You’ve probably heard of virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and even Google Assistant. It is not common, however, to hear of virtual assistants for Linux. That doesn’t mean that Linux has nothing to offer. Here we will see two virtual assistants available for Linux.
Betty is a virtual assistant based on the command line. You can easily execute various commands with Betty simply by typing a command that asks the question you want to answer. Commands are entered in natural language, which is a big plus because it can help you if you don’t remember a particular command.
To install Betty, first run the following command:
Once the installation is complete, you can continue and have fun with Betty. You can make Betty do things like tell you the time and give you your username. For example, if you want to know the time, you must type the following command:
If you ask for something that Betty cannot do, you will receive a warning message.
You can also do things like control your music player and find file information. Betty can’t execute advanced commands like starting timers, but simpler commands are fair game. This could be a useful tool for someone new to Linux as it can help execute simpler commands without having to remember them. After seeing what the command is, it is sure to be locked in a user’s memory, especially after seeing it enough times.
Mycroft is a open source voice assistant which works on a number of platforms, including Linux. The company even provides hardware devices that run the wizard.
How to install Mycroft
You can install Mycroft for distributions based on Debian.
Otherwise, you can install the software via git. You can do this with the following series of commands:
To run Mycroft, use the following commands:
To stop Mycroft, use:
After installing Mycroft, you will need to create a Mycroft account and add your Linux machine to your devices for the wizard to work properly. Just head to the Devices section of the Mycroft website and press “Add device”.
Mycroft will provide you with an activation code to enter. Enter the code and you will be ready to start using Mycroft.
Mycroft is pretty advanced, and you can do things like ask it to read the news or ask it to set a timer. Mycroft is speech-based, so you won’t have to worry about entering commands. For example, if you want to set a timer for five minutes, just say “Set a timer for five minutes”. Mycroft will detect your speech and then start your stopwatch.
Mycroft is good enough to convert speech to text, and I have not encountered any major problems with its understanding.
You can stop Mycroft by saying “Hey Mycroft stop. “You can even add additional skills to Mycroft. For example, you can add things like an audio recording skill and a recall skill. It’s a much more advanced platform than Betty and she is still learning, will therefore continue to improve.
Mycroft is a refreshing open source AI virtual assistant. The company even sells hardware smart speakers that have functionality similar to devices like Amazon Echo.
It is refreshing to see that there are useful virtual assistants for Linux. It is true that there are other solutions, but these two are the most reliable. Betty is a simple command line based wizard, while Mycroft offers more advanced functionality. It would actually be useful to have them both running, since Betty is really useful when you want to do simple things while using the command line. For more complete virtual assistant stuff, like asking for the weather forecast, Mycroft is your best bet.
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