Installing Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 on Ubuntu 12.04 (Using PlayOnLinux)

After having very much difficulty installing Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 on Ubuntu 12.04 with the latest version of WINE (WINE 1.5.20) I decided to look again at the AppDB.  I found that Dragon Naturally Speaking had a Platinum rating for WINE 1.4, so I decided to give that version of WINE a try with PlayOnLinux, which I believe is a very effective tool for managing different WINE versions and profiles.

Obviously, PlayOnLinux is not a requirement for having WINE 1.4 installed on your machine.  You could install WINE yourself and obtain this version, but for the scope of this tutorial, we will be using PlayOnLinux to manage the installation.

Install PlayOnLinux
It will be to your benefit to grab the latest version of PlayOnLinux from their repository, as this will probably be more recent than the version in your distro’s repository.  This step is optional, but if you ignore it, you might not get the version of PlayOnLinux described in this procedure, and you might be missing new bugfixes and improvements.

Now, let’s install PlayOnLinux!

Install WINE 1.4 Inside PlayOnLinux
Go to the Tools menu, and select Manage WINE Versions.

1-PlayOnLinux

Select WINE 1.4, and press the Right Arrow to install the version.

2-PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux will download and install WINE 1.4 for you.

3-PlayOnLinux

Once it’s installed, it will appear to the right.

4-PlayOnLinux

 

Close out of the WINE installation screen.  Next, you’ll want to press the Install button in the PlayOnLinux window, to start installing a new Windows program.

5-PlayOnLinux

Select “Install a new program in a new virtual drive.”

6-PlayOnLinux

You can name your drive whatever you want.  I called mine “DragonNaturallySpeaking12″.

7-PlayOnLinux

Go ahead and check “Use another version of WINE” and hit Next.  This will allow us to manually select which version of WINE we want to use.

8-PlayOnLinux

If you have used PlayOnLinux for other things, you may have more than one version of WINE installed, and that’s OK.  We want to select 1.4.  If you don’t have this option, please go back to the beginning of the tutorial and make sure you’ve installed WINE 1.4 using the “Manage WINE Versions” option on the Tools menu.

9-PlayOnLinux

Now, PlayOnLinux will set up your virtual drive for you.

10-PlayOnLinux

Assuming you have the Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 DVD, which I did, you want to select “CD-ROM” as the place to install your program from.  As shown here.  Then, hit Next.

11-PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux will do some steps to prepare for the installation.

12-PlayOnLinux

After a moment or two, the Dragon Naturally Speaking installer will start.  As with any normal installer, click Next to begin.

13-PlayOnLinux

Read the license agreement.  (Hah!)  Then check “I accept the terms in the license agreement” and press Next.

14-PlayOnLinux

In the next window, you’ll want to substitute my filler information with your own.  The serial number for my Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 installation was on the back of the paper DVD holder that contained my installation disk.  Yours will probably be there as well.  Once you’ve filled in your information, go ahead and hit Next.

15-PlayOnLinux

I chose to do a Typical/Complete installation.  I chose to leave the default location.  The location will not interfere with any other WINE programs, unless you didn’t create a brand new virtual drive.  If you did, then the default location should work just fine for you.  If you have no idea, just leave this screen how it is, and press Next.  (That will be fine for most cases.)

17-PlayOnLinux

The installer will now copy some files.

I got this error message.  I ignored it and pressed OK.

18-PlayOnLinux(Error)

 

I decided I didn’t want to have Dragon Naturally Speaking check for updates on its own, as I have no idea how those will be installed… and I am using my Dragon Naturally Speaking in a professional installation where I will not be the user.  I don’t want to put my end-user through a hostile upgrade experience later, I just assume update it myself down the road if necessary.

Once you’ve decided whether you want to risk the automated updates, hit Finish.

19-PlayOnLinux(Finished)

The installer created a .lnk file on my Ubuntu desktop, but I found that shortcut did not work, so I deleted it.  I created my shortcut using the PlayOnLinux shortcut maker.  You can find this by pressing the Configure button on top of your PlayOnLinux screen.

Select your virtual drive, and click the “Make a new shortcut from this virtual drive” button.

1-Shortcut-FromVdrive

Find “natspeak.exe” and press Next.

2-Shortcut-NatSpeak.exe

Obviously, you can name your shortcut whatever you want.   I chose to name mine “Dragon Naturally Speaking 12″.

3-Shortcut-TypeName

Close out of the shortcut maker when it’s finished, and you should now have a shortcut on your desktop to launch Dragon Naturally Speaking.  Go ahead and launch it.

On first run, I had to activate Dragon Naturally Speaking.  This process worked fine for me, so just press Activate Now.

 

 

1-Dragon-1strun-activation

 

Then, Dragon Naturally Speaking will fire up.  Everything looks like it’s working well so far.

2-Dragon-1strun-Splash

 

I did encounter some minor issues with Dragon Naturally Speaking, but all in all, it worked well enough that I am comfortable deploying it.

 

Some Issues I Had:

The Sidebar.  I disabled the sidebar, because it seemed like every other time it launched, it caused the application to crash.

