mycroft skills. It will even accept existing configuration files! Because we have been operating at a much smaller scale for the past three years, things will seem rough around the edges for a little while. However, we are scaling up. Read on, or take a minute to watch this recent demo.

What is OVOS?

OVOS is the open source collective responsible for the surviving fork of Mycroft. We started as Mycroft community developers, working on a third-party Picroft called OpenVoiceOS (hence our name.) After a while, we adopted @JarbasAl 's work on a modular version of Mycroft, and Jarbas brought that work under our roof.

During 2020-21, several of MycroftAI’s partner projects switched to our fork. Ever since, we’ve been in low-key, continuous development, operating as a combined team of hobbyists and, for lack of a better term, professional Mycroft implementers.

When MycroftAI ceased development, OVOS immediately recognized that we need to scale up and get professional, so we decided to incorporate as a nonprofit. This process is currently underway. Future development of the Assistant, as well as a number of related projects, will take place under the stewardship of the OVOS Foundation.

Most Mark II customers, and users looking for a device that Just Works, will want to read on about NeonAI. For coders, makers, tinkerers, and the Mycroft diaspora, direct implementations of the OVOS Assistant, which also serve as reference for most custom implementations, are available in the following flavors (as of August 2023):

  • Source (of course; generally run as a suite of system services)
  • Dockerized
  • The original OpenVoiceOS, a lightweight, opinionated smart speaker (screen optional, targets Pi4 first)
  • A Raspian-based implementation meant for our Picrofts (headless, targets Pi3 first)

Wanna grow that list? A friendly community is available to help. You can find us in this forum, or in our chat channels (see below!)

What is Neon?

Neon AI is the company now responsible for Mark II software support and this forum, among other things. They’re a fully staffed software firm, and your Mark II will be thrilled to meet their smart speaker operating system, Neon AI OS. Neon’s OS incorporates much of the OVOS Assistant and tech stack, as well as our own additional plugins, skills, and developer assistance features, configured and customized to meet your needs. As with OVOS, we weren’t expecting the loss of Mycroft, and our documentation is still a work in progress.

Owing to customer confusion, it’s probably worth mentioning a couple of things Neon is not. Neon AI has not purchased Mycroft AI, nor does it administer OVOS. Neon is taking on hosting of this forum, and its transformation into a broader collaborative space for voiced AI projects. Their wonderful staff is available to help you with the forum, and in detail with their own, Neon-branded software, and can probably point you in the right direction for just about anything else. They cannot, however, provide warranty support for your Mark II, nor do they provide technical support for OVOS-branded software.

Okay, so who do I talk to about what?

In general, if you’re a customer and need an immediate response about a purchase, tag @NeonClary. They’ll let you know if you need to talk to someone else.

In general, if you’re here to participate in the open source voice assistant project, unless your question is specifically about the Neon system, or something with Neon’s logo on it, it’s probably a question for the OVOS team.

In general, any time it isn’t apparent who you ought to talk to, make a post and you’re welcome to tag @NeonClary to get help getting the attention of someone who can help.

I own a Mark II. What should I do now?

Are you still running the software that came with your Mark II? Try Neon AI’s OS!

Do you like stuff that Just Works? If you need help, do you want tech support to talk to you like a regular person, rather than asking you a bunch of technical questions? Is this the only part of the FAQ you really care about? Choose Neon AI! You can find us here, on our website, or in our Matrix rooms.

Do you want to develop skills against the very latest version of the Assistant? Try an OpenVoiceOS project!

If you’d really like to dig in, join our open source community! We can be found right here in these forums, at the OpenVoiceOS org on GitHub, and in our Matrix rooms (or see more links below.) We’ll help you figure out which flavor of OVOS is right for you.

What is the relationship between the OVOS Foundation and Neon AI?

OVOS and Neon are entirely separate entities. However, we are working in full cooperation on what I am calling Life After MycroftAI, and we do share a key individual.

OVOS currently has five core team members, who are likely to become the OVOS Foundation’s initial Board and Secretary. Of the five,

  • 3 have no particular relationship with Neon

  • 1 is Neon’s lead developer (Daniel McKnight)

  • 1 has contracted for Neon in the past (Casimiro “Jarbas” Ferreira)

In view of our nonprofit status, OVOS avoids negotiating with our members’ employers through the shared member/employee, and in Neon’s case that means Daniel. Technical planning happens as a matter of course in our chat rooms, but other communications between OVOS and Neon go through different people.

