Dragon Naturally Speaking

Application Details:

Version: 10
License: Retail
Votes: Marked as obsolete
Latest Rating: Bronze
Latest Wine Version Tested: 1.8.2

Maintainers: About Maintainership

Test Results

Old test results
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Selected Test Results

What works

Installation works, surprisingly, since 9.5 Standard and 9.5 Preferred did not install. The installation takes some time, and seems to stall twice near the end, but patience (about 5 minutes' worth) is rewarded.
The user interface is clearer.
Unlike earlier versions, the DragonBar shows up on top, as well as the tray icon. The DragonBar can be set to cling to the top of whatever program it is dictating into.
Dictation is good. Fast and accurate. It seems to be both faster and more accurate than DNS 9.0.
A few of the commands, such as "Correct that," "Scratch that," etc. work, as well as most of the grammar commands ("Cap that," "hyphenate that" etc.)
Dictating directly into another program running in wine was noticeably faster and more accurate.

What does not

Using the included Dragon Pad makes the program crash. Using Dictation Box sometimes crashes but not always. When it works it is wonderful because it has an option the user can set to make the buffer non-volatile. This means that you can cut and paste via CTL-V into a Windows application without worrying about losing your text. (On DNS 9.0 the buffer only lasted about 4 seconds.)

The accuracy "tuning tests" do not run. You can save speech training data but not run the optimizer. You can train new words but not import lists of words.

"Help" does not work.


What was not tested

Many of the commands / options were not tested. Most are known not to work, and none of them work outside the Windows environment. 

Hardware tested


  • GPU:
  • Driver:

Additional Comments

Ubuntu also has a real-time kernel, which did not work for me, either in compiling wine, or installing DNS 10. However, once everything is installed and running properly, re-boot into your real-time kernel and you might think that DNS10 runs a little faster and better. It seems that way to me.

selected in Test Results table below
Operating systemTest dateWine versionInstalls?Runs?Used
ShowUbuntu 13.10 "Saucy" i386 (+ variants like Kubuntu)Apr 14 20161.8.2Yes Yes BronzeOlivier Ernst 
ShowUbuntu 14.04 "Trusty" amd64 (+ variants like Kubuntu)Apr 19 20141.6.2No, but has workaround Yes Bronzean anonymous user 
ShowUbuntu 12.04 "Precise" amd64 (+ variants like Kubuntu)Jul 05 20121.5.7No Not installable GarbageNarcis Garcia 
ShowUbuntu 11.04 "Natty" i386 (+ variants like Kubuntu)Jul 04 20121.5.7Yes Yes GoldNarcis Garcia 
ShowUbuntu 13.10 "Saucy" amd64 (+ variants like Kubuntu)Apr 04 20141.4.1Yes Yes Goldan anonymous user 

Known Bugs

Bug # Description Status Resolution Other apps affected

Show all bugs

HowTo / Notes

Mike setup

There are more complete installation and setup notes on the version 7 entry, many of which will also apply to v10 though expect some differences due to changes in WINE as well as DNS. 

 This should however be a useful reference.

How to install Wine with pulse audio

 The following notes were contributed by Gurdil to set up DNS 10 and Wine to work with Pulse Audio on *buntu . Not tested elsewhere but may well have broader application.

padsp command is the key and is pulse audio specific.

1. wget

sh winetricks fontfix fontsmooth-gray gecko sound=oss gdiplus

2. Insert the installation CD then copy contents to the hard disk, ~/DNS for example

3. cd ~/DNS/issetupprerequisites, run "wine vcruntime.exe"

4. cd ~/DNS and run "wine setup". Proceed with the installation. At the end choose to register with printing something

5. run "padsp winecfg". Go to audio and choose alsa.

6. run DNS with: "padsp wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Nuance/NaturallySpeaking10/Program/natspeak.exe" If it crashes, run it again.

7. Now it should work. If it does not detect your microphome (or explains that sound is too low), try to configure your input device (menu>sound and video>pulse audio control)

as of wine-1.3.19, stability has improved

Some editing commands work in notepad, and the recognition is still almost as fast as in DictationBox. For right now, I recommend dictating directly into Notepad.

The program no longer freezes when using Notepad. It sometimes still does after using DictationBox extensively. For instance, I dictate 4-6 paragraphs at a time, and after about the third session of that, the program sometimes behaves strangely. Usually what happens first is that the command "Transfer" does not drop text automatically into the other program.

Solution, just go to the other application -- be it wine or Linux -- and hit CTL-V and the text will drop.

Interesting note, unrelated to Wine... Dictation accuracy changes when switching from Notepad to DictationBox. Usually drops a bit at first.


These instructions are primarily for Ubuntu / Debian but should be helpful to other distros. 

In terminal:


sh winetricks fontfix fontsmooth-gray gecko sound=oss

(also add gdiplus if you want a prettier DragonBar.)


(in winecfg, go to audio tab and check oss driver only, then bump the default sample rate to 48000)

navigate to CD rom and type

wine setup

When evaluating install-menu options, remember that the program will need to run simply. Disable options that require searching your hard drive, automatic updating, sending data to Nuance, etc. Don't install or enable training.

The way to get fast, accurate dictation is to use Notepad or DictationBox. DragonPad works and has some extra commands but it is not as fast. It also has some quirks. Default font cannot be changed, for instance.

Once you have the program up and running, you should be able to use Dictation Box, say "Transfer that" and then use CTL-V to paste into any running Linux application. To enable this feature, open Dictation Box / Settings, and check the box to keep transferred text on the clipboard.

Note: I compiled wine from git using ./configure --enable-win64 and NatSpeak ran just fine. (However, check your Natspeak version. Only 10.1 is 64-bit enabled.)

Additional Instructions:

As of 10.10 Ubuntu, pulseaudio is enabled by default. I have not had luck getting wine programs running with pulse. To disable it, edit /etc/pulse/client.conf to change # autospawn = yes to autospawn = no.

Then System/preferences/startup applications, uncheck everything that says pulse. Then reboot.

If you want to use a USB device, this must be set as the default device. So add to your home directory a file called .asoundrc that contains the following text. (This assumes that you have only two devices, that card 0 is your on-board and card 1 is your usb.)

pcm.!default {
    type hw
    card 1
ctl.!default {
    type hw
    card 1

WARNING -- As of 22 December 2009

It is my experience that the Nuance licensing daemon now counts each new version of wine as a "new operating system." Upgrades between, say Ubuntu Karmic and Ubuntu Lucid, also use up a license. And you also lose a license when you have NatSpeak installed twice on the same computer.

I had been installing test versions daily, always on the same machine, always using the latest wine git, and now can no longer do so. So new users may not want to install or test casually. 

Note: Changing the Windows Version in winecfg counts as an operating system upgrade. For this reason, it is recommended to install DNS10 under an alternate $WINEPREFIX and leave it alone. Nuance recommends un-installing the software with an active internet connection before upgrading. This is supposed to prevent the activation count from incrementing. The "active internet connection" seems to require the optional winbind (samba-winbind) package available through your distro. If the license loss continues after un-installation, bug report it.