Where You Can Dictate.  It seemed like dictation into Linux programs didn’t work.  I could only dictate into DragonPad and Dragon Naturally Speaking itself.  Even other WINE programs, like Notepad, seemed out of reach of Dragon’s dictation power.

 

I was quite surprised that some of the features like “Search Google for ____” actually worked, and actually launched my native Mozilla Firefox application.   I did not have a huge amount of time to test the installation, but it will be going into production, so I’m sure if there are any other issues, I will find out about them.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, and I will answer what I can.  Keep in mind, I did not install Dragon Naturally Speaking on my own laptop, and my work only had a single license.

The reason I created this tutorial was not as a comprehensive guide, but so that someone who is searching Google for these instructions can find something.  I was very disappointed at how little information I found on Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 with WINE.   I am by no means an expert, just someone who spent a little too much time trying to get this working (see my other two blog posts here and here)… I hope someone found this useful and that I saved someone some time!

18 Thoughts on “Installing Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 on Ubuntu 12.04 (Using PlayOnLinux)

  1. Thank you so much Kirk for this information and step-by-step guide!
    I’m a Mac user with limited IT skills who has recently installed Parallels and I was searching for an alternative to installing Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 (Spanish/English) on a Mac. Thanks to your tutorial I’ve now not only managed to install DNS12, but also learnt new skills (installation of Ubuntu & PlayOnLinux).

    • Kirk Schnable Kirk Schnable on April 23, 2013 at 5:26 AM said:

      Glad to hear you found it useful! :)

      • Daniel on April 23, 2013 at 6:28 PM said:

        I followed the above instructions and the install went without a hitch. I then went through the training with no problems. When it came time to actually run the program, however, it crashes every single time as the sidebar tries to load up. You said that you disabled the sidebar because it crashed half the time… Since it crashes for me all of the time how can I get far enough to disable it?

        • Kirk Schnable Kirk Schnable on April 23, 2013 at 8:46 PM said:

          Sorry to hear that you’re having issues, Daniel. Unfortunately, I do not have the laptop which I installed this on at the moment. (It was for a single end-user situation at work; I’m by no means a Dragon Naturally Speaking expert or a frequent user.)

          It’s possible that your issues could be caused by a different version of the PlayOnLinux software, WINE, or a dependency… since this tutorial is getting old and some updates have been released since then I’m sure.

          I would be curious to find out if Steph (the previous commenter above) ran into any difficulties after setup…

          If you would be able to run using the PlayOnLinux debug option, you might be able to get us some debug output, although admittedly, the debug console output was not very useful for me in my efforts to install Dragon Naturally Speaking with prior versions of WINE, etc, (you can see some of my other blog posts where I mused about failed attempts).

          A debug log might be useful for obtaining support from a forum as well, although it seems like community support dwindles as soon as large log files are posted on forums…

          Nevertheless, I’d be happy to look at a debug log for you and see if there’s any suggestions I can offer.

  2. Steph on April 26, 2013 at 5:17 AM said:

    Hi Kirk,

    A few hours after writing the comment I had the exact same thing happen as commenter Daniel described. Since then no luck :(

    I’ll keep you posted though if I have any success.

    Thanks again

    • Kirk Schnable Kirk Schnable on April 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM said:

      Steph, if yours worked for awhile, did you disable the sidebar? That was the main issue I remember having, was that the sidebar would cause the program to crash periodically.

      Sorry to hear that people are having issues with this… I wonder if the one I set up into production at work is still working, or if it has become non-functional and has not been reported yet…

  3. Steph on April 28, 2013 at 3:12 AM said:

    Hi Kirk,
    Yes, I managed to disable the sidebar. It seemed to work okay-ish with the sidebar. When I disabled the sidebar it started to play up and then crashed.

    • Kirk Schnable Kirk Schnable on April 29, 2013 at 7:57 PM said:

      Really? That’s interesting… I had a very different experience. I had issues when the sidebar was trying to load (sometimes). I wasn’t sure if it was because of WINE, or because I was using an ancient laptop for the install. Could you let us know if you have any working solutions?

  4. Daniel on April 29, 2013 at 11:41 AM said:

    Hi Kirk,

    Thanks for your help. I really appreciate anything that you could do to help me to get this going. I paid the $200 for Version 12, Premium, because it had the best outcome on winehq. A rather expensive paperweight, don’t you think?

    I tried getting a debug log but I can’t figure out any way to cut or copy it. It’s all Greek to me until I come to the last 2 lines that say ABORT and then a bunch of stuff… I’m guess there’s a problem there. If I need to post the whole debug how can I copy it from the debug or term windows? Otherwise, can I just type in the last couple of lines that have the big ABORT notice?

    I’d appreciate any ideas…

    • Kirk Schnable Kirk Schnable on April 29, 2013 at 8:01 PM said:

      I can certainly relate to your situation, Daniel. I was put in a fairly comparable situation, when the software which had been purchased as dropped on my desk and I was asked to get it working. When I finally figured out a decent way to get it running, I came here and made this post in hopes that it would help someone out. I’m sorry if my post raised false hopes for you. I checked into it, and I do believe our deployment of Dragon Naturally Speaking is still functional.