Why did OVOS fork Mycroft?

By accident. In 2020, MycroftAI’s partners needed a modular version of the Assistant, and Jarbas had such a version. At that point, it was a 100% compatible superset of Mycroft, which split the Assistant up into smaller pieces and packaged them as a library. You’d drop that library where Mycroft-core was supposed to be, start a couple of system services, and users would never know the difference. This was the state of affairs when OVOS adopted the code.

The fact that it was a superset, rather than a fork, was very important, because all of our adopters were MycroftAI channel partners. Their own products, as well as their relationships with MycroftAI, depended on compatibility, and we took pains to maintain it, even as we made complex changes internally.

However, development on the original Mycroft went stale while MycroftAI was trying to produce software for the Mark II. We offered to upstream our Assistant, but MycroftAI preferred to write first-party software from scratch. They decided to go their own way, creating Dinkum; no longer willing to wait indefinitely for feature requests or backward-incompatible changes, OVOS’ downstream constituents agreed that it was time for our code to move on.

Nothing really changed at first. We stopped calling it a superset, started calling it a fork, and continued development. Rather, we felt the effect when MycroftAI released Dinkum.

Dinkum and the OVOS Assistant were created for the same fundamental reason: in order to ship Mycroft on an arbitrary platform, the same basic code needed to be modularized and slimmed down. Having accomplished that goal years earlier, the OVOS team has been able to focus on incremental improvements to almost every other aspect of the Assistant. I would draw your attention in particular to our plugin framework, our GUI protocol, and our approach to hardware interaction; together, these systems offer derivative projects the opportunity to customize each and every component of the Assistant they deliver to consumers.

What will happen to Dinkum?

The “listener” portion of Dinkum lives on, it has improved the OVOS and Neon voice assistants’ responsiveness.

Neon AI would very much like to adapt the Dinkum GUI to our system. It provides a nicely polished user experience. However, that project needs additional development time from someone with the right (REACT) skills. Please contact us if you are interested.

We can save any Dinkum skills that might be out there. Scripts exist for that.

Because the OVOS Assistant serves the same purpose as Dinkum, without the downsides, OVOS has elected to let Dinkum itself slip away. We regret that this represents the retirement of code which some of our favorite colleagues worked night and day to produce under impossible conditions. I would like to personally assure the MycroftAI diaspora that OVOS devs have combed over every license-compatible bit of Dinkum, and we’ve upstreamed a number of their improvements so that MycroftAI’s partner projects could enjoy them. Hardware support has particularly benefitted, and their code surely will remain a part of the Assistant for years to come. The Mike Hansen era was very productive.

I need to stress that Dinkum met its development goals. MycroftAI’s developers did what was asked of them, and they did it with aplomb. I am intimately familiar with each of their portfolios during their time at MycroftAI, and I’d recommend any one of them for your next development job. Theirs was a fine team.

No one has chosen to continue development on Dinkum itself.

For the community to continue with Dinkum as such would represent a 3-year setback with API breakage. We wish things were different, but we have our own projects.

To the best of our knowledge, all the surviving projects in the Mycroft ecosystem, for- and nonprofit alike, are running the OVOS Assistant.

What is going on with MycroftAI?

Mycroft AI has signed over a couple of things, including these forums, to Neon AI. Mycroft AI have laid off their entire staff and ceased development. They are not manufacturing additional Mark IIs, and are out or nearly out of stock. (Neon AI does have some Mark II units available for developers.)

As a long time channel partner with an existing non-disclosure agreement, Michael Lewis graciously accepted Neon AI’s offer to support the Mycroft community by donating some of @NeonClary’s time to respond to some of Mycroft’s customer emails.

I backed MycroftAI in a crowdfunding campaign. Will I get a Mark II?

We are extremely sympathetic, but OVOS and Neon are each entirely unable to assist. MycroftAI’s unfulfilled backer rewards are understood to represent over a million dollars in hardware which MycroftAI can’t afford to produce, and their CEO has indicated that they will not be able to fulfill campaign rewards.

If you’re the DIY type, we can definitely help your DIY something like a Mark II. That’s how OpenVoiceOS was born! Unfortunately, that’s as much as OVOS can offer in that regard.

If you’re a developer, or interested in contributing to user documentation, NeonAI has some Mark IIs available for sale or as “bounties” for contributions to the Neon OS and its documentation. Contact clary@neon.ai or developers can order here.

How do I get involved with the FOSS stuff?

OVOS is most active in the OpenVoiceOS space on Matrix. Our code is hosted at GitHub.

Neon AI has a their own Matrix spaces, or you can post on here.

For other projects, start a post in the space, or contact @NeonClary if there’s not a spot for you and you think your project belongs here.

This looks kinda rough…

If we had initiated the conversion, the OVOS team would have done things in this order: First, shore up our codebase. Second, create robust user-facing documentation and a roadmap. Third, organize and expand the developer community from six to a few dozen collaborators on several teams. Finally, package the Assistant and announce our presence to the world.

However, we find ourselves doing all that at once, while incorporating the Foundation and dealing with the fallout from a key player’s demise. It’s a hectic time.

The OVOS team is comprised entirely of software professionals, including a tech lead and a project manager, and there is absolutely no question that we are capable of creating and operating a world-class software firm. It will take us a few months, however, to transform this thing into a full-service FOSS shop.

Open during construction. Please excuse the mess.

Can I chip in?

Yes! OVOS has an open GoFundMe campaign and you can certainly donate to it though as of the last update “Your confidence and generosity has equipped us with enough of a nest egg to protect our operations for at least the first year or two […]. We will communicate our long-term plans for ongoing fundraising once we’re ready, but, for now, we just want to say a great big thanks for everything.”

You know what’s cool about GoFundMe? No backer rewards! Who’d have thought I’d find myself bragging about that someday :wink: We can’t miss a target we don’t set, though, and you can rest assured that your financial support goes right into our mission.

Neon AI is the trade name of Neongecko, and as a small business your support is absolutely critical, but not in monetary form. You can best support us by being active members of this community, working to further our own goal of open source, privacy-first, conversational AI for everyone.

We would love to have you using our software, building things with our software, telling people about it, and exploring our other projects. Most of the Mycroft Community doesn’t know, but we some other projects that we’re excited to share. Here’s one we’re nearly ready to share.

Who do I talk to for help with integration?

The OVOS Foundation is excited to work with a variety of public and private entities once we enter our new life as an incorporated nonprofit. We are fielding inquiries. We already enjoy a solid working relationship with NeonAI and with KDE, whose best-known Assistant-capable project is Plasma Bigscreen, an open source system to help you DIY a smart TV.

Over the years, members of the core OVOS team have seen just about every integration we can imagine, but we’d love to meet a challenge. Individuals, hobby projects, and any casual inquiries are welcome wherever you find us. Institutions, please contact Peter Steenbergen (@j1nx) here or through our web site. Peter will connect you with an OVOS team member with the relevant expertise and a compatible time zone.

At Neon AI, Clary Gasper is the contact person for integration inquiries.

Thank you Mycroft for bringing together this community by showing the world what might be possible with conversational AI.



Thanks Chance, really appreciate your thoughtful and detailed answers, and we look forward to supporting you and other developers.


We keep underestimating how long we should pin this. I’m gonna underestimate again :innocent:


I went to check out the download, but it github link returns a 404.

Sorry, which GitHub link? I’ve just tried the one to OpenVoiceOS · GitHub, and everything seems to be working normally for me. But it’s pretty alarming if some people are getting a 404, specifically.

I just tried it. It’s working for me now. I think it was my device I was using. I’m using a different DNS for testing on the other device. Might have been the issue, but it is fine on this one.


Hello I don’t want to spend much time searching where I can post my message, so just decided to post it under the 1st post. I have 1 brand new device & don’t know what to do with it, if anyone interested just let me know. I think throwing it away might be not fair.

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The OVOS Foundation is indeed trying to obtain as many of those as we can. Please email chance (at) openvoiceos.org. I’ll put you in touch with someone who can talk money and logistics.

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