      I’ll give it some thought, in the meantime, it may be worthwhile to consult the Ubuntu Forums or other community resources, although community support for WINE is fairly sparse. My offer to sift through your PlayOnLinux debug log still stands, although I can’t make any promises about results there… sometimes those logs are less than useful.

  5. Dieter on May 1, 2013 at 3:34 AM said:

    Hi Kirk,

    thanks for the nice guide to install DNS12!! I am really happy that it finally installed.

    I followed your guide (running Ubuntu 12.04 on a thinkpad E530c) and DNS12 premium installed correctly (after having tried to install DNS12 on virturalbox with some efforts and after having tried to install directly using wine).

    As Audi In/Out I intend to use a logitech usb headset (which I could successfully use in a test installation of DNS12 on native windows XP), which ubuntu recognized accoring to the adjusted audio settings (I could see that the microphone receives signals that are displayed in systemsettings->Audio->Input).

    DNS12 however did not find the microphone of the logitech usb headset.

    Using winecfg the logitech headset was only found as an output device but not as in input device.

    Did you perform additionally adjustments/test to recognize your microphone?

    Best regards,

    Dieter

    • Kirk Schnable Kirk Schnable on May 1, 2013 at 5:46 AM said:

      Dieter, I did not encounter any similar issues, however our copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking came with a headset with two standard 2.5mm headphone connectors, and that was the headset we used.

      I suspect the problem you’re experiencing is related to WINE’s audio system, or its interaction with PulseAudio/ALSA. I’ll do a little bit of Googling and see if I can turn anything up. USB headsets tend to be special because they create a new input/output source rather than using the default ones.

  6. Dieter on May 1, 2013 at 9:21 AM said:

    Hi Kirk,

    thanks for your prompt response!

    In the meantime I found the following link:
    http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=version&iId=26621&iTestingId=75079

    saying:
    “In Dragon set microphone to line in, even you want to use USB Microphone (somehow wine detects the system USB microphone as a default Line In). You only have to set up USB device in your Linux sound settings and make sure that its working.”

    I did exactly this, and the microphone of my USB Logitech headset was recognized!!
    I did the initial recognition training on DNS and then the tutorial came up. After that DNS12 crashed.

    When starting again it crashed after showing the initial windows including the “Dragon Leiste” (I dont know the English term) and initializing.

    here ist the command I used for starting DNS12:
    WINEPREFIX=~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/DNS12 wine ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/DNS12/drive_c/Program\ Files/Nuance/NaturallySpeaking12/Program/natspeak.exe > DNS12.log 2> DNS12.err

    DNS12.log is empty
    DNS12.err has 309 lines from which I include the last lines:

    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:ieframe:navigate_url Unsupported args (Flags 0x309de20:3; TargetFrameName 0x309de30:8)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:urlmon:URLMoniker_BindToObject use running object table
    ###!!! ABORT: Main-thread-only object used off the main thread: file /build/wine-mozilla-1.4/xpcom/base/nsCycleCollector.cpp, line 1267
    ###!!! ABORT: Main-thread-only object used off the main thread: file /build/wine-mozilla-1.4/xpcom/base/nsCycleCollector.cpp, line 1267
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:dbghelp:elf_search_auxv can’t find symbol in module
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)
    fixme:mshtml:OleInPlaceActiveObject_TranslateAccelerator (0×191770)->(0x178c30)

    Similar ABORT has been reported here:

    http://comp.emulators.ms-windows.wine.narkive.com/vN6Dyxdo/error-when-loading-dragon-with-crossover

    I’ll keep you updated if I shoud make any progress.

    Best regards, Dieter

  7. Mark Dupuis on August 2, 2013 at 5:49 PM said:

    Hi, I cannot get dragon to bring up things within my computer within Ubuntu, (well, Ultimate), I give commands and it searches the net every time! I want to use libra office but even that will not register dragon’s presence. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  8. How did you disable the sidebar? I am using openSUSE 12.3 with PlayOnLinux. I get everything including training done, but when I try to use DNS 12 as soon as the sidebar starts to load it crashes. Incidentally the same thing happens with Crossover and wine.

    Is there a command line that I could use to stop the sidebar from starting?

  9. William Martin on June 4, 2014 at 1:49 AM said:

    Have you tried pressing the * on the number pad, not the one above the 8 key on the normal part of the keyboard. You might try several times (but only one key press per each start of Dragon). Repeated pressing simply toggles it on and off, which would probably make sure it crashed. 8>(

  10. Pete Dunkelberg on June 26, 2014 at 8:39 PM said:

    Kirk, if your installation worked for a while, this is important data!

    Think on this:
    http://nuance.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6416/

    Evidently Dragon looks for things it does not like or recognize, and crashes on purpose. Perhaps the plan is to crash rather than work imperfectly. Perhaps one consequence is
    “Crash on Linux.”

    But then how could yours work? What devices did you not have?

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